Anderson, Welch chosen to lead the East boys all-stars

Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 12:59 AM.

You could call Matt Anderson the Dean of Panhandle basketball coaching, and while that could be construed as another word for “old” he’s not feeling a day past 30.

The current Graceville mentor has spent half of his 50 years in the profession, one in which he said keeps him feeling younger than what the biological clock dictates. Anderson has been chosen along with Malone coach Steve Welch to lead the East boys basketball team in the ninth annual Halifax All-Star Classic on April 6 at Gulf Coast State College.

Anderson was an assistant coach at Malone when Welch played his junior and senior high school seasons in the early 1990s. It’s the second time both coaches will head an East team. Anderson joined then-Apalachicola coach Joe Hayes in the inaugural game in 2005 in pacing the East to a 102-82 win, while Welch coached the team to a 96-76 victory last year.

Anderson and Welch remained friends long after Welch departed Malone. Upon his return, Welch has been the head coach for six seasons and has the Tigers primed for a run at the Class 1A state championship. Anderson is no stranger to titles at Malone, as he secured four straight championships from 1995-98. Anderson since has had stops at his alma mater, Ponce de Leon, as well as Bay, Chipola College and now Graceville.

Anderson remembers Welch as a tenacious player with a willingness to learn.

“He listened well and tried to do what you said exactly like you said,” Anderson said. “He was very much a coach’s player and he could really, really shoot the basketball.”

Anderson admitted Welch had limitations on the defensive end. He said Welch was aware of the shortcomings as well and coaches aided him by setting up the appropriate matchups for his skill set on the other end of the court. Anderson is well known for his defensive teachings and Welch has taken on the mantra with the Tigers, who cause havoc for opposing offenses.

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