Dean Rahas

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Dean Rahas has been the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Revere High School in Richfield , Ohio since 2002.  During his tenure the Minutemen have won five Suburban League Titles and a District Championship.  Rahas has been named the Suburban League Coach of the Year five times and the Summit County Coach of the Year three times. Rahas coached current Cleveland Cavalier Larry Nance, Jr. as a high school player.

Rahas was a three-year varsity player at Valley Forge High School under Hall of Fame Coach John Stavole. Dean was named Third Team All-Ohio and went on to play his freshman year of college basketball at Ohio University and later finished his career at Cleveland State University for legendary coach Rollie Massimino.

Dean began his teaching and coaching career at Olmsted Falls High School under Coach Pat Donahue and then returned to Cleveland State as a graduate assistant for Rollie Massamino before taking over at Revere.

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Grab pen and paper before you listen to this episode with Dean Rahas, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio.

What We Discuss with Dean Rahas

  • Tips for building a youth program as a high school coach
  • Why it’s so important to have your varsity players involved in your youth program
  • Growing up watching the older players at Valley Forge High School and dreaming of playing for Coach John Stavole
  • Pick-up basketball back in the day on the west side of Cleveland
  • Why he requires his travel players to also play in the community league
  • Running coaches’ clinics for his travel coaches and his middle school coaches
  • Keeping terminology the same across all levels of his program at Revere
  • Taking his staff to college practices to learn and grow
  • Hanging out with Tom Izzo during a trip to watch Michigan State practice
  • Developing a coaching style that fits your personality
  • Evolving as a coach over the course of your career
  • His time as a college player at Ohio U under Larry Hunter and at Cleveland State under Mike Boyd and Rollie Massamino
  • Learning under Pat Donahue at Olmsted Falls early in his coaching career
  • Why he returned to Cleveland State as a GA under Coach Massamino to prepare himself to be a high school head coach
  • His experience coaching NBA player Larry Nance, Jr. at Revere
  • The challenge of sustaining and building on his success at Revere
  • The joy of watching kids come up through the Revere program from elementary school to the Varsity

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the hoop heads podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, who is down in Disney World with his family for spring break. But I am pleased to be joined by a guy that I have known for a long time. Going back probably at least 30 years, I would say probably longer than that.

Dean Rahas, who is the head boys’ basketball coach at Revere High School here in Richfield, Ohio. Dean, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

Dean Rahas: [00:00:28] Thanks Mike. It’s a really a privilege and honor to be on your show and looking forward to catching up.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:35] Absolutely excited to have you on be able to dig into your basketball story.

I want to go back in time to when you were a kid growing up in Parma. Tell me a little bit about how you got into the game. What were some of your first experiences?

Dean Rahas: [00:00:49] I didn’t start playing basketball till probably about fifth or sixth grade.  My parents, Greek immigrants so they were more into soccer.

[00:01:00] So I started playing soccer before I started playing basketball. And then my good friend, John Jack Beck, who I grew up with his dad belonged to a racquetball club that had some basketball hoops. It was called center courts over in Parma Heights. It’s no longer there. It’s over there by buyers where that target is and all those shops are, was, it was back there.

And he used to take us up there and he’d play racquetball and, me and John we would shoot baskets and, and play against each other. And that’s kind of, that’s really kind of how it started. I mean, just going to a club and playing a little basketball, and then we played in, there was a winter basketball league we’d play games at like hillside and, I started playing there and then, my brother’s friends which you graduated in ADA, right?

Yes, yes. Yeah. So, a lot of his friends were [00:02:00] basketball players. So, I always hung out with those guys and watch them play in high school. Cause let’s see, when I was in seventh and eighth grade, my friend the John and his dad they’d picked me up and we’d go watch Valley forge play, Right?

So that’s kind of how it kind of got started watching those really good Valley forge teams and when I was in eighth grade, Valley Forge went to the final four which was unbelievable. And that really kind of like lit the fire. Like, man, we want to do that.

All we wanted to do is play basketball. I mean, we just and then my freshman year and in high school I played football, I played basketball, I ran track. And then after my freshman year, I just, just decided, Hey, I’m just going to focus on basketball. [00:03:00] And, I was a late bloomer even like middle school I wasn’t I was a little kid in middle school with glasses and, and I was a freshman, I was like, is a little geeky kid.

 what I mean? With classes and these short shorts, do you remember? Oh, absolutely.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:15] Absolutely. You look at those pictures from that era. And you’re like, Oh my gosh. Even I laugh. Because obviously today, the not the short shorts guys that are talking about wearing short shorts today, have no idea what real short shorts look like.

Dean Rahas: [00:03:28] No, I mean, now they roll them up with the waist, know what I mean? And my son does that he’s in fifth grade and which I’d rather have him around his waist and hanging off his butt for sure, but yeah, you look at those shorts, like you said. And I mean, it’s amazing that we were even able to reproduce, it’s a miracle, but yeah.

I just remember Mr. Jaquin coming and picking us picking me up and then we’d go to those Valley Forge games and they were great games and the gyms were packed. And then, like I said, in [00:04:00] eighth grade they went to the final four and we went and watched them when the district and when the league and.

, when the regional, and then they go down the, go down to Columbus and just being around those guys and guys like you, know what I mean? I remember when I was a freshmen and eighth grade stuff and I’ll go to Forestwood I mean, you remember?

