By Jim den Hollander
Neil Mattson secured a milestone win on Thursday, collecting the 300th win as a varsity coach, mostly with the RWD Cheavers.
The RWD arrangement has been in place for the past decade and before that Mattson coached with John Blosenski on another Cooperative team effort with Baraboo/Portage. In the first seasons, the team was simply the Reedsburg Beavers.
It seemed fitting the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders were the opponent for the milestone win which should someday open the door for Mattson’s inclusion in the WAHA Hall of Fame. One of RWD’s biggest wins so far – its first Sectional Championship came at the South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids in 2010. While that game and the other Sectional title, won against Baraboo-Portage in Onalaska, sticks out for this writer, Coach Mattson has a hard time picking favorite games.
“So many (games) over the years,” said Mattson in a texted interview. “Watching the program develop and grow (was satisfying). One of my favorite seasons, we went 1-20 playing with nine players,” said the coach adding the most satisfying part of that season was the ‘1’ came against Baraboo.
“Two years later we won conference back-to-back. Winning the two Sectional championships is a highlight. Getting two state twice was a great accomplishment for a small town,” said the Coach. “What inspires me the most is coming every day to the rink and work with these young me and all the great coaches we have. When it is no longer fun is when I will step aside.”
There were some thoughts, the milestone could have been reached last season and while it is not really a distraction to anyone, Mattson said it was nice to get it out of the way quick this season.
“Yes, getting 300 gets the monkey off my back,” summed up the Coach who will begin his quest for 300-plus tonight (Tuesday) when the Cheavers take on the Sauk Prairie Eagles at RACA.