BROOK CUPPS – CENTERVILLE (OH) HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL HEAD COACH – EPISODE 668

Brook Cupps

Website – http://www.bluecollargrit.com/

Email – bluecollarhoops@gmail.com

Twitter – @brookcupps

Brook Cupps is the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Centerville High School in Ohio.  Brook graduated from Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio near Springfield in 1995, and following a 4-year playing career at Capital University in Columbus, he returned to Graham.  He became the head coach in 2000 and spent 12 seasons at Graham.  In 2012, following his time with the Falcons, including a trip to the state semifinals, Coach Cupps left his alma mater to become the head coach at Centerville High School where he has earned several coach of the year honors while guiding the Elks to multiple sweet 16 and elite 8 appearances. His 2021 team recorded a school record 26 wins on the way to the Division I State Championship in Ohio, the first in school history.  His 2022 team was the state runner-up.

Brook is the author of the book “Surrender the Outcome”, teaches two leadership courses at Centerville and also writes a weekly blog on bluecollargrit.com

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 Be sure to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Brook Cupps, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Centerville High School in the state of Ohio.

What We Discuss with Brook Cupps

  • Playing multiple sports growing up in rural Ohio
  • The influence of his high school coach Dave Zeller
  • “The thing that gets lost. I think a lot of times in high school sports is just the value of the locker room.”
  • Helping kids define success on their terms, not societies
  • The danger in tying your identity to your wins and losses as a coach
  • Tough, passionate, unified, and thankful
  • Defining your core values and then connecting those values to specific behaviors
  • “When we’re coaching basketball, we’re building values too.”
  • Better people make better players

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THANKS BROOK CUPPS

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Click here to thank Brook Cupps on Twitter!

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TRANSCRIPT FOR BROOK CUPPS – CENTERVILLE (OH) HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL HEAD COACH – EPISODE 667

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the hooped podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to be joined by Brook Cupps, the head boys basketball coach at Centerville High School here in the state of Ohio. Brook, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

[00:00:14] Brook Cupps: Hey, thanks for having me guys.

[00:00:16] Mike Klinzing: Excited to have you on really looking forward to diving into all the things that you’ve been able to do throughout your basketball career.

Let’s start by going back in time to when you were a kid. Tell us a little bit about some of your first experiences with the game of basketball. What made you fall in love with it.

[00:00:30] Brook Cupps: Yeah. You know, growing up, my dad was a teacher for 30 years. My mom was a school bus driver. I have a brother that’s seven years older than me and my brother was a diehard football guy.

He is actually, he was coach football for a long time. He was a defensive coordinator for LaSalle when they won state championship. And he, so football was kind of my thing. And then in seventh grade, Tim Casey, who was at, who was at Kettering Fairmont, he was at St. Paris Graham, where I went to school for just a few years and I was in seventh grade.

And then he, from there, he went on to Fairmont and now he’s at upper Arlington and Columbus. But coach Casey just had like this passion and love for the game. That I, that was just so new to me and got me hooked as a seventh grader really before that, I mean, I kind of played but nothing serious. So I attribute a lot of that to, to coach Casey in terms of me really falling in love with the game.

[00:01:23] Mike Klinzing: How valuable you think it was for you at a young age? Sounds like you played a bunch of different sports, like a lot of kids that were from the same era that you and I are from. Just how would you describe your multi-sport experience growing up compared to maybe the way the kids grow up today?

[00:01:37] Brook Cupps: Yeah, I mean, I think it was good.

I mean times obviously changed some, but like, I mean, it was in the winter, it was basketball season, so I played basketball. In the spring it was baseball, so I played baseball and then the fall was football. So I played football. You know, and I just remember more than anything. I remember running around, outside riding my bike, jumping mulch piles, and then the Creek to grew up out in the country.

So it was just like, you were just never inside. You were always outside doing stuff. And you know, it’s a great way to grow up. I enjoyed it. And I think it’s, I think there’s a lot to be said for that.

[00:02:12] Mike Klinzing: Once you started to get more serious about the game of basketball, what did you do to start working on your game and, and really trying to improve as a player?

[00:02:20] Brook Cupps: Yeah. So, I mean, my dad really had no, no experience with basketball. And so going through seventh and eighth grade, I, I worked a lot, like I, that wasn’t anything foreign. That was definitely from my parents. So once I kind of started liking basketball, I mean, it was, I was all in. But I, I know even I worked, I’d work out in the mornings before school all the time.

And I would take notes in class with my left hand. Cause I thought that would make me better. I’d walk around, squeeze a racqut ball and I would strengthen. And you know, I did some, I did a lot of stuff where I was trying to just maximize what I had. I don’t think I.

Gifted with any type of extreme athleticism or anything like that. And really, I hadn’t been around the game of basketball very much growing up but you know, I was lucky that my, so through middle school coach Casey was the coach. And then my sophomore year, my, I played freshman as a freshman and my sophomore year, Dave Zeller took the Graham job and Z was one of the, I mean, he’s still like probably one of the people I look up to the most in terms of how he handled himself professionally within coaching, how he built relationships with guys.

He just, he had a huge, huge impact on me. So I was really lucky to have him kind of come in my sophomore year. So I played freshman as a freshman and I started varsity as a sophomore with coach Zeller as my coach, just kind of. He thought I was a lot better than I thought I was. I’m sure you’ve heard that.

And I’m sure we’ve done that with kids to it’s just, he elevated my play because he believed in me more than I really believed in myself.

[00:04:06] Mike Klinzing: When you think back to those high school years, and you think about the kids you played with your teammates and obviously the feelings that you had for coach Zeller, what are some of your ideas, one or two memories you have that stand out from your high school time?

[00:04:19] Brook Cupps: Yeah, man, there’s a lot of ’em. I mean, a lot of ’em we had great, we had good teams. I mean, we were never really great. But we were pretty good and just growing up with the same group of guys and then getting to play in high school together with them andhave to the pickup games on Saturdays where everybody would just come play.

You know, obviously the. The thing that gets lost. I think a lot of times in high school sports is just the value of the locker room. And just sitting around, talking to the guys and hanging out after practice and you know, all those things that seem trivial and minor at the time are really the biggest things.

And you know, I, I definitely look back to those times. The, probably the thing that stands out to me the most about like the one memory that I have is it, it really, it changed. I, I didn’t get this till later when I started really reflecting and understanding how I wanted to coach, but coach Zeller was one of the most humble servant minded people I had ever been around.

I mean, coach Zeller was, he was an all American at Miami of Ohio. He played for the Cincinnati Royals behind Oscar Robertson. And like, he was an unbelievable player. You know, and. I remember him. I still actually have tape. Like he used to tape my ankles before games and he would write on the tape, shoot the ball,  and I still have, I still have some of that tape.

I got a box, like a shoebox at home, likehave to my high, I mean, it’s just like, it’s such a reminder to me that like the impact that you have, you’re not even aware that you’re having, I’m sure. I’m sure Z never knew I, I held onto that kind of stuff, but you know, he definitely knew how much I cared about him.

And then for, for him, coach, Zeller never won a district championship and. That really like when I was, when I was kind of going through my coaching journey and changing my first six or seven years of coaching, I was just like, figure out to win the next game. I was chasing wins. I was chasing the acclaim.

I was comparing myself with just everybody else. And I got to a point where I knew I couldn’t continue in that rat race. And Z’s example was a major part of that because what I got back to was like, man, hold on a second. Like, all these people are saying like, you have to win a state championship or you have to win this.

You have to be a college coach to, to be really good or to be great at, at. Coaching. And I thought back to coach Zeller, I’m like, I don’t think there’s anybody better than him. Like it, it, no one would’ve had more of an impact on me than he had. And so it really changed the way I defined success because I couldn’t no longer, I couldn’t say like I was more successful than coach Zeller.