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:22] Absolutely. I spent a lot of time there on Saturday mornings.

Dean Rahas: [00:04:25] Yeah. I mean, remember, I mean, we had some great, great games there and, then the Omni, I mean, you look at the Omni. I mean, we lived at the Omni. I remember that, remember that summer past, they used to have.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:38] You get the three-month pass and you could go in there.

And I forget it was like 90 bucks or something like that. Maybe it was crazy.

Dean Rahas: [00:04:45] It might’ve been 60. It was done. It was, it was so cheap when you look at it and you can just go as many times as you want. And that was the big thing Cause, all you guys would go there and then the college guys who go there and the pros would [00:05:00] go there and It was really neat, man.

You, you look back on that and, at the time he just, Oh, this is normal, what I mean? You just think like this is ordinary stuff and now I think you look back and I really, I really appreciate it more and treasure it what Mr. Mackey did and, and, and he has a lot to do with kind of our success today, where we’re at.

Mike Klinzing: [00:05:27] Yeah. I agree with you. I think you and I talked a little bit when we were prepping for the podcast, just about how big of an influence pickup basketball had on us. And you mentioned the Omni, you mentioned forest wood. And I know that I spent ungodly amounts of time at both of those places and, and just having an opportunity to play with players of all different, all different ages and different abilities and adults and kids.

And I just think that it’s something that. Kids today, miss out on it. I think, you [00:06:00] know, just hearing, hearing you talk about your memories of that Valley forge team that went to the final four and they lost to Columbus, Linden McKinley. I still remember I was there, and those guys were from, from bill wriggle and de burger and Larry McEwen.

Yeah, Pat Theresa and Mary Smith and LOL I mean, all right. I mean the whole, the whole group, I mean, those were guys that I grew up with plan we used to go and I don’t know, it might’ve been gone by the time you were around, but did you ever go and play at Tracy on Friday nights for a dollar and you would go and you’d sit in the hallway and get there like a half hour early.

So you can get in the first game that you’d pay your dollar and you’d go and play at this community college. And so, I mean, I remember we would go up there and I had some guys from Strongsville that we’d go up and we’d, we’d play. And I got to be really good friends with, with Billy and, and, and burgs.

And it just and then the funniest part of this whole story is, is that in first grade, I grew up, I lived in Parma Heights and would [00:07:00] have had a stain had I stayed there. I went to cry. All elementary school was closed. I went there in first grade. And then I think, I think at some point that closed, but I always the fact that forge went to, went to the final four that year.

I’m like party, you always say, boy, it would’ve been interesting if I would have stayed and been around and been a part of that part of that team. And I thought my team could have got there and I could, I’ve gone into that story. I’ve gotten into that story on the podcast. I don’t want to go into it again, but nonetheless, that was a special group of guys.

And again, for them to be able to go down and get the Columbus and make a final four, I mean, I’m sure. I mean, I know from talking to them how special it was to them, but just you think about it from the community. And I don’t think about it necessarily, always from like those younger kids, like yourself that are looking up and saying, wow Hey, I’d love to be a part of that someday.

I think that’s one of the things, and maybe you can speak to this as a high school coach. I think one of the things that is lacking in a lot of places is that [00:08:00] same feeling that you had, or I know I had grown up in Strongsville that I wanted to be a part of it. Like from the time I was a second or third grader, like I would go to these games and I was just, I want it to be like those guys who were part of the high school team.

And I think that it’s something that’s. So I think it’s something that’s so important if you’re trying to build a high school basketball program is to have that aspirational set up for the kids that are younger, that they want to someday be a part of your program.

Dean Rahas: [00:08:27] Right. I agree. And that’s when I first took over at Revere I made sure that we kind of built it from the bottom up.

We wanted to make sure that we ran a youth league travel program and the set, the hook and those kids at an early age and make them feel like they’re a part of the program.

Mike Klinzing: [00:08:50] Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s so I think that’s so critical. So let’s, we’ll, we’ll come back to it. We’ll come back to your playing career, but I think this is a good thing to kind of jump into talking about [00:09:00] the youth piece of it.

So how do you go about what’s your philosophy on your involvement as the varsity coach? Just kind of tell us how you have it set up at Revere to be able to set this up for success at the varsity.

Dean Rahas: [00:09:13] level. The nice thing about Revere it’s small enough where I can keep my hand on it.  what I mean?

So I’m pretty much in charge. First grade through 12th grade. Which is nice and what we do. For example, we run a basketball league, right first grade through sixth grade. And our first and first and second grade program is more like skills and drills with some playing. And we do this Saturday mornings.

It starts like maybe that last week in October and we’d go through maybe the second or third week in December and it’s every Saturday morning. And like for example, we’ll have like first and second graders, two separate sessions, like eight to nine, like nine, 15 to 10, 15, whatever. And we [00:10:00] have our freshmen players land, our freshmen and JV coach.

They run that like at our elementary school, Okay. So they work with those kids and it’s nice for our high school kids get to interact with those younger players. And then over at the middle school, we run a third through sixth grade league where we actually have real officials come my high school guys, coach them and we oversee that.

