PREPARES FOR "MACK
You could almost hear the cheers from the Miami East school district
reverberate through the whole conference when it was announced that Allen Mack
was returning as Miami East's
head boys basketball coach.
While the east side of Miami County shook, the rest of the basketball world in the CCC
with any knowledge of Mack's coaching resume raised a curious eyebrow. 'Mack is back' they thought.
Instantly the thought of a State Championship and two other appearances in the final 4 raised the 'street cred' of every team in the conference.
The Mack attack is back and he
doesn't come with a large fry and Diet Coke.
While I make it sound like Allen Mack
is making a triumphant march back to coaching after being courted by every mom and dad on the athletic boosters, it is quite the opposite.
It was Allen
who sought the position and the approval of the School Superintendent before he
even submitted his
You see Allen Mack missed coaching, but not for the state championships and the accolades of being a successful coach.
missed the relationships.
Since Allen Mack
values the relationship with his
wasn't going to apply for the job without getting the OK.
Allen Mack began his teaching career at Miami East in the fall of 1987 after graduating from Manchester College.
He taught math for 15 years and 14 of those 15 years he was the varsity boys' basketball coach.
After coaching JV his first year, he became the varsity coach after the program sustained 10 losing seasons in a row.
first year coaching, the Vikings were 7 – 14.
There was but one losing season in the next 14 years.
Subtract the first year off the career record of 219 and 104, the Vikings averaged over 16 wins and just under 7 losses per season.
By the time career one was over Miami East
made three appearances in the final four and brought home the State Championship in 1996.
Before the Mack years the Vikings had one district championship in 1961.
6th year as the Junior High Principal (6th – 8th grade) at Miami East
notes that he
has an excellent staff to work with and that the students at Miami East
are pretty good students.
noted that the school district and the Jr. High received an Excellent rating last year on the State Achievement Tests.
priorities in place you understand why he
sought the counsel of the Superintendent and others before putting in application for the coaching position.
It doesn't take long into a conversation to realize that Allen Mack
is the ultimate team player.
You sense immediately that it is in the relationships that he
has with his
family, employer, assistant coaches and team that success has found him over the years.
The other impression you get is balance.
is a very smart, humble person, who is quiet spoken, and appreciative of the blessings and good fortunes that have met him during his
coaching, teaching and personal life.
You also sense a very determined person, who is confident, disciplined, competitive, while displaying a Teddy Roosevelt, 'walk silently and carry a big stick' demeanor.
basketball life, Mack
gives credit to the coaches he
was exposed to as a player in high school as a Covington Buccaneer and the assistant coaches that have sat next to him during his
career as Miami East Viking.
Mack played basketball and baseball at Covington, and as he explains it, "I tell people as a student athlete that I was a better student than I was an athlete!"
Mack was a role player his Junior and Senior years on teams coached by the most successful coach in Covington boys' basketball history, Bob Huelsman (won 77% of games played).
As valedictorian of the Class of '83, Mack
paid attention in the class room, but he
also absorbed and paid attention while sitting next to the coaches on the bench.
"Growing up as a player at Covington I took a lot from their program" noted Mack
The zone defense played by the Buccs during his
playing days is very similar to the zone D that Miami East
played during his
first 14 years and will likely be the D of choice as this year's team continues to develop.
"Team work was emphasized greatly there," noted Mack
and is certainly one of the parts of his
previous teams' success at Miami East
Keys to Success
believes one of big keys in the success at Miami East
during Mack's first 14 years was the assembled coaching staff.
"A big part of having a successful season" noted Coach Mack, "is that staff around you.
So many times it is overlooked by people just coming to watch the varsity teams on a Friday or Saturday night."
Defense is the number one focus.
"It's an old cliche, but 'offense wins games and defense wins championships' and I am a believer in that" said Mack
"Trying to convey the importance of teamwork and accepting roles that will help the team be successful is another key part" stated Mack
When asked whether that is harder now than it was 15 years ago, he
replied, "I think it is the same challenges as when I started.
After talking about what makes and will make a successful team and knowing all the factors that it takes to make it through a tourney run, I asked Coach Mack, "How special was it to make not one, but three trips to Columbus?"
"It was very special" noted Coach Mack.
The words quoted above were what stuck with me in my conversation with Allen Mack
You realize that success found Allen Mack
prepared himself for the next step.
Opportunity is what was seized and success just happened to be the end result.
You know that place; Opportunity.
It is where luck and preparedness happen to meet.
You can bet that Miami East
will be prepared under the helm of Allen Mack
Like the successful teams that he
was fortunate to coach, Allen Mack
appears to have balance with his
administrative, coaching and family life.
Either way, I'm sure anyone associated with Allen Mack
is thankful that they have a team player on their side.