STONINGTON — Jay Wosencroft described his reaction to the news he received from Stonington High athletic director Bryan Morrone as an "unbelievable feeling."
Wosencroft, the Stonington High junior varsity boys basketball coach the last five seasons and a volunteer before that, was named head coach on Friday.
"I'm extremely honored," said Wosencroft, who also spent a season coaching at Mystic Middle. "It's something I've been working for for a while now. To get the call [Friday] morning — it was an unbelievable feeling. Hard work pays off, and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
"Nothing in this world is given to you. I prepared and went through the process."
Wosencroft, 33 and a Stonington High School graduate, takes over for John Luzzi, who resigned after leading the Bears to a 19-7 record and a berth in the Division IV state quarterfinals in 2018-19.
Luzzi was 53-59 in five seasons at Stonington. He and his family are planning a move to Florida.
Wosencroft said he hopes to keep the program on the upward trajectory the Bears enjoyed under Luzzi.
"We have very strong upperclassmen, with Zach Scott and Ayden Morrison, and I kind of know what to expect out of them," Wosencroft said. "We also have a lot of freshmen and sophomores who are very hungry and very athletic, and it's my job to unlock their talents."
Scott, a 6-1 guard/forward who'll be a senior in the fall, was the team's leading scorer last season at 16.3 points per game. Morrison, a 6-5 center, and 5-6 guard Tyler Fidrych, a starter by the end of the season, should also be back.
The Bears also had a number of underclassmen last season who saw varsity action.
"Our goal is to one day surpass [last year's successful season] and get a state championship," Wosencroft said. "I know it's one day and one practice at a time, but we have a good-enough group coming through the next few years where we can kind of push for that."
"I believe Jay will continue the great momentum the boys team had this past season," Morrone said in an email. "He is a hard-working coach whose passion for Stonington basketball is unsurpassed. Jay already has a great rapport with our players, and his instruction and knowledge of the game has grown each year."
As a high school senior, Wosencroft played on the 2004-05 Stonington squad that went 13-11. Wosencroft was the Bears' leading scorer (14.3 ppg).
Now he's head of the program.
"There's a lot of talent, a lot of guys in the program," the Pawcatuck resident said. "It's definitely exciting. It's a great group of kids and all the kids work hard. It's definitely gonna be fun."