Decision-making is always been a big part of the success of any basketball coach. And it is said that great leaders surround themselves with great people.
First-year Yorktown coach Matt Moulton is already off to a great start by making the decision to hire his father Chuck as his varsity assistant.
Most of the Monroe Central community will no doubt be cheering for Matt and Chuck as they try to revive a Yorktown boys’ basketball program that has struggled to win just 17 games in the past four years.
Matt Moulton, now 47, is a 1991 Monroe Central graduate who remains not only the school’s all-time leading male scorer, but Randolph County’s all-time leading scorer with 1,824 career points. He went on to have an excellent 4-year playing career play at Taylor University.
Chuck Moulton, now 73, coached the Bears to a 45-20 mark in two separate stints (1975-77, 1993-94) and was the orchestrator of the biggest upset in school history. On a Wednesday night in 1976, on Thanksgiving Eve, Monroe Central send shockwaves through the state by dominating a highly-ranked Muncie Central team in an 11-point win in the Muncie Fieldhouse.
These two former Bears – and in Chuck’s case also a former Parker Panther – could be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate Yorktown program in need of a culture jolt.
A Class 3A program, Yorktown has a strong basketball tradition with five sectional championships and an appearance in the state finals in 1998. Last year the team finished 5-17, which was the most wins since 2014-15.
“My biggest goal is to just make sure our culture is right. I want our fans and players to be able to walk out of the gym and feel good about what they saw from a quality of play standpoint,” Matt said. “Deep down inside, I think every player wants to be challenged by their coach. They want high expectations and they want to be held accountable. I want there to be authenticity. I want to be as honest as I can be with them and bring a lot of positivity to the program.”
Having his father beside him on the bench gives him someone who he trusts, someone with experience and someone with a great deal of basketball knowledge.
“It’s just going to be a pleasure facing the challenge together,” Matt said of coaching with his father. “Dad has a lot of knowledge and he just has this has this amazing way of showing love, but also demanding respect. He’s always been that way, even with us growing up. I’ve know anybody who can do as well as he does.”
After his two successful years of coaching in the mid 1970’s, Chuck left coaching essentially to take care of his family. A new job in real estate, and later selling textbooks, demanded more of his time as he and his wife Paula focused on raising their children, Matt, Ben and Emily.
When the Monroe Central coaching job opened in 1993-94 and Ben a senior, Chuck Moulton stepped back on the sidelines for one year and the Bears finished a very respectable 15-7.
But with Emily growing up, he once again turned in his clipboard for family reasons, never expecting to coach again.
Matt had previously worked as an administrator at Delta and then worked at Muncie Central before being hired as a math teacher at Yorktown. Last year he finally decided to do some coaching as the school’s eighth grade coach. He was assisted by Chuck, and the team finished with more wins than losses.
When the varsity position opened, Matt decided the time was right to take on the challenge. After was picked for the post, he didn’t hesitate. He knew who he wanted as his assistant.
“He called me and said ‘guess who is the new coach at Yorktown?’ and before I could even process it he said he wanted me to be his assistant. It all happened so fast,” Chuck explained.
Chuck said his job is to be a sounding board for his son and offer his insights. “I give him my ideas and he can take them or leave them, that’s up to him.”
The Tigers were dealt a blow early when their second leading returning scorer suffered a season-ending ACL injury and another regular was lost to an injury.
“We’re not going to play the injury card,” Matt said. “We just want our kids to buy in to what we’re doing and be a team that hustles and works hard. If they can do that, I’m not worried about wins and losses.”
Among games on Yorktown’s schedule this year are a pair in late January when they trek into Randolph County. On Jan. 25, the Tigers visit Winchester. Three days later, the Tigers play at Monroe Central, in the Bears’ Den, where Matt’s jersey hangs in the hallway as the school’s most prolific scorer. The Moultons expect that contest will bring out some extra emotion.
Yorktown’s first test is a big one as they face highly-regarded Muncie Central in the Fieldhouse. Matt says the Bearcats will be “a very, very good team” this year, likely the most talented opponent on the schedule.
Of course he does have someone beside him who knows what it takes to upset the Bearcats.