Hoyt takes over as Arlington coach

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ARLINGTON — There's a new coach with a top-level pedigree leading the Arlington boys basketball team this season.

The new Eagles leader was a 1,000-point scorer for Arlington and then played Division I basketball for the University of Vermont, graduating in 2012 with a degree in physical education.

The new head coach just happens to be the athletic director as well.

After a coaching search to fill the spot vacated by former coach Chris Taft came up empty, Ashley Hoyt will take over her first varsity team for the 2017-18 season, with help from assistants Brian Lacoste and Gene Hoyt.

It is believed that Hoyt will be the first female coach of a boys varsity basketball team in the state of Vermont.

"It'll be interesting to see how people handle it, what they say about it," Hoyt said after the team's first practice Monday afternoon. "I'm not worried about anyone else, I'm confident in myself and in the boys. It's kind of cool that it's happening."

At first, Hoyt was skeptical about taking the job. She already has a full plate with her athletic director duties as well.

"We put the job opening up back in the beginning of April and we didn't have anyone for a while," Hoyt said. "Then we had a candidate, but the committee didn't feel like that was the direction we wanted to go in."

Hoyt said the committee consisted of her, principal Tim Stewart and the Arlington school board.

"We want to establish a direction that we feel the program needs to go," Hoyt said.

Fast-forward a few months, to a school board meeting in October; still no coach for the boys basketball team.

"We had to have a plan," Hoyt said. "So Tim suggested that I could do it, with my background in basketball. I wasn't really planning on doing it."

Hoyt is fourth on the all-time Arlington scoring list, with 1,310 points, and she also grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in her four years. She graduated from AMHS in 2008, then went to play Division I college basketball at UVM, where she played in 60 games and scored more than 300 points.

So when the idea of Hoyt coaching came about, many of the members of the team approached Hoyt, asking her to be the coach this season.

"I've coached the girls a lot and I have the boys during gym classes," said Hoyt, who works as a physical education teacher at AMHS. "They're familiar with me. So I thought about it and decided that this would be the best thing for this year."

This isn't the first time she has coached boys. Last winter, she coached the Arlington middle school team — a little different of a challenge.

"I adjusted to the "boy way" if you will," Hoyt said. "It's been easy for me to transition to coaching boys. I'm intense and competitive and boys can handle you being hard on them. They have a desire to win and so it won't be hard to make the adjustment."

The Eagles were 16-7 last season and reached the Division IV semifinals, where they lost to Proctor.

"They want to win, so it makes me excited to coach them," Hoyt said. "When you get kids to buy in from Day 1, it's a key to a successful season. I'm super-pumped."

The Eagles don't play their first game until December 18 against Proctor at home in a rematch of last year's D-IV semifinals.

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