Coppenrath To Make Coaching Debut

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Taylor CoppenrathST. JOHNSBURY – Local basketball star Taylor Coppenrath is returning to the court at St. Johnsbury Academy, but this time, he'll have a coach's clipboard in hand.



Coppenrath is set to make his coaching debut as an assistant for the Hilltoppers boys basketball team tomorrow night against the Essex Hornets.

After high school, the Barnet native went on to play for the University of Vermont and several professional teams in Greece and Spain before retiring earlier this year.

The transition from pro player to high school coach isn't the most conventional, but to him, it makes a lot of sense.

"I know what we need to expect from them and [can] just provide drills and some support, because high school is definitely a different style of basketball," Coppenrath explained.

In addition to coaching basketball, the 6-foot-9 center is also teaching math at St. Johnsbury Academy.

Coppenrath says he has a good connection with the players because he has been in their shoes before.

"Getting them to do drills and stuff like that, it's easy for me because I experienced it in high school, college, and even at the professional level," he noted.

Having worked with a number of coaches over the past 15 years, Coppenrath hopes to bring some of their wisdom with him to the high school level.

"A lot of coaches used to tell me, 'Play with your heart, but you have to use your mind too.'"

That mentality had a major impact on Coppenrath's game. And now he wants to pass it on to the next generation of local basketball players.

"Hopefully they'll have an experience like I had in high school," he said.