Scharf lends 7 years to Y hoops
Leaders of the pack
A look at the coaches and volunteers of Newton’s recreation scene
For seven years, Jon Scharf has been heading to the Covington Y to help dozens of Newton County’s youngsters learn sportsmanship, discipline, basketball and how to have fun.
He recently entered another season; this time, leading to teams at the Sharp Gym, making it team No.s 10 and 11.
“I enjoy watching the kids learn the game and have fun,” Scharf said. “It’s an opportunity
See Scharf, 2B
to teach some kids things about discipline, sportsmanship, hard work and effort in a way that they enjoy. They get a lot more out of it other than basketball, and it’s fun to watch the kids grow like that.”
Scharf began coaching when his oldest son Andrew, now 13, decided to start playing. Scharf had coached Andrew on his soccer team and was ready to take on the challenge of basketball. Since then, he hasn’t looked back coaching all three of his children.
Andrew has moved on to middle school basketball, but Hannah, 9, and Malachi, 6, are now playing at the Y for their father.
Scharf played basketball himself, both in high school in Milwaukee and at Northwestern, where he went to college for two years before going to Martin Luther Col- lege. He coached football at Northwestern some and refereed basketball, but it wasn’t until Andrew got the basketball bug that Jon Scharf began what has been a career of its own at the Y.
When he’s not ministering as pastor at Abiding Grace Lutheran Church, Scharf is helping young basketball players learn how to dribble, shoot, pass and play together. That’s the moments he enjoys the most, when his players learn how to do things the right way and together.
“The best times are when you see plays that you put in and they execute like they’re supposed to and they get all excited because they make five passes and put it in the bucket,” Scharf said. “That’s one of the coolest things as a coach — to see that they’re getting it and on the same page.
“For the real little ones, it’s when someone makes a basket and they’re jumping around excited.”
He has also been with several players for multiple years as parents request the Y for Jon Scharf as their children’s coach.
“There has been two players who I had for the first four years and another the last three, and it’s fun to watch them get better each year,” Scharf said. “With the Y, it usually ends up being kids who don’t have a whole lot of experience in basketball and every year, there seems to be a few who are learning the game for the first time. It’s nice to see kids who know the game.”
Jon Scharf leads one of his Covington Y teams in practice at Sharp Gym on Thursday.
Jon Scharf leads one of his Covington Y teams in dribbling drills at Sharp gym Thursday.