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Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook

Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook

By Jon Cook
I love talking hoops! High School, College, Professional... Coaches, Players, Games, X's & O's. If it is hoops I am interested and love talking about it. If you love talking hoops too, checkout the podcast!
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Episode 75 - Chris Oliver - Basketball Immersion and The Basketball Podcast
Chris Oliver, the founder of Basketball Immersion and the host of The Basketball Podcast, had a 23-year career coaching college basketball in Canada before launching the Basketball Immersion website (  Through Basketball Immersion, Chris has created a community for basketball junkies and provides some of the best available content for coaches at all levels of the game, including The Basketball Podcast. Chris is an innovative thinker, and a proponent of a games approach to coaching.  His background in the study of skill acquisition and the science behind learning has led him to a belief that there simply is a better way to coach this game.  His passion to "share the game" is remarkable and his knowledge is a valuable resource that has allowed him to consult with basketball programs from the youth level to college basketball as well as national programs around the world and even the NBA.  I know you will enjoy today's conversation with Chris Oliver of Basketball Immersion and The Basketball Podcast. 
November 10, 2020
Episode 74 - You Can't Make This Stuff Up
The year 2020 just continues to be more and more bizarre.  When this podcast launched last spring no one, I mean no one, would have been able to convince me that coaching high school basketball again was in my immediate future.  But about a month ago some things began to transpire that ultimately resulted in me doing just that.  So as I prepare to begin this very unexpected season as the head basketball coach at Ada High School, today's episode of the podcast will give an explanation of just how we got here, and what is ahead for Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook. 
November 8, 2020
Episode 73 - Matt Jones -
My guest today is Bryan, Ohio native Matt Jones.  Matt is a basketball lifer who has bet on himself more often than most people twice his age in pursuit of a life in basketball. After high school, Matt played at two separate junior colleges before receiving a degree at Lourdes University, then beginning his coaching odyssey.  Mobile, Alabama, Miami, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina are among the stops on his coaching journey that also includes a season coaching professionally in Israel under Brad Greenberg, before starting a basketball training and consulting business in Lexington, Kentucky..  Please enjoy my conversation with Matt Jones. 
October 19, 2020
Episode 72 - Brook Cupps - Head Coach Centerville High School (Ohio)
Brook Cupps graduated from Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio near Springfield in 1995, and following a 4-year playing career at Capital University in Columbus, he returned to Graham.  He became the head coach in 2000 and spent 12 seasons building a high level basketball program at a relatively small school with a national reputation for wrestling.  But that is the information that anyone can get from Google.  What many don't know, and what Coach Cupps shares in today's episode is that in the midst of building his program things changed.  His focus, his understanding and his purpose as a basketball coach all began to evolve beyond as he says it, "...just coaching basketball like everyone else was coaching basketball...".  It was a change that he says saved his career as a basketball coach.  In 2012, following a remarkable run with the Falcons, including a trip to the state semifinals, Coach Cupps left his alma mater to become the head coach at Centerville High School.  With him came the somewhat unique and ever evolving philosophy of coaching that is more, a lot more than just style of play and X's & O's.  Please enjoy my fascinating conversation with Brook Cupps of Centerville High School.
October 14, 2020
Episode 71 - Brooks Miller - Head Coach Trine University (Angola, Indiana)
How many coaches have a resume that includes a year of high school assistant coaching while working for a tree service, a stint as a Division II assistant, followed by a graduate assistant position under Bob Knight and time spent at a Texas junior college?  All of those are a part Brooks Miller's coaching journey.  Coach Miller is the head basketball coach at Trine University, an NCAA Division III school in Angola, Indiana.  Under Miller's leadership, The Thunder have become a perennial contender in the MIAA, and on the national scene in Division III basketball.  Please enjoy my conversation with Brooks Miller of Trine University. 
October 12, 2020
Episode 70 - Nate Axelrod - Assistant Coach Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, Ohio)
Nate Axelrod was a phenomenal player at Ohio Wesleyan University.  A 3-time North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year, an All-American and the NCAA Division III National Player of the Year as a senior.  After beginning his college coaching career as an assistant at Oberlin College, and while planning to serve as a graduate assistant at Otterbein College, Coach Axelrod was given the unexpected opportunity to return to his alma mater last October, just days before the official start of practice.  In today's episode Coach Axelrod talks about his amazing transformation as player from his high school days at Dublin Coffman through his magical career at OWU, his brief experience coaching at recruiting at one of the truly academically elite institutions in the country at Oberlin and the transition from player to top assistant under Coach Mike DeWitt with the Bishops.  Please enjoy my visit with Nate Axelrod of Ohio Wesleyan University.  
October 9, 2020
Episode 69 - Kirk Lehman - Retired Head Coach - Defiance High School (Defiance, Ohio)
I have often referred to the coaching profession as a fraternity or brotherhood, and it is.  However, it is also a highly competitive and sometimes ego-driven profession as well.  Because of that nearly everyone who has spent any time in coaching likely has members of the fraternity whom he/she dislikes.  Likewise, those of us who have spent time in the coaching ranks are likely to have coaches who dislike us.  It is just a fact of life in coaching.  Except, it seems, for Kirk Lehman.  I have been around high school coaching in Ohio for more than 25 years, and I have never heard anyone speak about Kirk Lehman that doesn't seem to absolutely love the guy.  That is just one reason that I am so excited to have him on the podcast.  Coach Lehman has had a remarkable journey in high school coaching.  After a playing career at Ohio University, Coach Lehman was an assistant at Logan High School.  He became the head coach at Rossford High School and after a tumultuous ending to his time there, he was out of high school coaching for a number of years before taking over the program at his alma mater, Defiance High School, where he won an improbable state title in 2017.  Coach Lehman retired after the 2020 season.  Please enjoy my visit with Kirk Lehman of Defiance High School. 
October 7, 2020
Episode 68 - Brett Hammons - Head Coach Lincolnview High School (Middle Point, Ohio)
Brett Hammons has been coaching basketball at Lincolnview High School for 14 years.  He spent six years as an assistant, including four years as either the JV coach or the varsity assistant.  He has been the head coach for the past eight seasons and has led the program to remarkable success, including a trip to the state final four.  Coach Hammons is equal parts humble and ultra competitive, and in my estimation is one of the most underappreciated coaches in a northwest Ohio region that is overflowing with outstanding basketball coaches across all high school divisions.  As Brett prepares to begin his 9th season at the helm, he sat down with me to talk about his basketball journey from playing at Crestview High School and Defiance College through his time as an assistant, and now building his own program.  Please enjoy my visit with Brett Hammons of Lincolnview High School.
October 5, 2020
Episode 67 - Eric Rosenbeck - Head Coach St. Henry High School (St. Henry, Ohio)
My guest  today is Eric Rosenbeck of St. Henry High School.  Eric grew up in Russia, Ohio, the son of a high school coach, AD and Principal. He played for legendary head coach Paul Bremigan at Russia High School then spent four years in the program at Capital University playing for Damon Goodwin.  After graduating 2005, Coach Rosenbeck was an assistant coach at St. Mary's High School before coming to St. Henry where he coached under Joe Niekamp before taking over as the head coach in 2009.  His team reached the state semifinals in 2019.  He is set to begin his 12th year leading the Redskins and add to what has been a remarkable journey for the head coach/high school principal.  Please enjoy my conversation with St. Henry High School's Eric Rosenbeck.  
