Before he was officially named Braden River’s athletic director on Tuesday, Matt Nesser knew what his first task was going to involve.
He must now find someone to replace him as the Pirates boys basketball coach, a position he has held since the school opened in 2005.
Nesser was the only head coach at Braden River who has been there since the school started athletics. He has to give up the basketball job because the Manatee County school district has a rule that athletic directors cannot be head coaches.
“Giving that up was hard because I’ve been doing it for a bunch of years. It will be interesting to see how it plays out for me,” Nesser said. “It was time for me to change and the position opened up so I applied. It’s been kind of a goal for me for quite some time to become an athletic director, but I never pursued it until now. I am going to miss the camaraderie with the players, but felt the transition was right for me now.
The 50-year-old had a successful run at Braden River, starting the boys basketball program on the varsity level its first season. He won two district titles and sent 10 players on to play in college. The best is Trevon Young, the program’s career scoring and rebounding leader with more than 1,400 points and 1,000 rebounds. He plays at Eckerd College.
Nesser has an extensive basketball background. He coached college basketball for more than 20 years. He was head coach at Alfred State College in New York, and his last college position was head coach at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania.
Basketball practice for boys begins Oct. 27th, so Nesser hopes to get a head coach in place as soon as possible, but said he wants to do it the right way.
“We are also looking for a boys soccer coach and want to get the basketball quickly, but we don’t want to rush it,” Nesser said. “We will look internally and would love to have somebody on campus, but that is not a necessity. We want to get the right person. I took a lot of time to build the program and want to get somebody in who is knowledgeable about basketball and knows how to run a program properly.”
Nesser also will have to give up his guidance counseling position. He replaces Bob Bowling, the school’s only athletic director, who retired two weeks ago.
Nesser has a master's degree in education from the University of West Florida and master’s of arts and guidance from Argosy University.
“We chose to hire Matt because of his years of experience with coaching, his familiarity with the Pirate family, and his proven ability to work with student athletes, parents and coaches,” Braden River principal Jennifer Gilray said. “It’s not easy to replace coach Bowling, but Matt worked closely and successfully with him and considers him a mentor.”