Archive for May 22, 2014

KOKOMO ADMINISTRATION COMMENTS ON McCAULEY LEAVING BOYS BASKETBALL PROGRAM

Kokomo HS Wildkat

On May 20, Kokomo High School boys basketball coach Brian McCauley stepped down and was introduced as the new coach of the Noblesville Millers.

The following is a statement from the Kokomo School Corporation administration:

Boys Basketball was established at Kokomo High School in 1903, and KHS is proud of its traditions during more than 100 years ofhigh school basketball. Kokomo owns the state record with 74 Sectional boys basketball titles, and a state title in 1961. Twenty-three coaches have been at the helm of the KHS Wildkats while compiling a 1677-931 record.

Brian McCauley served as the Kokomo High School boys basketball –coach for the past 8 seasons while his teams compiled a 130-58 record. The KHS 1996 graduate added to that record sectional total by winning 5 Sectional crowns, including the past 4 seasons in a row. Coach McCauley guided the Wildkats to Class 4A State runner-up honors in 2011.

KHS Athletic Director Jason Snyder wanted to wish Coach McCauley the “best of luck” at his new position.

“Brian dedicated many hours these past 8 years to maintain the storied tradition of Kokomo High School basketball,” Mr. Snyder said. “Brian has worked hard to improve our feeder system through the Future Wildkat League. Coach McCauley will be missed.”

Kokomo School Corporation officials will begin immediately searching for a Boys Basketball Coach at Kokomo High School. Interested applicants can visit KokomoSchools.com.

WILDKAT SHOCKER: BRIAN McCAULEY STEPS DOWN TO TAKE OVER TROUBLED NOBLESVILLE BOYS HOOPS PROGRAM

Brian McCauley

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Wildkat Nation is in mourning. In one of the most shocking announcements in the 111-year history of Kokomo High School boys basketball, popular Wildkat head coach Brian McCauley announced he will step down from his alma mater to take over the Noblesville Miller program. The 36 year-old McCauley leaves behind one of the most historic – and stable – basketball programs in Indiana for a team shrouded in controversy.

“This will be a huge challenge,” said McCauley. “It came down to my prayer that if this is what was to happen, the door would open. And I have to have faith that the door was open. I don’t know what the future holds. Sometimes you don’t know if the decisions you make in life are the right ones until three or four years down the road. But I will give this my best effort as I take this leap of faith.”

After four consecutive sectional championships and eight seasons on the Red and Blue bench – seven on which included 13 wins or more, including the memorable Class 4A state runner-up team in 2011 – McCauley takes over a Noblesville program that has won one sectional title since 1998 (2010). He inherits a team that is in turmoil after longtime head coach Dave McCollough was not retained; during last season, he served a two-game suspension for allegedly striking a Millers player with a basketball during practice.

At the board meeting in which McCauley was hired by a unanimous vote of the school board, patrons of Noblesville spoke for more than 35 minutes in support of McCollough. More than 100 supporters were in attendance and loudly cheered each speaker who wanted the board to postpone the vote for a new coach and investigate the accusations against McCollough. Those pleas fell on deaf ears.

McCollough spent 20 seasons at Noblesville and leaves as its all-time winningest coach (308-138). He won sectional titles in 1996, 1997 and 2010 and a regional championship in 1997. His 308 wins are 11th most among active coaches in the state and in 18 of his 20 seasons his Millers finished above .500. In 31 years as an Indiana boys basketball coach, he amassed a record of 465-223.

McCauley leaves Kokomo with a record of 130-58. He is tied with Alfred Campbell as the fourth winningest coach in Wildkat history – trailing only Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductees Joe Platt (260), Carl McNulty (256) and Basil Mawbey (248). He won five sectional titles (2009, 2011-2014), adding to Kokomo’s IHSAA record 74 sectional championships. He also led Kokomo to three North Central Conference titles (2010, 2011 and 2013). McCauley coached a pair of Indiana All-Stars and NCAA Division I players in D.J. Balentine (2011, University of Evansville) and Tayler Persons (2014, Northern Kentucky University).

“You don’t ever get into coaching for the records or fame,” said McCauley. “But I was really blessed to be at Kokomo during an incredible era.”

McCauley vaulted Kokomo back onto the state scene after the one-year reign of Rick Baumgartner in which the Kats won just 10 games. McCauley lost his first nine games at Kokomo, but since then he has won more than 72-percent of his games. The young coach had three consecutive 20-win seasons from 2011-2013, and would have had a fourth if not for the untimely injury to Persons at the start of the season.