So the beauty of that, and I’ve been here long enough where I’ve seen, it’s a, it’s a cycle where like the kids I had now that I have now, they were coached by previous players, so it’s, it’s a cycle where those kids feel an immediate connection and they can relate to those kids.

And they look up to those kids, know what I mean? They look up to our, our varsity players and our JV players, because they come to the games. Along with that youth league we also run our [00:11:00] travel basketball program. So. What we do is we’ll have tryouts and my coaching staff middle school through high school we run the trial.

So we do the evaluations, we select the teams with the input from the coaches and we have parents coach obviously the travel teams. And then what we do is that every, every home game we have a different travel team play at halftime for a little bit. So right there, we’re trying to set the hook and those kids at an early age, having, make them feel like they’re a part of the program and give them an immediate connection to the program by not only playing, but being there at the games, playing at halftime.

So it’s funny because we were talking about this couple of weeks ago with my seniors, like, Hey, remember who coached you guys in youth league? And boom, man, they could rattle off. Right. They [00:12:00] remember who coached him, what I mean? And, and, and it’s funny, and you don’t have guys who graduated a couple years ago, be like, Hey, whatever, what happened to so-and-so?

What’s so-and-so doing right now. How’s he look, know what I mean? Cause, and it’s I tell you what Mike is great because our first day of youth league, we do an evaluation, right? So we’ll evaluate the kids third through sixth grade so we could put them on teams. Right?

Well we combined fifth and sixth grade in a league. Fourth is separate. Third is separate, but I have a draft. Like I have an actual draft, like a lottery draft for like fifth and sixth grade. So I have my varsity players, like seniors, like I have a bag with like numbered tennis balls. Right. So they actually reach in there and they pick a number and I will put all the like fifth grade names, like the top kids to the most scored kids on a board.

And I got a podium and everything. Oh yeah. We order pizza. The thing, it’s hilarious. It’s a big ordeal, And it’s funny. Cause the kids, you [00:13:00] know, they know who the good kids are. Right? and they know what they’re looking for. So if they have a number one draft and, they, they see a kid, maybe he’s a top rated kid.

Be like, no, I don’t want that kid. I want this kid so only be as cool. Oh, they fight over players. It’s hilarious, And I always love when they, on a Saturday morning after a game. And, and one of my varsity players have complained to me about this kid does this, this cause does that.

And I said, no, you guys know, I feel all right, exactly.  what I mean? So that’s awesome. It’s great because it’s good that the interact with the kids, but they also interact with the parents.  what I mean? Which is really good to me. It’s a, it’s a win-win situation, that the community sees our guys interacting with the kids and having a good time and teaching them basketball.

So not everybody coaches the same, some kids are pretty quiet. Some kids I got to light a fire under them and say, Hey man, you got, let’s go. We got to [00:14:00] communicate more. And, but they get into it. They’re very, very good. They get it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:03] Yeah. I think that’s one of the things that when I think back on my own situation, when I was a kid, that that’s how it was set up.

In Strongsville. When I was playing in like the rec leagues, it was again, at that point, travel really didn’t exist. You didn’t exist in the same way. So you were just basically playing in your community league, but just like you were talking about your kids, remembering who coached them. And I have guys that I remember, I mean, I remember who all my coaches were and conversely, and I still have guys that coached me that I’m still friends with today that I still talk to.

And it’s funny. I actually have one guy that I talked to a lot. He, and I were together on this trip and we connected with another guy who was of a similar era to my friend who are, they’re both older than me. And they were talking about how they were, you described how they were fighting. Your players are fighting over, who gets, who in the draft and all that.

And they were reminiscing about fighting over who was going to get me [00:15:00] on their team back when I was in fifth grade and they were juniors in high school. And so it’s just funny. And then I have kids that I, that I have kids that I coached that I still have connection to. And to me, there’s no better way.

And we all know that basketball is now set up in a lot of cases in a lot of communities where it’s parent coaches and you don’t have that interaction with the kids who were part of the program. And as you said, it’s such a, it’s such a great public relations tool to be able to have not only the kids.

See your players, but also as you said, the parents to see your players, but then you just think about it too, as a tool for your players to be able to talk in front of a group, a group, and to be able to interact with parents and to do all those things. I just think there’s, to me, there’s so many benefits to it and let’s face it.

Every kid who’s playing youth sports is being coached by lots and lots of parent coaches. It’s not, it’s not often they’re getting a chance to be coached by [00:16:00] a high school kid. And so I just think that that’s something that if I, I just, to me, to me, that makes so much sense on so many levels. There’s so many benefits to it that, I mean, obviously from hearing you describe it, it’s, it’s clear that that’s the way you feel and that’s the way you swipe you set it up that way.

Dean Rahas: [00:16:15] Yeah. And our parents we have parent coaches for travel, and that’s great. But the nice thing with having the, another nice thing about having the high school kids is that they can just have fun.  what I mean? It’s organized, but still it’s about having fun.

And another thing we do Mike, is we require all of our travel basketball kids to play in our youth league. Like they have to, and I remember a parent asked me, well, why should they, they’re better than those kids. Right? I had a parent say this to me one time, years ago. I said, what? I said, kids need to be able to play [00:17:00] with kids of different skills and abilities.

 what I mean? Because I go, I’m not going to create this monster that, Oh, we’re travel kids. We’re just we’re too good to play with the rec league play. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.  what I mean? Because you’re not going to, you got to teach kids some tolerance, some acceptance, some humility.