October 2, 2020
Episode 66 - Corey Britton - Head Coach - Fort Loramie High School (Fort Loramie, Ohio)
Corey Britton is a basketball lifer.  He grew up in northwest Ohio, the son of an outstanding high school basketball coach.  He attended college and was a student assistant at the University of Findlay with the Oiler basketball program that is a Division II national power. His first head coaching job was at Reedsville Eastern High School near Athens, Ohio immediately after graduating from Findlay in 2011.  After two years at Reedsville Eastern, Coach Britton was named head coach of the girls program at Riverside High School in DeGraff, Ohio for one season.  In 2014 he was hired to become the head coach at tradition-rich Fort Loramie High School in Shelby County.  In six years leading the Loramie program, Coach Britton has the Redskins competing annually for the Shelby County League championship and is a regular in the district and regional tournaments.  Please enjoy my conversation with Corey Britton of Fort Loramie High School. 
September 30, 2020
Episode 65 - Doug Krauss - Retired Head Coach Archbold High School
Doug Krauss spent 34 years as the head basketball coach at Archbold High School on northwest Ohio before retiring in 2018.  During his 34 years, Coach Krauss built (and maintained ) the BLue Streak program into one of the best programs in the state regardless of division.  With 18 league titles, 562 wins and 5 trips to the state final four, the success speaks for itself.  What the numbers don't tell, is the whole story of Krauss' journey at Archbold.  A journey that encompassed more than 40 years including a long run as the head baseball coach as well.  A journey that ironically began as a teacher and assistant wrestling coach.  Coach Krauss shares that story and so much more in today's episode.  Please enjoy my visit with Doug Krauss of Archbold High School.
September 28, 2020
Episode 64 - Dan Priest - Head Coach - Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio)
Dan Priest has been involved in college coaching since the early 1990's.  After a stellar playing career at Ohio Northern University, Coach Priest began a coaching odyssey that has taken him to places like Oxford, Ohio, Hanover, Indiana and Conway, Arkansas among other stops on his way to becoming the head coach at one of the academically elite institutions of higher learning in the entire country, in Kenyon College.  Dan discusses his opportunity to both play for and work with legendary coaches like Gale Daugherty & Joe Campoli at ONU, Tates Locke at Miami University and Mike Beitzel at Hanover College.  Dan's journey has been a remarkable one and the challenges of building a program at Kenyon College are somewhat unique in Division III basketball.  Please enjoy my conversation with Dan Priest of Kenyon College.
September 25, 2020
Episode 63 - Kole Vivian - Head Coach Marietta College Women
From his time as an assistant with the women's program at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Kole Vivian got used to winning.  In coming to Marietta College, first as an assistant, and ultimately as the head coach, winning was not a guarantee.  Vivian joined a program that had experienced minimal success at best in its history.  During his time as an assistant, the Pioneers began to make strides, but the real change in the fortunes of the program have come since Coach Vivian was promoted to he head coaching position in 2016.  Competing for conference championships has become expected and in 2018 the Pioneers won the OAC tournament title and earned a trip to the Division III national tournament.  Please enjoy my conversation with Kole Vivian of Marietta College Women's Basketball.
September 23, 2020
Episode 62 - Toby Carrigan - Head Coach - Mount St. Joseph University (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Toby Carrigan grew up in Indiana and played high school basketball at Rising Sun High School before a college career at Hanover College, where he played and then coached under legendary head coach Mike Beitzel.  After one season as an assistant at Hanover, Coach Carrigan was hired as an assistant coach at Transylvania University for another legend in Don Lane, where the Pioneers were making the transition from NAIA Division I to NCAA Division III.   When Coach Lane stepped down after the 2000-2001 season, he was unexpectedly succeeded by his son Brian Lane, who had been an assistant at Morehead State.  Coach Carrigan remained as the top assistant at Transylvania through 2009.  Following a two-year stint as the head coach at South Dearborn High School, he was hired at Mount St. Joseph, where he recently completed his 9th season leading the Lions.  The two-time HCAC Coach of the Year shares the full story of his basketball journey in today's episode.  Please enjoy my conversation with Toby Carrigan of Mount St. Joseph University. 
September 21, 2020
Episode 61 - Dave Hirschy - Varsity Assistant Basketball Coach - Willard High School
If you are a high school basketball coach in northwest Ohio it is likely that you know Dave Hirschy.  If you are a person, coach or otherwise, who enjoys being around engaging, genuine, sincere, passionate, energetic people, then you should get to know Dave Hirschy.  I hope this podcast helps accomplish that.  Dave and I met nearly 30 years ago working basketball camp at Ohio Northern University.  We share a passion for the game of basketball, and ONU as a college alma mater.  What we also share is a fairly odyssey-like journey in coaching, and like many people, our stories have some less than pleasant life events that have shaped us in our own unique way.  In today's episode Dave Hirschy shares the story of his coaching journey and he is candid about how life can sometimes happen in a way that makes the game we are passionate about into something that is almost unimportant.  I recorded this podcast with Dave because he is my friend.  I hope you'll listen because Dave is a terrific person, with a great story, who also happens to be one of the biggest hoops junkies on planet Earth!  Please enjoy my conversation with Coach Dave Hirschy of Willard High School (Willard, Ohio).
September 19, 2020
Episode 60 - Zach Fleer - Co-Founder -
My guest today is Zach Fleer.  Zach is the co-founder of, a website dedicated to coversing high school basketball in central Ohio, and particularly in the city of Columbus.  The "coverage" includes game reporting to be sure, but also includes scouting and exposure to college coaches and college programs particularly for high school players that may otherwise be overlooked.  During the restricted summer of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zach was able to coordinate and live stream "open runs", or competitive events that allowed players to play and college coaches to watch (live and on-line), and propelled a number of young men unto the recruiting scene during a time when opportunities were severely limited in Ohio.  Please enjoy today's episode as Zach Fleer of shares the story of his organization's humble beginnings and explosive growth in the is age of social media. 
September 16, 2020
Episode 59 - Mike Fuline - Head Basketball Coach - University of Mount Union
Mike Fuline is a born and raised northeast Ohio guy who began his coaching career in Rootstown, Ohio.  His success at Rootstown led to his hiring at Massillon Jackson High School, a Division I power in the state.  Coach Fuline led the Polar Bears to the 2010 State Championship.  The success of the program at Jackson resulted in the rare opportunity to make the move from high school coaching to the college ranks, nearby University of Mount Union sought out Coach Fuline to be a candidate for the vacant head coaching position in the spring 2011.  In 9 easons at the helm, Coach Fuline has helped turn the Purple Raiders into a perennial contender in the always tough Ohio Athletic Conference, and a program that has recently become a national power as well.  When the 2019-2020 season was ended prematurely because  of the COVID-19 pandemic, his team was primed to play for a spot in the Division III Final Four.  Please enjoy my visit with Coach Mike Fuline of the University of Mount Union.
September 14, 2020
Episode 58 - Eric Flannery - Head Basketball Coach - St. Edward High School (Lakewood, Ohio)
Eric Flannery began his high school coaching journey as an assistant at his alma mater,  St. Edward High School, while he was still a college student, and he was named the head coach shortly after his graduation from Cleveland State University.  In his 24 years as the head coach at Ed's, the Eagles have won well over 400 games and captured State Championships in 1998 and 2014.  Coach Flan has also been involved in USA Basketball for the last decade and has been a part of the "resurgence" in US dominance on the international scene.  His coaching success has been remarkable and his basketball coaching journey is fascinating.  Please enjoy my visit with Eric Flannery of Lakewood St. Edward High School.  