If I won district championship, I know he’s a better coach than I am. And so how, like, it, it just, it threw me for a whirlwind. It made me really start thinking about what does success really look like in this coaching thing.

[00:07:25] Mike Klinzing: So when you were playing, when did coaching get on your radar?

Was that something that you kind of always knew in the back of your mind that, Hey, when I’m done, I’m going to get into coaching, obviously with your dad being a teacher, your mom being a school bus driver that. being in education was not foreign to you. Was that something that you were thinking about early on or was it something that you didn’t come to until you could kind of see your playing career coming to an end?

[00:07:50] Brook Cupps: No, it was pretty early on. I mean, I was always a guy that had to like kind of scrap around to be able to compete and play. So I was kind, always kind of small, had to take charges, had to dive on the floor had. So I was always kind of in like that leadership role and that’s kind of what I did.

That was a way I separated myself from other guys and was able to have a strength and talent maybe that some other people weren’t willing to have. And I knew, I mean, I had an inkling when I was in high school that that’s something I could want to do. I might want to do, my dad had helped coach baseball.

I knew my brother was getting into coaching football. And you know, I, I think by the time I was in college, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

[00:08:35] Mike Klinzing: Talk a little bit about your college experience and how you ended up at Capital

[00:08:38] Brook Cupps: Yeah, so I, so at capital at the time, Coach good was coach Goodwin’s second year at capital.

So we were really kind of his first recruiting class. And the assistant coaches were Matt Crosy. Who’s now the coach at Whittenburg and Mike Holger, who coach ger was actually on our, my staff at Centerville a few years ago. So we had a great staff and great group of coaches. I was, I was, for me, it was down to capital and Wittenberg was real close to where I grew up.

Both were great schools. I liked coach brown at Wittenberg at the time. And I don’t know, coach Croy was the guy that recruited me oddly enough to capital. And he was kind of the lead, my lead recruiter. And I just, I like the I like the toughness that coach Goodwin brought and and no doubt, it changed the way I do things like he, he had a huge impact on.

I mean, tough is one of my core values and I think coach Goodwin had a lot of, a lot to do with kind of bringing that out in me and understanding what that really meant to be tough. So we, I had a good career. I mean, I played there for four years. I played varsity four years. I started my last three and, you know we were on my freshman year, we had a great team.

We lost in the in the three 16 of the NCAA tournament. I, I played a lot andhave to made a lot of good friends and relationships and you know, it was, it was a good experience.  I wouldn’t trade it for sure.

[00:10:05] Mike Klinzing: It just speaks to right. Being in the right place and with the right coaching staff and the right school.

And I think that’s one of the conversations that we have a lot of times here on the podcast with coaches is. Everybody’s kind of chasing this scholarship dream. Right. And when you chase that, sometimes we overlook like how important it is to just find the right fit and find an experience. That’s going to be a good one for you.

And it kind of hit me when you were talking a little bit about your high school experience and just those little things in the locker room. And just that when you look back on it, that’s some of the most important, those are some of the most important moments that you had when you were a high school player and that you, those are the things that you remember.

And I think so often, and I’m sure you see it, that. Kids are so focused and families are so focused on what’s next. And I mean, that starts from the time they’re in second, third grade. Like when, what travel team am I going to play on next? And am I going to be a starter on the middle school team? And when am I going to be a starter on the varsity?

When am I going to be all state? When am I going to get my scholarship offer? And what AAU team am I going to play for? And there’s all this stuff, and everybody’s always looking at what’s coming next. Instead of just looking, I get it. But to the same point, I think it’s just enjoy the moment where you are and try to maximize it because as you and I both know, it goes way too fast, no matter whether you’re a player, whether you’re a coach, whatever it is that you’re doing that time, those seasons, those experiences go really, really fast.

And once they’re gone, you don’t get ’em back. And I think that’s something that we sometimes miss with the way the system’s set up.

[00:11:38] Brook Cupps: Yeah, no doubt. I think that’s one of the, I think that’s one of the huge roles of coaches helping kids stay present and appreciate the opportunities and where they are, and then helping them to define success on their terms rather than society’s terms.

I mean, I think, I think that’s what kids get caught into. How many points am I average? And am I going to star, where’s my scholarship? What am I ranked? What, like, that’s all, that’s all outside of your control, man. That is, that is society telling you what’s important instead of focusing on the things that we all really know are important.

[00:12:11] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. And you talked about it a little bit, that at one point we’ll get into this in a few minutes, but you talked about how you went through a transition as a coach and just start out kind of thinking one thing is important. And then as you go through it, you realize that, Hey, there’s a lot of other things that are a lot more important.

I think most coaches can relate to that, that when you’re young and you kind are coming off, especially if you come off a, I think a successful career as a player. You kind of look at things differently and have a different set of parameters that you judge yourself by. And then as you get into it more and more, you start to look back and realize, Hey, who are the people that had an impact on me and how did they have that impact on me?

And it, it, you realize that the wins and losses are important that everybody likes to win, but it’s also those, all of those other things thathave to we’ll get into and talk about as we get more into your coaching journey. So talk a little bit about when you get done at capital, you’re trying to figure out what’s my next move.

What am I going to do? How am I going to get into coaching? Just tell us a little bit about the first coaching job.

[00:13:08] Brook Cupps: Yeah. So I so coach Zeller was at Graham and he was retiring. He was like, I’m out. And I call him and I’m like, coach don’t retire, come back for one year. So I can coach with you. And like, you can teach me what the heck I’m supposed to be doing.

Like, just come back for one, like, Brooke, we’re going to be awful. Like, don’t do it. Like I’m telling you, I’m telling you we’re not going to be any good. So he comes back like  just like you thought he would, he, he would, he comes back. We have an, I mean, it was an awesome year just like being around him , completely different than when I was a player.

But just a different appreciation for all the stuff that he did for his kids and for the players and how he’s just consumed with helping them be as good as they could be. And then, so he, then he helped for, or I helped him for a year and then he retired and then basically I had to apply for the job and, and came down to me and another guy and.

They asked me to be his assistant for a couple years, because I, I mean, I was just out of college and I just felt like, I felt like, I mean, I didn’t want to be an assistant to anybody besides coach Zeller at the time. And I just said, I just hire me or him. Like, I’m good. I understand if you hire him, like he’s got more experience than me, but like, I, I don’t, that’s not a situation I want to be in.

So they decided to hire me young and dumb and it was at my it’s where I graduated from. So I was 20, whatever I was 20, 20 man. 23 maybe. Yeah, 23. And I was, I mean, it’s the only place in the country. I could have gotten a head coaching job cause I was awful at what I was doing. I was mean I had, I had multiple games where I went in and the, and the the, thehave to like the site managers for the other schools, right?

Like, come up to me and say, where’s your head coach at? Cause they thought I was a manager but you know, it’s, it was all good. I, I do think obviously it’s easier in retrospect, but I do think it was so good for me to get my ass kicked when I was young. So I didn’t think I knew everything. It made me realize it more now probably even than I did then.

Like how little you actually know. Of course, of course, when you’re young, you think you have it all, everything you think you got it figured out and I was a long way from that.

[00:15:30] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. There’s no question about that. As a young coach, I think. Whew. You think back to what you did in, in a lot of ways you feel like you did a disservice to those firsthave to those first teams that you coach you’re like, man, if I could apologize to those guys and just think about the way that you went about and did things.

I know I, I speak, I coached two years JV when it was my first, my first coaching job. And I just think back to it and I’m like, man, I really wasn’thave to I wasn’t very good. I basically just did whatever my coaches previous that I had played for. And you know, you just, again, you’re kind of chasing wins and losses and you just think, I wasn’t very, I wasn’t very good at it.