And when you start creating this monster of, Oh, especially at a young age, I mean, I mean, if you don’t nip that in the bud at a young age, you’re in trouble Oh, I’m too I’m too good to play with those guys. Or you throw a pass, a kid who’s wide open. It goes through his hands. You’re going to look up in the stands and look at your parents and pout.

And where are you going to be a good teammate and tap that kid on the rear and say, hey man, don’t worry about it next time. Get it.  what I mean? So that’s why I have that, that rule that you have to play our rec league, if you’ve got to play in our travel program because I think you’re just teaching kids [00:18:00] life lessons of, again, tolerance, acceptance of others, of, of kids who have maybe less ability than you.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:08] Absolutely. I love that because one, you get kids to know who have to play a different role. So maybe on the travel team, they’re the eighth man and yeah, they got to fit in and they play a role. But then on their, on their rec league team, maybe they’re the best player. And so now that requires a different set of skills.

It requires a different way of interacting with teammates. And I think there’s a tremendous amount of value there. And then. When I was hearing you talk about nipping it in the bud with getting out of control from the players. I think about it too, from a parent standpoint that like you start setting up this thing where parents are walking around, my kid’s a travel kid.

He’s not playing in that stupid right over there, And then you got to deal with that when you get to high school, where you have kids who have been the quote unquote travel players the whole way, and now suddenly other kids are grown or getting better or improving. And now they’re like, well, my kid’s been on the eighth team [00:19:00] since he was in the third grade.

Why is he now suddenly the 11th man on his, on his eighth grade team? And I’m sure those conversations probably take place more than any of us would really want to want to imagine. I always try to have these conversations with parents that like, look. Your kid can be on a rec team. Your kid could be on the C team.

Your kid could be on the, a team when they’re eight or nine or 10 years old. Just let me tell you this right now. It doesn’t matter because when they hit puberty and either they grow or they don’t, or they develop and become fast, or they’re not fast, or they’re going to put in two hours a day in the off season and the other, kid’s not going to do anything.

Well, guess what? It’s all going to kind of work itself out. And I just keep trying to tell people calm down when your kids eight, nine, 10 years old, just calm down and watch him play and let them have fun. And it all is going to figure itself out eventually through again, how a [00:20:00] kid develops physically and then how their love for the game eventually.

Dean Rahas: [00:20:04] Right? Absolutely. Mike, I mean, you couldn’t have said it any better. And we always say that at tryouts, like, look just because you’re on the, a team this year doesn’t mean you’re going to be an, a team next year. Kids get better, kids get worse. I mean, that’s kind of the thing that we, we really, emphasize there’s no maintaining maintaining is a myth.

You either get better, you get worse, so nothing is, you haven’t arrived if the fifth grade basketball is the highlight of your basketball career, then that’s not a good career just like putting up the fifth grade championship, I mean, if, if you’re in high school and you’re looking back at St man, Hey, remember when we won that fifth grade championship?

I mean, if that’s what you’re proud of, then, that’s not good right?

Mike Klinzing: [00:20:48] Exactly. Yep. I agree with you a hundred percent. How do you work with those parent coaches for the travel program to help them to make sure that they are teaching the game in a way [00:21:00] that Fills in with your philosophy, how do you work with them to make sure that they’re staying on the same page with you as the high school varsity coach?

Dean Rahas: [00:21:06] Yeah. I’m glad yeah. Asked that because my first year at Revere, we ran our youth league and travel basketball was around. I really wasn’t involved with it. Cause it was just, it was just becoming popular.  what I mean, when you and I grew up, there was no travel.

Basketball is non-existent. So I kind of sat back and watched and I saw one year of it, Mike, and that’s all I could take. I am seeing these guys these, these super coaches parent coaches run in pick and rolls where the two best players are on the right side of the floor. And the other three guys are in the corner watching.

I’m watching kids who are making the team who the only reason they’re making the team is because they’re friends with their son. Yeah. I mean, even though they’re not good enough to be on the team, but they’re the coach, his son’s a good friend. Let’s see. [00:22:00] I had another guy was going to cut a kid who was really, really good skilled kid flashy kid.

He said, Oh, he’s, he’s too fancy with his ball handling. And that kid went on to play at Princeton, by the way. There you go. Yeah, too flashy, smart kid. He’s in med school right now, UCLA. So actually I think he’s done with med school at UCLA, but I saw it for a year and I said, Oh my God, what is this?

I cannot watch this because it’s going to hurt our program. We have if they have some type of consistency. So we’re all speaking the same language and we’re all on the same page. So after that I took over and, every year I have a S a coaches clinic with the travel coaches and I give them a packet.

Real simple, our philosophy is keep it simple, stupid, what I’m saying? the three rules that we have throughout our program, our number one be on time. Number two, show class, number three, [00:23:00] work hard. I mean three simple rules, that’s it, I’m not a coach, they have 3000 rules.

And so we, we go over offense, we go over defense terminology. So we’re using the same what we call our defenses at the high school level. We want the same thing at our lower levels, we’re not trying to hide anything, but again, it’s very elementary. It’s very basic that way our coaches have a, a framework of what’s expected and there’s a progression as to what they learn at the different levels, so that way our middle school coaches when, when they get those kids, they’re ready and, and I always tell. The travel coaches I’d tell them straight up. I said, let me tell you something. I said, when my middle school coaches get these kids, and if they don’t know what the heck’s going on and they’re not very good, I blame you guys.