September 11, 2020
Episode 57 - Clay Tucker - Former Lima Perry and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Standout
The city of Lima, Ohio has been home to the recipient of the state's Mr. Basketball Award winner a total of 5 times since the award's inception in 1988.  Any reasonable discussion about the greatest high school basketball player to come out of Lima should center on these young men.  However, if the discussion were to be simply about the Lima native with the greatest basketball career, I believe the conversation may well begin and end with Clay Tucker (ok, and John McCullough).  The quintessential late bloomer, Clay graduated after a tremendous career at Perry High School, with no scholarship offers.  After attending an event for unsigned graduates (primarily junior college prospects). Clay received an offer from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  When Tucker left UW-M in 2003, he had led the team to near upset of Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament, and was the school's all-time leading scorer with just shy of 1800 points.  He also played for two legendary coaches, two seasons each under Bo Ryan and Bruce Pearl.  What followed college was a professional playing career that spanned more than 15 years playing for 19 different organizations, mostly in Europe, but also including two NBA Summer League stops as well as time in the NBA Developmental League (now the G-League).  Tucker spent last season as a graduate assistant coach on Bruce Pearl's staff at Auburn University, and the 40-year-old Tucker is now pursuing a career in college coaching.  Anyone want to bet against the unsigned high school senior turned college career scoring leader, who became the undrafted college graduate with a 15-year professional career.  I am not making that bet.  Please enjoy my conversation with Clay Tucker.
September 9, 2020
Episode 56 - Don Showalter - USA Basketball - Director of Coach Development
Don Showalter spent 42 years as a high school basketball coach in Iowa.  He led 4 programs, recorded more than 600 wins and made 6 state tournament appearances between 1975 and 2016.  In 1998, Coach Sho began his connection with USA Basketball at the 1998 Hoops Summit.  He was eventually named a coach of the US Junior National Team, and between 2009 and 2018, he led the U16 & U17 team to 10 gold medals in international competition!  His basketball journey is as remarkable as his success.  Please enjoy my conversation with Don Showalter of USA Basketball.  
September 7, 2020
Episode 55 - Carl Kremer - Head Coach Moeller High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
When Carl Kremer was hired to be a teacher and assistant coach at Moeller High School in 1984, the program was not a basketball powerhouse.  Things are just a bit different now.  Coach Kremer took over as the head coach in January of 1990.  Since then the Crusaders have won over 600 games and 5 Division I state championships in Ohio.  For the most part those are just numbers, what they represent is a basketball program that has been constructed on very specific core values, and that has been led by as steady and humble of a head coach as any program could be.  And Coach Kremer would want it said that the numbers also reflect a nearly continuous stream of remarkably talented and committed young men.  A journey that began with a college student at Eastern Kentucky University, who was heavily involved in student government and local politics has resulted in one of the most storied basketball traditions that the state of Ohio has ever seen.  Please enjoy my visit with Carl Kremer of Moeller High School.
September 4, 2020
Episode 54 - Santino Davis - Assistant Basketball Coach - Central State University
Santino Davis was a standout player at St. Charles Preparatory Academy in Columbus, Ohio.  He graduated from The Ohio State University and began a career in the business world before being bitten by the coaching bug.  After serving as an assistant coach on the staff at St. Charles, Davis made the decision to go all in on coaching as a career.  Leaving behind his corporate career, he became an assistant coach at Ohio Dominican University where he spent 6 years before joining the staff at Central State.  Coach Davis has spent the last 13 years working in college coaching and as an athletic administrator.  ,He has had a challenging, difficult rewarding and certainly unique journey through the coaching profession.  Please enjoy my visit with Santino Davis of Central State University.
September 2, 2020
Episode 53 - Roger McEldowney - Head Basketball Coach - Arcanum High School (Arcanum, Ohio)
Not many coaches have ever had their very first head coaching opportunity slip through their fingers because budget cuts result in the elimination of their teaching position.  It happened to Roger McEldowney at Arcanum High School in the early 1990's.  Very few high school coaches are ever fortunate enough to win a state title. Roger McEldowney did, with the girls at Jackson Center High School in 1995.  An even smaller number are able to lead both a girls program and a boys program to the final game of the season. Roger McEldowney was able to do that when he led Versailles High School to the title game in 2004.  It is perhaps equally rare that a coach would have the opportunity to guide his alma mater to that championships game.  Did I mention that Roger McEldowney graduated from Versailles High School in 1983?  He also served as the Principal at Versailles when his brother Scott led the Tigers to the only other final four appearance in school history.  To cap off his remarkable journey in coaching, McEldowney was hired to be the head coach at Arcanum High School in the summer of 2019, coming full circle more than 25 years after losing his first head coaching opportunity because of the aforementioned budget cuts!  Coach McEldowney shares his full story and more with me today.  Please enjoy my visit with Roger McEldowney of Arcanum High School.  
August 31, 2020
Episode 52 - Jeremy Best - Former Head Coach - Crestview High School (Convoy, Ohio)
When I met Jeremy Best he was a smooth shooting lefty who played for Guy Neal at what was then Bluffton College.  Now Jeremy is the former head coach of Crestview High School in Convoy, Ohio.  In between those seasons of his life he spent time as the head coach at Hilltop High School and and Delta High School, both in northwest Ohio.  After an early career that saw him spend just 2 seasons coaching junior high basketball before becoming a head coach at 24 years of age, Coach Best experienced real struggle at both Hilltop and Delta, before landing at Crestview.  A full 17 years, 3 trips to the state tournament and 2 state titles later, Coach Best decided to step down in 2019.  After his 1st year out of basketball in more than a quarter century, he was willing to sit down with me and reflect on his remarkable journey.  Please enjoy my conversation with Jeremy Best.
August 28, 2020
Episode 51 - Greg Mauk - Head Basketball Coach - Bath High School Girls (Lima, Ohio)
The Bath High School girls basketball program began in 1971, and is nearing 900 wins in program history.  All of those wins have been accomplished by two head coaches... Two!  Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame member Gretchen Prichard led the program from 1971 to 1998 with a record of 460-116 during her 28 seasons.  When Greg Mauk became head coach in 1998 the often unspoken sentiment surrounding the program was, "If he wins, he will be doing so because of the program that had been created.  And if he loses... well, it's all on him."  Fortunately for Greg Mauk, he has won, and won, and won some more.  With more than 400 wins and four trips to the state final four during his 22-year tenure, it is safe to say that the Wildkitten program has thrived under his leadership.  Coach Mauk is a unique leader from a family of leaders, his late sister Vicki coached Elida High School to a girls state championship in 1997, and his cousin Mike Mauk led the Kenton High School football program to state titles in 2001 and 2002.  Coach Mauk shares the story of his journey into coaching, from football to basketball, from boys to girls.  Please enjoy my conversation with Greg Mauk of Bath High School 
August 26, 2020
Episode 50 - Rob Summers - Assistant Basketball Coach - Cleveland State University
Rob Summers is among a rather large group of people in the coaching profession whom I met courtesy of the Ohio Northern University Basketball Camp.  Of the entire group though, Rob may have the most intriguing odyssey through the game and into coaching.  He played at two high major Division I universities (Penn State and West Virginia, where he played for John Beilein), was drafted into the NBA Developmental League (known now as the G League), played professionally overseas for multiple seasons, and began coaching only because an injury prematurely ended his time playing in Europe.  His first foray into the world of coaching was as a graduate assistant coach for Bob Huggins at West Virginia and he had alternating stints at both the Division II and Division I levels, including three seasons as the head coach at Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio.  He is set to begin his 2nd season on the staff at Cleveland State this fall, and was gracious enough to share his full story with me.  Please enjoy my conversation with Rob Summers of Cleveland State University. 
