Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Recently, I asked Jeffersonville boys' basketball coach Chad Gilbert if I could attend one of his practices. He graciously allowed me that courtesy and what I came away with was a personal coaching clinic. Not so much just basketball, but life as well.
Coach Gilbert's assistant coach and wife, Amy Gilbert who is expecting, is at practice helping on the court as well as other administrative stuff off the court. So you can imagine how interesting it is to not only have your wife at practice, but while she is expecting a child...your child.
But then to be able to hang out with and speak with Rick Meyers, Clark Miles, and Jerry Jones...wow. Coach Meyers and I spoke a few times about the history of Indiana basketball and I wonder if he realizes how much of a part he is of it especially at Jeffersonville. Before there was Chad Gilbert coaching the Jeff girls' to a state championship, there was Rick Meyers building Jeffersonville into one of the top teams in the area. That may seem like a no brainer, but it wasn't. Back in the 1980's, I can remember Henryville, New Washington, Silver Creek and other smaller schools beating Jeffersonville, New Albany and Floyd Central on a regular basis.
Clark Miles. Enough said. A true Jeffersonville boys' basketball legend. A truly nice man who had kind words to say to me, but that isn't why I am repaying them back now. He cares about the boys' at Jeffersonville, he cares about Jeffersonville...period! He thought that he had assisted with 6 different head coaches at Jeff and told small stories about Coach Marshall, Broughton and some of the players from those teams. If you have anything to do with Jeffersonville or want to ask an opinion about that community and you want the pulse of what people think there, go to Clark Miles.
Coach Jerry Jones, the U of L assistant so many years with Denny Crum. He used to substitute teach at Henryville and I made sure I got to know him real well during that time. How could you not if you love basketball? A coach who has been places and sat places and coached players that we, as fans, can only dream about. His best stories are probably from his days at Pepperdine in the 1960's. Just a crazy time to coach in the Los Angeles area, but he strived. Coach Jones needs to be considered for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame from his time playing at Merrillville H.S. in northern Indiana and then coaching at U of L for so long time. He still loves to coach. He sat and spoke with me, but then when he saw something he didn't like he was up and correcting it off to the side. And he did that often.
Finally, I was able to sit and speak with Lamar assistant Clif Carroll. Some of you may not know who the head coach at Lamar is, well, it's Pat Knight and another assistant is Sherron Wilkerson from Jeffersonville. Coach Carroll also was a student manager for Coach Bob Knight at Texas Tech. The stories he had to tell, just since the Texas Tech days and at Lamar were fun to hear. He also had an opinion how Coach Bob Knight may end up back at IU someday to be recognized, but I will leave that between he and I (ok, a hint...Coach Carroll is in charge of scheduling for Lamar).
Oh yea, Coach Gilbert does a great job. His players have great attitudes at practice, they work hard, they are respectful to all of the coaches and seem to enjoy being around each other. That has to come from the top down and winning doesn't hurt in making for a joyable atmosphere. At least that's what I saw when I wasn't sitting talking to the legends on the baseline.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I know it's winding down of yet another great high school basketball season, but I wanted to write about something a little different here. I have no idea how many people have seen my daughter, Madison, tumble the previous two years while I was coaching boys' basketball at Henryville High School. If you have been to a Henryville boys' game those two years and saw a little girl in a Henryville cheerleader outfit flipping around, you saw her. I do know that I had more than a few people make comments and compliment her (selfish, doting father here), and I do know that my wife had been asked many times about her abilities and where she attended gymnastics. My daughter has a little bit of natural in her, but it has been her work ethic and those who have guided her along that has gotten her to where she is at this time.
My daughter started taking gymnastics at Indiana United when she was two years old, so that helps in the process of her skill level. And when she was taught how to do a cart wheel in the first class, she probably did 500 cartwheels from week 1 to week 2 (I'm not kidding). Much of her drive is genetic that hopefully she gets from both parents, plus her love for tumbling (probably from her Grandpa Hunter), but there had to be a group to guide that. That group was Indiana United.
From her current coach Helen Noel Rich to Krista Williams, the owner and operator, everyone has been wonderful to our kids. They are patient, reliable, and realistic when it comes to teaching gymnastics and dealing with parents. They are not over the top pressuring anyone to do something that they do not want to do when it comes to gymnastics, cheering, or competitive cheer. That is something that my wife and I have appreciated beyond what anyone there can know. We were asked one time about competitive cheer and we politely declined. It was a personal decision, my wife and I felt that she was too young to put so much time and effort into one thing. We want both of our kids to do many things including different sports, so them not pressuring us has been wonderful. That is a personal choice on our part as parents, if your children are in competitive cheer, we don't think it is wrong, in fact, we think it is wonderful and maybe something we do in the future when Madison is older.