I tell them straight up, straight up, like I said, that’s on you guys because you have [00:24:00] everything in front of you to teach these kids what we need and what’s expected. So when they come up and they have no idea what our man defenses, our principles and they don’t know our offense. That’s on you guys.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:13] Yeah. I think that’s key. You have to, if you’re going to build that program, like you talked about being in charge of grades one through 12, then you have to take that responsibility of being able to teach. I think too often, sometimes you just assume, well, yeah, they’re going to. Teach what we want them to be more, what we need to be taught.

We all know that that’s not the case. Coaches, those coaches tend to go rogue pretty quickly. So if you can get them on the same page, at least with the terminology, at least with a few key components that you want to do on offense you want to do on defense. And so, as you said, once they get into your Scholastic program, then you’ve already built that base that you can continue at each level.

You can continue to go up and add bits and pieces to it until they’re ready for the varsity level. When you’re thinking about putting together your coaching [00:25:00] staff, and we all know that being able to find really good, especially middle school coaches with the time that practices and all that kind of thing.

Just tell me a little bit about your process for putting together a coaching staff and what you’re looking for in some of your coaches at that at those lower levels.

Dean Rahas: [00:25:16] Yeah. I mean, I’m looking for a guy that understands the game, it has some experience with coaching obviously, it’s, it’s coaching or playing experience helps and, somebody that has a good attitude and good demeanor with the kids, our program, our coaching style, we’re not in your face, screaming, yelling embarrassing kids, humiliating kids. I mean, that’s just not our style. It’s never been, I’ve never played for a coach like that. At all levels, high school and college, and I always remember my high school coach, the bully is saying, Hey, look, I, I’m not going to yell and embarrass you in front of people [00:26:00] if you’re playing bad.

You’re already embarrassing yourself. People can see that they can see that you’re playing bad and messing up. So I don’t need that. Draw any more attention to it now at halftime, I might get on you after the game. I might get on your practice. I might get on you.  what I mean? So we want guys that, and we want guys that are teachers first.

I mean, we want guides that are going to teach the game, unfortunately basketball is under-taught and over coached, you have a lot of guys want the magic defense, the magic offense, 50,000 plays. And after they score, they want to tap themselves on the back.

And I mean, you need players to win, but yeah, we want someone who’s a teacher and then a coach. It going to set a good example for our kids and, and we’ve been very fortunate to have very good coaches do that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:26:49] Do you do the same thing with those middle school coaches that you do with the travel coaches in terms of going down and putting a clinic and communicating with them throughout the season?

Just how does that process work for you [00:27:00] guys?

Dean Rahas: [00:27:00] Yeah, I give them a packet and we all meet. I’ll have a coaches meeting before the season starts with my middle school and high school coaches and we have low coaches clinic. And we used to go every year to a different college and spend a couple of days and watch them practice and hang out with their coaches.

, we’ve been in the Michigan, Michigan state, Ohio state, West Virginia John Carroll, Cleveland state. So we we’d we used to do that. It’s tough now with kids, right? Yeah. It’s a little bit more challenging, right? Yeah. But man, we use the boy.

Mike Klinzing: [00:27:33] What was your favorite? What was your favorite one you ever went to?

What was the best? What was the best couple of days you spend at a program?

Dean Rahas: [00:27:39] A couple days at times. And I loved John Bielein when he was at Michigan, but Michigan state with Izzo, he was the best. I mean, we, this is great. So we go there and watch him practice and afterwards, go and talk to the assistant.

J what was his name? Boyle he’s in the NBA [00:28:00] now he was with the bowls. But and then we talked to coach is he was great. I mean, he just he just was like an ordinary guy, No. And we went out afterwards and, and had some food and stuff, and then he goes, we’ll come back tomorrow, watch us practice.

And you can tailgate with us after practice and, we’ll go to the game, the football game, like, Oh, okay. So we go there and I mean, it just, just treated us, like you knew us forever. So off the back of his office, he’s got his huge, like stone patio and it overlooks the football state.

So here we go there and he’s grilling out, we’re just hanging out with them and all those. Yeah, Maurice Agar and night’s soul and all those guys, like we knew him forever, like best friends and were just grilling out with them. And so we’re done eating and coach is like, Hey, let’s go to the game.

It’s like, all right. So I’m just walking with coaches though, like use my best friend. We’re talking going to the game and you [00:29:00] know, people, Hey, coach, how you doing? And just so we, we ended up going with him and we go on the field, we go on the field, we Mike we’re on the field. I’ll make sense the next to the football pears.

And this is during warmups. Right. Pre-game so then coach is like, all right, Hey, let’s go. Let’s go to our seats guys. So, Mike, all right, cool. So we go to our seats are like first or second row, 50 yard line, I’m just sitting with coach Izzo. Like just again. It’s awesome. It was great.

They just treated us like, I mean, first class, first class, and now he’s been a big fan of his and, the year we went to Ohio state, Mike that was the freshman year when the old and those guys were fresh Conley, take one, cook. Oh, my God you talk about, I mean, Conley was so good, Mike, you remember it was a Butler.

