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Friday, December 8, 2017

Jimmie Carr- I Was So Excited I Couldn't Sleep

Jimmie Carr as a senior
 The 1959 Streaks basketball team was ranked #1 for much of the year, and went onto take Third in State. When veteran Streaks fans talk about the ’59 team, it always turns to the story about the transfer of Bumpy Nixon from Quincy to Galesburg.

Very few Streaks fans realize the story about the “other transfer” that made the ’59 team. Something big happened at Mary Allen West School on one day in December of 1950. Early in the day, a young African-American boy from Texas walked into enroll in fourth grade. Shortly after, another African-American boy from Arkansas walked into enroll in fourth grade. Jimmie Carr was coming from Texas, and Otis Cowan was coming from Arkansas. That day, their fourth grade teacher, Miss Witherspoon recognized the unusual event. She instructed the boys that since they were both new and both lived in the same neighborhood, they should plan to become friends. As wise as Miss Witherspoon was, she didn’t realize that she was greeting one of the greatest guard tandems who would ever play for Galesburg High School.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rainee Sibley- Energy Giver

 Rainee Sibly graduated from Galesburg HS in 2013, and from Illinois State University in 2017. Today she is working in Galesburg in the social service field.
Rainee played varsity basketball for three years at Galesburg. During her career, we were running “the System.” It was perfect for her, it involved going all out for about 30-40 seconds. And Rainee could get after it. During her three year varsity career, she averaged about 2.5 points per game. But she was extremely valuable.

I was asked once, if I was going to pick a team from the players who I have coached, who would be fifteen players I would put on that team. I didn’t answer the question. When I think about that question, my answer would change from day to day. I don’t know the answer. But I know that if I was putting together a team, it would be very, very hard not to include Rainee Sibley on that team. She only scored 2.5 points per game- why Rainee?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hungate- Girls Basketball Dynasty

Mary Kay Hungate
 There have been many good girls basketball teams in western Illinois over the last 40 years. And there have been some “dynasties” during that time- schools/teams which had extended championship teams.

Whenever a great team or a new “dynasty” comes along, some seem to react like it is the first time there has been a great team in the area. When I think of some of the great runs by teams, there were Moline’s teams in the late ‘80’s and again around 2008. UT had some great teams in the ‘80’s. Quincy was a power house for years in the mid-‘90’s. Limestone was great in the ‘80’s and again in the ‘90’s. And of course, we would like to think our Galesburg teams of the ‘90’s and early 2000’s would qualify as great teams. As I list these teams off the of my head- I am sure I have failed to mention some, there is no insult intended. So, there is indeed a rich history of girls basketball in western Illinois.

While all of these teams had great success, when you think about “dynasties” in the area, the teams you have to start with are Mary Kay Hungate’s teams in the 1970’s and ‘80’s at Richwoods. They were a power house every year she coached- no exceptions.

Her teams were intimidated. Yes, they had talent but other teams had talent too. They were very well coached. I have never seen teams who had a better understanding of what was a good shot and what was a bad shot than her teams did. The big thing was that Richwoods under Hungate was intimidating. She created a program that was ahead of everyone the area. She demanded a greater commitment and got it. Everything was first-class. Even their uniforms were better than other teams.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Whitney (Snyder) Martino- Leadership

Whitney (Snyder) Martino has been an assistant principal at Aurora West High School since 2011. It is not a surprise for Whitney to be in a leadership position. As a student and athlete at GHS, she was willing to step up and take charge of situations.

Whitney had an outstanding career at GHS. As a sophomore, she was first post off the bench for a team that made it to the Elite 8. As a junior and senior, she started and scored 8.5ppg per game and got 6.5 rebounds per game. Her junior year, the Streaks took second in State, and her senior year, fourth. Not bad.

After graduating, Whitney went to the University of Iowa. (Everyone is entitled to one mistake!) At Iowa, Whitney got involved as manager for the women’s basketball team.