My son, Brandon, isn't quite the natural athlete that Madison is, so we started him in gymnastics also. Though in two years, he hasn't gotten a cartwheel down yet completely, he has become more mobile and can do a back handspring off an inclined mat. His coach, Ashley Munk, is patient and reliable. She'd have to be patient to teach 2-4 year olds and my son specifically, he can be a...uh...hand full. There are kids from 2 years old to teenagers that attend, and age really isn't what the classes are dependent on, it is ability.
To my wife and I, it isn't about how good our children are at anything that they do. It is about getting them to work to their highest ability while having fun. To be fair, I haven't attended as many classes as my wife, but there are no issues and no drama which seems to show up at any children's activity where parents are also attending. I can't speak for the parents of children who have attended in the past or who have children currently attending Indiana United, but I can speak for our family and we have been happy and satisfied.
If you are interested in sending your kids to Indiana United, you can contact Krista Williams by calling 812-670-6059 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The manager of Indiana United is Helen Noel Rich, cost is $50 a month, they are open 3 days a week at the Borden Sports Academy in Sellersburg, Indiana, and there are 2 - 3 kids per teacher dependent on ability level.
When you take into account the people who work there, the care they put into their job and the results I have seen with my own two children, it is worth the money.
I have spoken to the FCA the last two weeks, so there hasn't been much to report. Just me speaking.
However, today, we had part of Broken Side perform Clinging to the Cross by Tim Hughes. Great stuff.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Public Servant and local basketball promoter Matt Denison put on a great event last Saturday at Iroquois High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Four games for $10 culminating with U of L signee Terry Rozier scoring 68 points for Hargrave Military Academy made the day worth the price of admission.
The day started with me being escorted to my seat as a member of the media (yea, that's right, I also was able to go to the hospitality room and eat some really nice food, too). On the baseline, I was able to watch most of the Rock Creek vs. Iroquois game. Rock Creek is improving, though losing to a much larger school and Iroquois is coached by Jeff Morrow. Coach Morrow won a state championship in Kentucky when coaching at J-town in Louisville.
|(Iroquois H.S., Louisville, KY's facility)|
|(Apollo's Sergeant and Bivin)|
|(LC Jack Hartman on left, Rick Bolus, Butler's McReynolds)|
|(ASA's Derek Harper, Bolus, HMA's Terry Rozier)|
(This shot by ASA sent the game into the first OT)
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) many years ago started a campaign against cancer. The college basketball coaches helped to raise money and the NCAA picked one game per year where coaches would wear sneakers with their suits. That odd look helped bring attention to a disease that has or will affect every single one of us directly or indirectly.
Then a few years ago the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) got involved asking for high school basketball to get involved in fighting cancer by raising money and picking one game to raise awareness. What followed is that many other high school sports have their own cancer awareness games in which names are read, different colors are worn, and money is raised to help fight this horrible disease. It has been a great success, in my opinion, in raising funds for not only cancer research, but for other things like awareness for shoeless children in third world countries (Samaritan's feet, coaches in college will coach one game without shoes on, yep, bare footed).
Can there be too many games like this? I recently read online where someone posted (anonymously of course) that there were too many of these types of games. They were being worn out that they had to attend another one of these types of games, three potentially. Their school had been involved in two games on the road and still had their own to do yet, plus one other type of game to raise awareness on heart disease. At first read, I agreed with the person because that's what we do, right? We are inconvenienced when we are asked to do more than we want or feel comfortable with. Then as I thought about it, I just don't think we can have too many of these types of games. We rarely do enough and cannot do enough to help, not just in cancer awareness or any type of awareness for diseases or negative effects in today's world.
Imagine what we are teaching our kids. We are teaching them to take responsibility to fight something that needs to be fought. We are providing fans, relatives the opportunity to give money to help fight cancer and other diseases. When I coached, we had a cancer awareness game the last few years, but we also did a game for juvenile diabetes awareness one year because one of our players combats it. At Henryville HS they are doing a Red Out game to raise money/awareness for the American Heart Association because former HHS teacher Jeff Leister passed away from a heart attack right before the school year motivating students to do something in his memory.