And I, I, I completelyhave to understand exactly where you were coming from. That being said, was there something that you felt like. You were good at that felt natural, right? Out of the gate. Obviously there’s a lot of things you didn’t know, a lot of things that you look back on. You’re like, man, I didn’t do that very well, but there I’m sure there was one or two things that you really did kind of have a handle on, right.

From the beginning that you felt like, Hey, or at least it was something that you really enjoyed, some aspect of it that maybe you weren’t expecting or just something that you were good at, right out of the gate.

[00:16:35] Brook Cupps:  I would say our guys, we played hard. Like I, I knew what hard looked like.  I didn’t have this delusion of like, oh guys are playing hard and they’re like walking everywhere.

I never had that delusion thankfully for, because of coach Goodwin at Capital. Like I knew what I knew, what hard meant and what it looked like and tough and being physical and really like really competing. I knew what that looked like. And I think. That’s been something I’ve been able to convey to all the teams.

And then the other side of, I think, like I knew how to prepare because coach Zeller was, I mean, he was so detailed with scattering reports and you know, just prepped for other teams and stuff. So I, I had an idea how to do that. So I would say those two things. But yeah, that’s a, that’s a good question.

[00:17:32] Mike Klinzing: T list is pretty short. Huh? Well, what did you, it is very short. What, what was the hardest thing as a young first or second year head coach? What do you remember when you reflect back on that time as being something that was a real struggle for you to get a handle on.

[00:17:50] Brook Cupps: Definitely my ego. I mean, like just every, every game was a comparison. Like it’s like if they beat us, then their coach was better than I was. And if I, if we beat them, I was better than him. It was, it was completely an ego fight. Like, I mean, it’s, that’s all it was. And. That was probably the thing. And that’s why that’s where all the emotional ups and downs and all that stuff.

Everybody has an ego. I don’t think there’s any getting away with it. And it’s a lot of us are in coaching because we’re competitive and we, we like that, but there’s a difference early on. I mean, it was, it was a personal thing for me and it was, my identity was tied to whether we won or lost and how we played.

I felt like if we didn’t play well, I was a failure if we played well, I was the smartest guy in the world. Neither one of them should have been true, obviously. But I think that was definitely my biggest challenge.

[00:18:50] Mike Klinzing: How long was it until you started to get a handle on that? Was it when you got to that transformation point that you mentioned earlier where you started.

Be able to get a handle on those emotions because anybody who’s coached knows that regardless of how good of a handle you have on those things, there’s still those inevitable ups and downs emotionally throughout the season when you win, when you lose games. So when did you feel like you kind of got a handle on that to where it wasn’t completely driving you up a wall when you lost and where you could nothave to so you weren’t having that manic depressive type state all the time.

[00:19:23] Brook Cupps: Yeah. I mean I do. I remember it pretty clearly. Like I mean that kind of the tipping point for me, we win, we win a regular season game by 40. Like we beat a team by 40, at the, in the last game of the regular season. And we’re like the one or two, I think we’re the one seed in the tournament. We play the same team that we lo we beat by 40.

We lose to him in the first round of the tournament. And like I’m driving home from that obviously. Wanting to drive off a bridge. But I just, I mean, I remember sitting in my driveway going like this. I can’t keep doing this like this. Like there’s got to be more to it and it’s have to be about more than this.

And that’s kind of what sent me to my, to like a, a different into like the, the reflection and really the deep dive into like who I wanted to be as a coach. I think up until that time, I was, I was trying to be Z. I was trying to be coach good when I was trying to be my dad. I was trying to be everybody that had coached me.

And I think that’s normal. Like, I, I really do. I think that’s a normal pathway and I, but I remember at that point, I like. I knew I couldn’t keep coaching. I knew I wasn’t going to be coaching for 25, 30 years doing that. And so you know, I just, I mean, the way I did it is I just, I just burned the ship, man.

I just started, I started completely over.

[00:20:52] Mike Klinzing: So what did the deep dive look like? Was that reading, was that you sitting and reflecting? Was that journaling, was that talking to other coaches? What did that process look like for you when you realized, Hey, I have to make a change. What did you do to start to make that change a reality?

[00:21:07] Brook Cupps: I mean, I got lucky more than anything. Probably I went to a coaching clinic for athletes in action at, in Xenia and Dick Bennett was speaking and Dick Bennett was speaking on his five pillars. And I just remember, I just remember going, that’s it like, that’s it like that? Like, what do I want our guys to leave our program with?

Because I had never talked about that. I mean, we talked about playing hard, working hard, being selfless. We talked about stuff, but like actually taking the step to say, okay, like this precedes the basketball. Like this is what I want our guys to leave our program, having grown in these areas and really the basketball stuff will take care of itself.

Like we’re going to do all the basketball stuff well, but I’m going to do them. I’m going to do the basketball stuff through these values or through what I believe. And I want our guys to leave our program with. And so. When I heard coach Bennett speak. I just, I mean, it was probably miss that entire off season.

I mean, that’s all I did was try to figure out what I wanted our guys to get out of our program and really like, it needed to be what I believe, because if I’m the head coach, like I need to be the one holding ’em accountable to whatever it is. And so that’s kind of where I, I mean, I came up with our core values and you know, they they’ve changed a little bit since those, that original one because I’ve grown and I’ve changed my views on some different things, or I think something’s more important.

But they haven’t changed a whole lot. So like once I got that and then the basketball stuff became so much easier for me because rather than trying to put in a thousand plays, like I’d always wanted to play run motion. I got, I’d always wanted to be a motion guy, switch screens, man, to man defense switch everything.

That’s what I’d always wanted to do, but everybody would be like, you can’t teach motion to high school, guys. You can’t switch every screen. You’re going to get all these mismatches you cannot go be able to rebound. Like, and so I, we did our core value I figured out what I, one of my core values to be, I said, we’re running motion, we’re switching everything.

And that’s what we’re doing. And I tried to like the very first year I did it, I, I put a bunch of like sets and stuff in to save me. Basketball-wise I, I was like, I was scared. And so of course, what do I do? We go to the first game, motion sucks. Like I’m in November, it’s terrible. Like we can’t even, we didn’t even create any shots.

I’ve started calling sets and by the end of the year, we’ve got 15 sets in. We’re not running any motion. So the next year and put anything in motion, one sideline out bounds, one baseline out of bounds motion, man, nothing else. I had no crutch at all and we motion still sucked at the beginning.

but it didn’t suck in March. You know, by the time we got to March, it didn’t suck. Because I, I kind of held fast to, to that. And so you know, the, the core value thing for us is like, like, that’s my deal. Like I I know a lot of people talk about ’em and a lot of people say they’ve got ’em and this and that.

And, and I’m sure there’s a lot of programs that do a great job with them, but for us, I mean, we’re tough, passionate, unified, and thankful. Those are my values. Those are the values I live by. And so the people in our program, the kids in our program, I don’t ask that they have those values. I just ask that they accept them and want to grow in them.

And the same, I say the same thing to the parents. You know, if you don’t want your son to be tougher, more passionate, more unified and more thankful, well, then this isn’t the program for them because that’s what we’re trying to build in your kid. We wanted to be good basketball players. Sure. Like we’re going to challenge them.

We are going to help them understand that for us tough looks like positive body language. Like that’s how we define toughness. And so if you come in moping into practice, like we’re sending you out of practice. Like if you get a foul called on you in a game and you put your hands up complaining to the official, like you’re coming out.

Like they, they have to understand that. And it’s not because we don’t like you moping it’s because  it’s showing a lack of toughness, which is a core value for our program. And so we’ve got, ’em all defined like that and all connected to basketball stuff. So now when we’re coaching basketball, we’re building values too.

