MOORE TO COME
First-year Lighthouse coach is no Marvin Rea, and that’s OK
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.