I do understand that we are often asked, called, pressured into giving money for many, many things (I teach at a high school, fundraising is a part of every team, club, group's job). Does it say something about us when we complain about it? Doing something is better than doing nothing. Giving something is better than giving nothing. And how often, do we wish we could help, but just don't know how to go about doing it? The high schools are bringing it to you, often, and good for them. I pray that when you attend these events that you give with an open and loving heart (for me, too), but if not then do it because it's the right thing to do, even if it is a small amount.
Monday, January 21, 2013
I don't claim to be a basketball expert, I do claim to have coached in more varsity basketball games than most of the people I sit near in the stands, though. Coaching varsity basketball in Indiana is different than any other level. No matter how much success you have had at a lower level, it means little when coaching at the highest level in high school.
But what I hear in the stands during some games proves there are many basketball experts in the stands. I will say this, the average fan in the stands in Indiana does know more than the average fan in other states. Some towns more than others, and to be fair, many of the "experts" are a small number. For the most part, fans either cheer or yell at the referees. Questioning the coach is part of the job, but some of the stuff I hear....it's hard for me to listen to. I realize that I may just be a little more sensitive than the ordinary fan about this type of thing, I mean, I knew it went on, but to actually sit and listen, well....
Examples: One team is playing zone, fan yells "Play man to man!"; later in the game, coach is playing man to man and that team gets scored on "What's he doing? Should have stayed in that zone!"
One team playing another that is clearly better than them. "Press, press, press!!! This guy won't press, how can we get any turnovers?" A few possessions later that coach presses and....layup at the other end of the court. "Well, at least we know now." No, I am going to bet that the staff already knew they couldn't press. They didn't just show up on Friday night and decide to coach like you did to "cheer".
Player put in game: "about time you gave him a chance", said player immediately makes 2 defensive mistakes and turns the ball over. Player pulled from the game "you only played him 20 seconds!" From my perspective, it seems that the player should have been cut from the team, not given 20 seconds to prove himself, but that's irrelevant, I guess to the expert in the stands.
Many experts yell at the players on the floor, but when the coach does the same thing; "that guy is out of control, he needs to calm down. Nobody would talk to my kid like that." Yet that is exactly what you were doing seconds earlier.
I could go on and on and on and on...and on. Really, it is just one or two people that I hear. I think people may be afraid to say too much because they may read an article in the News and Tribune and see themself. I don't know. Maybe. If you are reading this and associating with it, maybe it is you, but probably not.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Senior Jasmine shared her testimony and the girls enjoyed some Spaghetti Shop spaghetti and, of course, bread.
There are many great young people today, and so often, only the negatives are covered. I hope the students at HHS are encouraged by what we do half as much as they encourage me.
Good luck (and skill) to the girls for the rest of the season.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
From boys' basketball coach B.J. McAlister:
On Friday, February 1st , Switzerland County Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams will be hosting Shawe Memorial for the 1st Annual “Mike Night”. The goal is to help raise money for the Mike McClure Scholarship Foundation. The Girls’ Varsity team will tipoff at 6 with the Boys’ Varsity following. I have attached an order form for the shirts that we will be selling from now until Saturday, January 26th. The profit from the t-shirts will go to the scholarship foundation. The scholarship will be available to SCHS students involved in FCA. If you would like to purchase a shirt please print off the form, fill it out, and return it to your building’s office.
Also, there will be a benefit dinner held in the high school cafeteria that night with all proceeds going to the scholarship foundation. I will have more details later this week.
Please make checks for the T-shirts payable to Switzerland County Basketball.
We will also be taking donation from anyone interested in donating to the Mike McClure Scholarship Foundation.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball programs are very excited to host this event and honor one of the great residents of Switzerland County.
Email Coach McAlister at McAlister, B.J. <email@example.com> to order a t shirt.
Below is the obituary from Mr. McClure from this past summer.
Michael Howard McClure, 61, of Patriot, passed away at 2 a.m. Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, at his home.
He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 3rd, 1951, the son of William M. "Bill" McClure of Rising Sun and the late Jean (Humphrey) McClure. He grew up in the Rising Sun community and was a graduate of Rising Sun High School, Class of 1969. He received his bachelor's degree from Purdue University in 1974 and his master's degree from Indiana University. Upon graduation he started teaching for the Switzerland County School Corporation. He spent over 37 years teaching in Switzerland County and still taught there until this day. He held various teaching positions at Switzerland County over the years and was the boys and girls golf coach. He also had been basketball coach for the junior high and junior varsity and the track coach. He was a member of the Rising Sun Church of Christ and was an FCA sponsor.
