Colerain announces the hiring of new Boys Basketball Coach
July 2, 2014Colerain High School/WeAreColerain.com
From the Cincinnati Enquirer
COLERAIN TWP. If practice makes perfect, Mike Cruz will be the perfect fit for Colerain High School as boys basketball coach.
Colerain High School Athletic Director Dan Bolden announced Wednesday Cruz's selection as the new basketball coach, pending board of education approval.
Cruz comes from NCAA Division II Lake Erie College, where he spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach. Prior to his time with the Storm, he was the head coach at Lorain Community College and an assistant at Division I UNC-Charlotte under head coach Alan Major. Major spent time as an assistant coach under former Xavier University and current Ohio State University head coach Thad Matta before taking over the 49ers.
Cruz will meet his athletes for the first time during a meet-and-greet/open gym for players, parents and community members from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 7, at Colerain Middle School.
"The first thing is just the community," Cruz said about what attracted the Cleveland native to Colerain. "And the type of student-athletes at Colerain. It doesn't matter how good of a coach you are, you have to have talent and clearly there's plenty of talent running the halls. Working with (athletic director, Dan) Bolden and the entire staff, they impressed me from the start. It just seems like a natural fit."
Outside of some part-time coaching with the Ohio Basketball Club of the AAU ranks, this will be Cruz's first head coaching job at the high-school level.
"I've been to 500-plus high school practices, let alone games, so I feel like I have a lot of experience with (the high-school game)," the 28-year-old graduate of Lorain Catholic High School graduate added. "At the end of the day, coaching is coaching. There are differences, like players sharing sports, which is going to be an adjustment, but (not having) the shot clock is probably going to be the adjustment for me. I'm looking forward to the opportunity and I feel like if you're a really good coach you can adapt your style to any age group."
For Bolden, Cruz felt like the perfect fit.
"After interviewing him and hearing his passion for leadership, his love and knowledge of basketball, to his story regarding his path through the coaching ranks from sleeping in his car to get his first job at Charlotte, to his rebuilding of the Lorain program and his success at Lake Erie, Coach Cruz became the ideal selection to lead our program," he said.
While Cruz said every one of his players will start with a "clean slate" when Colerain's offseason program begins July 8, who suits up when they start the 2014-15 regular season will be determined in practice.
"I believe, and it's something you'll hear a lot and my players will know well, is that games are predetermined on how you practice and prepare," Cruz said, who will teach social studies at Colerain. "I believe in competition. Most coaches will tell you 90 percent of our job is done in practice. I'm going to be someone who places heavy emphasis on earning minutes in the game based on how you practice every day."