Hello! Allow me to be the first – and realistically, who else possibly could be the first – to welcome you to my column, “The Couch Coach”. While many sports bloggers come to their craft with an existing persona, I’m neither buoyed by a reputation nor limited by it. Thus, what follows is hopefully a relatively brief synopsis of the bits and pieces relevant to my work in this column.
Most importantly for this venture, my past in basketball: I first became acquainted with the game of basketball at the age of 9 when I was the only grade 4 student to make my public school’s junior basketball team, a feat that you might notice I still boast about twelve years hence. Despite my family being oriented towards hockey – the first time my father shot a basketball in our driveway, he did so with two hands from behind his neck – I fell in love with the sport.
Fast-forward nearly nine years, and basketball had become entrenched in my life and identity. I both coached and played at various summer camps, and was also the assistant coach of my high-school’s junior basketball team. After a very successful senior year in high-school – averaging a double-double as a 6’3″ center often matched up against opponents 6’6″ to 6’10” and doing my best impersonation of a point-forward en route to team MVP honours and a third of the first place league-MVP votes – I looked into prospective universities where I could get paid to play basketball as I studied. I ended up settling on Nipissing University, where $19,000 – admittedly, some of the scholarship was for marks and other qualifiers – and a handshake deal with the school’s chancellor promised me a leading role in the creation of a varsity basketball squad. But alas, tragedy struck.
The story goes that during the summer before I arrived at Nipissing, the university discovered that the head coach interviewing for the job had a past, likely minute criminal record that barred him from coaching due to Nipissing’s policy on hiring employees. The money and resources allocated for the basketball program went instead to start a varsity hockey team – my ironic reward for straying from my family’s hockey background! – and I showed up to a university sponsored club team where every player who tried out made the roster. In my second year on the team, I took over as head coach on the recommendation of my predecessor in addition to my playing role and have remained in that capacity for the past 3 seasons.
Perhaps due to my family’s basketball-deprived background, I’ve always relied on outworking and outsmarting my opponent, playing a relatively simple, fundamental game with a flare and proficiency getting to the rim. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and learn from NBA All-Star, Dream Team member and college basketball legend Christian Laettner, former NCAA dunk contest champion Gary Durrant, and dozens of other important – if less prominent – basketball aficionados. I hope to bring the insights that I have gathered from them and my own study of the game of basketball to my analysis and opinions in this column.
A few parting shots, no pun intended, to give you a sense of my other interests. I’d be remiss if I didn’t first mention that I am a Christian man, and that this is central to my identity away from – and, at times, even permeating my thoughts on – the game of basketball. In addition to basketball I grew up on hockey, baseball, and volleyball. I’m a fan of most music but especially classic rock, I play the piano, and I’m a sucker for The Daily Show and Modern Family. Professionally, I’m working towards my Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Chemistry, after which I’ll be pursuing my Bachelors in Education so that I can teach senior English and coach basketball. One day, God willing, I’d like to become a pastor.
I couldn’t possibly hope to give you a complete guide to who I am without filling volumes of books, but the above information ought to serve as an introduction to me as I start to develop a public persona through this column. Finally, I’m always happy to take suggestions for future topics and listen to your thoughts on existing entries, so comment as often as you like!
PS: we’re aware that we have an acronym problem.