And that, to me, I just, I just feel completely different about it. And I actually did apologize to any of my players that I see that I coached in my first six or seven years. I apologized to them because like I was terrible. I cheated them out of such a great opportunity, such a chance to grow and contribute to their lives as, as husbands and fathers.

And I freaking blew it. And sohave to I, I feel like I need to apologize to them. And now I feel like. What, what our program is doing and what our coaching staff does and what our guys, our alumni guys do for our, our current players is like, they help them become the people that we want them to be. And the basketball stuff meant, guys know it.

Like the basketball stuff ends up being so much better because it’s like better people make better players.

[00:26:20] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. There’s no doubt about that. I love what you said, where you are talking about tying the behaviors to the pillar. Cause I think that’s one of the things thathave to it’s easy to put your pillars up and put ’em on a poster and be like, all right, here’s what we’re going to do.

But I think when you tie that to actual behaviors that you and your coaching staff can point to and be like, okay, here’s actually what we mean. Here’s what we’re looking for. When we say be tough, here’s some examples of what toughness looks like and what we’re going to be looking for. And. Obviously what you’re doing in practice and in games is you’re recognizing those things with whichever one of the four pillars that a kid exhibits you’re going to ’em and saying, Hey, here’s an example of what we’re looking for.

We say be tough or here’s what it means to be passionate. And then when you tie that behavior to the pillar and then you reward that, obviously that’s where the magic happens. For sure.

[00:27:10] Brook Cupps: Yeah. Yeah. That, and that’s our highlight. We make highlights after each game with our core value stuff. So it’s like, that’s tough, that’s passionate, that’s unified.

That’s thankful like that. Like we show them that and try to tie it back to ’em because you’re right. They need to see that example. So they know what it is. I, I think. Behavior part is the, is the separating factor because it’s it’s action. Like, I, I get a lot of questions about culture stuff now. And it’s like, people want to talk about all this stuff about culture.

Culture is what you do. That’s it like, it’s the behaviors of the people in your organization and your team? Like, what are they doing? It’s not what you have on the wall. It’s not what your shirt says. It’s not how many games you win. It’s what are you doing? Like. I don’t like, I don’t want to win 30 games and be a bunch of turds.

Like I don’t want to do that. Like, I’m fine winning 15 games or seven games. And, and like us doing and being who we say we want to be and, you know and aligning with our values. And I don’t know, it’s, it’s a big deal for us. Like, it’s, it’s what we do. I mean, passionate for us is choosing extra work. We talk about like, everything that you do in life is going to be outside of what is expected of you.

Like that’s where you separate yourself. Everybody’s going to do what’s expected. Or most people are all the mediocre. People are like, you have to be willing to do extra. And unified is speak and act with urgency. We talk about we talk about unified. Like it’s a communication thing for us, because I think in my mind, one of the most selfish things you can do is watch a teammate with subpar behavior, watch a teammate not touch a line, watch a teammate skip a rep in the weight room and not say anything because you’re just choosing your comfort over the good of the team. You know, he needs to touch the line. You know, he needs to do those reps. You don’t say anything. You’re just saying my comfort is more important than what this team is.

Then you know, the performance of this team and that’s selfish any way you cut it. And so we talk a ton about the communication piece with unified and then for us thankful is showing love. So we count like we’ll chart touches and we count touches and stuff. We got rules when somebody takes a charge, all four guys have to touch ’em and turn over.

Everybody’s have to touch ’em. And you know, I, I don’t, I don’t claim that tough passion unified and thankful they don’t need to be everybody’s. They shouldn’t be everybody’s and tough. Doesn’t need to be positive body language, like. I’m just saying it needs to be defined like because every, a lot of people say they want their guys to be tough.

And a lot of guys that have no idea what that means and so whatever it is, whatever your values are, like, I just think they need to be defined. That for us has been a huge, huge factor.

[00:30:00] Mike Klinzing: Like I said, I think tying those behaviors to the pillars and then recognizing those as coaches to me is the most important thing that a coach can do.

Because if you don’t recognize ’em, if you just talk about ’em and the kids don’t see you valuing ’em, then all that stuff just goes away. And it just becomes words on a poster or words on a t-shirt like you said. And so you have to make sure that you’re creating that highlight film. You’re talking about it every day in practice you’re showing the kids, Hey, this is what it means.

Hey, here’s where player X was doing this and showing their toughness or showing that they were unified. So I wanted to go back to that piece that you talked about being unified. Cause I think it’s something that a lot of times. Coaches struggle with, which is getting your kids to hold one, another accountable.

We all know that when you get to that point in your program with your team where the kids are upholding the standards, and it’s not just the coach upholding the standards, is that when you really that’s, when things can really start to come together for either a particular team or in the long term for your program.

So what do you do with your kids? How do you get them to understand and then have the courage to be able to speak up when they see a teammate maybe cut in corners or not doing something that they’re supposed to, cause that’s not easy for a 16, 17, 18 year old kid to look at their buddy who they’ve known for 15 years and say, Hey man, you’re not getting it done.

You have to touch that line. You have to do that extra rep. You have to work just a little bit harder in this drill. How do you go about helping your guys to understand how they should do that? And then just getting them to have the courage to be able to do it.

[00:31:39] Brook Cupps: So we work through pat Lencioni’s book, the five dysfunctions of a team I’ve used it for, I don’t know.

It’s I think it’s 20 years old, right? Like this year it might be the 20th year. We’ve used it for probably the last 10 years. But Lynch’s model is trust leads to conflict, conflict leads to commitment, commitment, leads to accountability and accountability leads to results. And so. Every single time. I, I think it’s, I there’s a lot of people out there with  leadership models and all this stuff.

I, I think luncheons is the best. And I, I think it applies the most directly to teams because every time we are not good and we are having internal problems, we’re having stuff. It always goes back to trust. Like there is some level of trust that is being violated that we have to address. And when we address it, everything startshave to working back out again.

But I think the thing that we are very intentional about, we have skull sessions before every practice. So a skull session is just we’re dressed. Our guys are always dressed and ready, 15 minutes before practice starts, which sure. A lot of people do that we use that time. I would say 80%, 85% of the time that is on our core values that the skull sessions are.

And early in the season, especially it’s around vulnerability. So we are trying to get guys to be vulnerable because I think the trust that carries over to a team is vulnerability based trust. Like guys have to be willing to open up and know that their teammate’s not going to use it against them. Right. And so you know, we do a lot of stuff.

We do. I mean, we’ll. We’ll have like normal icebreaker stuff. Like how many siblings do you have and things like that, but we’ll do things likehave to we’ll have, ’em write, write a eulogy, like a 24 word eulogy. What do you want somebody to read about you at your funeral? What do you, or if you, if you don’t want to go funeral, you can say at your awards bank, or what do you want the coach to say at you about you at the awards bank?

What are your biggest fears? Give us a big failure that you had, and you have to stand up in front of everybody and bow and lean into that failure. Like we’ve got a bunch of different activities that we do, and all of them are just poking into trust, building trust, building, being vulnerable, seeing yourself be accepted for that vulnerability and then somebody else returning that vulnerability.

Right. And, and then that starts that vulnerability loop where now, okay, now he’s going to be a little bit more vulnerable now he’s going to be a little bit more vulnerable. That’s how, that’s, how you build trust. The coolest part to me about coaching is that there’s no shortcut to that. Like you, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t just like, get a really good recruit and like, oh, fix it all.

Or you can’t like, you can’t do any of that stuff. Like it doesn’t work. Like it requires like a team that looks really good and plays really well together. Like that vulnerability and trust that has been built. And they have, they have gone through experiences together that has allowed them to trust each other.

