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Igel earns coaching honorsPosted Wednesday, March 23, 2011, at 11:44 AM
Andy Igel has been coaching boys basketball at Eastern Greene High School for 15 years. He was named was named District III Coach of the Year by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
So it was only fitting that Igel, who just completed his 15th season in charge of the Thunderbirds, was named District III Coach of the Year by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Igel also was named Coach of the Year for the second time by the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association.
"I actually found out a month ago," said Igel, who guided his team to a Class 2A sectional title and a 23-3 record this season. "But I did not want it to be a distraction to our basketball team.
"I told my wife, my assistant coaches and my principal."
Igel said he was honored to be one of two coaches named in District III (Nate Hawkins of Forest Park), which includes all teams south of Interstate 70.
"I am really humbled by this award," said Igel. "I have so much respect for our coaching profession and all the guys that do this job and all the guys in our coaching association.
"I know what kind of time commitment it takes and how difficult it is to coach. I have a great amount of respect for my peers. To be selected by them is really special to me. I also know a lot of coaches that have done a great job and could have won this award."
Igel said he could not have had success (219-123 in 15 seasons at Eastern Greene and 263-208 in 21 seasons overall) without players and coaches.
"You don't receive awards like this unless you have good players and good coaches," said Igel. "Since I have worked at Eastern, I have been blessed with great assistants."
Kevin Terrell, who started working with Igel in 1996 as a junior high coach, was his varsity assistant this year.
Josh Lee served as junior varsity coach and Brian Shepherd was the freshmen coach.
"They worked as many hours as possible to help get this team ready," Igel said of his staff. "They would run through a wall for me. I told them, we won this award. I can't do anything without them.
"My hats off to those guys. Their name is not in the limelight, but I and the players know what a job they do to help us get ready to play basketball on Friday and Saturday night. Their effort was tireless."
The Thunderbirds were regional runner-up, losing 49-44 to No. 1 Forest Park in the title game at Huntingburg. Their other losses came at the hands of Class 4A Bedford North Lawrence and North Daviess.
"This is a team award. We had a tremendous season. If you coach as long as I have and you are fortunate, you'll run across a team like this one," said Igel. "I have been blessed to be part of a couple of teams like this. This was a great group of players, a very special group. They really worked hard and bought into their roles, which is not always an easy thing for high school kids to do.
"There was only one time this season where I was disappointed with our effort and that was against North Daviess. Bedford was just better than us, maybe not 15 points better, but just better. Obviously we would have liked to have won (the regional against Forest Park), but I could not have been more proud of a group of kids. They fought and battled and never quit. We had it down to a one possession game on a couple of occasions, but weren't able to make a play. Forest Park was an outstanding team and there was no shame in losing to them. The kids left everything on the floor, something they did every night."
Because of his selection, Igel, a graduate of Washington Catholic High School, will serve as an assistant coach for the 2011 Indiana Junior Stars when they scrimmage their Senior All-Star counterparts June 6 and 8.
One of the games against the Indiana All-Stars will be at the Hatchet House in Washington.
"It makes me very happy to have one of the games at Washington," said Igel, whose teams at EGHS have won four sectionals and one regional. "Although I never got to coach there, I have a lot of memories of the Hatchet House, which is one of the best venues in the state."
Igel said it will be nice to be coaching against Washington standout and Indiana University recruit Cody Zeller, but also hopes to be coaching one of his own.
"I have been lobbying pretty hard for JT (Yoho)," Igel said of his standout junior guard. "The seniors and juniors are both incredible classes and as deep as I have ever seen.
"I believe that JT deserves a spot on the Junior All-Stars."
B.J. Hargis is sports editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.
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