Sports Mailbag: WHS Boys’ Coach Thanks the Community for Support of Team

WHS BOYS BASKETBALL - The 2019-2020 Watertown High School boys’ basketball team, coached by J. Paul Vance Jr. qualified for the NVL and CIAC State Tournaments before the season was canceled by the CIAC. (Photo courtesy of Images Studio)

To the Sports Editor and the entire Watertown-Oakville community: 

Our warm up shirts this season had the word #BELIEVE across our chest and believe we did.

With their hard work and belief, the boys basketball team from Watertown High School believed and achieved this season.

I am blessed to have been a part of their team as the coach. 

While it was disappointing for our season to be prematurely ended due to the pandemic Coronavirus, I wanted to take a moment to thank so many people for their support in the 2019-2020 basketball season.

Our team battled through flu, injuries and the challenges of a long season to qualify for the NVL tournament and the CIAC Division V State Tournament.

Our student athletes won their first game in the CIAC tournament since 2016 before the season was cancelled.

It was a honor to have coached the six seniors who played a role in building towards winning season and returning our Indians to the state tournament (Danny Toroveci, Brian McWhirt, Moni Jusufi, Matt Hardisty, C.J. Maynard and Owen Munson).

Toroveci, McWhirt, Hardisty and Jusufi were able to enjoy their first win in the state tournament in their high school careers. More importantly, they were great representatives of the school, the community and of their families.

I am proud of them and I know that our town is as well.  

At our last game, it was a great honor to have our Unified Sports athletes from Swift and WHS with us for our state tournament game.

They were a good luck charm and we hope to be more involved with those athletes next season.

Our cheerleading program always brought positive energy to our home games.

A special thank you also to Paul Catuccio, Jenna Bouffard, the administration at Watertown High School and the hard working custodians.

We are all a part of the team and your hard work is very much appreciated. 

Leslie Crotty from the Watertown Board of Education has our thanks and gratitude for her generosity; Leslie believed in our team and was a quiet member of our team this season.  

I would like to thank the coaching staff, Coach Preston, Coach Ethan, Coach Q and Coach Unwin, for their hard work and dedication to the program.

You “coached them up” and love them.

These young men remain a part of our “family” long after the basketball stops bouncing.

The coaches owe a debt of gratitude to our wives and families for allowing us to spend long hours in the gym.

The parents and the Hoop Dreams booster club does a great job of supporting the basketball program.

Melissa Powell deserves a special debt of gratitude for doing the score book at away games for both JV and Varsity. 

Finally, I would like to thank our community.

The student athletes work hard and are dedicated; they proudly wear “Watertown” on their jersey.

Thank you for supporting the boys this and every season. We #Believe. 



J. Paul Vance, Jr

Head Coach

Watertown High School Boys’ Basketball

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