The California Pintos High School boys basketball team will have a new head coach this fall.
Brad Conway was hired in August to lead the boys team this season. For the last five years, Conway served as the head coach for the Jefferson City High School girls basketball team, before a brief retirement.
Conway, who had initially retired in May, said he had never ruled out going back to coaching and decided to come to California after being contacted by the school and visiting.
"I still have the competitiveness in me that I knew I was not getting completely out of coaching, and it kind of seemed (like the) right fit for (California) and for me," Conway said.
Conway said this season can be one of chaos and weirdness thanks to the unknowns that winter sports might face this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
"I think we are going to have to be flexible and be proactive in trying to keep everyone healthy," Conway said. "That is going to be our number one goal."
The fundamentals of the game are going to be some of the skills that Conway has the team focus on. Conway said he is more of a defensive-minded coach, so that is another area the team will be working on this year.
"Fundamentals, I think, are important for every basketball team," Conway said. "I am a defensive-minded coach so defense is going to be of the utmost importance starting day one come the first day of practice Nov. 2."
Defense includes a lot of heart and effort from the players, Conway said. The Pintos will be mixing it up when it comes to the type of defense that they play.
"As long as the guys are willing to work hard and to give us their best effort, that is going to be a big step in what we are doing defensively," Conway said. "I am not one defensive-minded type coach; we play man, we play zone, we've done some trapping, done some full court press. It just kind of depends on the team we are playing and the personnel we have. That is something where I haven't really got to see the guys, so that is where we will kind of have to get a mindset from the first couple of practices of which way we want to go in terms of defense and what we are trying to get done."
There are plenty of things that Conway said he enjoys about coaching basketball.
"I like the competitiveness. Being so involved in the coaches association, there is a lot of camaraderie between coaches not just here in Mid-Missouri but the Springfield area, the Kansas City area and St. Louis area," Conway said. "Just forming those relationships and seeing individuals grow and seeing teams improve from practice to practice and game to game."
Getting the players to buy into what the coaching staff is going to be trying to do is important to Conway.
"I just think the biggest thing is the guys buying in and believing in the stuff we are going to try to teach them," Conway said. "It is going to be beneficial to me having coach (Brandon) Kliethermes and coach (Darrell) Bolin, (since) they have been around the guys; they have been around the program for a while and I am going to lean on them a little bit. I am kind of going in blind, but I have heard a lot of good things. The kids are coachable, and we (have) some talent, and we just have to mold them and get them into the mindset of what we are trying to do as a coaching staff."