And because once they trust each other, now you can have that conflict that you’re talking about. Like, I can, I can call Mike out and Mike, doesn’t take it personal. Like, why is he trying to make me look bad? No, Mike just knows, like I care about our team. And so I can tell you that you, that you didn’t touch the line.

And you’re like my bad. Right. And so that trust allows the conflict to be present and to be effective. If you don’t have the trust, then, then you get what you get. Most of the time with guys just arguing, like, man, what are you, what you trying to do? Whatcha trying to say, call me out. You bitching, like you get all that stuff, but it’s, but that is a result of not having the trust.

And so from a coaching standpoint, what you have to do is you have to go back to the trust. Like you have to go figure out like, okay, why doesn’t this kid trust us yet? Why isn’t this kid opened up? And you know, you give some stories, man, with high school kids, like they will tell you some stuff now. And you know, I, I say like laugh, CR laugh and crying and shared suffering.

Like those things are the fastest way to build trust, laugh together, cry together, suffer together.

[00:36:00] Mike Klinzing: So how much time are you putting in? You don’t have to put a number, figure on it, but just how much time are you putting in. Doing those things. And when does that process start? So obviously at Centerville, you’re in a public school.

So you have contact with your middle school coaches and coaches in your feeder program and that kind of thing. So what does that process look like? Just in terms of starting to build that trust with kids who eventually become varsity players for you?

[00:36:31] Brook Cupps: Third grade, second, third grade. I mean like the, all those little interactions that you have with those kids at camp, you’re building trust with those kids at that time.

Like you are, you are establishing your relationship. So I think when you look at it through that lens, like that changes and they, they watch how you talk to your high school guys. They watch howhave to if you’re laughing and smiling and joking around with those guys, like all that stuff goes into it.

So I don’t think you’re ever off the clock with that stuff. I just think it is a constant you know, I don’t know if you’d say brick by brick, but I think you’re constantly doing that. We, we start skull sessions with our guys. Like our youth program is the Centerville hustle and they have like, I meet with our hustle coaches from third through sixth grade.

And like, I give them likehave to exercises to do. Now, if you’re dealing with third graders, you’re not going to talk about, you’re not going to talk about your biggest failure maybe, but you might talk about a time you were embarrassed at school or you might talk about something you forgot or you mighthave to might talk about a game that you lost.

And like, there’shave to you just there’s things to do. That’s, there’s no age limit on it, but we get heavier into it in seventh and eighth grade. And then, I mean, our freshman and JV guys are, are having school sessions before ever practice

[00:37:48] Mike Klinzing: to go along with that. How do you put together the staff of coaches, whether it’s at your middle school, talking about how involved are you in.

The youth program and, and just kind of training the coaches for lack of a better way of saying it. I know it’s a challenge out there for everybody to find good coaches at every level. So what’s your process. How do you go about putting together your K to 12

[00:38:13] Brook Cupps: program? Yeah, that, I mean, it’s hard. It it’s hard.

It requires a ton of work. I, I think I was lucky because when I came into Centerville my son was like in third grade, which I didn’t think about it at the time, but it was a huge blessing because basically I’ve gone through the entire program. yeah, my son’s going to be a senior. And so like I got to see, okay, well, I don’t like that in the third grade.

I don’t like that in the fourth grade. And so throughout that time, those first few years, I mean, I front loaded a ton of stuff because I could kind of, I, I looked at it. I was like, okay, well I want ’em to be able to do this and this and this. So I mean on our basketball website, like Centerville basketball.com I’ve got like for our youth program.

I mean, I’ve got like, I’ve got a ton of drills, but then I’ve also got like a curriculum for third grade, a curriculum for fourth grade, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, like, this is what we expect them to do. If you got a really good kid, then look at the next grade, you know of, you know? And so it, it takes a ton of time, but it’s, it’s also, I mean, you’re investing in them and you know, if I’m talking about being passionate and choosing extra work is my core is the behavior for passionate.

Well then I. What am I doing? Like if I expect them to, if I expect them to work like crazy and wehave to we expect our guys to come in at six o’clock every morning and shoot before then. I mean, I have to work.

[00:39:40] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. There’s no doubt about that. I think that’s one of the things when you look at, especially from a public school standpoint, the programs that are successful have coaches that are invested in that youth program in their middle school program and are getting involved and hands on.

And obviously, as you said, your son going through it with him and being able to just experience that at each one of those steps along the way, gave you a perspective that not everybody gets a chance to have. And so then you can look at it and say, okay, here’s as you said, here’s what I want. Here’s what I need.

This is what has to happen. And as you go through and build that, obviously today, you and I talked about a little bit on our pre podcast call, but just thinking about the challenges of coaching at a public high school, And what that’s like, and just the way the environment is talk a little bit about what makes it unique, special, and challenging to be at a public high school here in the state of Ohio.

[00:40:35] Brook Cupps: Yeah. Ihave to and I don’t, I didn’t answer your question about the coaches. I I’ll go back to that real quick. I mean, sure. It’s hard to find coaches again, it’s hard. And the, the best thing is when you start after you’ve been there a while and you start having some players come back and coach that makes things a whole lot easier, which I think a lot of people understand and, and will get.

But I would just say like, for us, you know another one of Lynch’s books is hung books. It’s hungry, hun hungry, humble, and small smart. It’s called the ultimate team player. But like he just talks about when you’re hiring somebody think about people that are hungry, humble, and smart. What I found is humble is the biggest thing.

Like just having a level of humility, because then you, then you’re willing to learn. You’re willing to listen. You’re willing to ask questions. You’re you know, that, that has turned out to me to be just kind of the, like that’s the one for, for me when I’m hiring coaches, I just want to be surrounded by people with, with some humility.

And mainly because I just don’t want to, I spend a lot of time doing this. I don’t want to be around an arrogant jerk and I don’t want our kids to be around them. So you know, and then I ask that they they’re open to our core values and that’s that’s really, I mean I’ve, I think I’ve let. Two or three coaches go in 23 years of coaching.

And it’s always been because like, we’ll get to the end of the seasonhave to I’ll have meetings with them throughout the year. But at the end of the year, I’ll ask ’em what our core values are, what our behaviors are. And if they can’t name those, they, they have to go we’re at the end of our season.

There’s no chance they taught those. If our, if they can’t tell me what they are. And so, I mean, they that’s it, and it’s really my fault that it got to that point. So but the public school thinghave to I’ve never been I’ve, I’ve just always been in public school. I think. You know, I think the public school advantage over the private school is that I can coach my kids from first grade on, or I know my kids and I know who they’re going to be.

And. Like they, they know our system, our terminology, everything about ushave to I think that is, and I think that’s cool. Like, I like it. Like, I, like we had a, we had a little guy this year that was a first grader that would sit on our bench and all our guys come in before school and shoot all the time at breakfast club.

From six 15 to seven, 15 every day. And this little guy started his own breakfast club at his elementary school. And so thenhave to one day I sent Gabe and some other guys down to his breakfast club and like that to me is so cool like that. I think that’s, that’s like. And there’s a lot of bad stuff about teaching and coaching, but those type of things make a lot of that stuff go away.

And so I think that’s something you get in public schools. I don’t want there to ever to be a split between public and private. I, I mean, I want to, I want to play those guys. I want to play the best teams that are out there. I want to play prep schools. I like let’s go, let’s do it. And I mean, but I, I thinkhave to if you had asked me my sixth or seventh year, I wouldn’t have wanted to play ’em because I knew we wouldn’t have much of a chance to win, but I, that’s not, that’s not how I define the success now.

