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.

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To my former colleagues who lost their state tournament dream the past couple of weeks, I know just what you’re going through.  You feel, and I still feel, just like this old song from the past.

There’s a place where “coaches” go,
To cry their troubles away
And they call it Lonesome Town,
Where the broken hearts stay

You can buy a dream or two
To last you all through the years
And the only price you pay
Is a heart full of tears.

In the town of broken dreams,
The streets are filled with regret.
Maybe down in Lonesome Town,
I can learn to forget.

This is the time of the year when many coaches frequent Lonesome Town. I have personally been to Lonesome Town on many occasions myself. Coaches know they are going to be visiting, whether they like it or not. They dread it, but know it is inevitable!

Ricky Nelson made Lonesome Town a famous place back in 1958. He was 18 years old when he sang about it, not about coaches, but about it being a place where lovers go. I am sure he didn’t realize that coaches go there at least once a year.

Some call it the “trail of tears”, others the inevitable “agony of defeat”, as approximately 1,600 basketball teams vie for a state championship in Ohio. Only 8 will survive. That’s .5%, the rest (1,592) have reservations awaiting them in Lonesome Town.

Like I said, I have been there numerous times. I know what coaches face when they lose, and it is not Disney World, let me tell you.

You spend almost all waking hours thinking about your team—from who is going to be on the team, what you might have to deal with (players & families), team chemistry, your opponents, injuries, not to mention Xs and Os.

You deal with this all year around. No longer is there a basketball season.

One puts their “heart and soul” into every aspect of the game/season with visions of “sugar plums dancing in your head”. What happens 99.5% of the time? You get a ticket to Lonesome Town.

Many times the coach is heckled, called names, discussed and cussed, all the way there! They settle into Lonesome Town to “learn and forget”. It is very lonely in Lonesome Town, as everybody there has their own troubles, broken hearts, shattered dreams, tears, and regrets.

What happens in Lonesome Town is that time heals the wounds. A new life is born within your soul, and all of a sudden, the coach starts visioning what the next year will bring. After a period of healing, he comes out of his cocoon like a butterfly and ready to tackle another season.

People think coaching would be a great profession. They better be ready to visit Lonesome Town. It will be a destination waiting for you. “Maybe down in Lonesome Town, I can learn to forget!”

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