Matt Wester, the coach of high school basketball, has been awarded the prestigious title of 2023-24 MaxPreps National Coach of the Year

In recognition of his outstanding coaching performance, Matt Wester has been honored as the 2023-24 MaxPreps National Coach of the Year. During this season, he guided the Plano East boys basketball team to a perfect 40-0 record, the No. 8 spot in the MaxPreps Top 25 high school basketball rankings, and secured the program’s first-ever state title. This achievement marks a historic moment for the Panthers, as they achieved their first Top 25 finish in school history and became the first undefeated champion in the state’s highest classification since 2006-07. Wester stated that coaches don’t pursue coaching awards, but rather to work with kids and be involved in basketball to positively influence lives. He emphasized that even the best coach may not get the opportunity they deserve due to their team roster, circumstances, or injuries.

Wester expressed his feelings about the honor, stating, “The best word is humbling. I know whenever I would watch people get awards on TV and people would say I am humbled to receive this — I always thought that was silly, like it didn’t make any sense to me. Now that I’m here I understand it because it is humbling. If Jordan Mizell hurts his knee again then I’m not getting this award, or if D.J. Hall doesn’t develop into such a great player we probably aren’t having this conversation. There is just so many other factors that affected it. It’s your coaches, the players, the support from the administration, the families of the kids. That is why it is so humbling.”
The basketball program at Plano East has a rich history, starting over 30 years ago with Jimmy King, a member of Michigan’s Fab Five. The team recently won their first state title, but they have a history of success, including reaching the state championship game in 1994. Despite a tough start in the 2017-18 season, the team has shown improvement under the leadership of Coach Wester. In year four, Wester led the Wolves to a 24-9 record in the 2020-21 season, followed by a 31-5 mark last season and a perfect 40-0 in 2023-24. Throughout the season, there was a palpable buzz in the community, according to Wester.
Wester stated that the school opened in 1981 and this is the first title in any sport. It holds a lot of significance for the school and the community. The team had a great turnout at the state championship game with 8,000 spectators and even had a parade thrown for them. The support from the community was evident with 4,000 people attending the third round playoff game. The school principals and even the mayor, city council, and superintendent started attending the games, showing the widespread impact of the team’s success.
Wester had a good sense of his team’s capabilities over the summer, as demonstrated by their strong performance in the Texas Coaches Association Showcase. He saw the potential for success and believed that his team could be the best in the league.
Although the focus on the team was clear, the undefeated season wasn’t a point of emphasis and wasn’t even a thought coming into the season according to Wester.
“Despite potential distractions, the Panthers stayed focused on their goal of winning a state title. On March 9, Plano East achieved that goal with a 53-41 victory over nationally-ranked Stony Point (Round Rock) in the championship game. The Panthers outscored opponents by an average of 22.7 points per contest, with only five games decided by less than 10 points.”
Past MaxPreps National Coaches of the Year
2010 — Ed Azzam, Westchester (Los Angeles)
2011 — Bob Hurley, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
2012 — Danny Henderson, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
2013 — Quincy Lewis, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
2014 — Gary McKnight, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2015 — Sam Duane Jr., Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
2016 — Pat Donnelly, University of Detroit Jesuit (Detroit)
2017 — Wes Swift, Jonesboro (Ark.)
2018 — Kevin Boyle, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
2019 — Mike Thompson, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)
2020 — No award (Pandemic)

2021 — David Peavy, Duncanville (Texas)

2022 — Josh Giles, Centennial (Centennial, Calif.)

2023 — Ty White, John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)
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