Longtime coach Bob Wingett named boys' basketball coach at Evangelical Christian Academy

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Photo - Former Air Academy coach Bob Wingett in the state tournament Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at the Coors Event Center in Boulder. The Kadets won the 2012 state title. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Former Air Academy coach Bob Wingett in the state tournament Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at the Coors Event Center in Boulder. The Kadets won the 2012 state title. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Longtime coach Bob Wingett couldn't ignore what seemed inevitable: his return to the front of the bench.

After a three-year break as a head basketball coach, Wingett is taking over the boys' basketball program at Evangelical Christian Academy. He follows longtime Eagles coach Don Bost, who stepped down after 12 seasons.

"Coach Wingett fit with what we were looking for," ECA athletic director Don Steiner said. "He's a man of high Christian character and integrity with playoff and state title basketball experience."

Wingett had put his head coaching career on pause after the 2014 season as the girls' coach at Air Academy. After leading the Kadets to a state title in 2012 - in only his second season in charge - he stepped down in the midst of some "health issues."

"I just thought I needed a break," the 45-year-old Wingett said. "And, again, there were some medical concerns that needed to be taken care of and they've been taken care of. So I thought it was time to try it again."

Wingett always stayed close to the profession he loves, using the past three years to view the game from new angles and different roles.

While continuing as an assistant with Air Academy's baseball and softball teams, Wingett took to the court as the C-squad coach of the girls' program for the school in 2014-15, and then helped the boys' team at Discovery Canyon the year after that.

He said the urge to return to the head role hit him hardest last season when he served as the game clock manager at boys' and girls' home games for the Kadets.

"Sitting there watching my friends - Phil (Roiko) doing the girls and Barry (Clark) doing the boys - the itch started coming back that it might be the right time," he said. "I had (coached) 21 years in a row and it was my third year not doing it. I kind of felt rejuvenated again, interested in the right circumstance and in the right situation."

Wingett applied for just one opening after the winter season and Steiner offered him the job in early May.

"The main reason I took this job was I can talk about the two things I'm most passionate about," Wingett said. "That is basketball and Christ, and I don't have to be careful."

Wingett, who relocated seven years ago from Southern California to Colorado Springs to be closer to his wife's family, will look to take another area team to the next level after leading the Kadets for four years.

Wingett takes over a veteran roster at ECA, which is fresh off its third straight winning season. The Eagles went 13-9 and were third in the 2A Black Forest League.

"In no way, shape or form is this rebuilding," Wingett said. "Air Academy was not that and ECA is not that either."