Remember the other [00:30:00] guard there was Butler. Was that his name? Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I think a junior in Kylie was a freshmen. Mike Conley playing. It looked like someone hit a fast forward button. I mean, Jamar Butler could not keep up with him. I felt bad for him because Jamar Butler was a big 10 player.

Mike Klinzing: [00:30:21] He was great athlete. Yeah, absolutely.

Dean Rahas: [00:30:23] Conley just went through him like nothing. I remember looking at my coaches. I go, guys, you see Kylie in Ohio State Jersey. I go, you’re not going to see him next year because he’s, I said he will not be in, in Ohio. I knew right away. I could just tell. I said he will not be in an Ohio state Jersey next year.

They’re like what? Commodity? Like, come on, coach. He’s a freshman. I go just. Just remember I said this he did leave after his freshman year.

Mike Klinzing: [00:30:48] And it’s funny cause he wasn’t. I mean, clearly he was a big time recruit if you’re going to Ohio state, but he wasn’t a big, big time recruit where he was definitely not a guy that anybody was looking at saying, [00:31:00] Oh, my colleague is going to be one and done.

He’s going to do it. He’s going to be the fourth pick in the draft. I mean, nobody saw nobody saw that coming even I think even after that season as good as he was, I still think that I don’t know that anybody would have said that he was going to go as high as he did in the draft. And obviously he’s had an unbelievable NBA career and you could have got, you could have gotten a lot of money for saying that Mike Conley was going to have a better career than Greg Oden back in those days.

Dean Rahas: [00:31:27] Yeah. Cause I mean, Oden was the one, they thought Oden was the guy that was really going to pan out. But man, I’ll never forget that watching him in practice, just seeing him go through his, up and down the floor, like, Oh my God, now that his jumper needs some work, yet it needed to work. But man, he just had another gear.

He could change speed so fast. He was so good. And then then we went to West Virginia the one year in watch Huggins and, he’s hilarious.

[00:32:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:31:59] He’s a different, he’s a different sort of guy. I’ll tell you a story, go ahead and finish yours. But I’ll tell you a Bob Huggins story from when I was a kid, my interaction, I didn’t directly interact with them, but got to see him interact with somebody else, finish your experience with them.


Dean Rahas: [00:32:13] he was, he’s hilarious because, he’ll just go off on a kid and rip them to shreds. And then he’s joking around with the kid later on. I mean, Oh, it’s just so funny. Just a different. Yeah, different style than beeline. He was kind of more along the lines like Izzo, know what I mean?

Huggins and then Thad Matta was at Ohio state and he’s very calm, quiet. I mean, John Gross was there who’s at Akron U right now. He was the assistant at Ohio state when we went down there, and John ran practice pretty much. And dad’s just very he’d have his input say a couple things and but yeah, okay.

Oh my God.

Mike Klinzing: [00:32:53] It’s funny how different coaches can be. You are tremendously successful. It’s one of the things that’s, I think most [00:33:00] interesting about the coaching profession is you can have coaches that have completely opposite styles and yet can have success. And I think a lot of times, especially when you’re talking about the college level high school, obviously it’s harder because you don’t have as much control over who the players are, right.

That you bring in, but there’s, there’s a certain type of player who. Can excel under Bob Huggins. And there’s a certain kind of player that could excel under Thad Matta. And there’s not necessarily an overlap between those two types of players. You have to have, I think, a certain way of wanting to be coached, or maybe it’s the experience of what your high school coach was like or your AAU coach, or just what you’ve grown up with, what you feel, what you feel comfortable with.

And I, it’s just interesting that you can have success in so many different ways. So my Bob Huggins story, when I was in, I believe I was in 10th grade and we went to team camp at Wadsworth. And I think [00:34:00] Huggins was at, I think he was at Akron still at that. I think he was at Akron at that point, but he we’re sitting there, and he was, he came in as like a guest lecturer after lunch.

So we’re all sitting around underneath the basket and he’s giving his talk. And I think, I think the talk was about post play. So he calls his kid up. From kid was from Berea. And he was like a six, five kid kind of a, not necessarily the toughest kid that was out there. Like you kind of knew just from playing against them, that he just wasn’t, he just wasn’t that tough.

And so Huggins brings him out and he’s got the football pad and Huggins has him doing Postmates and whatever. And Huggins is just, I mean, just beating the tar out of this kid. I mean, literally just let me smack smacking him around with this pad. And then he’s, he’s saying, he’s saying stuff to the kid and, like, Ugh, come on, you gotta, you gotta get tougher, if you want to play in the post for 18 that I’m going to coach you gotta be a lot tougher this, and he’s just, I mean, he’s just, like you said, [00:35:00] he was like ripping the kid, but this isn’t one of his players this is just a kitty pull. This is a kid. He pulls out of the audience at a campus like a 10th grader and when he was done with them, Huggins probably had them out there for, I don’t know, three minutes. And it was just beaten on them and just making comments. And the kid was crying by the time it was over, like, he felt so bad. I am just, I’m just like, Oh, it was just so then you’re like, Oh my God. Yeah.

Like, I’m like, I don’t know if I would have wanted to play for it. , at that time, I don’t know if I’d want to play for, I don’t know if a lot of places for Coach Huggins, if , he’s making a kid cry in three minutes, that doesn’t bode well, if I’m going to try to make it through a two and a half hour practice with them every day.