On October 30th, 1982, he married Pam (Burk) McClure who survives. They were together nearly 30 years.
He loved being outdoors and enjoyed golf, boating, skiing, camping, gardening and working on the farm. He was an avid follower of Purdue sports, often shouting instructions at the television screen during games. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son and brother and will be remembered for the giving of his time and the positive impact he had on the lives of so many of Switzerland County's youth.
In addition to his loving and caring wife, Pam, he is also survived by his son, Lance (Jackelyn) McClure of Patriot; his step-grandchildren, Zach and Makenna Perkins; his father, William "Bill" McClure of Rising Sun; his two brothers, William N. McClure (Pam) of Rising Sun and Steven A. McClure (Lisa) of Wabash, Indiana; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Bernie and Sue Burk of Vevay; his sister-in-law, Debi Lucas (Bob) of Moorefield; his brother-in-law, Brad Burk (Lisa) of Vevay; and several nieces, nephews and many friends.
Today, young Dustin gave his testimony, one common with children who grow up in the church. He was baptized, but didn't feel changed. He felt that he was going through the motions, but hadn't felt the joy of salvation.
After praying and thinking, the joy finally overcame him. He used 2 Corinthinas 5:17 as his verse. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
Monday, January 14, 2013
I often think that the local high school scene doesn't get the respect it deserves away from this part of the state. The players and coaches are often left out of talk or debate about the best in the state. I will take many of the players around here through the years over many other players throughout the state. As for coaches of boys' basketball, the names of Doc Nash at Borden and Lou Lefevre at Providence are often mentioned in the same breath as David Benter at Brownstown Central and Tom Bradley at Orleans and deservedly so. Nash and Lefevre have had unprecedented success at their respective schools and their teams are competitive each year.
However, there is a coach that I faced that I think is under the radar when it comes to good, young coaches. New Washington's Jon May. I know, I can get online and see his overall record isn't anywhere near as good some of the coaches in the area, but I don't care about those things. Maybe I would care more about that if Coach were inept and not a good coach, and I know results are the bottom line for many people. But what Jon May has done at New Washington, well, I am not sure anyone could have done better.
This is no slap on the New Washington basketball program at all, I mean, Doc Nash, Jamie and Scott Matthews, Shannon and Matt Arthur, Jamie Jones, Jon Cain and, well, Jon May have not walked through that door since 2001. (Vincent Minton and Devin Freels had a couple of nice teams, I think they might have ended our season one year at HHS)
What Coach May has done is grow up and play for the legendary Jim Matthews at NW soaking up every bit of knowledge he could from the coach that deserves to be in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. He does things similar, but also differently which all coaches do. He now has a childhood hero in Scott Matthews working in the building to help coach at the lower levels, and May is a New Wash guy who has given so much time and effort to his hometown.
Coach May's teams are prepared for each game. If they don't play well, it isn't because of lack of effort by Coach May and his assistant Darrin Dickey. While coaching at Henryville, Coach May was one of the coaches you knew who would scout you so hard that when you verbalized a call, he and his assistants knew what the call was and was ready to counter act it. Coach May's players are always fundamental and understand the game, relatively speaking. Sometimes they haven't been capable to get it done, not due to lack of leadership, but lack of talent comparative to the teams on their schedule. (23 wins in 2001, they didn't top that number again total until the 2008 season, and that had been done through three different coaches; Jim Matthews, John Howell, and, Coach May) No matter what has happened, the NW players have always played hard and competed and that sayd a lot about the coaching staff at NW in that they keep the players motivated.
I recently attended one of their practices and I can see now as a fan why NW teams are so fundamental and prepared. Coach May and his staff are meticulous in preparing for the next team on their schedule and the players do what is asked, for the most part, I mean, they are kids. He uses all of the right motivational tactics that any coach would use and is thorough in his preparation. After this weekend they moved their record to 6-7 on the season. Yes, that isn't exactly an overwhelming record, but see above and realize what a great job both the coaching staff and players are doing, now if they can get over the mental part of striving for more than just "good enough".
