This week Coach E sits down with head coach Nick Reich and assistant coach Richard Bishop, of the Class A boys’ state basketball champions – Indianapolis Metropolitan High School.
Coach E: How long has the school competed in the IHSAA?
Nick Reich: The school has competed in the Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) for four years.
What are some obstacles you had to overcome as a program?
Reich: As a program there are several social barriers that our program/players have to deal with. All of our players take the city bus to get to and from school. We have no gym, which forces us to practice at Municipal Gardens, which is not a regulated high school gym. Also, dealing with a limited budget we lacked basic items such as practice jerseys, towels and medical bags. Most of these items are common to most schools, but what you don’t have you don’t miss. Our kids never complain about what they don’t have; they just go out and play the game they love.
What are the academic, behavioral and attendance requirements to be a student athlete at Indy Met?
Richard Bishop: We expect our students to be well-behaved student athletes. All athletes are expected to come to school every day and be a positive model at Indy Met. To be eligible academically you must maintain a 2.0 or higher grade point average.
Before the start of the season, what were your expectations for the team?
Reich: Our expectations of the season were to have a competitive team that was going to strive to get better each game. As a staff we wanted to win the school’s first sectional. Each one of these goals were accomplished, and more with the winning of the state championship.
What do you want your kids, parents and community to gain from this experience?
Bishop: We want our kids to accomplish life goals the way they won the state championship. Even though you might have social barriers in your way, don’t allow that to stop you in achieving your overall goals. This moment in their lives should be a snapshot of further greatness! We’re now in the process of attempting to get each athlete into college. We don’t want them to be just ball players at Indy Met, but we want productive citizens of our community. Hopefully, our community will maintain the support of Indy Met, along with Goodwill Youth Services. Our youth want the support of our community. What a great sight it was to see all the support of the fans at the state finals. We now need that same support in the home, classrooms, and other youth projects. The parents traveled with the team just about every game, and we’d like to thank them. The more our parents push their kids to higher education, the better off they will make these young men.
Has it hit you and your team that you are state champions?
Bishop: We are a testament that sports can be a very vital part of education for students. Statistics show how participation in after school sports/activities lead to better scores in the classroom. It’s not about just playing the sport but learning life skills such as leadership, teamwork, responsibility and accountability. A simple game can have so many lessons. Each day it sinks in a little more. Same with our kids. It probably will take some more time for it to fully sink in.