So anyway, it was just, it was one of those things that it was kind of interesting. When you think about what Bob Huggins personality is like, like you have to be, you have to be the kind of kid or player that can, can you take some that can take some of that in order to be able to get through and learn from a guy who obviously is one of the better [00:36:00] college coaches that we’ve had in the last 30 years.

And he’s had a tremendous amount of success everywhere he’s been right. But it does take a certain style of player. To be able to play for him underneath that type of coaching style.

Dean Rahas: [00:36:11] Yeah, I agree. I agree. And, and that’s the thing with coaching is that’s, that’s your, that’s his personality.

That’s, that’s who he is if he were to coach any other way he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t be as effective.

Mike Klinzing: [00:36:25] Absolutely. I think that’s really key is you gotta be yourself. I know that right. When you think about it, I think you hear about this. And I think about myself as a coach and especially when I back when I started, I mean, I’ve always been kind of a mild-mannered type of guy.

And so when you think about my coaching style and part of me always, like I got to get tougher, know what I mean? Like I gotta be able to, yeah. I gotta be able to yell and I gotta be able to do this and that. And. And whenever I would try to do it, I would almost like I would almost be laughing at myself while I was [00:37:00] doing it, because I’m like, this is just, this is just not, know what I mean?

It just doesn’t fit. It just doesn’t fit who I am. And eventually after a year or two of trying to do that, I’m like, yeah, that’s not going to work for me. I just got to be who I am. Because kids sniff it out, they, they like, if I’m, if I’m almost laughing when I’m yelling, they’re certainly, maybe they’re not laughing right in my face.

But I guarantee when they’re in the locker room, away from me, they’re like the cleansing trying to yell at us, but see what what’s that guy thinking. So it’s just interesting how we develop as coaches and you kind of have to, you have to coach to your personality because if you don’t, the kids sniff that out really, really fast.

Dean Rahas: [00:37:34] Yeah. It’s funny because my JV coach, he’s been with me I think, nine years and he was a senior my first year at Revere. And he went on to Southern New Hampshire got a scholarship there, division two school, played four years there. And he’s, he’s funny because he’ll say stuff to the kids like man, coach Ray has got a nice man.

He’s gotten [00:38:00] soft when he, since he said, yeah, he goes, man, coach my senior year, he was yelling and screaming, So it’s funny to look back on when you first started coaching, how you, how you change. I mean and anybody that’s been coaching a long time, they’re probably not coach in the same way that they coach their first few years.

So we laugh about it. Oh yeah. He, he’s funny and he’s a city kid, know what I mean? He, he came to Revere and came from Akron East, and he’s funny. He always just said, man, coach has coaches just give, gotten soft coach and every now and then every now and then I’ll get mad or yell or something like that.

And any of it. Yeah. That’s the code. That’s the guy…

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:46] That’s the guy I remember. Where’s he mad? I wish these kids could experience more of that. Now. There’s definitely an evolution. There’s definitely an evolution for sure.

Dean Rahas: [00:38:57] Yeah. And that’s and especially in [00:39:00] today’s day and age I just don’t, I don’t think kids really respond to that type of coaching.

And I’ve seen coaches who are, who are volatile, who are screamers and yellers, and they’ve been successful, but then the moment they start losing. Then things start to fall apart. Yeah. I mean, like, I, I think sometimes when coaches are winning at their, their volatiles or maybe their coaching style is really not what you’d want, but they’re winning people kind of turn the cheek and kind of, know what I mean?

So yeah, we can deal with it, but I’ve always felt that you need to have a coaching style that regardless if you’re winning or losing people are comfortable with

Mike Klinzing: [00:39:48] That’s so true. I mean, it’s interesting that you talk about that particular aspect, because when you think about what the image of a coach [00:40:00] was, when you and I were growing up and it was, it was much more of that Bobby Knight model of coaching, whether it’s the, my way or the highway or I’m going to do things and you’re.

You’re the player and I’m the coach, and you’re not going to ask questions. You’re not going to do anything besides listen to exactly what I say. And I’m going to oftentimes say it in a way that may not be all that nice. And you just have to learn how to deal with, like, if you, I don’t know if you’ve read season on the brink recently, but if you go back and you go back and you read that today and you just listened to the language and the things that he was saying and doing to those kids, I mean, it’s amazing that he was able to get away with it then, but you think about it today.

And I mean, there’s like, I don’t know, 700 fireable offenses. Oh yeah, in that book, I mean, it’s just, it’s crazy. And again, that’s just the way it was. [00:41:00] And he was a product of. The environment that he grew up in, in terms of what was acceptable and way coaches. And obviously he was a tremendous basketball, mine and tremendous basketball coach and got the most out of a lot of his players.

But you just look back on it. You’re like, gosh, I can’t believe that. Like, if you were a parent and your kid came home and said, and again, it was different because you just didn’t, kids didn’t share things the same, I mean, I didn’t come home and tell my dad or my mom, what this coach said to me or that like, that stuff didn’t exist.