I just, I want our guys to be challenged and compete and we’ll see what happens. I don’t, I don’t know if we’ll win or not, but. I want to see if we’llhave to if we’ll compete and, and be tough, passionate, unified, and thankful when things are tough, when things aren’t going well, and you know, other teams are really, really good.

Sohave to having that different view ofhave to what I’m looking for and whathave to success really looks like, I think helps that a lot too.

[00:44:09] Mike Klinzing: Talk to us a little bit about your experience, coaching your son, Gabe. And you’ve mentioned him a couple times and for people out there who don’t know, Gabe’s committed to go to Indiana university next year.

So obviously a high level player and plan for your dad can be a blessing and it can also be a challenge in a lot of ways. So just how have you guys navigated that you can go back as far as you want to third grade or growing up wherever you want to start that conversation. And then just talk a little bit about.

What are some of the things that have been super positive and then maybe what are some of the challenges that you guys have faced along the way thathave to there’s obviously a lot of other coaches out there who get an opportunity to coach your son. So just some advice that you’d have and what the experience has been like for the two of you.

[00:44:54] Brook Cupps: Yeah. You know, definitely it’s definitely been a blessing. I mean, to be able to share the things that we’ve been able to share together in basketball and both of us love basketball as much as we do and be able tohave to share those times together. I mean, it’s, it’s pretty special. You know, Gabe was.

When I was at Graham before I was at Centervillehave to Gabe was just like, he was a gym. He was with me all the time. So he was just we’d have, we had a little sticker board in the basement and we would like, that’s kind of how everything started basketball wise for him, where we would just try to see how many left hand dribbles he could get in a row and how manyhave to pound crosses he could get without messing up.

And we just had all these little games and competitions and really it turned into like, basketball’s kind of his outlet, but really Gabe’s more of a, a competition addict than he is a basketball addict. Like he loves basketball, but he really loves to compete. Like he, like, that’s his thing. And he does that through basketball most of the time.

But those sticker boards, I think had a big part of that and just kind. Just kind of fueled him and thenhave to we’d just gradually make it harder and harder. But the interesting part was when he came to Centerville, he was in third grade and he had never played organized basketball. Cause at Graham, like you couldn’t start until third grade.

And so he had only done drills. Well, we come down here and some of these kids had been playing organized basketball since first grade. And so Gabe wasn’t very good. Like he, like, he couldn’t like he was on the team and he, but like, he, he, but he could dribble with his left hand. He could pass it with his left hand as a third grader, but he didn’t know when to do anything.

So it was really, it was interesting from my standpoint to watch, because I was like, he’s going to be okay, because like he can do a lot of that stuff. He just can’t, can’t finish it right now. He doesn’t know what to do when, and I think of it as like, almost like a year, like the Europeans where they practice so much compared to how much they play.

Like it’s like five to one practices, the games and the United States. It’s just the opposite of that. And I think he almost had like that European foundation of just skill stuff. And then once he started figuring things out. Then, like, he, he just kind of took off in terms of his ability to play because he already had the skillset, but he just didn’t, he was starting to figure out how to apply it all.

And sohave to hehave to he went through middle school coach Holger, who was my college assistant coach, Tim in eighth grade, I got coach Holger to come back and coach him in eighth grade because we had an opening which was pretty cool. Because Ihave to by that time Gabe was, he was pretty good.

And one of the things that I was always concerned about was people not being hard enough on it. Like not holding him accountable to the level that he needed to be out accountable, like and just letting him cruise like you, I, I. Typically I’m on the side of being too harsh and too critical of him. My wife will be the first to support that statement, buthave to coaching him in high school was interesting, man.

I mean, we’re at Centerville, we’re in big school, we’re playing division one basketball. I didn’t know if he was going to be able to play or not. But it was, again, it was kind of like his skillset was what allowed him to play. Like he wasn’t big enough, but I mean, he started at the point for us as a freshman and it was really like, his skillset was really, really good.

And he was able to do a lot of things thathave to other guys couldn’t do because of that skillset. Andhave to early on in, in the practices and stuff his freshman year, everything was. He was young and dumb and just scared. Like he’s just trying to figure everything out. So he just listened to everything by his sophomore year, he started thinking he knew stuff.

Because you know, he it’s, I get it. Like he’s the same kid when he washave to eight years old, he’s sitting in the middle of a locker room, raising his hand, trying to answer questions at half time of varsity games telling me what’s going on, what’s wrong. And you know, and he’shave to he’s got his nose in our huddles while I’m drawing up, plays this whole life.

And sohave to when I would, when I would question or call him out on something or call somebody else out on something, he would always have a question. Andhave to there were a few times we were our, we were pretty close to nose, to nose on a few occasions, his sophomore year. But it was good. It was good.

It was really my fault once I, once I made the adjustment of talking to him after a practice or pulling him aside, just like I would pull anybody else’s aside then that changed everything. For me and for him, like if it was, if another player had done something where I would want to talk to him after practicehave to for Gabe, I would, I would, I used to wait till that went home or on the way home, I would like, I’ll just talk to him later.

But when I started just pulling him into the office and just talking to him, just like I would another player then that, that helped a ton and which was completely my fault. He didn’t have anything to do with it. He, it was, it was me kind of just being stupid with how I was coaching him.

[00:49:59] Mike Klinzing: How did he navigate having dad as the coach and just being a guy in the locker room, because obviously in any locker room that you’re in, there’s always some coach, ah, coachhave to what’s he doing today?

What he, he doesn’t always talk. So how does, how does he handle that? Do you guys ever have a conversation about what that locker room conversation sounds like or how he handles it? If a teammate says something about dad?

[00:50:21] Brook Cupps: No. I mean, I have a pretty good, I mean, I’m sure there’s some, some players thathave to rag me pretty good in the locker room.

And I knowhave to I know Gabe’s had to deal with. A lot beinghave to with players and with parents and withhave to kids in school. I mean, that’s, that’s the thing that people don’t realize with a coach’s son is just how much there really is coming at them. Like it’s a lot. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and, and he you know, he hasn’t really ever said anything specific about it.

I think he does a pretty good job of kinda diffusing it and like making jokes and just laughing about it. Like he, like, yeah, that’s crazy. You know, like andhave to I think, I think the thing that, that helps him a lot with his teammates is that like he works his ass off. Right. Exactly. And that, like, that solves a whole lot of problems and he plays hard andhave to he.

You know, he was like our, he was like our third leading score this year. So he doesn’t shoot it all the time and like the way he plays and how hard he works, takes care of a lot of those

[00:51:30] Mike Klinzing: issues. Tell us a little bit about the recruiting process, both from your perspective as a parent, but also as a high school coach and just how you guys went about making the decision and what some of the steps were along the way before he ended up committing to IU.

Yeah, it was I

[00:51:49] Brook Cupps: mean, it was a cool experience obviously, and we feel very blessed thathave to he had that opportunity to be recruited at that level. And you know, andhave to and had put in the work to put himself in that situation. I think for Gabe, even though hehave to he committed before his junior year, With the kids that the kids in his circle that he had been playing with and against, he, he was kind of a, he got offers kind of late, which is weird to say thathave to he committed before his junior year.

And he got offers after a lot of those other kids that he had played with, like on the blue chips and with some of the other AAU stuff. And so it was almost like he wasn’t sure he was going to gethave to get recruited at that level. You know, and I think Xavier was his first offer. You know, kind of, kind of kinda surprised him, but he I don’t it’s, it’s, it’s weird.

I don’t know he, for, for Gabe, like Gabe is not a 25 point a night guy. Like I, I always like the way I describe Gabe is he’s an acquired taste. Like you have to appreciate the things that he does to think he’s really good. If you don’t appreciate the things that he does then, then he just looks like a pretty good player, like he’s.

