PEORIA – The coaching staff for Manual’s boys’ basketball team is made up entirely of Rams.
Manual (26-4) will face New Lenox Lincoln-Way West (21-9) in the first Class 3A semi-final at 12:15 p.m. Friday at Carver Arena.
Head coach Derrick Booth and four of his assistants not only played for Manual, but also played for Manual in state title games.
âTo have a great program you have to have a great coaching staff,â said Booth. “The guys we have have not only been successful, but they’ve all been successful at Manual, and the pride that comes with that is part of the message we try to send to our baseball players.”
Booth was a senior on the 1991 squad, led by coach Dick Van Scyoc, who finished second in the Class AA tournament at Champaign after losing to Proviso East in the final.
Booth went on to play at Clark College in Iowa and later Northwest Missouri State before completing his undergraduate studies at Illinois State. He worked at Peoria as a software engineer, was fired and returned to Manual as the coordinator of his school suspension program and as an assistant basketball coach, first under Andrew Johnson, then under Tim Kenny.
He then turned down an opportunity to return to work in the news industry.
âIt was when I was called back to work and had a decision to make that I realized my passion was working with the youth at Manual, so I stayed,â said Booth.
Booth went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling and succeeded Kenny as head coach in 2006.
His longest-serving assistant is Willie Coleman, in his eighth season, and the current sophomore head coach and top varsity assistant.
Coleman was a junior when Manual won the first two of his four AA state titles. He played for Van Scyoc in his junior year, then for coach Wayne McClain in 1995 as a senior.
He then played DePaul, then professionally in Argentina for a season. He went on to obtain a master’s degree and is employed at Manual as a technology coordinator.
âIt’s easier to get kids to pay attention to what you tell them when they know you’ve had the kind of success they’re hoping for,â Coleman said. âThis is a unique deal for these kids, and you feel good about it, but part of my job is to make sure they stay focused on the business at hand. “
Howard Nathan, a senior Booth teammate on the finalist squad in ’91, joined the Manuel staff last season as a volunteer and this season as a full-time assistant.
Nathan, as a senior manual, was an All-American Parade and Mr. Basketball in Illinois before a remarkable one-year college career at DePaul. He then played in college and then in northeast Louisiana (Louisiana-Monroe) and appeared in five games with the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA during the 1995-96 season.
A decade later, back in Peoria, Nathan was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a suspected drunk driver. The accident left Nathan paralyzed under his C-6/7 vertebrae.
“I’ve always been more of a player, and not really into watching basketball, so once I had my injury I kind of stayed out of the game for a while,” he said. said the 44-year-old. “Derrick and I were talking on the phone and he called me to the gym for a few workouts, and once I did I started to realize the positive impact I could have on the kids because of some of my experiences. “
Booth said Nathan’s status goes beyond what he’s accomplished at Manual.
âHoward’s basketball knowledge and understanding is off the charts, and you’re talking about someone who was not only an All-American and Mr. Basketball, but also played in the NBA,â Booth said. . “When you have these things behind your name, it brings a level of legitimacy to what we’re trying to teach kids.”
Courtland Tubbs remains the Journal Star’s only Male Player of the Year in two sports.
As Manual’s quarterback, he was the big school football POY in the fall of 1993, was the baseball POY the following spring, and in between he played on the first of four basketball peats. de Manual, in 94.
He then briefly played soccer and baseball in the state of Indiana, eventually teaching elementary school and coaching an AAU team in Indianapolis.
âI probably wouldn’t have been interested in getting into teaching and training if it was somewhere other than Manuel,â he said. âI’ve known Derrick since we were kids. Coming back and working with him and the other coaches and the kids has been a great experience. “
Darrell Ivory works in District 150 in Peoria and is also a first year assistant coach at his alma mater. He played in the first two quadruple peat teams, in ’94 and ’95. Assistant Coach Stan Hangen attended school in Manual and is currently the Advanced Scouts and Stats Coordinator.
âAll the guys who are great role models for our kids, not just because of how successful they’ve been, but because they’ve been successful and they’re from here down south,â Booth said.
Booth earlier this season surpassed 200 career wins.
His 208 wins are number 2 in school history, behind Van Scyoc, who won 543 games in 28 seasons at Manual.
âCoach Van has always said it’s not just about winning, and sitting here now in his chair, I understand that,â said Booth. “We’ve won over 200 games since I’ve been here and we’ve also had over a dozen kids playing for a bachelor’s degree, and that’s the stat I’m most proud of.”
Lonnie Schwindenhammer can be reached at 686-3214 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Schwinlo.