August 24, 2020
Episode 49 - Brandon Pardon - Former Point Guard Lincolnview High School & Bowling Green State University
Brandon Pardon graduated from Lincolnview High School, near Van Wert, Ohio with one of the most storied careers in the history of Ohio high school basketball.  Two appearances in the Division IV state championship game including a 53-1 record in those two years and state title in 1997.  After high school, Pardon enrolled at Wright State University where he was a member of the Horizon League All Freshman Team after his first season.  Following that year he transferred to Bowling Green State University, where he played for Dan Dakich and ultimately led the Falcons to a MAC championship as a senior.  Pardon went on to a two year career playing overseas.  Brandon shares the story of his basketball journey and the joys today of being a father as his children begin their own relationships with the game that has been so good to him.  Please enjoy my visit with Brandon Pardon.
August 21, 2020
Episode 48 - Scott Elchert - Head Basketball Coach - Jackson Center High School (Jackson Center, Ohio)
Whether it is the business world, marriage, preaching or coaching, the general consensus is that it just does not work out well to return to a previous position.  Well Steve Jobs would certainly disagree with that theory, and so would Scott Elchert.  Elchert began his teaching and coaching career at Jackson Center High School in 1989.  After five seasons as the junior varsity coach, he took over the program, and after a difficult first year, he steadily built the program to a consistently high level of success, with 20 or more wins in 1997 and 1998.  Elchert left Jackson Center to try and rebuild the program at his alma mater, Upper Sandusky High School in 1999.  After five seasons at Upper, Elchert had taken the program from 4 wins to a high of 18 in his 4th year.  Then he did it.  He returned to Jackson Center in 2004 and served as the varsity assistant for one year before assuming the head coaching duties again.  All the Tigers have accomplished since then is state tournament appearances in 2012 and 2016, and Coach Elchert's squad was one win away from returning to the Final Four when last season was stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic.  I guess things have worked out pretty well the second time around.  Please enjoy my chat with Jackson Center Head Coach Scott Elchert. 
August 19, 2020
Episode 47 - Brett Norris - Head Coach Hilliard Bradley High School (Hilliard, Ohio)
Brett Norris grew up as the son of a coach.  He finished his high school career playing for the legendary Ray Etzler at Convoy Crestview.  After a college playing career at St. Francis (IN), he spent one year as the freshman coach before taking over as the head coach at Delphos St. John's High School.  After an amazing 10 year run with 3 trips to the state final four including a state title in 2002, Coach Norris left Delphos in 2005 and became the head coach at Hilliard Darby High School.  Following 6 years at Darby and a 3 year absence from the sidelines, he was hired at Hilliard Bradley in 2014.  The Jaguar basketball program has had spectacular success in the six years since.  An overall record of 134-19 with four consecutive undefeated seasons in conference play.  The 2019-2020 season was ended just a days after Coach Norris and his squad had earned a victory in the Regional tournament and they were slated to play for a trip to state final four.  Coach Norris shares his coaching journey, the difficulty of coping with an abrupt end to what could have been a dream season, and much more in today's episode.  Please enjoy my visit with Bret Norris of Hilliard Bradley High School.
August 17, 2020
Episode 46 - David McWhinnie - Head Coach - Toledo Christian High School
David McWhinnie graduated from Toledo Christian in 1992 and after a four-year career as a soccer player, he graduated and returned to his alma mater.  Following a brief stint as an assistant then a short time working in the Chicago area, he was given the opportunity to return and become the co-head coach of the Eagles.  After three seasons,  Coach McWhinnie became to head coach to begin the 2001-2002 season.  During his 19 seasons at the helm, Toledo Christian Basketball has experienced remarkable success with a record of 321 wins  and 123 losses.  Coach McWhinnie discusses his journey with me, including the non-traditional route that brought him to coaching basketball, the influence of others on his journey and the joy of building the program at is alms mater, including coaching his own son.  Please enjoy my conversation with David McWhinnie of TOledo Christian High School.
August 14, 2020
Episode 45 - Brad Francis - Head Basketball Coach Fairlawn High School (Sidney, Ohio)
Brad Francis has had an unconventional route in the coaching profession. After nearly two decades as an assistant to longtime Russia High School coach Paul Bremigan, Francis stepped away for two years to enjoy his son's high school career.  A season assisting Eric Rosenbeck at St. Henry High School was followed by head coaching stops at Houston High School and New Bremen High School.  Coach Francis will begin his 2nd season as the head coach at Fairlawn High School near Sidney in the fall. Please enjoy my conversation with Brad Francis of Fairlawn High School.
August 12, 2020
Episode 44 - Michael Hunter - Assistant Basketball Coach - Lakeland Community College (Kirtland, Ohio)
How many junior college basketball coaches are likely to have ever played football for Urban Meyer?  Well, Michael Hunter did for 2 years.  His basketball journey has taken Hunter to Columbus State Community College and then Ohio Northern University as a player, with coaching stops at Heidelberg College and Goshen College as well as Urbana University before  his current position at Lakeland Community College.  Coach Hunter has a unique story and a range of experiences that have assured him of two things; Life and coaching are about constantly learning, and you just never know what is gonna happen next.  Humility with a willingness to embrace hard work makes the journey worthwhile and relationships are the foundation of whatever success looks like for Michael Hunter.  Please enjoy our conversation.
August 10, 2020
Episode 43 - Damon Goodwin - Head Basketball Coach Capital University (Columbus, Ohio)
My guest for today's episode is Capital University Head Basketball Coach Damon Goodwin.  Coach Goodwin just completed his 26th season on the sidelines at Cap.  His coaching career began in 1986, after a stellar playing career at the University of Dayton under the legendary Don Donoher.  Following graduation Goodwin spent one season as a graduate assistant to Donoher before taking over as the head coach at Fairborn High School for two seasons.  He was then offered a chance to join former UD assistant Larry Hipsher when Coach Hipsher was hired to be the head coach at Wittenberg University in Springfield.  Coach Goodwin spent 4 years working with Coach Hipsher and one year working with Bill Brown after Hipsher departed Wittenberg for Stetson University.  After 5 years and 5 NCAC titles at Wittenberg, Coach Goodwin was hired to take over the program at Capital before the 1994-95 season.  And the rest, as they say, is history!  Please enjoy today's visit with Damon Goodwin of Capital University.  
August 7, 2020
Episode 42 - Tyler Niekamp - Head Basketball Coach - Van Buren High School (Van Buren, Ohio)
Tyler Niekamp is set to begin his 10th season as the head basketball coach at Van Buren High School in 2020-2021.  The northwest Ohio native grew up and attended high school in Ft. Recovery, Ohio,  He attended college and played basketball at the University of Findlay.  Upon his graduation from Findlay, Tyler spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach in the Oiler program before beginning his teaching and coaching career at Upper Scioto Valley High School.  After two years as the junior varsity coach at USV, Coach Niekamp was positioned to become the head coach.  During the summer, Coach Niekamp and I actually spent time planning for me to join his staff as an assistant coach.  However, when an opportunity arose for Tyler to take a teaching job with Van Buren schools, just an 8-minute drive from his house, he opted to change jobs.  The change in jobs also meant walking away from a head coaching position to be the freshman coach at Van Buren.  Ultimately, Coach Niekamp became the head coach at Van Buren and today he shares the story of his journey in coaching as well as his vision for Van Buren Basketball.  Please enjoy my conversation with Tyler Niekamp of Van Buren High School. 
August 5, 2020
Episode 41 - Nate Conley - Head Basketball Coach - Manchester University
Nate Conley was hired and began his tenure as the head basketball coach at Manchester University just four days before his 1st practice with his new team.  Not an ideal way to begin his initial season as a head coach.  But his playing career at Defiance College under both Jon Miller and Kyle Brumett, as well as three seasons coaching under Brumett followed by six years alongside Mike DeWitt at Ohio Wesleyan had certainly prepared him for the challenges that awaited.  After 13 years playing or coaching in Ohio, the Ft. Wayne Indiana native returned home to begin building his own program.  Thanks to Nate Conley for taking time to share his story and talk some hoops! 
