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'Disappointed': Basketball coaches from around the Fox Valley react to WIAA shot clock denial

'Disappointed': Basketball coaches from around the Fox Valley react to WIAA shot clock denial
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 27, 2024

GREEN BAY — In a 6-4 vote last week, the WIAA Board of Controlvoted down having a shot clock in high school boys and girls basketball games.

NBC 26 talked to the head of the board to find out why they voted that way and also talked to a few coaches from the Fox Valley for their thoughts.

Most coaches in Wisconsin are in favor of having one.

'Disappointed': Basketball coaches from around the Fox Valley react to WIAA shot clock denial
'Disappointed': Basketball coaches from around the Fox Valley react to WIAA shot clock denial

“They’ve been doing it internationally for years so I think they’ve proven around the world that this is how you play basketball,” said UW Oshkosh women’s basketball coach Brad Fischer.

The word that came to mind for the coaches I talked to about last week’s WIAA board of control vote: disappointed.

“I wasn't shocked at what happened but I'm disappointed because I think the shot clock is something that will ultimately impact our game in a positive way,” said Chris Abaray, the head coach of the girls basketball team at West De Pere high school.


“Disappointed that it didn’t, but you know I think we’re going to continue to keep coming back for it," said Neenah boys basketball coach Lee Rabas.

I wanted to know why. What are the benefits of having a shot clock? Coaches say it makes them and their players better.

“35 seconds with a shot clock is different than just a random 35 second possession because you have that time constraint and what it does, it teaches kids how to play situational basketball more,” Abaray said. “It also teaches coaches to be a little more strategic with each of those possessions at times of the game.”

For UW Oshkosh women’s basketball head coach Brad Fischer, who watches many high school games out the recruiting trail, he and other coaches say, the game is just more fun with a shot clock.

“I just think it’s more fun for players,” Fischer said. “I think more players are going to have to take shots, shots that maybe you didn’t take that are good shots because you had time to wait for great shots – now you might have to take and i think it involves for more people and it’s going to make coaches better and it’s going to force people to raise their level.”


Right now without a clock, when a team gets a sizable lead, they can basically just run out the clock for the rest of the game and play keep away.

“I think the state tournament has many examples,” said Fischer. “The (Neenah Rockets Division 1 state semifinal game) was great on the boys side, but how many shots were taken in four overtimes and they’re both playing the game how they should based on the rules, I think with two good teams like that you’d want to see a little more action forced.”

Rabas is all for a shot clock, but he’s been on the losing end of an opponent running out the clock before. He's vowed to never let that happen again until one is implemented.

“It’s just the reality,” he said. “You know, a shot clock forces you to have to make plays in those situations and I would have loved a shot clock to play in the game.”


So why was it voted down by the WIAA board of control? Well, it’s mostly because of money.

“If you’re a smaller outlier school district and you’re looking at cutting staff, it’s hard to argue how you are going to justify an expense that goes into athletics when you’re really trying to save teachers or look at operational budgets,” Paul Pedersen, the WIAA board of control president said.

Pedersen wouldn’t say how he voted, but he says, having a shot clock is also more than a one-time expense you have to pay someone to run it.

“(It’s) just like you pay your scoreboard operator, or book keeper,” Pedersen said. “This is going to be another paid person for every contest, that would be at the C-team level, the JV level, the varsity level.”

Coaches say they aren’t buying that money should be an issue.

“I look at other sports that have twice the amount of officials and table workers as basketball and there’s not a complaint about that, so I don't really understand why cost is brought up for this particular thing,” Abaray said.

Rabas coached at UW-Fox Valley and said while he was there they would train students to run the shot clock and there was hardly ever a problem.

“There's going to come a point here within the next four or five years where every state has it. I’d prefer that we not be the last state to have it,” Rabas said.