CLOVIS, Calif. – Adrian Wiggins has been a basketball coach since the mid-1990’s. He has seen countless ‘Senior Nights.’
But Wednesday was different; Wednesday was Senior Night for his son, Will.
“Yeah, I tell all the parents, love ’em while you can,” smiles Wiggins, the head boys basketball coach at Clovis East High School. “I remember (Will) walking up as a ninth grader and they announced him for homecoming king. And I was just so happy I caught that moment. Those are the perks about being here as a parent.”
Will Wiggins has been on varsity at Clovis East since he was a sophomore. So Adrian Wiggins has been both a parent and a coach for three years.
“I call him, ‘Dad,'” laughs Will. “It’s kinda weird when I have to yell at him across the court, but I call him, ‘Dad.’ I’ve called him that my whole life. And he’s never really told me, ‘call me Coach.’ So I just say, ‘dad.’
“He balances being my dad and being my coach very well. And for most, that’s hard to do.”
Except Adrian Wiggins is not like most coaches. He won 175 games at Fresno State, second-most in program history. And he took the Bulldogs to five straight NCAA Tournaments.
Will Wiggins tagged along.
“Going in the locker rooms at halftime and after the games, and just hearing all their halftime talks, it was a really cool experience for me growing up,” said Will.
Adds Adrian, “You know, what I notice as a coach is he’s not afraid of the big moments. He wants the ball in his hands. The bigger the arena, the more excited he is and focused. He went on those trips with me. He went to the NCAA Tournaments. He walked on those carpets, he saw all the cameras. He likes it and it doesn’t make him nervous.”
He is also not nervous about next year, when he will be playing someplace else. And for a coach who is not his dad.
“I think it will be a new experience, but I’m ready to venture off and see what new coaches can do for me and how they can expand my game,” said Will.
“William’s value is just his ability to run a team,” says Adrian. “He thrives in doing a lot of little things.
“It’s been a really special experience for me, one-of-a-kind deal. I’ve just been really blessed to be able to be here with him and go to school with him every day and he’s been not only a good kid, but a fun guy to coach. And a good leader. So for me, it’s been like a dream come true.”