August 3, 2020
Episode 40 - Kurt Goettemoeller - Head Basketball Coach Marion Local High School
Kurt Goettemoeller graduated from Marion Local High School in 1992.  He had played for legendary head coach Jack Albers.  After four years of college and choosing a career in education, he became a teacher at Minster High School.  He served as an assistant at both Marion Local with Keith Westrick and at Minster with longtime coach Mike Lee.  In 2011, Coach Goettemoeller was hired to be the head coach at his alma mater.  In his nine years at the helm, he has begun each and every year with a late start as the Flyer football team has competed in the state final all nine seasons.  Coach Goettemoeller discusses his journey in coaching, adapting to the annual late start with his team, coaching in the always tough Midwest Athletic Conference and winning the 2018 state championship while coaching his alma mater.  Please enjoy today's conversation with Kurt Goettemoeller of Marion Local High School.
July 31, 2020
Episode 39 - Tom Polambo - Head Basketball Coach Guilford College (NC)
Tom Polambo's first coaching job was to be the interim head women's basketball coach at his alma mater Virginia Wesleyan University.  He was hired a little more than 6 months after graduating with a degree in Communications and Journalism.  He would coach 3 more seasons at Virginia Wesleyan, where he also served as the softball coach and Sports Information Director.  In 1993, he took over the women's basketball program at Defiance College.  All he did in 3 seasons leading the Yellow Jacket women was produce a record of 78-7 and reach the Elite 8.  Coach Polambo then spent 6 seasons leading the Defiance College men with a record of 100-63.  The Virginia Beach native then returned to his home region and took over the men's program at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.  In 17 seasons at Guilford, Polambo's teams have gone 329-146.  His tenure includes 6 NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances with 2 trips to the Elite 8 and 2 Final Four berths.  Polambo has also coached 2 National Players of the Year, and no less than 6 of his former players/assistant coaches have gone to become college head coaches as well.  Please enjoy my conversation with Guilford College head coach Tom Polambo. 
July 29, 2020
Episode 38 - Mike DeWitt - Head Basketball Coach - Ohio Wesleyan University
Mike DeWitt has been the head coach at his alma mater for 21 seasons, and has been a head coach in Division III basketball for 26 years in total.  His coaching career is a testament to establishing a vision for a program based on a solid foundation of core values and having the persistence to maintain those values while working toward success.  When he was hired at OWU (following 2 seasons at Hiram College and 3 at Centre College), his career record was 35-40.  In his 1st year leading the Bishops the team posted a 5-20 record.  The team improved to 11 wins in his 2nd season, but it wasn't until year 5 (the 2003-2004 season) that OWU had a winning season at 19-8.  From 2011-12 through 2017-18, the team averaged more than 21 wins a season with 6 straight 20-win seasons.  The numbers are undeniably impressive, but the courage, confidence and persistence to stand on foundational beliefs and do things the right way has given the program it's true significance.  Please enjoy my conversation with Mike DeWitt of Ohio Wesleyan University.
July 27, 2020
Episode 37 - Darnell Parker - Head Basketball Coach Loveland High School Girls (Cincinnati, Ohio)
I was so fortunate to coach Darnell Parker when I served as an assistant at Bluffton College in 1998-99.  After a stellar high school career at Findlay High School playing for former OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass, Darnell played 4 years for Coach Guy Neal at Bluffton.  While working in the business world, he began a remarkably unique journey in coaching that saw him spend 9 years as a youth coach before getting his first opportunity to coach junior varsity basketball.  Coach Parker has gone on to have success as a varsity coach with two different boys programs and is now leading Loveland High School's girls program to unprecedented success.  Please enjoy my chat with Darnell Parker of Loveland High School.
July 24, 2020
Episode 36 - Kyle Brumett - Head Basketball Coach at Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN)
My guest today is Kyle Brumett.  Kyle has been a head college coach for 14 seasons at three different institutions, Lakeland College, Defiance College and now Wabash College.  Prior to becoming a head coach, he was an assistant at DePauw University and the University of Southern Indiana, where he worked for current Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.  As a college student, Coach Brumett attended Hanover College and worked for legendary head coach Mike Beitzel.  Along with Beitzel and Pearl, Coach Brumett's journey through Hanover and DePauw has resulted in his working with numerous Division III head coaches as well as Micah Shrewsberry of Purdue University and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. Coach Brum has a truly fascinating journey!  Please enjoy my conversation with Kyle Brumett of Wabash College.   
July 22, 2020
Episode 35 - Jason Vermillion - Head Boys Basketball Coach - Arlington High School (Ohio)
Jason Vermillion is a native of northwest Ohio and graduated from Cory-Rawson High School, which is just a stone's throw away from Arlington where Jason has now been the head basketball coach for the past 22 years.  With well in excess of 300 career wins, a trip to the state Final Four, and no signs of slowing down anytime soon, Coach Vermillion has built a terrific small school basketball program and is one of the truly good guys in the game of basketball.  Please enjoy my visit with Jason Vermillion of Arlington High School.   
July 20, 2020
Episode 34 - Frank Kill - Head Basketball Coach - Lima Central Catholic High School (Lima, Ohio)
I have had the opportunity to coach against Frank Kill when he played for a state championship team while he was a student at Lincolnview High School in 1997 and to coach against Frank Kill as the head coach of a state championship team at Lima Central Catholic in 2014.  While neither was a particularly pleasant experience, I observed the same passion, energy and dedication to the team in both instances.  I have also served as the color analyst for LCC broadcasts for three seasons, and I watched Coach Kill compete in the state finals two more, and also coach a team to a 6-17 record.  Coach Kill remains a passionate, energetic coach who demands that his players compete at maximum effort and always place team above self.  When you here Coach Kill's story you will understand how his personal journey and development have prepared him for the many facets that being a head coach require.  Please enjoy my conversation with Coach Frank Kill of Lima Central Catholic High School.  
July 17, 2020
Episode 33 - Caleb Williams - Head Basketball Coach - University of Northwestern Ohio (Lima, Ohio)
Caleb Williams is 28 years old and has already been a head college basketball coach for three seasons.  That in itself makes his story pretty uncommon.  It is the rest of the story that makes him truly unique.  Growing up as the son of a high school football coach, and experiencing the difficulty of seeing his father lose his coaching job in the town that he had called home as a kid, gave Caleb serious doubts about coaching as a career path.  After his playing career at New Bremen High School and then Mt. Vernon Nazarene University though, Caleb Williams was undeniably bitten by the coaching bug.  Still he had to turn down a potential job with the business side of the Miami Dolphins to pursue coaching.  With just two years as a graduate assistant and one season as a full time assistant coach, he was hired to replace the legendary Chris Adams at  UNOH.  A journey driven by a strong, deep faith and marked by tremendous mentors, along with some surprising timing has given Coach Williams the chance to do what he loves.  Please enjoy my visit with Caleb Williams of the University of Northwestern Ohio.
July 15, 2020
Episode 32 - Kevin Sensabaugh - Head Basketball Coach - Spencerville High School (Spencerville, Ohio)
I had the good fortune of watching Kevin Sensabaugh play as a high schooler, while at Spencerville High School and as college player at Ohio Northern University.  I have had the "pleasure" of competing against him as an assistant coach and as a head coach.  I have even gotten to experience watching my son play against his teams over the last three years (one more to go).  By far though, my greatest pleasure has been forming a longtime friendship with one of the truly great guys in this profession.  He understands struggle, he has experienced great success and he is a terrific teacher of the game of basketball.  He also has wisdom and insight that comes from more than 20 years in the coaching profession.  As he gets set to begin his 19th season leading the program at his high school alma mater, he took the time to sit down and tallk some hoops with me.  Please enjoy my conversation with Kevin Sensabaugh of Spencerville High School.  
