Natalie Wilson was no stranger to the gymnasium when she attended Trinity High School. She’ll be spending a lot of time in Trinity’s gym this winter as well.
Wilson, a 30-year-old Merrimack resident who played basketball at Trinity for four years, was hired as the varsity coach for the school’s girls basketball program last summer. She spent the last two seasons as the varsity coach at The Derryfield School, and takes over a Trinity program that won one game in Division I last season.
“I’m really excited,” Wilson said. “It’s awesome to be back where I started playing. It’s kinda come full circle. I have a small group, but it’s a group that works really hard. They’ve come a long way since we’ve had our first open gym to now and it’s only been a few weeks.
“Coming back, to be able to give back and help rebuild the program is something that really interests me. I did a lot of rebuilding with the Derryfield program and they came a long way since the first day we started. We had only one team when I was there to start and we grew to all three teams — JV, varsity and freshman — so it was great to see the program build.”
Wilson said only nine players came out for the team this year. The Pioneers, who have one senior on their roster, are scheduled to open their season Jan. 19 with a home game against Goffstown.
Trinity’s “regionalized” schedule also features games against Bedford, Concord, Manchester Central, Manchester Memorial and Manchester West.
After graduating from Trinity in 2009, Wilson played basketball at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. She grew up in Bedford and began her coaching career as the girls freshman coach at Bedford High School.
She left that position to begin a college coaching career that included assistant coaching positions at Saint Anselm College and Rivier University.
Wilson said she prefers her teams to play an up-tempo style with a lot of defensive pressure, but added that Trinity may play more of a halfcourt game this season.
“We just need kids who want to be part of a good program — who want to come in and work hard every day,” she said. “I think once word spreads that this is a whole different program than it’s been in the past a lot of kids are gonna want to come. Trinity is a great school academic-wise. When you fit sports into it you get the whole package. Giving the girls something to be excited about is really what it’s all about.”