But, but if you appreciate all, like, if you watch him and you, you understand and appreciate all the things he does, then you can see the value that he brings to a team. And so from a kind of a coaching and a dad perspective, that’s what I was looking for in the recruiting. I wanted someone, I wanted somebody that wanted him for who he was.

Right. And didn’t, wasn’t trying to make him something else or wanted, needed him to do this or that. But likehave to and I, I know the last different things I’ve been in college, but, but understood that like his biggest thing is like, he’s going to lead your team. Like, he’s going to, like, he’s going to hold guys accountable.

He’s going to bring an edge to like, he’s going to do those, those intangible things first and foremost. And thenhave to he’s going to create shots for people. He can shoot it and he can score it. He’s going to guard, he’s going to take charges. He’s like, I needed somebody for, for my perspective that are valued and appreciated that stuff.

Andhave to he was very lucky. I mean, he got recruited by several coaches that I think really valued that. And so that made the, it made the decision hard, but it also made it made it really cool because I felt like we got to meet. We didn’t get him meet a whole lot of fluff. Like the people that were gothave to got down to for Gabe, like they were, they were interested in Gabe for who he was and the player that he is.

[00:54:30] Mike Klinzing: It’s interesting to hear you say that, because I think when I go to a gym and you watch games and you sit in the stands or you hear people talk and you watch what parents, and a lot of times I think other players watch and you look at it, you say, yeah, okay. Like I see that, but like that doesn’t necessarily translate to winning basketball.

No, it might. I mean, there are, there are clearly thing kids that can do things that are pretty spectacular that you see that also do some of the things that you’re describing with Gabe. But I think as a coach, one of the things that you try to look at is, okay, who are the kids who are impacting. Winning in multiple ways.

And like you talked about leadership, you talked about sharing the ball, you talked about just being willing to be a kid whohave to is the one behind the scenes that sort of stirring the drink. And if you’re really watching and you watch for any length of time, you can start to see those intangible things in a particular player.

And it’s always interesting when you talk to coaches, whether it’s coaches on the high school level coaches on the college level, and they talk so much about the recruiting process, where obviously if you’re going to play in Indiana or you’re going to play in the big 10, or you’re going to play in the ACC, there’s a certain level of talent that you have to have.

But so many coaches nowadays talk so much more about, Hey, I’m looking for those intangible things that you described. And too many kids are out there thinking that, Hey, somebody here watching me and I have to score. 25 points in this game, or I have to shoot it every time down in order to get noticed. And I think the best coaches out there understand that what the game’s about is not how many shots you can take and putting up huge numbers in a game where you’re shooting the ball every time you touch it.

And instead what’s important is, Hey, can you contribute to winning in a meaningful way? And how do you project at whatever level it is that you’re being recruiting. So I thought that was an interesting point that you made that you were looking for a coach that was going to recognize those things that were intangible that maybe not everybody would notice, but that a coach was going to put together a winning program.

A winning team would, would certainly notice if that makes any.

[00:56:47] Brook Cupps: Yeah, that and that’s exactly right. It’s funny because we likehave to Gabe was going through that stuff and he, he didn’t have very many offers or didn’t have any offers early on. He was like, dad, I think I have to score. I think I have to do this.

It’s like just, you have to trust it. Gabe make the right, just keep making the right play. Just make the right play the right. Play, the right play over and over and over like win. Like that’s like they keep their job by winning. That’s how they keep their job. I said, I go those guys that, those guys that want those guys that are shooting five times a game and you know, taking a bunch of bad shots, you don’t want to play for them anyway.

They’re going to get fired. Like that’s right. Yep. So like. Just trust it. And you know, to his credit, man, he, he did a, he did a good job. He never got hung up on, he never got hung up on how many points he was averaging or how many, like, he, he’s just, he’s been, he’s been faithful to that. And it’s, it’s cool to see it work out like that.

You know, for, for him, when he is, he’s worked as hard as he has and he hasn’t compromised, like the way he plays.

[00:57:51] Mike Klinzing: How is your role different in this recruitment with your son, where you’re not only a high school coach, but you’re also a parent versus when you had house get recruited by Florida state where you’re a high school coach and you’re not the parent.

Was there any difference in those two scenarios in terms of recruiting and just the conversations that you had with the kids.

[00:58:15] Brook Cupps: No, not a lot. I mean, I was, I’m really, really close to Tom and rich you know, rich went to Charlotte and Tom went to Florida state. So I mean, I have great relationships with those guys and their parents.

And so you know, I, I think I’m much more I, I usually wait for those guys to ask me where Gabe, like, it’s just an ongoing conversation. With those guys, Ihave to I’ll check in with them, but I’m not going to give ’em my opinion on that because I want it to be their choice and their decision. And if they ask me, I definitely tell ’em.

So I would say I’m just a little bit more I, I would a little, I wouldn’t say hands off, but I’m, I wait for them to ask and initiate that because I, I want them. You know, it’s their decision, it’s their choice. And I, I think I’ll provide the insight that I have and my thoughts. And both of those guys asked me a lot of times and we hadhave to we had a lot of those conversations with those guys.

So they weren’t, it wasn’t a whole lot different. It was just more thathave to Gabe was just a, I mean, well, once we got into his recruiting, stuff’s pretty much all we talked about. Cause I mean, all we talk about, all we talk about is basketball at home anyway. Right. For sure. That’s what we’re watching.

So what

[00:59:23] Mike Klinzing: else are we doing? Absolutely. All right. So speaking of that, let’s shift gears and go back to the team as a whole. What does it look like for you guys over the summer? What are you doing? What is your summer workout plan? Putting things together? Just what does Centerville basketball look like over the summer?

I saw you guys at Midwest live, which that thing was. Pretty incredible this year. That’s awesome. It was pretty incredible this year. I, I can’t even imagine what they’re going to do with that. For, for people who don’t know maybe, or other parts of the country, or maybe just aren’t aware of it, Midwest live, they brought in a bunch of high school teams to amusement park.

Cedar point has a big 11 court complex. They brought in a lot of the top teams from Michigan, the state of Ohio. And it was just an incredible opportunity for teams to compete with one another. I just thought that thing was phenomenally well done first year. And there was coaches crawling all over the place from all different levels of college basketball.

I just thought it was great. But anyway, I know that was part of what you guys did, but just gimme an idea of what you guys are doing over the summer. Yeah.

[01:00:20] Brook Cupps: So, I mean, we we still have our morning workouts, so we have what we call breakfast club. We, we work out it’s, it’s completely player driven.

After our season. We have meetings with exit meetings, with all of our guys. We kind of give ’em some workouts and give ’em some ideas of what they need to get better at for the upcoming season. So we have those four days a week. And then we lift three days a week. We don’t usually. In June, we, we might have some open gyms with like some other schools where guys are just playing and we’re not really coaching them.

And then we save our coaching days for kind of those weekend live event things you know, last year we went, we went to Philly. We went to Philly live, which was awesome. And then we went down to Atlanta last year because Ohio didn’t have a live event where they were playing. They had just thehave to like the all star selection thing.

So this year, we were excited to be, to be able to go to the Ohio, Michigan one. And those guys did Doug and those guys did an incredible job with it. It was, it was great. We, we went out to Philly again this year, which was really, really cool. I mean, just we’re in downtown Philadelphia with just our eight to 10 guys just playing ball you know, in, in a live event there the weekend before.

Sohave to and then the, then once you get into July, so many guys are playing AAU, so we just have our morning workouts skill work, and then our weights in July. Yeah, I think

[01:01:45] Mike Klinzing: it’s interesting. Just how speaks to what you talked about a little bit earlier, just in terms of the amount of time and being passionate and putting in that extra time that the bar that’s been set for just being.

