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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--

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Coach Kelly Ricketts

Kelly Ricketts is someone who has never been afraid to work. Kelly played both basketball and volleyball in high school. She was talented enough to start on a varsity basketball team as a freshman. But it was not just talent which separated Kelly from the average athlete, it was her work ethic. Sometimes a multi-sport athlete uses one sport as “permission” not to do what is needed in another sport. Kelly never cut corners in either sport. For basketball, she never missed anything we did in the off-season.

But I think the big deal about Kelly is that she has always understood it is about “the process.”  She never took days off at practice- she was focused and worked every day. She accepted coaching, whether it was criticism or encouragement- she made eye contact and let you know she wanted to be coached. And Kelly did the “extras”, which separate athletes- she pushed herself in the weight room 12 months per year.

Why do I bring up her being into “the process?” "The process” is what coaching is all about. To be successful, the coach, and then the team must recognize they have to be willing to put in the grind. The old expression in sports- “everyone wants to win, only a few are willing to prepare to win.” Kelly is a natural for coaching because she is all about putting in the preparation to win.

I had a chance to do a Q/A with Kelly....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sting of Defeat

1997 was a great year for the Streaks. They finished the regular season a perfect 27-0 on the way to 4th place in the State tourney. Four of the five starters were gone. Going into the 1998 season, the Streaks returned only two players who had played significant minutes.

The 1998 Streaks had no seniors on their roster. The starting lineup was made up of three sophomores and two juniors. The first players off the bench were three freshmen and one sophomore. It was certainly not a lineup that had the experience to bring fear to our opponents.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sabrina Clay- Impressive Start to College

Too often in “big-time” college athletics, we find sad stories of the athlete who is so invested in their sport that they don’t take advantage of getting an education and don’t position themselves for the future. The expression is “don’t let sports use you, you use sports.”
And sadly, we read stories of the athlete who feels entitled, people owe them something. These athletes never seem to give back to society or others, they are too busy expecting to be given something for their talents.
Sabrina Clay is not one of these negative stories about college athletes. Sabrina has used her passion and ability in basketball to further her education, and to help position herself for success. And while she was getting her education at Sandburg, she was giving back to her school and her community.
It is going to be exciting to follow her successes as she continues her education. She is not only headed for great things- she will make her community a better place.
I had a chance to do a Q/A with Sabrina.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blue Streaks & Zephyrs At Thiel

The 8th grade girls teams from Lombard and Churchill practiced at Thiel Gym tonight. They both open up next Tuesday night.

Churchill will be hosting Orion on Tuesday.
Lombard will be traveling to Macomb.

It was a lot of fun to watch both teams practice. They both have great coaches, and they are really working hard. It will be exciting to watch how they grow as individuals and as teams over the next two months.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2001 Sectional Revenge Over Sterling

In 2000-1 season, the Streaks lost a tough game at Sterling, 50-48 in Overtime. Sterling had a good ball club, but we felt it was a game we should not have lost. Sterling packed it in a zone to take away our inside game of Sarah Pacheco and Ashley Shepherd.

Our scoring during the season was- Rachel Bicego 6.1ppg, Shanell Jackson 8.8ppg, Shannon Williams 10.7ppg, Ashley Shepherd 12.0, and Sarah Pacheco 17.1ppg.

Sterling feared our inside scoring enough that on the opening tip, they put one player in the circle to jump, and the other four back in the lane to get ready to defend our inside game. This strategy worked well in their overtime win when we shot only 30% from the field.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Athletic Scholarships

It can be very confusing figuring out how athletic scholarships and financial aid work out with colleges. Here are some resources which give some information about college scholarships...

These articles address:
What are the odds of getting an athletic scholarship?
Do all sports have to give full athletic scholarships?
As far as financial aid- what is the best in terms of getting money?
Do college coaches want to look at home made videos?

This is from US News and World Report, providing- 7 Things You Need to Know About Sports Scholarships.

From CBS Sports, they look into- 8 Things You Should Know About Sports Scholarships

This is a series of charts looking at actual amounts of athletic scholarships in 2016.

Kevin Walden- Knox College Basketball

(From Knox website)
Kevin Walden is headed into his 6th year as the Knox College men’s basketball coach. Becoming a college coach at any level is a real journey. To succeed in college coaching, you have to have toughness. Often when a coach starts the journey, they are starting with very low pay as an assistant, grad assistant, or video coordinator.

