BOYS BASKETBALL: Wall, Dull reunite to help bring regional title back to Cashton


Before these last several years, it had been a long time since the Cashton boys' basketball program enjoyed a high level of success. In fact, the Eagles hadn't added a new piece of hardware to the trophy case in nearly a quarter-century during a stretch that included some seasons where wins were few and far between.

But as this year's group of Eagles put together one of the best campaigns in Cashton basketball history, all you needed to do was take a look over at the sidelines to catch a glimpse of a connection to some of the program's glory days of yore.

Current head coach Scot Wall and assistant Chad Dull have a long history together in Cashton, starting when Dull's family moved to the area when he was seven. The two were close friends growing up, and part of that bond was formed through playing basketball together until they graduated from high school in 1988. 

When Wall and Dull were sophomores during the 1985-86 season, Cashton won its first conference championship in 24 years. As juniors, they were part of a team that won a second straight Scenic Bluffs crown.

Those back-to-back conference championships were part of a period of sustained success for the program under head coach Kevin Alderson, who was Cashton's head coach for 22 seasons from 1982 to 2004.

Even with some down years in the 1990s, there were still glimpses of success that included regional titles in 1990 and 2000.

"When you're a kid, you just assume you're supposed to be good," Dull said. "I happened to grow up in an era of Cashton basketball where we were pretty darn competitive. So, you didn't realize how hard it was to get there or how hard it is to stay there."

The first couple decades of the 21st century weren't too kind to the Eagles. From 2003 to 2018, Cashton went a combined 62-264 and didn't post a single winning season during that stretch.

That all finally changed in the last handful of years.

After spending time involved in youth basketball in the area and coaching at the middle school level, Wall took on the role of varsity head coach at his alma mater starting with the 2018-19 season.

Wall stepping into the position coincided with the beginning of a boom period for the program, with the Eagles going 87-35 in his first five years at the helm and finishing with a winning record each season.

Despite that renewed success, Cashton was still searching for a little hardware to add to the school trophy case. To aid in that effort this year, in stepped another familiar face for the program from the past: Chad Dull.

Over the years, Dull has coached basketball all over and at various levels. That's perhaps fitting given that his dad, Greg Dull, was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2021 following stints at Tomah, Sparta and Brookwood.

Chad's coaching path saw him start as an assistant with the Viterbo University women's program  in the early 1990s and was followed by brief coaching stints when he taught in both West Salem and Trempealeau.

Dull later joined the Western Technical College women's basketball team in La Crosse as an assistant, then served as their head coach from 2016 to 2019, with that 2018-19 season culminating in the program's first-ever appearance in the NJCAA Division III national tournament.

After spending three years in administrative positions at Minnesota State College Southeast, Dull returned to the Coulee Region when he accepted a position with the School District of La Crosse in 2022.

Dull continued to feel the coaching itch and eventually put out a Facebook post letting anyone know that he'd be happy to help out with a program interested in his services. That caught the eye of Jennifer Butzler, the principal at Cashton High School/Middle School, who alerted Wall and put the wheels in motion to Dull joining his alma mater as the JV coach and a varsity assistant for this 2023-24 season.

"Scot was one of my best friends growing up, and you can't make old friends, right? Someone you've known since you were seven years old," Dull said. "He and I have always had a gift for, even if we haven't seen each other for years, we kind of pick up like we were right in the middle of a conversation."

Though Wall and Dull would see each other occasionally over the years, this coaching reunion allowed them to rekindle that friendship over a sport they're both so passionate about.

"It was so cool, after about a week, to realize that he's the exact same guy that he was back in high school, just a little smarter and a little grayer," Wall joked. "We reconnected instantly. It was cool, and to do it over the game of basketball was even better. Then we would get into all kinds of other discussions, whether it be ‘remember this in school' or ‘this is what's happening in the world right now.' You had your old friend back."

This winter saw the senior-laden Eagles win a program-record 25 games, capture their first regional title since 2000 and come agonizingly close to making it to the state tournament for the very first time.

But even though their run ended in the sectional finals, this is still a team that'll live on as the program's gold standard. The Cashton community rallied behind them, including Alderson and other former coaches from Wall and Dull's playing days.

With alumni coaching from the sidelines, a new generation of Cashton athletes got to create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

"We were all just happy for those kids. They had done some remarkable things, they had built a tradition — they deserved to put something in the trophy case," Dull said. "And we have a banner in the gym that notes the regional championship. They get to have that forever. I'm a big believer that sports create what I call forever memories. There's lots of them this season with that regional championship near the top of the list."

Scot Wall, Chad Dull, Cashton Eagles, Cashton boys basketball


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here