Decades of Dedication
Thirty Years and Going Strong for Ladue, Swinyer
Windsor High assistant boys basketball coach Don Swinyer, left, watches as Windsor alumni basketball players are introduced in attendance to honor Swinyer and head coach Harry Ladue yesterday. Ladue and Swinyer were recognized for their 30 years of service to the Yellowjackets’ program during halftime of yesterday’s win over Bellows Falls. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Harry Ladue, center, listens during yesterday’s ceremony. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Windsor freshman Mike Bradley, right, strains to reach the ball during the Yellowjackets’ boys basketball win over Bellows Falls yesterday. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Windsor — Long before Harry Ladue began coaching basketball at Windsor High School, the Yellowjackets, then led by John Barth, scheduled games with John Bagonzi’s Woodsville High team. That matchup changed Windsor basketball forever as Barth adopted the Engineers’ style of relentless pressure on defense and never-stop-going-to-the-hoop on offense.
Woodsville would consistently have games where it would score more than 100 points, which got the attention of players and coaches from both states. When Ladue took over as Windsor head coach 30 years ago, the Jacks were already schooled by Barth in fast-paced basketball, and the trend has continued. The 1995 Windsor team had seven games scoring more 100 points, reaching 126 in one game. In 1990, there were five games past 100 and a high of 112. The 1995 team averaged a phenomenal 91.4 points per game, and the 1990 team averaged 88 points per game.
While Windsor no longer produces basketball players who can score in triple digits, the program continues to have success. With that in mind, Ladue and his long-time coaching partner, Don Swinyer, were honored during a halftime ceremony of the Bellows Falls-Windsor game yesterday.
Windsor teams under Ladue’s tutelage, which began in 1983, have amassed more than 350 wins and been to the Vermont Principals Association final four 11 times and won four Division II state championships. His postseason teams are an incredible 39-20.
Twenty-three former players attended a halftime ceremony that saluted Ladue and Swinyer for their three decades of coaching.
“Kind of makes you feel you have achieved something in your life,” said Ladue. “I’ve met a lot of good people over the years. There have been some ups and downs, but a lot of wonderful memories.”
One of the 23 former players that returned was 1988 Windsor graduate, Steve Landon, now the boys basketball coach at Hartford High.
“He taught me a lot more than basketball,” said Landon. “He taught me to have compassion for the game. I would not be coaching today if was not for him.”
Swinyer is the varsity assistant to Ladue today, but for a long time he was the junior varsity coach. He had three undefeated seasons and at one stretch his teams won 46 straight games.
Besides Landon, other returnees included Larry Dougher, Tanner Dana, Jeff Danyew, Ryan Hingston, Bill Gokey, James Aldrich, Wade Smith, Jason Wood, Todd Henry, Adrian Atwood, Jeff Danyew, Shane Beam, Eric Wilkinson, Tom Boudro, Jason Farnsworth, Sean Buckner, Joe Olmstead, Todd Goad, Dean Tancreti, Dan Harrington, B. J. Harrington and Joe Neily.
Windsor easily won the game, 61-49, as Luke TanCreti had 24 points and Tanner Tibbits 18.
The Jacks have been having a rough time lately, having lost eight of nine going into the game and now stand at 6-12 on the season with two games to play. Windsor hosts Mill River on Tuesday and closing out at Woodstock on Friday.
The Yellowjackets took a 40-20 lead at the half and swelled the advantage to 56-27 after three quarters.