If I lived in New Washington, I couldn't think of a better coach for my son to grow up and play for. Coach May is not only a good coach, but a good son, husband, father and excellent role model for the young men at New Washington High School.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Due to poor weather, the McKee Munk boys' basketball tournament was cancelled. However, the Henryville FCA chose players from each team to receive a Character Counts certificate. It is in recognition for exhibiting the FCA core values of integrity, serving, teamwork, and excellence on their team, school, and community.
Pictured above is Henryville's Tyler Collins who was presented his certificate in class. Oldenburg Academy's Peter Lamping was chosen as well as Crothersville's Jimmy Needler (seen below) and Christian Academy's Austin Graham.
These certificates will either be mailed out to the respective winners or hand delivered where applicable. Thanks to those young men for having good character and continue to live with integrity.
On December 28, I was able to do something that I had long dreamed about and was actually a "bucket list" item. I wanted to sit in the lower level bleachers at an Indiana University men's basketball game. I finally was able to do so.
Last fall, I attended the Sports Reach silent and live auction and was able to purchase the tickets at a small price. The tickets are those of former IU star Tom Abernethy who donates for one game to Sports Reach. Robby Speer at Sports Reach was able to get the tickets, I was able to use them, and a dream came true.
Sitting so low, second row behind the IU men's bench, allowed me to see and hear many things you cannot do higher up. In my opinion, there are no bad seats in Assembly Hall, ok, no horrible seats, but where I sat that night in the game vs. Jacksonville is as good as it gets. I guess, unless you are actually sitting on the bench.
It was a night I won't forget soon and probably spoiled me a little bit when I attend a game in the future.
Today, Stephanie gave her testimony. She spoke of dealing with the difficulty in sharing her faith with everyone, but is starting to get better at doing it.
She chose Romans 1:16 to share. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile."
Sunday, January 6, 2013
If you weren't at Borden High School Saturday night you missed a great high school game. By now by reading Kevin Harris's article you know that Borden’s 19-year wait to get another crack at West Clark sister school Silver Creek finally ended.
You also know that unfortunately for the host Braves, they could not find a way to defeat the Dragons for the third time in program history. Silver Creek snapped a three-game losing streak in knocking off Borden, 60-51 again by reading Kevin Harris's article.
But what you might not know unless you were there but maybe have heard about are two moments that occurred before the game that was worth the $5 admission. Borden Athletic Director Toby Cheatham's daughter Josey has sung the national anthem many times at BHS before basketball games, often with the help of an older student, Erika Frascella . But Saturday she was singing by herself with Erika standing beside her. Josey has a sweet voice as a 4th grader at BES and you can imagine the courage it takes to sing in front of 2200+ people, especially the national anthem.
Mid way through the song, she messed up and the crowd laughed. It wasn't a laugh at her, but one with her. One that everyone who did laugh felt for her, they understood the tender moment that was unfolding. Josey began to sing again, but by now, she was upset. She stopped and said "I can't do this." Erika helped and began singing with her and what happened then is what makes you proud to live in small town southern Indiana. The entire crowd, most people from both communities joined in and helped Josey to finish. If there was courage involved to start, imagine how tough she had to be to finish, but it had to be made easier due to the two West Clark rivals crowds helping.
Then came more of a planned event. Longtime Borden resident Ed Kirchgessner was in attendance. What makes that special? He is the grandfather of Borden's Billy Kirchgessner and Silver Creek's Nick Kirchgessner, but also has Statge 4 pancreatic cancer. SC's Nick probably hasn't started a varsity games this season, but that changed Saturday. Speaking with SC's Coach Hoffman before the game, he told me that there was plan to start Nick for SC and allow he and Billy of Borden to score the first four points of the game. Then the game ball would be presented to their grandfather, Ed Kirchgessner. When speaking to Borden's Coach Nash, he said that it was Coach Hoffman's idea, but as soon as he heard of the idea, it was a quick "for sure" on his part.
I realize that some people don't like Coach Nash and some people don't like Coach Hoffman, heck I know that many people don't like me some who actually read these articles. But I am proud to be friends with both coaches, I am proud to speak with Coach Hoffman about his faith and to attend the Borden Church of Christ with Coach Nash. I am proud to live in an area where fans, players, and coaches can see that there are some things that transcend sports. I am proud to know two men like Coach Hoffman and Coach Nash who are willing to do the right thing, to heck with the game.
Because it is just a game, right? But this is Indiana and it is a game until the ball goes up on the jump ball, then it's life and death.