The end of the Wilson era


by Tim Lone/Staff Writer

Bruce Wilson, men’s basketball coach for the past 25 years, resigned from his position on April 9. Assistant coach Charles Zanders will take the reigns of the program.

In his 25 years as a coach, Wilson compiled a record of 341-305, giving him the most wins for any head coach in the program’s history. Wilson led Simpson to three Iowa Conference Championships, three NCAA Tournament appearances and was also named Iowa Conference Coach of the year three times.

In addition to being the program’s winningest coach, Wilson is also a 1976 graduate of Simpson and had high achievements as a player. He was twice named to the All-Conference team, and earned All-Region honors once.

Wilson said he cherished his time at Simpson, as a student as well as a coach.

“It was a great experience for me here at Simpson,” Wilson said. “Because I grew, I matured and I had a ton of success both on the court and in the classroom. I had people that really did a great job working with me.”

Athletic Director John Sirianni addressed the men’s basketball players after Wilson’s resignation.

“On behalf of the college, the athletic department and me, personally, I would like to thank Bruce for his 25 years of service as a true professional, as an alum and as a Hall of Famer,” Sirianni said.

Sirianni continued his statement to the players and his thanks to Wilson.”On behalf of all of us I would like to wish you, Bruce, the very best,” Sirianni said.

Simpson’s new head coach, Zanders, said he’s proud to take over the program Wilson has built.

“I’m truly going to miss him,” Zanders said. “I’m extremely humbled and honored and appreciative that he’s entrusted his ‘basketball baby’ to me.”

As Wilson reflected on his final year at the helm of the men’s basketball team, he said it takes more than wins to measure the success of a team. 

“If you look at all my years it was probably one of those years that was the least successful as far as wins and losses,” Wilson said. “But the attitude of our guys, the work ethic of our guys, just their coachability, everything like that. It was a really fun year.”

Wilson said judging the team’s development and improvement as players and people is a better yard stick for measuring success. 

“If you only judge your successes on wins and losses then you’re going to be very disappointed,” Wilson said.

Zanders is optimistic about what’s on the horizon for the men’s team as they get ready for next season.

“Because I’ve had the opportunity to work with coach Wilson and learn some things, I can see some things I’d like to try with some of the athletes we have in our program,” Zanders said.

Zanders promised that next year’s team will be a fun one to watch, one that will put a lot of pressure on the other team defensively.

Wilson said he has no doubts the team is in capable hands with Zanders now at the helm.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to be the head coach,” Wilson said. “And I have all the respect in the world for Charles because he’s a really, really good coach, and a really good person. And he’ll do a great job.”