Kevin graduated from Knox in 2001 as an Elementary Ed major. He became assistant coach for Tim Heimann at Knox immediately. In his first position, he was not just assistant basketball coach but he also had 2-3 other job titles to try to make ends meet. My point, it wasn’t a life of luxury. Whether on D3 or D1 level, becoming a college coach requires someone to have a strong vision of where they want to get. And no matter the bumps in the road, they have to just keep going.

To reach your goal in any field, you have to be willing to challenge yourself. Sometimes you have to be willing to do the “uncomfortable.” For Kevin Walden, the comfortable was to be willing to leave his job as Knox assistant to go to St. Ambrose as an assistant. This was a challenge but a way to grow. Then he made the move across country to become the head coach at Warren Wilson in Ashville, NC. When the Knox head coaching job opened up in 2012, Kevin had experience at Knox, at St. Ambrose, and head coaching experience at Warren Wilson. He had been willing to prepare himself.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Raining Threes

2009-10 was the first year the Streaks ran "The System". The year before we had gone 14-18 on the season. It was the first losing season for a Galesburg in 22 years. And averaged only 48 points per game. "The System" was instituted to jump start our program. While it could be argued there were weaknesses to running "The System", it was assured players would have to play hard. So the number one priority of the season was to get players to play hard.

In 2008-9, we had scored 48 points per game, and made a total of 113 threes. In 2009-10, we jumped up to 365 made threes and 72 points per game. Some games, we rotated 14 players into the game. There was no time for anyone to "coast", they were only going to be in for 35-40 seconds. Mickey Rodriguez and Jess Howard had 87 and 118 threes. We improved to 17-14 on the season.

But the 2009-10 season served as build up to our 2010-11 season when we set the National HS record for threes made in a season with 397 threes. And we went 28-7 and made it to the Elite 8.

But it all started by just "Raining Some Threes!"

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Alumni Day

Why are people celebrating?

We are planning Alumni Day for Saturday, January 27. The Streaks will be playing in the afternoon, and we are inviting alums to come on back. Actually the day is full of girls and boys basketball. We host the Galesburg Shootout. The girls will be playing Stillman Valley in the afternoon. Before the varsity game, there will be Frosh and Soph games in the Field House so you could look it over.

The girls and boys teams will be hosting a soup and sandwich luncheon. It is a great meal and alums would be supporting the Streaks.

We will have a reception after the varsity game.

As we iron down details- we will let you know exact times. Hope you can make it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Casey Williams

I coached Casey Williams more years than any player at GHS. She was on the varsity all four years in high school. And she was on a YMCA team I coached when she was in 2nd or 3rd grade. When she was at the YMCA, all of the players fought over who took the ball out of bounds, and then who got to dribble the ball up the floor. Our solution was to give a black wrist band to the player who got to take it out, and then a red wrist band to the player who would dribble the ball up the floor. By the time Casey got to the high school, we didn’t need the wrist bands.

Casey has always had good basketball skills. She was skilled enough to play on the varsity as a freshman. She was an outstanding defender for GHS. Her senior year, there were times she guarded point guards, shooters, and even post players. But what stands out about Casey is that she is just so competitive. There was no one Casey would back down from.

Now Casey attends Benedictine University in Lisle. She jumped in and was a regular for the team her first season, and Benedictine plays in a tough conference. This past year, as a sophomore, Casey had to have surgery on her leg. But as one would expect, Casey competed in rehab and worked herself back into playing condition. Now she is headed into her junior year.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Going Beyond Tradition

Summer of 1994- picture in Michigan Stadium
In the summer of 1994 (preparing for the 1995 season), the Streaks went undefeated for the summer. But that was not their goal.

In the 7 years from 1998 to 1994, Galesburg had won 20 games every year. The Streaks had won the Regional every year. And GHS had won the WB6 four of the 7 years.

The 1994 team had gone 24-6, won the WB6, and the Regional. But, we had lost to IVC in the Sectional in Thiel Gym in the first round of the Sectional. We started two sophomores, two juniors, and one senior on that 1994 team.We had a good year- certainly a year to be proud of.

So we had high expectations for our 1995 squad. We didn't just have a good summer, we had a great summer of basketball. We did the usual things- Streaks Camp and Galesburg Summer League. We had two tourneys in Galesburg, and we made two trips to Maine West to play. Then the highlight of our summers in the 1990's, we went to University of Michigan for team camp. 

Future Streaks for Girls

This year the Future Streaks program will expand to include girls travel teams. 4th-6th grade signup/tryouts will be the week of October 16. 7th-8th grade signup/tryouts will be the week of November 1. More info to follow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lombard / Churchill Fall Basketball

This year, both Lombard & Churchill will be having their basketball seasons in the fall. It had gotten harder and harder for the schools to schedule games because most teams in the area were part of the IESA, which schedules basketball in the fall.

