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Hall steps down as boys basketball coach at WRVPosted Friday, March 20, 2009, at 7:57 AM
Although rumors have been flying for a couple of weeks, Gene Hall will continue his coaching career. It just won't be at White River Valley.
Hall, who will be coaching his 5-year old son Wade in T-ball in Linton this spring, has resigned as varsity boys basketball coach at WRV. It will not become official until it is accepted by the school board Thursday night.
"The big reason I am stepping away from this is because of my family," said Hall, who along with his wife Christy have another son Luke, 2. "It is really demanding having two young sons at home.
"I just have to find something that makes more sense for me. I can't fault WRV for that. I went as long as I could."
Hall took over a program that went 1-21 during 2005-06. In his three seasons at WRV, the 1987 North Knox graduate went 28-39. The Wolverines were 6-18 in his first season and was sectional runner-up, including a win in overtime over Bloomfield in the semifinals.
WRV had a 13-8 record, including a hard-fought loss to eventual sectional champion Shakamak last year. White River Valley finished 9-13 this season.
"When I was asked to come to WRV, they wanted me to bring a little discipline and get the team to be competitive again," said Hall, who had a 24-64 record in his four seasons at Linton-Stockton (2000-01 to 2003-04). "We always got compliments on how hard we played and how the kids acted.
"We had some success in the conference, finishing second the past two years. We have been successful against some of our rivals, going 3-1 against Bloomfield. There are some good things that came out of it."
The Wolverines had a 3-6 record in games decided by seven points or less and finished 9-13 in 2008-09. The year before they won four games by a combined 10 points.
Hall said this past season was anything but easy.
"I wouldn't be totally honest if I didn't say things were kind of tough this year," said Hall, who suspended four starters and five players overall for two games for violation of team rules. "Last year we seemed to push a lot of buttons and things work out. That was not the case this year.
"But that was not the reason I resigned. Actually I had talked things over with the staff a couple of times. I told them this might be my last year for various reasons and it turned out to be right."
Hall, who teaches at Linton-Stockton Junior High, said it is not easy to coach at one school and teach at another.
"When you coach at one place, you cannot get immersed in the community because you don't live there. It makes it really tough," said Hall, who started his coaching career helping former North Daviess coach Max Dean in a summer league when he was 19. "But they did not have a teaching opening and that was just the situation. I took the job knowing this.
"But sometimes it is not fair to the kids. If they got out of school early and I didn't, they were waiting on me or sometimes I couldn't get to practice until after it had already started."
Hall, who was a boys and girls assistant coach at Pike Central when the Chargers were advancing regularly to the semistate, said he is an old school coach, but that sometimes looks can be deceiving.
"I don't know what that entails exactly," Hall said of his approach to teaching and coaching. "But I have always expected my players to play hard, defend and play fundamental basketball.
"You have to be demanding of your players, especially when you take over a program. I push kids, like any other coach, and try to take young boys and turn them into young men. The person that people see on the sidelines on Friday night is not necessarily the person I am."
As a parent, Hall knows that teachers can have an impact on children, but also knows it is not easy to reach every kid.
"All people want good things for their kids," said Hall. "It can be tough for parents to watch me be demanding of their kids. I am probably going to be the same way.
"As a coach, you have to roll with the punches, I enjoy teaching and I enjoy the competition. That's what keeps me coaching."
Hall said that WRV assistants John Bucher and Chris Blackmore would both be perfect to replace him.
"If things were not right for me, why should I stand in the way of Chris and John," he said. "They are two outstanding young coaches that want a shot at being a head coach.
"Hopefully they will give one of these guys a chance. It is time to hand the torch to those guys. Both of them have their strengths."
He added that the Wolverines should do well in 2009-10, no matter the coach.
"They will have five returning players that played extended minutes this year," said Hall, who coached the girls basketball team at Mt. Carmel, Ill. for one season before going to Pike Central. "I wish the kids and the new coach nothing but the best of luck."
He added that he wants to have the chance to build a program, not just come in and win with a good group of experienced players.
"Not many coaches want to spend time and build a program," he said. "I want to see the fruits of my labor.
"Grant McVay has done that at Clay City and Brent Dalrymple has done the same at North Daviess."
Hall said that other than being a head coach of his son's T-ball team and spending time with his family, he doesn't have any immediate plans. He said he has already been offered three assistant coaching positions, a football assistant job (he played football briefly at the University of Evansville) and also has been approached about possible head coaching openings.
"Right now I just want to enjoy the time away from basketball," he said. "I don't really know how to act not having to think about AAU ball or conditioning or organizing summer plans. I have not had a chance to enjoy spring in along time.
"But I don't think there is any question that I will coach basketball again in the future. The only question is when and where."
B.J. Hargis is sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 847-4487.
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