Whitney has always brought an energy and enthusiasm to what she does. It is not surprising to see her rise to a position of leadership in education.

Massey- You went off to Iowa to school, and spent 4 years wishing you would have been a Badger. But you made the best of it. You became a manager for the women's basketball team. Why did you decide to do this? Was it competitive getting to be a manager, or were they looking for people? 

Whitney- Within the first weeks at Iowa it was clear that I missed playing basketball and being a part of a competitive team.  I was a little lost without the structure of practice, games, weight training and travel. I knew I didn’t have the skill or size to play for a program as large as Iowa, however I thought maybe I could walk-on or work my way up as a practice player.  I reached out to Coach Lisa Bluder who was in her first year as the head women’s basketball coach.  It ended up being the perfect storm of opportunity.  She was just beginning to build her staff and encouraged me to think about a role as the basketball manager.  I immediately accepted and as a result, I spent 5 years with a full athletic scholarship as the Iowa Women’s basketball manager.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Start of Season

In Western Big Six action for the first week:

At Rock Island- Rock Island 58 Galesburg 24
At Alleman- UTHS 49  Alleman 40
At Moline- Moline 54 Quincy 48

Rock Island is now 6-0 with a win on Wednesday over Lake Zurich at the Lake Zurich Tourney. Rocky ventured up to the suburbs to play for Thanksgiving. Rocky will host Rock Falls on Saturday.

Moline is now 3-2 with the win over Quincy. Moline played in the Pontiac Thanksgiving Tourney where they lost to Eureka and Washington before winning over Pontiac and Prairie Central.

UTHS is now 2-2 with the win over Alleman. They beat East Peoria and lost to both Sacred Heart Griffin and Rockford East in the Galesburg Toureny. This Friday they will play Springfield and Metamora. UT was without Brandi LaFountaine, their 6'0" post, the first weekend as she was at State for swimming.

Quincy sits at 1-1. They defeated Jacksonville before losing to Moline.

Alleman left the Galesburg Tourney for the Geneseo Tourney. The Geneseo is primarily a small school tourney. Alleman is now 2-4 with the loss to UT. At Geneseo, Alleman lost to LaSalle-Peru, Annawan, and Geneseo but beat St. Bede and Sherrard.

Dunlap was the other team that left the Galesburg Tourney. They played at the Limestone Tourney. They went 4-0 to win the Limestone Tourney. They had wins over Peoria ND, Manual, and a 67-8 win over IVC. They defeated Lincoln in the championship game.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Jaque (Howard) Gohlinghorst- Going in GHS Hall of Fame

Jaque as starting point guard on Elite 8 team.
Jaque (Howard) Gohlinghorst is going into the GHS Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend. Jaque dressed varsity all four years at GHS, and was the starting point guard for the 1998, 1999, and 2000 teams.

During Jaque’s three seasons as the starting point guard, the Streaks enjoyed our best stretch ever. The three teams went 27-6, 33-2, and 34-4 for an overall record of 94-12. The team took second in the WB6 her soph year and then won the conference her last two years.

The lowest ranked any of these teams- 7th in the State her soph year. As juniors, Galesburg was ranked #1 in Illinois, and as a senior, ranked #2 in Illinois. And it is important to realize that this was when Illinois had only two classes- so this ranking included all of the Chicago suburban schools.

Jaque’s last game each season was played at Redbird Arena. She was on teams that finished 4th, Elite 8, 2nd, and 4th in State. Think about it- the “worst team” she played on finished in the Elite 8!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Female Coaches

An interesting article in the Peoria Journal Star on female coaches....

Mike Hellenthal- Looking Back at WB6

Mike Hellenthal started coaching at Quincy in the early 1970’s, and was there for the Leggett years. He then moved to Galesburg as Athletic Director in the late 1980’s. Today he is retired living in Quincy. He has seen a lot of WB6 boys’ basketball. It is fascinating to hear about his experiences.

