Rod Gorman is a veteran coach with more than 500 career victories. But he’s trying to approach his new gig as leader of the Houston High School boys’ basketball program as a rookie.
“I try to put myself back in the position like it’s the first day I ever coached,” Gorman said. “I think about an all new language and all new drills. It’s been a long time. My first year coaching was 30 years ago.”
Gorman, who retired in the spring from a long and incredibly successful tenure at Logan-Rogersville, is stepping into a new chapter of his coaching career with the Tigers. He will attempt to bring the same winning pedigree –– nine conference champions, eight district titles and six quarterfinal appearance –– to a program that is a combined 27-118 the past six seasons and hasn’t won a conference or district crown since the 1980s.
He also leaves the stability of a program that had one head coach for 20 years to a Houston team that has had 10 different leaders the past 11 seasons. The coach before Gorman’s late hiring in August stayed two months.
It’s a challenging situation, but Gorman said he is enjoying it.
“Since the day I came to work at Houston, I haven’t had a bad day,” he said. “I love my teaching situation and I love my basketball kids and working with them. As long as the attitudes stay where they’re at now, it’s very rewarding for me.”
The Tigers return just one player –– Lucas Kelley –– from last year’s 5-19 team. Gorman said he will build his team around the senior point guard.
Kelley could move positions, Gorman said, as sophomore Paydon Dixon and freshman Kyler Ramsey develop as point guards.
Two more freshmen –– Isaiah Buse and Clayton Moore –– are fighting for playing time on the wings with senior Riley Cavaness and juniors Ty McCloud and Gavin Alston.
Senior Tayler Ward will play on the wing and small forward. On the interior are senior Cameron Root and juniors Michael Clayton and Noah Moseley.
“I could see 10 or 11 of them vying to be on the court,” Gorman said. “They’ve worked really hard. We’ve had 15 practices, and the improvements they’ve made are tremendous. I think they’re more confident. Their expectations of themselves and our team are probably higher than when they started.”
Gorman said the Tigers will have a ball control approach to begin the season, which tipped off Tuesday night at Cuba. He said the team needs to play games in the 40s and 50s to be successful. He hopes to develop a philosophy to play faster as the season progresses.
Gorman said his goal for the 2016-’17 Tigers is to become a big enough threat that the area’s best teams –– like Mountain Grove, Licking and Liberty –– respect them and must prepare for the matchup.
“This team is hungry to get better,” Gorman said. “We know we have a lot of weaknesses, but we’re working hard every day. We’re become adequate in every area. I don’t think we have a weakness that we haven’t improved upon.”