“I am going to miss Kokomo greatly,” said McCauley. “I have so many great memories; I have had great players to work with. I am thankful for the opportunity I was given. I had the privilege of coaching here for eight years, and it was a privilege. Kokomo is bigger than any one coach or any one player – it is an institution. It will thrive, but I am happy it happened for me.”

The new Noblesville coach is a 1996 graduate of Kokomo, where he was a three-year varsity performer for Mawbey. As a player, his Kats were sectional champions three times and regional and NCC champs twice. As a senior, he averaged 14.3 points per game and his squad won its first 19 games to claim the No. 1 ranking in the state.

“I was fortunate to play for a great high school coach,” McCauley said of Mawbey. “I grew up wanting to be a Kokomo Wildkat and win a state championship. Those were great memories and set the stage for how I fell in love with the game of basketball.”

In college, McCauley was an NAIA Academic All-American while playing for Olivet Nazarene University. In his senior season, the Tigers reached the NAIA Final Four while he averaged 8.7 points per game.

McCauley is married to Amy and they have two children.

Kokomo will begin the search for the school’s 24th Wildkat boys basketball coach immediately.

TIPTON STAR LELA CRAWFORD SIGNS WITH INDIANA UNIVERSITY KOKOMO

Lela Crawford Signs

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

TIPTON, Ind. – To build a great basketball program, a coach needs several ingredients to fit the complicated puzzle – scorers, rebounders, ball handlers, floor leaders and players with winning attitudes. For Indiana University Kokomo women’s basketball head coach Whitney Farris, who will guide the Cougars in its inaugural season this fall, signing Tipton senior Lela Crawford may fit every bill.

“When I watched her semi-state game, I could just see that ‘don’t die’ attitude and ‘never give up’ style of play,” said Farris. “She rebounds; she defends; she brings the ball up the court; she scores when she needs to – she just has that team mentality, and that is something I really need to build this program. She is definitely a kid who will come in and do that for us.”

Crawford will bring her basketball skills to IUK after a four-year varsity high school career that included three Class 2A sectional championships, a Final Four appearance last season and a career record of 70-25 (.736). While those team numbers are impressive, her individual stats are equally impressive: 862 career points, 547 rebounds, 130 assists and 145 steals. She averaged 13.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season and 12.9 points and 8.95 rebounds per game her junior year. Consider the fact she played with the Juday sisters – a pair of NCAA Division I players who are the top two scorers in Lady Blue Devils history – and that equals a very solid high school career.

“She is one of two members of a senior class that is the all-time winningest class in school history,” said Tipton head coach Nick Comer. “She has been a cornerstone. I took the job when she was in eighth grade, and she has been with me all along. She has been instrumental to our success and a great leader throughout the course of her four years.”

Crawford said one of the reasons she chose Kokomo was the proximity to Tipton and her family.

“I knew I wanted something close so my family could watch me play,” she said. “That was a big part of my decision. I like the campus and the school – it was a good fit for me.”

Comer said Crawford, whose brother plays NCAA Division I basketball at the University of St. Louis, will be instrumental in the start of the Cougars program. Prior to Comer, Crawford and the Juday sister’s arrival, the Lady Blue Devils only had one winning season in the previous seven campaigns. Since then, they have won three of the schools 10 sectional titles. Now, much like at Tipton, she can be part of building a winning tradition at IU Kokomo.

“She has been fun to watch evolve as a player over the last four years, but even more, evolve as a person,” said Comer. “She has grown into a leadership position and is a joy to be around. She will always be a meaningful part of our program and I am excited for her. She will help build a tradition at IUK much like she did here. It was a great decision for her and for (Coach Farris).”

Crawford agreed with Comer, saying that was another draw.

“I was really excited to be asked to play for them because I do get to help build this program just like Kacie (Juday) and I helped Coach Comer build Tipton’s,” said Crawford. “And now I get to start a four year career all over again.”

Looking back at three sectional titles and a Final Four appearance, Crawford said she has no regrets.

“I had a great four years and loved playing for Coach Comer,” she said. “I mean, I set my standards high and last year, we did just that. While we fell short of playing for the state title, I am happy with my four years. But it is sad to see it over, although that means opening the door for greater things.”

Greater things will include helping to launch the IU Kokomo women’s basketball program. She will enter as a competitor for a starting position, but more importantly, she will be bring her winning attitude and leadership skills to the Cougars – and who knows what will happen over the next four years in the Cougar Gym.