Massey-  You had a rare opportunity to work for two legends in Sherrill Hanks and Jerry Leggett. I know in talking to you, you have tremendous respect for both of them. From your perspective, what made Hanks so successful?

Mike- Coach Hanks outworked and his preparation was second too none.  I was his main scout for several years and would see a team at least 3 times before we played them.  He left nothing to chance.

Massey- You caught the tailend of the Thiel, Hanks, Hawkins eras. From your conversations, what kind of relationship did those three have? What did they seem to have in common that made them successful and what made each unique?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

First Season

 1977-8 the Streaks girls’ basketball team had a pretty good season. There was not a two class system, so the Streaks won their Regional with wins over Alexis, Yorkwood, and Southern. They went onto lose the first round of the Sectional to Moline 48-36. But it didn’t end well, the Streaks had been using an ineligible player the entire second semester so they had to forfeit all those games plus give up the Regional title. So what had been a pretty good season, became a 1-19 season.

In the middle of July, I got a call from George Lundeen (Athletic Director), asking me to come in and talk with him. When I arrived at the high school, I was met by Mr. Lundeen and David Bradley (GHS Principal). I was told that they had decided a change need to be made in the coaching position for the girls’ basketball team. They explained that they had offered to someone else but they had turned the job done but they had recommended me for the job. They explained why they thought it would be a good job for me. And pointed out there would be good players. I believed them but I had only seen one girls game the year before.

Vicki (Fields) Stewart- Athlete, Mom, Coach

Vicki #10.
Vicki Fields (now Vicki Stewart) graduated in 1989 from Galesburg High School. She started as a guard on the 1988 team which won Galesburg’s first Regional title. She was a very good player, and she was an even better teammate. When we took our first team to University of Michigan to for team camp in the summer of 1989, Vicki went as the coach for the team.

When I first started coaching girls basketball, very few of the moms had been athletes. It was the dads who had athletic experience and “expertise” to share with their daughters. I always wondered how the first generation of athletic moms would handle their athletic experience and parenting a female athlete.

Vicki Stewart certainly gives us some insight into the positive role an “athletic mom” can have on her daughter. Vicki has certainly been a great role model and leader, not only for her daughter but for many female athletes.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Isaiah Peachey- Teaching in the City

Steve & Isaiah Peachey riding to girls basketball game.
Isaiah Peachey was around the girl’s basketball program as he grew up with his dad as an assistant coach. The Peachey’s- Isaiah, Tai, and Seth were Allen’s playmates in the gym. They ran all over while we were practicing. They played made up games in the balconies. Often it took some time for them to remember where they took there shoes off in the school.

Isaiah went onto to play varsity basketball for the Streaks, then got his college degree from Olivet Nazarene. And he chose to go into the “family business”, teaching.

Recently the Register-Mail did a series on Galesburg grads moving away. We expect to hear about grads moving to the “suburbs” or huge businesses in the large cities. Usually we think the motivation is to chase big bucks.

Isaiah is one of “those kids moving to the city”, but then he isn’t “one of those kids moving to the city.” His teaching career has not taken him to New Trier or Barrington to make huge money, it has taken him to work in a city school on the south side of Chicago. Despite the challenges, Isaiah seems to be enjoying his experience. It is fascinating to hear about his experience as a teacher and as a coach in Chicago.

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Rules Changes

Every year they come up with new rules changes. Some are good, some are not. Usually coaches are initially not happy with change- it requires new strategy and adjustments.

I am not very good at figuring out how the new rules will impact the game. When they added the three point arc, I said in the newspaper that it would not effect the high school girls game- "the only time it will be used will be when a player throws up a prayer at the end of a quarter."

This year they have expanded the coaching box to go to the baseline. This is probably good but it won't really impact the game. This year they added a rule that refs can issue a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct to a coach. While I am not coming out in support of unsportsmanlike conduct, I don't like this rule. Anything that promotes refs and coaches communicating is good. I think this rule will reduce communication between refs and coaches. It will be too easy for a ref to just issue a warning, in effect "embarrass" the coach, and not ever stop to talk with the coach. If it makes us as coaches more civil and gets us to talk to refs differently- and refs differently, then that would be good. But I see it as a rule that will make coaches and refs even more adversaries.