July 13, 2020
Episode 31 - Juli Fulks - Head Women's Basketball Coach - Transylvania University
Juli Fulks and I are both natives of western Hardin Co. Ohio.  We both attended tiny high schools in the northwest/central part of the state (she graduated with 39 students), and our paths crossed when she  attended a basketball camp at Ohio Northern University as a junior high student.  I happened to be her coach for the week, because I pulled off a hell of a trade on draft night!  Juli reminded me that our team went on to win a championship that week.  She has had an amazing journey over the nearly 30 years since that camp, and at just 42 years old, she is leading her second college program to amazing success.  From working in a hospital and helping coach high school girls basketball in Columbus, Ohio, to a two-year graduate assistant position at Defiance College to the head coach at Lewis & Clark College near Portland Oregon at 26 years of age.  A decade later & after leading L & C to 4 NCAA Tournament berths, Juli was named head coach at Transylvania University.  In 6 years, Coach Fulks has led the Transy women to a record of 137-31!  We talk everything from coaching to leadership to possibly completing her PhD!  Please enjoy my visit with Juli Fulks of Transylvania University.
July 10, 2020
Episode 30 - The Decision Ten Years Later - Rick Grayshock Co-Founder of
On July 8, 2010, then 25 -year-old LeBron James (along with his newly formed production company) used ESPN to air a live television event to announce his intentions for playing the 2010-2011 season.  The ill-conceived idea was a major part of launching a new era of player empowerment.  However, there was nothing new about the bitter, gut-wrenching disappointment that had become all too familiar to Cleveland sports fans.  Rick Grayshock was one of those fans.  He was also the co-founder of a popular Ohio/Cleveland-based sports blog, ( to true fans of the site).  I was with Rick on the night of the decision, and I observed what you might expect in terms of the palpable and visible pain that he experienced as LeBron told the world, "I'll be taking my talents to South Beach...".  Rick and I sat down recently to revisit The Decision and its aftermath, including LeBron's eventual "reconciliation", and Cleveland's ultimate "redemption", 10 years after the sports landscape was changed forever.  Please enjoy my conversation with Rick Grayshock.   
July 8, 2020
Episode 29 - Dino Gaudio - Assistant Coach at the University of Louisville
My guest today is Dino Gaudio.  Dino is currently an assistant coach under Chris Mack at the University of Louisville.  Coach Gaudio has nearly 40 years of coaching experience including time as a high school coach at Wheeling Central Catholic HS, first under the late Skip Prosser and then as the head coach himself, winning multiple state titles during his six years in Wheeling.  Coach Gaudio then joined Skip again as an assistant with Xavier University.  With 10 years of head coaching experience in NCAA Division I basketball, including four years at the United States Military Academy in West Point, as well as three years at Wake Forest University, Coach Gaudio has an amazing coaching resume.  He also spent eight years as a college basketball analyst on the ESPN family of networks before returning to the sidelines and joining Coach Mack and the Cardinals.  Today's episode is a fascinating conversation with Dino Gaudio.
July 6, 2020
Episode 28 - Michele Durand - Head Women's Basketball Coach (Retired) at Ohio Northern University
I had the unbelievable fortune of serving as an assistant coach to Michele Durand for 3 seasons.  In that role I observed one of, if not, the most loyal, dedicated, hard working and humble leaders in this profession.  The numbers are undeniable.  With 30 years of head coaching experience at two universities, more than 400 wins, 6 conference championships and multiple NCAA Division III tournament appearances, including a trip to an Elite Eight  as part of a 30-1 season, Michele Durand has been tremendously successful as a head coach.  What the numbers don't reveal is the foundation upon which that success has been built.  Building or rebuilding any basketball program is a process and a challenge that simply cannot happen by accident.  Coach Durand successfully built/rebuilt two separate programs and at the same time grew, developed and improved herself during the journey.  As she transitions to her new role as an Assistant Athletic Director, I was fortunate to get some time to talk with her about her journey, her coaching philosophy and her reflections on a career that has been truly outstanding.  Please enjoy today's conversation with Michele Durand.
July 5, 2020
Episode 27 - Charlie Ernst - Head Basketball Coach - University of Findlay (Ohio)
The University of Findlay basketball program has evolved over the last 30 plus years from a non-scholarship NAIA program to an NAIA program that offered scholarships, and since 1998 has competed as an NCAA Division II program.  More correctly, the Oilers have competed as a true national power at all of those levels, and Charlie Ernst has been there for every step over the past 29 years.  Coach Ernst played three years at Findlay and spent his final year of college as a student assistant coach before graduating in 1992 and joining the staff full time.  After 20 seasons as an assistant, he was named head coach in March 0f 2011.  In none seasons as the Oilers head coach, Ernst has led the program to a record of 208-65 (.761), six NCAA tournament appearances and a pair of Sweet Sixteens.  His coaching journey is one that is marked by loyalty, devotion and a constant pursuit of excellence from the classroom to the court.  Please enjoy my conversation with Charlie Ernst of the University of Findlay.
July 3, 2020
Episode 25 - Taylor Roth - Head Basketball Coach at Hiram College (Ohio)
Taylor Roth spent four years playing Division III college basketball at Baldwin Wallace University and one year as a student assistant coach with the Yellow Jackets.  Upon his graduation in 2012, he began a coaching journey that would see him essentially bounce between Ohio and New York for the next eight years.  At 31 years of age he was hired to take over the program at Hiram College in early May.  Coach Roth is young, energetic, passionate and he has a wealth of basketball coaching experience at a very early age.  I know you'll enjoy listening to his story! 
June 29, 2020
Episode 24 - Sean Powell - Head Basketball Botkins High School (Ohio)
I first met Sean Powell when he was a 6th grade camper at the Ohio Northern University summer basketball camp.  He was a tall, skinny, super energetic kid with an infectious personality.  He has had a non-traditional route to a career in coaching.  He is playing a less than traditional style in comparison to much of his league, the Shelby County Athletic League, while competing with very traditional powers like Ft. Loramie and Jackson Center.  Entering his 3rd year at the helm, Coach Powell has a deep and talented team, that he can finally begin his summer work with starting next week.  I think you'll be able to tell that he is a little excited.  Please enjoy my conversation with Sean Powell of Botkins High School!
June 26, 2020
Episode 23 - Matt Tabler - Head Basketball Coach Perry High School (Lima, Ohio)
Matt Tabler is a Lima, Ohio kid, born & raised.  Growing up and attending Lima Central Catholic High School where he played for the legendary Bob Seggerson, allowed Matt to experience great success as high school player, making 3 trips to the State Final Four.  After 8 years as an assistant at both Lima Senior High School and Waynesfield-Goshen High Schools, Matt was hired at Perry High School in 2007.  Coach Tabler's journey leading the Commodores over the last 13 years has resulted in some crushing lows both on and off the court, as well as remarkable highs, when Perry reached the State Semifinals in 2017.  Please enjoy my visit with Matt Tabler of Perry High School.