Just being average as a high school coach, the amount of time that you have to put in, let alone to be able to have the success that you’ve had and that your programs had to be able to, to build that kind of success. I don’t think people have any idea, the amount of time that it takes that you’re putting in, in order for that to happen.

[01:02:15] Brook Cupps: Yeah. It’s you know, it’s like, everybody’s, everybody’s idea of hard work is different, right? It’s all on a spectrum. And so it’s likehave to I, it’s funny, we had a couple kids move into our program after the season and I can’t remember what it was. It was like one of our first weight liftings one of those kids didn’t show up because we had, like, we had an open gym that night, or we had something that night basketball wise and they were like, oh, I thought we were, I thoughthave to I thought, I didn’t think we would lift today because we got game tonight.

I was like, man, that’s not how we say that. This is not that like we, we would lift the day of the game. It doesn’t matter. Like we are, we are trying to get better. That’s what we’re doing right now. Just forget about all that other stuff we’re trying to get better. And so it’s, it’s interesting. It’s interesting.

But yeah, definitely the case, I think it’s, it takes some.

[01:03:09] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. All right. Tell us a little bit about your book, surrender the outcome. Tell me about it.

[01:03:15] Brook Cupps: yeah, well I mean, I wrote it really. I had the idea of writing it a while. A long time ago, probably five or six years ago. I was like, ah, I like doing hard stuff.

Like I it’s usually workouts and things like that. But the book was, it was first of all, it’s really, really hard. You have a whole different respect for authors when you, when you go through all the crap, it takes to actually write a book and publish it. No, and, and so was really, if we wouldn’t had COVID I there’s no way I would’ve actually finished it because when we were locked down with COVID, I was like, I’ll just get up every morning and write for three or four hours and just, yeah.

Knock some, some of this out and see what happens. So I get up like at five and I’d write for four hours and join nine o’clock and Ihave to you do that for. A month or two months, that’s a lot of writing. And and so it was cool. You know, I, I, it’s basically, it’s a, it’s a leadership parable. And it’s, it’s really about my, my coaching journey.

I wrote it as a parable. A lot of the stuff in there is true and about my kind of my process of going from, I would say a, a, like a transactional coach and leader to a transformational coach and leader. And then at the back of the book kind of like, Lynch’s the five dysfunctions of a team. I kind of put like some how to stuff back there on like, how to find your core values, how, how to identify the behaviors that go with your values, how to put them in play with your team and with your group.

And it’s you know, it’s, it’s been cool. Like, I, I mean, it’s a, I expected to sell like, 10 of them. Andhave to lot more people have, have bought them and read them and I’ve gottenhave to people have said they’ve helped. I mean, people have said they’ve helped them. And that’s really it. I mean, I wrote it because I was like, man, I can’t be the only one that sucked this bad to start with.

Like, I, I cannot be the only one, so hopefully it’ll help somebody shorten somebody’s learning curve. So it wasn’t the seven years that it was for me. Before I figured anything halfway intelligent out. So you know, I’ve gotten some good feedback and it’s, it’s led to me like, like right now I’m working with a coaching California on identifying the core values for their team and trying to find the behaviors, which, I mean, that’s, that’s really cool to me, that to think thathave to can help that program really identify who they want to be andhave to be more clear with their culture and stuff.

[01:05:43] Mike Klinzing: So yeah, absolutely being able to grow your influence, right. You’re not only now impacting the kids that you have in front of you in your own program, but you. Have an impact in far greater ways than probably even realize when somebody picks up the book and reads it. And if they’re able to incorporate some of the things that you talk about, the ability to do that, I think that’s whathave to as you get older, that’s what we’re all looking for, right?

Is that ability to not just impact our small circle, but be able to expand our sphere of influence. And if you can do that and do it through the game of basketball, there’s clearly nothing better than that. Tell people where they can find the book.

[01:06:17] Brook Cupps: It’s on Amazon. There’s a link also on blue collar grit.com which is I, I write a weekly blog on there and there’s a link to buy the book on there too.

[01:06:29] Mike Klinzing: All right. Thank you. Last question two parter part one. Yes, sir. When you look ahead. Over the next year or two. What’s your biggest challenge that you see in front of you? And then part two, when you wake up in the morning and you think about what you get to do day in and day out as the head coach at Centerville, what brings you the biggest joy?

So your biggest challenge and then your biggest joy?

[01:06:52] Brook Cupps: Hmm. Well, the biggest joy is easy. The biggest joy is just the opportunity to, to be around and coach kids and see them grow and mature and develop andhave to accomplish things that maybe they didn’t think they could accomplish and do things thathave to they didn’t think they could do.

And then, and to do that together and a group and a team, I think life’s a team sport and helping them understand that. Cause I think there’s a lot of things pulling kids now to individualize and like, think about themselves so much more. And just to still have the purity of a team, I think is I, I mean, I love it.

I think that’s, I think that’s what. That’s what life really is. And I think everybody learns it at some point. I’m just hoping our guys learn it sooner rather than later. So that’s definitely the joy. You know, the challenge, the challenge is like, I, I mean, one thing ishave to navigating, navigating Gabe’s whole thing of graduating and going to Indiana.

And thenhave to I was telling my wife this, like for the last 18 years, I haven’t had a basketball season without Gabe. Yeah. Which is weird to think abouthave to he’s been in the huddle in the locker room in like somewhere bothering somebody for the last 18 years. And so. You know, I think, I think personally for me, I’ll have to have to go through dealing with that and figuring out exactly what that looks like.

I mean, it’s, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. Obviously I did ithave to for a lot of time before he was around, but you know, figuring out how to balancehave to seeing him play at IU and, and still coaching our guys you know, trying to, trying to figure all that stuff out is really probably my biggest challenge.

I’ve have to figure out because you know, a lot of people have like, ah, you’re, you’re probably not going to coach anymore. So, and I just, I don’t really know what I’m going to do. Like I, I don’t like I can’t see myself without a team. I think that’s probably what I keep coming back to is like, what the heck am I supposed to do?

If I don’t have a team,

[01:08:57] Mike Klinzing: just sit in, stands, just sit in the stands and watch.

[01:09:02] Brook Cupps: Yeah. I don’t see that happening. So yeah, I don’t, I don’t know. I, I thinkhave to I’m looking forward. I’m looking forward to those challenges too. We got great kids. We got great young kids. You know, our program’s in a good situation.

Our guys are bought into it and they believe in what we do. So we’re in a good place.

[01:09:23] Mike Klinzing: All right. I want to, first of all, say thanks to you for being willing to jump out with us before we get out, please share how people can reach out to you. Whether it’s social media, email. I know you already shared the website for the book, but if you want to share that again, and then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

[01:09:40] Brook Cupps: Yeah. I mean, I got social media. I just don’t look at it very often because I don’t like it. So you can, my, my email, my email is blue collar grit, gmail.com, which is that’s on that website too. I mean, you can call or text me nine three seven two four four two five nine. Oh, hit me up. Do what I can.

So You know, whatev whatever. I, I think my, I don’t even know what my, I think it’s just at Brooke cups for Twitter and Instagram. I don’t know how to do Snapchat. We’ve got a family Snapchat with just our, my family. And all I can do is look at their pictures that they send. So

[01:10:21] Mike Klinzing: I’m, I’m right there.

I’m right there with you on that. We’ll we’ll make sure we find we’ll make sure we find at least the Twitter, that’s what we spend most of our time on. So we’ll make sure we put that in the show notes. And again, Brooke, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to jump on with us, spend a real pleasure, getting a chance to talk to you.

Learn more about your program there at Centerville and your experiences with your son, which obviously are pretty unique. So again, thank you for your time, truly appreciative and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.

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