BY PERRY HUNTER
Recently, I asked Jeffersonville boys’ basketball coach Chad Gilbert if I could attend one of his practices. He graciously allowed me that courtesy and what I came away with was a personal coaching clinic.
Not so much just basketball, but life as well.
Coach Gilbert’s assistant coach and wife, Amy Gilbert who is expecting, is at practice helping on the court as well as other administrative stuff off the court. So you can imagine how interesting it is to not only have your wife at practice, but while she is expecting a child ... your child.
But then to be able to hang out with and speak with Jeff assistants Rick Myers, Clark Miles and Jerry Jones ... wow.
Coach Myers and I spoke a few times about the history of Indiana basketball, and I wonder if he realizes how much of a part he is of it, especially at Jeffersonville.
Before there was Chad Gilbert coaching the Jeff girls to a state championship, there was Myers building Jeffersonville into one of the top teams in the area.
That may seem like a no brainer, but it wasn’t.
Back in the 1980’s, I can remember Henryville, New Washington, Silver Creek and other smaller schools beating Jeffersonville, New Albany and Floyd Central on a regular basis.
Clark Miles — Enough said. A true Jeffersonville boys’ basketball legend.
A truly nice man who had kind words to say to me, but that isn’t why I am repaying them back now. He cares about the boys at Jeffersonville. Heck, he cares about Jeffersonville ... period!
He thought that he had assisted with six different head coaches at Jeff and told small stories about former Jeff coaches George Marshall and Mike Broughton and some of the players from those teams.
If you have anything to do with Jeffersonville or want to ask an opinion about that community and you want the pulse of what people think there, go to Clark Miles.
Jerry Jones, the University of Louisville assistant for so many years with Denny Crum. He used to substitute teach at Henryville and I made sure I got to know him real well during that time.
How could you not if you love basketball?
A coach who has been places and sat places and coached players that we, as fans, can only dream about.
His best stories are probably from his days at Pepperdine in the 1960’s. Just a crazy time to coach in the Los Angeles area, but he strived. Jones needs to be considered for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame from his time playing at Merrillville High School in northern Indiana and then coaching at U of L for a long time.
He still loves to coach. He sat and spoke with me, but then when he saw something he didn’t like, he was up and correcting it off to the side. And he did that often.
Finally, I was able to sit and speak with Lamar University assistant Clif Carroll. Some of you may not know who the head coach at Lamar is, well, it’s Pat Knight and another assistant is Sherron Wilkerson from Jeffersonville.
Carroll also was a student manager for coach Bob Knight at Texas Tech.
The stories he had to tell, just since the Texas Tech days and at Lamar were fun to hear. He also had an opinion how Knight may end up back at IU someday to be recognized, but I will leave that between he and I (OK, a hint ... Coach Carroll is in charge of scheduling for Lamar).
Oh yea, Coach Gilbert does a great job.
His players have great attitudes at practice, they work hard, they are respectful to all of the coaches and seem to enjoy being around each other. That has to come from the top down and winning doesn’t hurt in making for a joyable atmosphere.
At least, that’s what I saw when I wasn’t sitting talking to the legends on the baseline.
Perry Hunter is a Henryville High School teacher and a former coach of the school’s boys’ basketball team. You can visit his blog at coachperryhunter.blogspot.com.