June 24, 2020
Episode 22 - Artie Taylor Head Basketball Coach at The Wellington School (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
After a stellar playing career at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, and then at John Carroll University, Artie Taylor has spent a career in coaching.  A passion that exploded during his final year of college led to a position as a Graduate Assistant Coach at Defiance College, a brief stint as the Junior Varsity basketball coach at Cardinal Ritter High School (Indianapolis), and then to Wittenberg University where Coach Taylor spent 6 seasons under Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame member Bill Brown.  In 2007, at the age of 31, he was hired as the Head Coach at Ohio Dominican University.  Following a jump from NAIA to NCAA Division II, and after 7 years leading the ODU program,  Artie was dismissed.  After persevering through the struggle of the painful disappointment of being fired, Coach Taylor by his own admission, reconnected with his "why" in coaching and was given the opportunity to lead the program at The Wellington School near Columbus, Ohio.  To say that the program has been successful would be an understatement.  Since taking over in 2014, he has led the Jaguars to the state Final Four twice.  The wins are secondary to the process and Coach Taylor is committed to keeping it that way.  Please enjoy my conversation with Artie Taylor.  
June 22, 2020
Episode 21 - Happy Father's Day
I just want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all dad's out there, but especially to my dad and to the coaches I know who are dads as well!  I have had so many "father figures" in the coaching profession, but all of us in coaching are playing some type of father-loke role in the lives of other people's children.  You guys are heroes!  Happy Father's Day!
June 21, 2020
Episode 20 - Jon VanderWal - Head Basketball Coach Marietta College (Ohio)
Jon Vanderwal became the head basketball coach at Marietta College in 2007 at 28 years of age.  The Cadillac, Michigan native had a four-year playing career at Albion College (Mi.) then served as Graduate Assistant Coach at Defiance College before becoming the lead assistant at Ohio Wesleyan University in 2003.  When Coach VanderWal took over in Marietta, the Pioneer program had just concluded a 5-year run with a combined record of 32-96.  After 3 difficult years to begin his tenure, Coach VanderWal led his 2010-2011 squad to a record of 27-4 (15-3 OAC)! The Pioneers won their first Ohio Athletic Conference regular season title in 36 seasons and the school claimed it's first ever OAC Tournament title.  From 20010-11 through 2019-20 Marietta Basketball is 227-62 (.785).  They claimed 5 consecutive OAC titles between 2014-15 and 2018-19 (the only school in the history of the OAC to claim at least a share of five titles in a row).  Marietta has made 8 NCAA Tournament appearances in the past 10 years with 4 Sweet Sixteen appearances and 2 trips to the Elite Eight.  No program at any level of college basketball can claim a more dramatic turnaround in less than two decades.  Please enjoy my conversation with Jon VanderWal of Marietta College!  
June 19, 2020
Episode 19 - Bill Brown - Former Head Coach at Wittenberg University (Springfield, Ohio)
Bill Brown spent nearly 40 years coaching college basketball at both the Division I and Division III levels, with 29 of those years as a head coach.  He was the head coach at Wittenberg University for 23 seasons.  He retired in 2016 and remains the longest tenured and most successful head coach in the history of Wittenberg University, which just happens to be the winningest program in the history of Division III basketball.  During his time at Witt, Coach Brown led his teams to 12 NCAA tournaments, 4 Elite Eight appearances and 2 Final Fours.  Coach Brown retired with an overall career record of 543-266 (483-167 at Wittenberg), and was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame on May of 2018.  What does a guy do in retirement after that kind of career?  Wel, Bill Brown  has served as a volunteer assistant coach at Westfield High School in  Indianapolis for the past 4 years.  Why?  Because more than anything else, Bill Brown is a basketball lifer.  He loves hoops and values the chance to continue to give back to the game that has given him so very much!  Please enjoy my conversation with Bill Brown of Wittenberg University.
June 18, 2020
Episode 18 - Babe Kwasniak - Former Head Basketball Coach at Villa-Angela St. Joseph HS (Cleveland, Ohio)
Babe Kwasniak currently holds the position of Civilian Aide to the US Secretary of the Army.  He graduated from Cleveland St. Joseph High School in 1994, after winning a State Championship while playing for his father, Tedd Kwasniak.  He then attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, and played four years of varsity basketball.  After a five year service commitment to the Army and a brief but successful career in the business world, Babe returned to Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph HS as the head boys basketball coach.  In 10 seasons at the helm, he led the Vikings to 5 consecutive state title game appearances and won 3 state championships.  He was informed in late February that his contract as the head coach would not be renewed.  In today's episode, Coach Kwasniak tells his story and reflects on his incredibly successful decade coaching at his alma mater.  Please enjoy my visit with Babe Kwasniak.  
June 17, 2020
Episode 17 - Dave Froelich - Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Member
Dave Froelich spent 34 years in high school coaching in the state of Ohio.  after starting his career as an assistant to Larry Clark at Perrysburg High School, Dave went on to serve as head coach at Colonel Crawford High School (9 years), and then Van Wert High School (21 years).  Coach Froelich won 420 games as a head coach and was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018.  If you listen to today's podcast or are ever lucky enough to spend any time with Coach Fro, you will quickly learn that the 420 wins do not tell anywhere near the story of what makes him so successful.  He is a communicator, a relationship builder, a mentor and a leader of the highest degree.  Please enjoy today's episode with Dave Froelich.
June 15, 2020
Episode 16 - Tom Heil - Head Basketball Coach at Baldwin Wallace University (Berea., Ohio)
I had the wonderful fortune to serve as an assistant coach at Bluffton University when Tom Heil was a junior and a senior.  He has since gone on to coach as an assistant at Defiance College (2 years), then Baldwin Wallace University (5 years).  His fateful journey in coaching saw him earn the opportunity to return to Defiance at the age of 29 as the school's head coach.  In his one season leading the Yellow Jackets, the team was 22-7, winning both the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships.  They went on to upset reigning national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater in the first round of the NCAA Division III National Tournament.  After that year, Coach Heil was hired to return to Baldwin Wallace yet again, this time as the head coach.  In 5 seasons at the helm Heil has led these Yellow Jackets to more than 80 wins and another NCAA Tournament.  He has had a truly magical journey in college coaching and has played or worked for some of the most respected coaches in the profession during high school and college.  He has also overcome some truly staggering personal challenges during his time in coaching.  Please enjoy my conversation with Tom Heil of Baldwin Wallace University.  
June 13, 2020
Episode 15 - Tom Souder - Head Basketball Coach Worthington Kilbourne High School (Ohio)
Today's episode is a visit with Tom Souder the head boys basketball coach at Worthington Kilbourne High School just outside Columbus, Ohio.  Coach Souder comes from a coaching family.  His father was a longtime, successful coach at Ft. Recovery and Paulding high schools, and Coach Souder just completed his 42nd year in the coaching profession.  His career includes serving as the head coach at two other high schools (between 1980 & 1988) as well as assistant coaching stops at Eastern Kentucky University (1998-2000), Hartford University (1992-1998) and 4 seasons at The Ohio State University (1988-1992).  In the fall Coach Souder will begin his 21st season at Kilbourne High School.  He has an exceptional journey, a wealth of experience and tremendous wisdom.  Please enjoy my conversation with Tom Souder!
June 11, 2020
Episode 14 - Andy & Matt Winters - Head Coach & Assistant Coach at Otterbein University (Westerville, Ohio)
My guests today are Andy and Matt Winters.  They are brothers, and they just finished their first season leading the basketball program at Otterbein University.  Both played high school basketball at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio.  Both went on the play college basketball, Matt at Ohio Dominican University (NAIA Division II) and Andy at Ohio Wesleyan University (NCAA Division III).  Both spent time as assistants in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), Matt at Ohio Northern University, and Andy at Capital University.  When Andy was hired to be the head coach at Otterbein (also an OAC school) the door was opened for them to work together and try to rebuild a once proud program.  Please  enjoy my conversation with Andy & Matt Winters of Otterbein University! 