Tentative Tryout Schedules

Aug 16th / Aug 17th  3:30-5:00pm Open Gyms for 7/8th Girls
Fri Aug 18th- 3:30-5:30pm- 8th Tryouts, 5:30-7:30pm- 7th Tryouts
Sat Aug 19th- 8:00-10:00am- 8th Tryouts, 10:00-Noon- 7th Tryouts

Lombard's First Game- Sept 12th vs Macomb at Erickson Gym

Lombard 8th Grade

Lombard 7th Grade

Aug 17th- 3:15-4:30pm- 7th Open Gym, 4:30-5:30pm- 8th Open Gym
Aug 21st- 3:15-4:30pm- 7th Tryouts,  4:30-5:30pm- 8th Tryouts
Aug 22nd- 3:15-4:30pm- 7th Tryouts,  4:30-5:30pm- 8th Tryouts
Aug 24th- 5:30pm- Parent's Meetings

Churchill's First Game- Sept 12th vs Orion at Morgan Gym

Churchill 8th Grade

Churchill 7th Grade

Future Streaks will be organizing 7th & 8th Grade Travel teams. Tryouts / Signup for the Future Streaks will tentatively be held the week of Wednesday, November 1. These teams will be combined Churchill and Lombard teams. The Future Streaks will play and practice in November and December. the teams will then take off in January and February. They will pick up then play and practice in March and April again. More detailed info will become available at later date.

Carr With Big Summer

Chrislyn Carr of Rock Island has received multiple D1 offers this past summer. This article discusses her summer and her goals.

Trainer for the Pros

This is an interesting story on Rob McClanaghan, who is offensive trainer for a lot of the top pros. The description of the approach to the workouts is impressive. You sure get the point that the top pros don't rest- they are working to improve.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Leadership Playbook

Jamy Bechler in The Leadership Playbook gives great wisdom on how we can all improve as leaders. It is not just for players and coaches, it is for everyone. One of the points Bechler makes is that we are all leaders in whatever we do. The book is designed to help us become better leaders whether for our team, our business, or our family.

In each chapter, he brings out a specific principle of leadership. He then reinforces each principle with 100’s quotes which apply to the specific leadership concept, and numerous examples of people who have successfully or unsuccessfully applied the specific principle of the chapter.

As coaches, we work hard to develop skills specific to our sports. In basketball, we don’t expect a player to automatically be a great shooter. We design drills to practice skills of shooting. The basic theme of Bechler is that leadership is a skill that we need to work to develop. His book is indeed an effective playbook to develop leadership skills.

Bechler Uses Famous Quotes Applied to Leadership
Bechler uses 100’s of quotes to support his leadership concepts. Here are just a few of my favorites.

“A Year from now, you’ll wish you started today.”- Karen Lamb

“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So, keep in mind that in the end, the choices you make makes you.”- John Wooden

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”- Aristotle


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Q/A with Mark Makeever

Mark guarding Bruce Douglas of Quincy.
I had a chance to have a Q/A with Mark Makeever. Mark is a great lesson on the value of being focused on the process. It doesn’t matter if you are a player or a coach, you have to enjoy the grind. You have to enjoy going to practice. Psychologists say this is true of any career or profession- to succeed you must have a passion for what you do.

Mark grew up in Galesburg and loved basketball. In JH and as soph and junior in HS, basketball did not return the love. He was a part time player. He describes himself as having been a “20/20 guy,” getting in if Galesburg was up 20 or down 20. He went onto to be a highly successful player as a senior and then in college- on very good teams. And from there, he has had an unbelievable coaching career in Oklahoma and Texas.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think Mark has “worked” a day in his life. He is someone who just loves what he is doing. When he was as a sophomore going thru a 2-3 hour practice, going home to eat, and then going to play basketball at the Knox County YMCA- he doesn’t seem to see it as having been work. And while he did want to get better so he could play, that doesn’t seem like it must have been his main reason. He just loved playing basketball.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TBT-1990 Seniors

Senior year is an exciting time. It is a special feeling to be the top class in the school and in sports. Often it is a year players have looked forward to- "when we're seniors, we will ....."

In good years, the seniors take ownership. They have a sense of pride that this is going to be their legacy. They can be more focused and more determined. It is not unusual to find players make a real jump in performance from their junior to their senior years- senior pride!!