Crane H.S. Coach receives Illinois' 'Coach of the Year' honors
Crane H.S. Coach receives ‘Coach of the Year’ honors
As a product of West Haven community, Coach Tim Anderson continues to make a difference…. in the lives of others and some of those who he considers to be ‘extended family'. Growing up in the Henry Horner Projects, Tim was surrounded by people who played a part in raising him. “It really does take a village to raise a child",said Tim about being raised in the projects. “So many of the kids were watched over and disciplined by everyone in the projects”. The sense of family enabled Tim and his peers to be kids and pursue their dreams. For Tim, it was basketball.
Growing up in a protective yet competitive environment, Tim began to excel in sports. By 1997, Tim was going into high school at Crane and playing basketball in one of the city’s top basketball programs. The team was one of Crane’s top teams ever, contending for a state championship and producing some pro-athletes. Things were looking up for Tim. Then, city history struck. Henry Horner, the housing project that Tim has known as home for all his life, was closing. So besides loosing housing in the only neighborhood he has known, Tim was loosing contact with ‘family members’. “Adapting was hard, but change doesn’t ask for your consent”, said Tim.
Tim went on to graduate from Crane and enrolled at S.E. Oklahoma St. College where his put point guard skills and coaching together. “When I really seen how much point guards were like coaches, I started to see a passion for coaching”. It wasn’t long before Tim would get his chance at coaching. Tim was offered a coaching job at Crane H.S. in 2008. “There could not have been a better job for me at this time. Not only do I get the chance to coach, but a lot of these kids are children of people who were like family to me from ‘the Hornets’ (Henry Horner). This is a reconnection with my family!” Not only did he reconnect with his family, he excelled. After only his second year as head coach, Tim receives honors as Illinois’ ‘Coach of the Year’. Here is what Tim Anderson said in a sit down with Near West….
What does it mean to you to be ‘Coach of the Year’?
It is a huge accomplishment for me as well as the organization, the school, and my coaching staff. It is definitely a reflection of my players as well. I never even knew this award existed!
What changes did you make since your first year?
There was a big transition. I now hold myself accountable for everything! I can admit, I thought I knew everything there was to coaching on this level due to my experiences, but now I know better. So now I am more focused on discipline, accountability, and consistency with my coaching staff and players. Staying focused on our schemes and strategies as opposed to a broader method of teaching. I want the few things we work on to be like second nature to us.
What are some of your experiences helps you in being a productive coach?
I have experienced some bad and good coaching in my playing days. I learned from the bad ones to be totally committed to what I am doing and to build relationships with my players. From the good coaches, I’ve learned to be a leader. I learned to be a coach on the court, so in turn, I teach that to my players. Also being a point guard is an extension of the coach.
What does it take to be a productive coach on the high school level?
Hard work, consistency, discipline, and a great coaching staff. That is what has work for me so far.
What life skills do you instill in your athletes when they are under your watch?
Structure, discipline, mental toughness, and aggressiveness. These are attributes that apply not only to basketball. But I do have an inspiring motto for my basketball players….’Winning is everything’!
How do you deal with the different egos of your athletes?
Building a relationship with all of my players is so important. My famous quote to my team is, ‘Not one of you is as strong as all of us’. This means that no one is more important than the whole of the team. I would not be truthful if I said all of my players are the same but I have a relationship with all of my players and treat them fairly. We try to spend at least one day together with an activity other than basketball. My efforts are to create a family.
What is the most important thing you can offer as a coach to your athletes?
My ability to relate. Being a product of this neighborhood enables me to understand most of the situations that these students are faced with. Plus I am fairly young so I can relate in that way too.
What are your plans going forward?
Continuing to improve daily. Building stronger relationships with my athletes. I want to focus more on their academics from the beginning as oppose to waiting on a potential problem. Education is everything.
Which best describes you as a coach… a mentor, a role model, or a secondary parent?
All three. Being a role model is not a choice. Parents and the administration have to put some trust in you. So kids will see your production in that position. Being a mentor is really how I handle myself in all situations. It has to match what I teach my kids in order to be truthful as a mentor. As far as being a secondary parent, I’ve provided many of students with meals, rides to and from school, and on occasion, a safe place to stay. I have been a liaison for students with administrations, parents, and teachers. Students often bring their problems to me for solutions. I mentally approach their situations like they are my own children.
Congratulations Coach Tim, for your works and accomplishments in the community!!!
Interviewed by Darvolis Robinson
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