June 10, 2020
Episode 13 - Ryan Stechschulte Head Boys Basketball Coach at Kalida High School (Ohio)
My guest for this episode of Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook is Ryan Stechschulte, the head boys basketball coach at Kalida High School in Kalida, Ohio.  Ryan is a Putnam County native and has spent his entire coaching career at schools that compete in the always tough Putnam County League.  After four years leading the program at Columbus Grove High School Ryan was hired in May of 2016 to replace Richard Kortokrax who had led the Kalida program for 45 years and retired as the winningest coach in Ohio High School basketball history.  Ryan's journey in coaching is unique and his passion for the game is contagious.  Please enjoy today's episode with Ryan Stechschulte.
June 9, 2020
Episode 12 - Anthony Gholson - Assistant Coach Capital University (Ohio)
Anthony Gholson is my guest for this episode.  Anthony has been a college coach, as an assistant and a head coach at both the junior college level and in NCAA Division III for nearly 30 years.  He is also deeply involved in the Nike EYBL summer AAU circuit and coaches with the All Ohio program based in Columbus, Ohio.  T, as he is known to many of us, has experienced a national championship as an assistant and coached the #1 ranked juco team in the country as a head coach.  He 's also survived being dismissed as a head coach and rebounded to serve as an assistant coach with a Capital program that has turned out conference players of the year, All Americans and has competed in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.  He is a terrific mentor to young athletes and remains as passionate about using this great game to develop young men and teams as he was the day I met him three decades ago.
June 8, 2020
Episode 11 - Kurt Stubbs - Host of Ohio High School Hoops: Around the State Podcast
Kurt Stubbs is a true basketball junkie who has managed to overcome the coaching bug.  He has fed his basketball habit as a blogger, turned influencer, turned podcaster.  He is also a junior high math teacher, a husband and an oh so proud father of a 14-month old son.  He is a man of true integrity and sincere faith, with a fascinating journey into and around this game that we both love.  I hope you enjoy my visit with Kurt Stubbs.
June 7, 2020
Episode 10 - Because 2020 Has Really Sucked
Basketball is my first love, my only hobby and my true passion.  Basketball has created so many opportunities in my life and is the genesis of innumerable cherished relationships in my life.  Basketball has almost always been the bridge over the gap between me and so many who are different from me due to background, gender or race, and has resulted in so many blessings in my life.  The calendar year of 2020 has been filled with tragedy and strife for everyone.  The recent, tragic events in our country are once again reflective of the truly awful division that exists in society, and because so many that I love are angry, hurt, confused and bitter, I am choosing to speak. Segment 2 of today's episode is a much more lighthearted take on something else that has been changed and perhaps completely wiped out by the COVID-19 pamndemic... Man 2020 has really sucked! 
June 4, 2020
Episode 9 - Mark Bagley - Former Head Basketball Coach at Van Wert High School (Ohio)
My guest today is Mark Bagley, the former head coach at Van Wert High School in Van Wert, Ohio.  Mark spent 20 years  at Van Wert as the JV Coach and/or Varsity Assistant Coach under Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame member Dave Froelich, before becoming the head coach.  Mark stepped down after the 2018-2019 season and is now the Superintendent of the Van Wert City Schools.  Mark's passion and positivity are matched only by his energy level and his desire to operate as a servant leader in helping people (players, coaches, teachers, etc.) to strive for reaching their full potential.  Please enjoy my conversation with Coach Mark Bagley. 
June 4, 2020
Episode 8 - Chad Shutler - Head Women's Basketball Coach at Bluffton University (OH)
Chad Shutler has spent nearly 25, of his more than 30 years in coaching, in Bluffton, Ohio.  From two years as a graduate assistant with the then Bluffton College, men's program under legendary head coach Guy Neal; to one year as an assistant at Bluffton High School and then five years as the Pirates head coach; to spending the last 15 years as the head coach of the Bluffton University Women's Basketball program.  I have been blessed to call coach Shutler a friend since we were on staff together at BC during the 1998-99 season and I am thrilled to have him share his story, and some of his wisdom with us today.  Thanks for taking the time to listen to Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook! 
June 2, 2020
Episode 7 - Mark Huelsman - Head Women's Coach at Ohio Northern University
Today I visit with Mark Huelsman, the Head Women's Basketball Coach at Ohio Northern University.  Coach Huelsman played Division III basketball at Wittenberg University before starting his coaching career.  He spent 6 seasons as the Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at Wilmington College (OH)before joining the staff at ONU in 2013.  The ONU women won 20 or more games in each of Mark's first 5 seasons with the program, including a 30-1 season during 2016-2017 that ended with a loss in the Elite 8 of the national tournament.  I was blessed to work with Mark, as a volunteer assistant for 3 of those 7 seasons and I hope that you'll enjoy Mark's story as well as his insights on coaching, culture and leadership.
May 31, 2020
Episode 6 - TK Griffith Head Coach Archbishop Hoban HS (Akron, Ohio)
Our guest for this episode is TK Griffith the head boys basketball coach at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio.  TK was a senior at Hoban, when the Knights won a state championship in 1989.  He came back to his alma mater four short years later to be and English teacher and at the age of 21 years old, to  be the school's head basketball coach.  He has now completed 27 years leading Hoban basketball.  Please enjoy Coach Griffith's story and his insights on teaching as well as coaching, balancing work and family life as well as his passion for the X's and O's of this great game.  
May 29, 2020
Episode 5 - Eric Gabriel Assistant Coach High Point University (NC)
Today's episode is a visit with Eric Gabriel, Assistant Coach at High Point University in North Carolina.  Eric is a graduate of Alexander High School in Athens, Ohio and West Liberty State University in West Virginia, where he played Division II basketball before starting a career as a teacher and a coach.  Eric's journey through coaching, from high school to Division III college basketball and ultimately to High Point University is unique and inspiring.  Enjoy today's episode of Talkin' Hoops! 
May 28, 2020
Episode 4 - Jody May - Head Basketball Coach Albion College
In today's episode I visit with Albion College Head Men's Basketball Coach Jody May. Coach May was a Division III player at Ohio Northern University and s captain on a national championship squad in 1993. He has spent a career of more than 25 years coaching D3 hoops, the last 12 as the head coach of Albion College in Michigan. This season started with an exhibition game against Michigan St at the Breslin Center and ended with a bitter defeat in the conference tournament semifinals on their home floor. In between the team was 21-5 with a 12-2 record in the MIAA all while enduring & recovering from the early season loss of a player to suicide. Jody May is a big part of what’s good about Division III basketball & I know you’ll appreciate his story.
May 26, 2020
Episode 3 - Scott Cooper - Head Basketball Coach - Indiana University-South Bend
Today we talk hoops with Scott Cooper the head basketball coach at Indiana University-South Bend. He led his NAIA Division II IUSB Titans to a conference title and their first appearance in the NAIA national tournament before having the tournament shut down just minutes before they were scheduled to take the court. 
May 22, 2020
Episode 2 - Tyler Neal - Asst. Coach Canton Charge
On this episode of Talkin' Hoops I sit down with Canton Charge Assistant Coach Tyler Neal.  I'll apologize here for the minor technical glitch about halfway through the podcast. 
May 20, 2020
Episode 1 - The Intro.
Welcome to Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook!  Episode 1 is an introduction to Coach Cook and his unique background and a look at his vision for the podcast.
May 15, 2020
Talkin' Hoops Intro. Trailer
Hi1  I am Coach Jon Cook and I am excited to be jumping into the podcast game!  I love talkin' hoops at every level and in every way.  From high school to the pros; from coaches to players; from X's and O's to game recaps; from teaching to player development and even just debating the hot topics of the day.  If you're a basketball junkie like me, I hope you'll enjoy Talkin' Hoops: With Coach Jon Cook.
May 14, 2020