Bob Huelsman
Bob Huelsman

Bob Huelsman is a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, serving for more than three decades at Covington High School, in Miami County. In his 13 years as head basketball coach at Covington, Huelsman won 228 games and five times guided the Buccaneers to the regional round of the state tournament. Currently, he serves as the associate athletic director at Newton High School, and treasurer for the Southwest District Athletic Board. A former member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Huelsman’s broad background in athletic administration has won the respect of his peers statewide.


As a profession, coaches are the hardest working people around.  But people look at them and appreciate their efforts as little more than adults having fun at recess.

It happens at this time every year.  Basketball coaches come and go.  Some leave on their own terms and others leave by being shown the door.

Some go quietly, while others go kicking and screaming!

It comes with the territory, they say.  What a shame!  What a profession!

Years ago, I heard several coaches talk about a lesson told by older, wiser men of the trade…that a coach should change jobs every five years or so, just to stay ahead of the posse.  Back in the day, that philosophy could be utilized, as teaching positions were plentiful.  Today, not so.

The posse is still out there, waiting for the right time to spring into action, the posse being made up of all kinds of “do-gooders”…parents, fans, administrators, even fellow coaches on staff.

In general, coaches are the hardest working people around, but people look at coaches as adults having fun at recess.  Coaches put in more time on their team than they do their own wife and/or family.  They are extremely loyal to their program.  But…

Loyalty means zero, nada, nothing!

The “kiss of death” comes into play when expectations are high.  When a fan base is expecting “big things”, the coach better produce “BIG THINGS”!

When a coach is expecting “team accomplishments”, the team better produce trophies and banners!

The “kiss of death” slowly grips a coach over time.  Too many years at a school, as a coach, and the grim-reaper starts to put a strangle hold on his victim.

Is this how it is supposed to be in high school athletics, and for that matter, even in junior high?

Has it always been like this?  Is it the end of the world when expectations are not met, or does it come down to you being tired of seeing the same old guy on the sideline?

When a coach resigns at the end of the year and states that he wants to spend more time with his family, don’t believe it.  What the coach is really saying is that the posse is closing in, the heat is getting too hot in the kitchen, and I am going to get the hell out of Dodge.

The coach is saying I am sick of it all.  The parents are driving me nuts.  The pressure is too great for me to handle anymore.  Administration is not supportive and nit-picking me to death (they have a levy to pass), etc.

I always liked what Bobby Knight said about it.  He once cracked, “The best place to coach is in an orphanage!”  There’s a lot of truth in Coach Knight’s analogy.  But even then, I see a growing problem of coaches being criticized at younger and younger levels.

To all the coaches out there, no matter what level, take heed to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“In the battle of life it is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have tasted neither victory nor defeat.”