First-year Light­house coach is no Marvin Rea, and that’s OK

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - Mike Hut­ton

Nick Moore isn’t sure what’s go­ing to hap­pen when he steps on the court in his first game as the Light­house boys bas­ket­ball coach.

“I’ve thought about it,” he said. “It’s go­ing to be emotional. I try not to think about it too much. I try not to think about the pres­sure. I’m just wor­ried about the kids and get­ting stuff done.”

Last De­cem­ber, Moore’s step­fa­ther Marvin Rea died in a car ac­ci­dent out­side of Lafayette. Rea was Light­house’s coach.

It’s been a strange, in­vig­o­rat­ing, un­cer­tain jour­ney for Moore, try­ing to make his way with­out Rea, his North Star.

Last year at this time, Moore was soak­ing up as much knowl­edge as pos­si­ble as Rea’s as­sis­tant. There were no im­me­di­ate plans to be a head coach.

Now, Moore is try­ing to fig­ure out which sets to use on of­fense and what his long-range prac- tice plans will look like. The first of­fi­cial day of the sea­son is Mon­day.

He won’t be able to dip his toes in the water and fig­ure it out as he goes.

Moore has to jump in head­first.

He doesn’t want to dis­tance him­self from Rea, a cer­tain Hall of Fame coach who won state ti­tles at Bow­man in 2010 and 2013 and had run­ner-up fin­ishes in 2012 and 2014.

But he knows if this is go­ing to work in the long term, he’s go­ing to have to do it his way,

“I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to in­cor­po­rate some of the things he did on and off the court,” Moore said. “At the end of the day, I’m my own man and own coach. I can’t im­i­tate or du­pli­cate what he did. No coach can.”

Rea’s style was inim­itable.

His best teams rarely ran of­fen­sive sets, re­ly­ing in­stead on a fe­ro­cious full-court de­fense that chased the ball at every point on the floor.

He would use 12 or 13 play­ers. Of­fen­sive flow for his teams was a back­court steal and a layup. Over and over again.

When it was good, it looked

like chaos and Rea was the floor leader. The key was the way he con­nected with the play­ers. He was con­fi­dent, some­times tyran­ni­cal, but al­ways all-in. Play­ers re­sponded to his per­pet­ual bear hug.

Moore said not much will change with Light­house’s style but he’ll add his “own lit­tle fla­vor” to how his teams play.

Moore was in the mid­dle of it dur­ing the 2010 state cham­pi­onship sea­son. He was the start­ing point guard for Bow­man.

Rea pushed him then, and Moore ap­pre­ci­ated it — for the most part. He had to be lit­tle Marvin on the floor.

“We got along 90 per­cent of the time,” he said. “He was hard on me when I was younger. Af­ter I got older and I was good, he let off the pedal a lit­tle.”

Moore was sur­prised when he got the head coach­ing job. He was the ju­nior varsity coach last year.

When Myles Tol­liver be­came the ath­letic di­rec­tor, he asked Moore to ap­ply. Moore was hired in June af­ter the school year ended.

Rea, he said, was a con­sen­sus builder with his staff.

Asked if he ever dis­agreed with how Rea ran the team, Moore said: “He al­ways wanted in­for­ma­tion and in­put from his staff, but I never ques­tioned him. It’s hard to ar­gue with a guy that has been to four state ti­tle games.”

Moore is aware of the fam­ily tree of Gary coach­ing lega­cies. Ty­rone Robin­son at Bow­man and James Scott at Roo­sevelt also were Rea as­sis­tants.

Rea played for Ron He­flin at Roo­sevelt, long con­sid­ered the god­fa­ther of Gary boys bas­ket­ball coaches.

Moore heard Rea talk about what a great coach He­flin was, and now it’s his turn to try.

“At the end of the day, it’s a legacy thing,” he said. “Marvin went to Roo­sevelt and he was coached by a great coach. There are a lot of guys in the city that have had that.

“I want to bring that old-school feel to what I do and not get too dis­cour­aged try­ing to make it work.”


Nick Moore, sec­ond from left, cel­e­brates with Chris Bond (24) and his step­fa­ther Marvin Rea af­ter Bow­man won the Tri­ton Re­gional in 2010.

Nick Moore coaches a ju­nior varsity game for Light­house against Roo­sevelt last sea­son at Roo­sevelt.

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