After a 5-19 season this year, the Russellville Indians boys basketball team will have a new head coach for next season.
Greg Koetting will be the new head coach for the Indians. Koetting, a retired superintendent, said he started coaching around 1980. Koetting said he has coached all around Missouri and has continued to coach for 10 of the 12 years he has been retired. Most recently, Koetting coached at Linn and Vienna. Koetting has coached boys from seventh grade up to 12th grade and girls from fourth to 12th grade.
Koetting said he came to Russellville because Vienna decided to move an assistant coach up to the head coach position.
"Linn and Vienna both hired me, as they had young local kids who were assistants that they wanted them to get more experience and groom them to take over," Koetting said. "So I knew going into those jobs that they were not going to be long-term. They wanted me to get the assistants ready to take over."
The Indians are going to have a young team next year, said Koetting, a similar position to what he had while at Vienna.
"Based on the number of kids at the various grade levels, it is going to be very similar to what I had this year at Vienna," Koetting said. "Maybe about one senior, and a few juniors, and a bunch of sophomores and one or two freshmen. That was pretty much what I had at Vienna this past year so it is going to be a young team again, but my understanding is that there is a fair amount of potential in next year's sophomore's class."
Fundamentals will be something Koetting said he will have the team focus on.
"I guess we will be just making sure they get their fundamentals," Koetting said. "My big thing this first year is making sure they there are getting their fundamentals down, make sure they know how to play defense the way I want them to play."
Koetting saw the importance of fundamentals when he coached his two daughters' elementary basketball teams. He said players who don't become proficient with them early may find them lacking when they get to the high school level.
"Fourth grade is where they started elementary level basketball and nobody else wanted to coach my older daughter's fourth grade team, so I coached them," Koetting said. "Later on, I was also coaching my younger daughter and I learned that you (have) to teach them those fundamentals when they are young. Unfortunately, a lot of elementary-level coaches don't do that because they don't really know how to teach the fundamentals and they worry too much about winning. So a lot of the time (players) get to the high school level and they don't have those fundamentals down."
Growth is going to be important for the team as well during the next season, Koetting said, another similarity to his time coaching at Vienna.
"Sure, we want to win as many (games) as possible. But knowing that we have that large sophomore class and not a whole lot of juniors and seniors kind of makes sure we are building for the next two years after that," Koetting said. "If we lose a close game, you've got to learn from it. It is not the end of the world — most of the players are going to have two more years."