One last time
Story by Abby Langle – Editor-in-Chief
Friday, February 18th was Coach Mike Hilbert’s last home basketball game as a Lee’s Summit North Bronco. The Broncos played Lee’s Summit West. Although they were beaten by the Titans, it was a competitive and exciting game to watch. Concluding the last home game for the boys’ basketball team, there was a reception in the commons to celebrate Coach Hilbert’s career.
“After 27 years, I get that this is a big deal since it’s the last time I am coaching the boys on our home court. Truthfully I was really excited to see our former players and meet their families and hug them and tell them how proud of them I am,” Hilbert said.
Many people came out to watch Coach Hilbert coach one last time on the Lee’s Summit North basketball court. Not only did his family come, but past players and coaches he coached alongside came out to support him.
“I got to actually see four guys who played on my first JV team in 1995, they came back to watch the game and came to the reception after. We talked about my very first game and how we only scored 16 points. Another guy I coached with my first 12 years came back, he had moved to Chicago so that was awesome to see him. My family was here, not only my wife and daughters but my mom and dad, my sister and brother and their families which was pretty special,” Hilbert said.
This group is just a fraction of the big turnout the reception saw. Players, friends, family, and other colleagues from over the years came out to share stories and laughs with each other.
“People told stories about different things that we have experienced together for 27 years and we were able to laugh. It was just a terrific evening, I’m just thankful there were a lot of people that took a lot of time, effort and energy to make it happen,” Hilbert said.
At the reception, LSN revealed a new display that will represent his legacy for years to come.
“They gave me a shadow box, it looks like a picture frame that oftentimes you would put a players jersey when you retire their number, we are going to put one of my sweater vests in it and hang it the events lobby as kind of like a memory. A lot of times I wore a sweater vest to the games and that’s how people remember me,” Hilbert said.
After such a long time being a Bronco and spending many days in this school, it will take some adjusting for Hilbert as he transitions to the next chapter in his life. He has made a home at North and it is hard to leave that behind.
“Just being in this space is probably what I’ll miss most because I have been here so long and there is just a comfort of walking the halls and being in that gym and locker room,” Hilbert said.
Coach Hilbert made many lifelong memories both coaching and teaching at LSN. He will be missed by many as he moves on to a new part of his career. By getting the chance to celebrate his career on Friday, he was able to see just how important his impact was on everyone he worked with and it was a great way to, as he said, “wrap up and put a bow on my coaching career”.
Photo courtesy of Coach Hilbert