If I were in charge, here are some rules changes I would make. Some would make a difference and some would not matter.

My Dad

This is written for me, not for you. Today is my dad's birthday. I have been looking at some pictures and thinking about my dad. Someone asked me how long does it take to get over your parents passing away. My answer is that- you don't ever get over it. I am not saying that I wake up sad everyday or that I even think about my dad everyday. 

There are times when Allen does something wonderful and as a parent you want to brag. I wish you could share it with your parents. Brother Mark and I talk about our childhood, and there seem to be 100 questions that we wish we could ask now. There are so many neat memories and happy memories. But there are times when I think about my dad that I can't help but get emotional and watering eyed. It still hurts.

Today my dad would be 118 years old. But to me, he is still 64 like he was when he died. He was 52 years old when I was born. He had not gotten married until he was 49 years old. My mother was younger and she claimed she didn't know how old my dad was until they went for the marriage license.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Good Chemistry

The greater the team chemistry- the greater the joy from victory!
Basketball practices start next week. At the start of the season, there seems to be so many things to try to “get in” before the first game. As a coach, I think there are three obvious area to focus on during the first two weeks:
1)    Reviewing basic fundaments and cleaning up some of the individual skills.
2)    Putting in team offense and defense. This can mean putting in plays on offense, and developing particular defenses.
3)    Working to try to get into playing shape without creating injuries in players who may not be in the best of shape.

But the most important area of focus in the first two weeks is establishing your team culture. It doesn’t matter if you return many of the players from the year before. It doesn’t matter if you have practiced and played games in the summer. It is always a NEW team and it is a fresh start. In the first two weeks as coaches and as players, you establish what your culture as a team.
·      How will you practice?
·      How do you compete?
·      How do you treat each other?
·      How do you respond to coaching?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Eric Smith- Coach's Kid

Eric Smith is presently the head boys coach at Alton High School. He grew up in Iowa as a coach’s son. He was a long-time assistant at Galesburg HS and also at Monmouth College. He was good at what he did, and he seemed to be comfortable as an assistant coach.

Years ago, when I was looking at a different job, my mother commented that every time she took a new job, it had been a good decision. I didn’t follow her advice, I guess I am not a risk taker.

After Eric had been in this area for fifteen years, I assumed he would retire here. I was surprised when I found out he was leaving to become the head coach at Alton. But while I was surprised, it made total sense. He was invested in coaching and he was good at what he did. And it would appear that again my mother was right about change- it has been a good decision for Eric.

The best coaches that I know, when you talk to them, you quickly realize there aren’t many things they haven’t thought about ahead of time. The really good coaches seem to be prepared for everything. Eric is one of those coaches. He always has a reason for what he has his team do. When you talk to him, it is obvious he grew up around basketball- he has seen a lot of basketball and talked a lot of basketball. He is prepared and his teams are prepared.

It is obvious as you read Eric’s answers, he is not in this alone. His wife is a big part of the team. The average person has no idea the energy and sacrifice needed to be a coach’s wife.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rob Huizenga- Career Promoting Athletes and Coaches

Rob Huizenga is a GHS grad, and Knox College grad. He served as a manager for the boys basketball program starting in 6th grade, and then did double duty as a senior for both the boys and girls basketball teams. At Knox, he was Student Assistant in Sports Information. While working on his Masters in Sports Management at Illinois State, he served as Grad Assistant in Athletic’s Media Relations.

Rob became the full-time SID at Saint Xavier University in Chicago in 2003. In 2011 he was promoted to Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Information. He was named the inaugural NAIA National SID of the Year in 2014. Just this year, Rob has become Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Information, Marketing, and Event Management at Purdue Northwest.

