Winslow wraps up 22 years with Hanover boys basketball


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 07-01-2022 7:39 PM

When Tim Winslow took over the Hanover High boys basketball program prior to the 2000-01 season, it was “unthinkable,” in rival Lebanon head coach Kieth Matte’s words, that the Marauders, as they were then known, would ever win a state championship.

It took Winslow a mere two seasons to prove the doubters wrong.

Prior to his arrival, Hanover had never won a state title and had appeared in a final just twice — in 1924 and 1974. But Winslow brought home the program’s first championship in his second season in 2002, then won another in 2007. He stepped down last month after 22 seasons coaching at Hanover, though he will continue teaching English at Lebanon High.

Ben Davis, who spent the last two years coaching at St. Johnsbury Academy and was director of operations at Dartmouth College for three years before that, has been named the Bears’ next head coach.

“The thing about coaching high school basketball is there’s just a lot,” Winslow said. “It’s a never-ending thing. If you want to compete in basketball, you’ve got to have kids playing all the time, because other schools do.

“I certainly enjoy coaching basketball, I love being in the gym, but I don’t think of basketball all the time like I used to. I used to just eat, drink and sleep basketball, and now I guess I would say I sleep and drink basketball. I don’t eat it.”

Winslow grew up in New Jersey and played at the prestigious Delbarton School before coming to northern New England to attend the University of Vermont. He began coaching youth basketball while at UVM, and after graduating, he landed a teaching job in Orford, where he coached the junior varsity boys team.

From there, Winslow moved on to Mascoma High, coaching the JV team for two years and the varsity for five more. He started teaching at Lebanon after that, but there were no openings on the Raiders’ coaching staff, so Winslow spent a season as an assistant with Hanover before being elevated to head coach.

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“My first year, we ended up going to the final four, and that was really special to see Hanover get on the map in basketball,” Winslow said. “And then we just had a nice run. I got to be part of three great communities. I got to be part of the Mascoma community, I teach at Lebanon, and then being able to coach in the community that my daughter got to grow up in — I got the best of the Upper Valley.”

Winslow’s 2002 team edged out Berlin, 35-32, in the NHIAA Class I championship game, and five years later, Hanover eked out a 40-38 win over Portsmouth for its second trophy.

After falling to Monadnock in the 2008 title game, though, Hanover has not made it that far since. In 2020, the 18-3 Marauder squad’s playoff run was halted due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this past winter, Hanover struggled to a 5-13 record and missed the postseason.

Even in Winslow’s worst season in recent memory, Hanover was highly competitive in both matchups with a Lebanon team that finished 17-4 and reached the D-II semifinals. At Lebanon, Hanover led by seven points at halftime before being outscored by 19 over the final two quarters. On its home floor five days later, Hanover enjoyed a six-point lead after the third quarter, but the Raiders rallied and ultimately won in overtime.

“They could have, maybe should have, beaten us twice this year,” said Matte, who works with Winslow on the Lebanon faculty as the assistant principal. “We were fortunate to win both. It’s always like that, and when they were better than us, it was like that.

“I can remember being blown out by Hanover one or two times over the last 25 years, and I don’t ever remember blowing out Hanover. The games are always close, they’re almost always low-scoring, and they’re almost always very intense.”

Hanover moved swiftly in its search for Winslow’s replacement and landed on Davis, a Hartford resident with extensive college coaching experience. Davis, 38, played basketball at Wheaton (Mass.) College, graduating in 2006. He was an assistant at a pair of schools in Massachusetts, Nichols College (Division III) and Stonehill College (Division II), then moved up to the Division I ranks for two years as an assistant at Siena.

Davis’ first head coaching opportunity came at the now-defunct Mount Ida College, winning the Great Northeast Athletic Conference coach of the year award in 2017. But he was already living in the Upper Valley by then, and took the job at Dartmouth for a much shorter commute. His drive to work lengthened again when he took his first high school job at St. Johnsbury, but will now shorten as he takes over the Bears.

“I knew Coach Winslow all the back to when I was at Siena,” Davis said. “He’s taken his Hanover teams out there for a team camp that we used to run, so I got a chance to meet him there. Being in the Upper Valley for the past eight years and coaching at Dartmouth, we overlapped and had conversations. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done with the program. He’s done an excellent job, cares about the kids, cares about the experience.”

Megan Sobel, Hanover’s athletic director, spent 15 years working in the Dartmouth athletic department and knew Davis from her time there. She said she was “a little surprised” that Winslow decided to leave his position, but expressed her appreciation to him for helping her understand high school basketball in New Hampshire.

Winslow and Sobel began talking in early June about his stepping down, and Winslow broke the news to the team during the final week of the school year.

“The passion he has for the game is really fun to watch,” Sobel said. “He does it in the right way, in terms of how he deals with kids and talks to kids. If you ever watched one of his practices, you see kids working extremely hard from start to finish. He really seems to get the most out of them.”

The Hanover program has been hurt in recent years by several talented players choosing to attend prep school, which Winslow said was frustrating but did not factor into his decision. With nine seniors graduating from the 2021-22 roster, next year’s group figures to be young, so Davis will have an immediate chance to make his mark and build another winning team.

“They’re going to be very good and very exciting. I’m really excited for Hanover basketball,” Winslow said. “The future is really bright for them. But I also couldn’t see myself coaching for four more years. With a young group coming in, I thought it would be better for them to have someone who could see them through. It’s not that I couldn’t have done it. I’m sure I could have, and I’m sure I would have loved it, but I just thought in the best interest of our kids, this is a great transition time.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at or 603-727-3302.