Denver Jewish Day School has hired new coaches for its varsity boys and high school girls basketball teams, Matan Halzel and Spencer Barclay, respectively. Halzel, a DJDS alumnus (class of 2012) has taken over the defending state champion DJDS Tigers for the 2023-24 season.
He succeeds longtime former Head Coach Michael Foonberg, who rode off into the sunset with a state title to cap off his 17-year career at DJDS.
Halzel spent six seasons as Coach Foonberg’s top assistant coach and played on the team when he was a student.
The Tigers are off to 3-0 start this season.
“I am thrilled and honored for this opportunity,” said Halzel. “This is an exciting time for the DJDS basketball program, and I can’t wait to get started.”
“My first priority is to help prepare and raise fine young Jewish men before they head off into the real world,” said Halzel.
“My second priority is to maintain the success and consistency of this program.
“I want to keep basketball relevant at DJDS for a very long time.”
Halzel prides himself on a handson and psychological-focused approach in his coaching style. Before it comes down to the strategy and the play calls, he prioritizes getting to know his players. Halzel is always forming connections with his players, and focusing on their mental health and well-being.
Halzel played at the varsity level for all three DJDS sports, soccer, basketball and baseball.
He graduated from CU-Boulder with a BA in communications. He will continue working in the DJDS marketing and admission departments, where he worked for the past seven years.
Spencer Barclay, the new high school girls basketball coach, works at DJDS fulltime as a gym teacher for elementary school and middle school students.
Barclay coached the boys and girls basketball teams at the Chicago Jewish Day School, as well as the boys and girls basketball teams for Chai Athletics in Chicago.
Barclay was the assistant coach of the DJDS high school girls team last season and is familiar with the team and its players, which will help create a smooth transition and build on the team’s success.
“I am excited to build on the achievements of last season, and introduce new ways both mentally and physically to continue our growth and success as a program,” said Barclay.
“My main goal as a coach is to help each individual become the best versions of themselves and help instill confidence to grow and build character.”
Coach Spencer will succeed longtime coach and DJDS faculty member, Jason Snyder, who will assume the assistant coaching role.