I first knew Rob when he was a manager for the GHS basketball teams. It takes someone with a good work ethic and a low ego to be able to succeed as a manager. It is unlikely you are going to get your name or picture in the newspaper. You are going to do a dozen things every practice that players either don’t even notice, or don’t express appreciation for. When Rob was managing, it was never about him. He was willing to do whatever job needed to be done. He was in it to serve others.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tanner Carlson- Young Coach & AD

I had the opportunity to supervise Tanner Carlson during his student teaching, while he was at Knox College. Through the years, I had many student teachers. Tanner was among the very best or was the best student teacher that I had. He had that rare ability to make the class informal but yet to remain respected and have discipline.

Every class, every day, he was totally engaged with the kids. Before class started, he was interacting with kids. He got to know them. During class, he worked to always come up with some special activity. It was not surprising that he used a “basketball review” exercise- complete with nerf ball and mini-hoop.

It quickly became apparent that I had it good having him as a student teacher. He required very little supervision, and he showed he could solve his own problems.

At the time, he was the starting point guard on the Knox men’s basketball team. His energy and his work ethic in the classroom for me, was exactly how he approached things on the basketball court.

It was all great except for one thing- Tanner told me from the beginning that he didn’t think he wanted to go into teaching. He thought he would prefer to become a college basketball coach. While I have no doubt that Tanner would be successful in whatever he chose to do- I thought he was too good in the classroom not to become a teacher.

Harley Knosher's Medalist Camps

Starting in the late 1980's thru the early 2000's- most major colleges had "team camps" for both boys and girls basketball. For Galesburg girls, we went first to University of Michigan. Their team camp was in late July or early August for 6 days of basketball. Later we went to University of North Carolina, Notre Dame, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Missouri. 

In the 1990's most of these were 5-6 days long. And usually the schools would offer multiple sessions- you could choose what dates you wanted to go. But over time, the team camps have faded at many schools. Fewer schools offer camps, and usually the camps now are only 2-3 days. 

But before the major universities got started up with team camps. Knox College and Coach Harley Knosher hosted the Medalist Basketball Camps. Medalist ran camps throughout the midwest at small colleges in the late '70's and early '80's. If you were a serious basketball player, this is where you wanted to go to play basketball. Knox had one week sessions, and often a couple boys and a couple girls sessions. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Exploring Our Limits

This picture from 1981 is one of my favorite sports pictures.

In December of 1980, we had lost at East Moline 73-37. And truthfully, the game was not as close as the score might indicate. It was a game that started badly, and just got worse! At this time, only the first game vs conference teams counted, so East Moline had won the WB6 with a perfect 5-0 record when we played them again in January of 1981. We entered the game with an undistinguished 5-5 record.

After our first game, some quotes by players and the coach in the Quad City paper were not very complimentary of our team. One quote that stood out was a statement by the coach,"When they came out and tried to play us man to man, my jaw dropped." He went on to basically say he could not believe looking at their talent and our talent that we would even think we could guard them man to man.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lean On Me

(Register-Mail photo)

A sports expression is that "losing builds character." Others claim that "losing doesn't build character, it reveals character." Hopefully both statements are true about losing- "losing builds character and losing reveals character." But even that statement doesn't go far enough. Sports are in schools for claimed learning experiences that one gets from sports. Therefore, it would be more accurate to say, "Sports build character and reveal character."

But to grow and learn from sports experiences, athletes must be willing to grow and learn. They must want to learn. A player must be invested in the process.

None of us want to lose, but 50% of the teams in each game lose. Most likely, we will experience losses at some point. A key to success in sports is an athlete and a team's ability to take a loss and use the loss to grow.

To grow from a loss, three things must take place-

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Find A Way!!

Patriotism Questioned

While reading about the controversies of today, I reminded of my wife's uncle, William Allen. 

While fighting for the United States, William Allen, was killed in Germany in WW2 on April 19, 1945. A decade earlier, his patriotism was questioned.

