Batchelor will replace longtime head coach Anthony Long after spending six years as an assistant with the program.
DR. PHILLIPS The Dr. Phillips High athletic department did not have to go very far in its search for a replacement for longtime boys basketball head coach Anthony Long.
Last week, on March 10, Dr. Phillips Athletic Director Steven McHale announced he had promoted longtime assistant Dan Batchelor to head coach. Batchelor, who had been an assistant under Long for six seasons, played collegiately at Emory University.
Before his time began with the Panthers, Batchelor also worked as an assistant at Apopka and Olympia.
“I’m excited about it and I’m ready to get to work,” Batchelor said.
In a release, McHale said the in-house hire was more than just an easy transition.
“Dan is very much deserving of this promotion — his loyalty and knowledge of game is perfect for the direction we are headed,” McHale stated. “He's committed to Dr Phillips and looking forward to building our program and preparing young men for the next level in life.”
“We have four goals every single year: win the Metro, win the district, win the region and win state. Those things don’t change at Dr. Phillips."
— Dan Batchelor
The retirement of Long following the 2016-17 season compounds the loss before the season of longtime assistant Jason Lee, who took a job at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando. Batchelor, who says his time with Long impressed upon him the importance of attention to detail and discipline within a program, says it will be different roaming the sidelines without his two good friends.
“I’m going to miss coaching with Anthony … he’s been an important person in my life,” Batchelor said. “The three of us (Batchelor, Long and Lee) are still very, very close friends.”
Batchelor, who already is a teacher on campus at Dr. Phillips, will now get to work on a number of fronts, including setting up an offseason schedule, building a staff and pinpointing areas of focus for each individual player that is returning. On that front, Batchelor is optimistic about a team that that will return four of five starters, including rising senior Daniel Love — arguably one of Central Florida’s most gifted scorers.
So far as expectations, even eight months out from the regular season the Panthers’ new head coach said nothing will change on that front.
“We have four goals every single year: win the Metro, win the district, win the region and win state,” Batchelor said. “Those things don’t change at DP. … You either are going to meet the standard or you can’t survive in our program.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].