SWANTON — Most know Taylor Coppenrath as the former University of Vermont basketball star who helped lead a scrappy 13-seed over national powerhouse Syracuse in the first round of the 2005 NCAA tournament.

After a 10-year career playing ball in Europe, the 35-year-old has taken on a task almost as challenging as knocking off a 4-seed: turning around a struggling Missisquoi Valley Union (MVU) girls basketball program whose last win came in 2015.

Following retirement, Coppenrath has spent the last two years teaching and coaching in an assistant role at his alma mater, St. Johnsbury Academy, while living with his wife and two daughters in Essex Junction. This fall, he’ll be teaching math at Missisquoi while replacing former head coach Jim Daly, who left at the end of last season.

Coppenrath has been coaching summer league games at Rice Memorial, where he is familiarizing himself with many of his players. He said that with fundamentals and hard work, the victories that have been difficult to come by the last three years will start to fall in place.

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