In 1934, Knox College was proposing students take an Oath of Allegiance to America. William Allen, as editor of the Knox newspaper wrote an editorial protesting being made to take an oath. The following is part of that editorial-

“To us, the taking of an oath of allegiance has nothing to do with one’s being a good citizen. No amount of saluting or pledging will assure us that we can maintain a government that is based upon the principle of freedom of opinion. We thank God that ours is not “one nation indivisible.” It has been the constant struggle of a limited number of citizens for these ideals, that has made our government one which grants us the privileges which we enjoy today.”

“Just as soon as we reach this much sought-after Utopia, or just as soon as our patriotic organizations manage to get all of the residents within our boundaries fighting for a common cause, we will be conditioned for some dynamic leader of one of the isms who will step in and take all responsibilities from our shoulders.”

“If American civilization is to progress, there must always be maintained that group of communists, socialists, radicals, or what you will, who disagree with the flag-waving, speech-making, oath-taking D.A.R. type of organization made up of “citizens” who pay their servants and employees ten cents an hour and spend money putting up silk flags in churches and schools.”

After writing this editorial, William Allen was labelled as being a “communists”, by some students and some faculty at Knox. He did not fit their definition of “patriotism.”

William Allen was killed within miles of Berlin on April 19, 1945. Bill’s sister, Elizabeth, wrote following about Bill, “He died as he lived, believing in greater freedom of thought and action, greater tolerance and human understanding.”

Monday, September 25, 2017

Scott Kelley- From Galesburg to Kentucky

I am not sure what to do as an intro to my Q/A with Scott Kelly. There are so many directions that one could go.

I could focus on how Scott was one of those late maturing kids, who was the last player on his 7th grade team. He was excited to just be on the team. He developed a passion for the game, and worked hard to improve. And he went from being 6’0” in JH to 6’7” in HS.

Maybe a choice would be how Scott is not the stereotype of the big time athlete who was just there to play. He got advanced degrees after graduating from Evansville, and today is a professor at the University of Kentucky. And he helped developed and administer a program geared toward sports marketing, which was recognized nationally.

All of those are things that we “talk” about, and are great stories.

But for me, the intro is to talk about “The Game.” In 1976, Galesburg defeated Richwoods, who was the #1 team in the State in the Regional championship game at Thiel Gym. Many feel this was the greatest game ever played in Thiel Gym. The game featured four D1 players (maybe I am missing another). The next year, three of the players would start games for Big Ten teams.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"They Are So Naive"

Last week I wrote about the finish of the 1998 season. We had lost to Loyola by 15 in the Elite 8. Loyola went on to win their second straight state title. Although we had everyone- not almost everyone- we had everyone coming back from the 1998 team. Unfortunately, Loyola had their key players coming back too. The question was whether our young players might be a little satisfied with their great success, and not get into working to improve.

The in the summer before the 1999 season, we started Streaks Camp by watching a video. The video was clips from our game vs. Loyola. It was labelled, "Streaks vs Loyola Low Light." It was not a long production, it was about 5-6 minutes long. The message was that Loyola was not going anywhere. If our goal is just to be good and go to State, we can do what we have always done. If we want to beat Loyola, then we have to get better.

Coach Peachey then talked to them about how big Loyola was. Sadly, we were not going to get any taller and Loyola was not going to shrink. So his message was that to handle their height, we needed to get stronger.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rules Changes for 2017-8

The NFHS has put in five rules changes for 2017-8. Among the rule changes are:

1- Officials can give a coach a warning for unsportsmanlike behavior or for violating the coaching box. The official will stop play and issue the warning to the coach. It will be marked in the scorebook. The move is designed to change the coach's behavior without a technical. There is not an indication if there is a penalty for the warning. An official can still issue a technical foul without giving a coach a warning.

2- The coaching box has been expanded from 14 feet to 28 feet. Which means it will extend all the way to the baseline.

Here is a brief description of the changes--

Difference in NFHS and NCAA--