You just, you just did what you just did, what you were supposed to do. And you took what you needed to take in order to be able to earn your playing time or be a member of the team or whatever it was. It’s a totally different, it’s a totally different era. So it’s like comparing apples and oranges, but it’s so interesting to go back and read a book like that, that Chronicles, what things were like in 1984, Compared to the way we coach today.

And as you said, I think, I think it’s a really good, a [00:42:00] little statement that you made there in terms of, you have to be able to coach with a style that is going to be beneficial to kids, whether you’re winning or you’re, or you’re losing. And if you do that, and I always say for me, if you’re doing what’s best for the kids that are part of your program, then.

That’s a pretty good compass for you to follow in terms of what you should be doing as a coach. If the, if the outcomes are based on what’s best for the kids in your program, then you’re going to have, you’re going to have success. And then sometimes that’s going to be success on the scoreboard, but more often it’s going to be success.

Like you mentioned about the kids who was a doctor or the kid who goes on to play at Princeton, or the kid who comes back was part of your program and is now a coach in your program. Like those, those are the real successes. And that’s what you get when you coach with your kids in mind and put them first.

Dean Rahas: [00:42:49] Yeah. There’s no doubt. Yeah. I, I totally agree. And it’s funny, you bring up Bobby Knight because last night they had the ESPN 30 for 30 [00:43:00] on Bobby Knight. The whole story about Bobby and it was great and we watched it with my son and even my son just couldn’t, he couldn’t believe he’s in fifth grade.

He couldn’t believe that things that babied, I do it throwing chairs, grabbing kids and swear and, and cuss. And I mean, he looked, turned and looked at me like, Oh my gosh. I’m like, yeah, damn like, that’s how it was. That’s how it was.

Mike Klinzing: [00:43:28] I mean, he might’ve been on the extreme, but there were a lot of guys, a lot of guys that were very similar because again, he was widely considered to be the standard of what a coach was.

And so when people are looking at somebody to emulate, he was the guy. I mean, he was the guy people wanted to be, people wanted to be Bob Knight. They wanted to teach man to man defense. They wanted to play motion offense. They wanted to be that kind of stern task master that, that Bobby Knight was. And again, it’s just a product of his era.

Dean Rahas: [00:43:57] Yeah. And he, [00:44:00] and, and sometimes I think people confuse yelling with coaching. I agree, they, they think that just because you’re yelling and screaming, you’re coaching and, you don’t have to yell and scream to the coach, it’s just, it’s, it just, it’s funny when you hear people, things that they, that they say, cause I’m pretty mild mannered.

Yeah. I mean, I can get my opponent point across by not raising my voice. I can pull a kid aside and pull my arm around and be like, what the heck are you doing? Oh, what kind of pass was that? Are you serious? He just got beat three times and, you’re wondering why I’m pulling you out of the game. Are you watching the same game that I’m watching?

 what I mean? So there’s, there’s subtle ways the, to get your point your point across to kids. But again, it all comes down the, having a style that, that people are comfortable with regardless of the outcome of the game and X, some of my best coaching jobs have, have been when [00:45:00] they, we haven’t won a lot of games.

It’s not always just because you win a lot of games. We’ve had we’ve been very fortunate that they have a lot of great players and experienced success, but we’ve had some, some tough years, some thin years, but we were able to get our kids to, to play hard from start to finish and, and enjoy success that way it’s, it’s like you said, it’s not always in in the outcome.

And my college coach may have some Mino he’d always say it’s not the arriving. It’s the striving, that’s important the process preparing for games, working hard, getting better, improving, not just because you win you won the game. So I always found that to be very helpful.

Mike Klinzing: [00:45:49] Yeah, it is. And I think that as a coach, we obviously hear that a lot more than we did back when you and I were younger. I think more coaches have adopted that [00:46:00] philosophy in terms of look, we have to do what we do. We have to prepare the right way. We have to play the right way. And if we do that, we’re probably going to end up winning more than often than we lose on the scoreboard.

But we can also, we can also judge our success in a different way. And I know that you’re the same way that I am. Like you could walk into a gym and I don’t care whether it’s an AAU game or it’s a fifth grade travel game, or it’s a middle school game, or it’s a high school varsity game that you’re scouting.

Like you could walk into a gym and know whether or not the team is well coached. Even a team that’s losing. Like, if they’re playing hard in their org and they’re organized and they’re playing together and you’re like, look, that’s, she may be one in 16, but that coach knows what they’re doing. Like they have their kids playing to the best of their ability.

And I think that’s something that if you, if the game, you can recognize what a well-coached team looks like. And then I always tell people, you can also [00:47:00] recognize who the best player on the floor is. Even if they’re not scoring a bunch of baskets, like you talked to the average, whatever parent of a high school kid, or you go and watch an AAU tournament and you see people sitting on the sideline, he took a little poll, like, Hey, who’s the best player on the floor.

Well, who has the most points, who’s made the most shots, whereas you and I would sit and watch that game and go look, this kid’s totally orchestrating everything. He’s missed four shots in a row, but you could tell, like he’s got good form and he’s in the spots where it’s supposed to be and he’s setting his teammates up.

And there’s just a difference between a kid playing basketball. And a player. And I think as a coach, you can recognize both of those things. You can recognize somebody who has a well-coached team, and then you can recognize a kid who really knows how to play the game versus just someone who’s out there running up and down the floor.

Dean Rahas: [00:47:44] Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:47] Did you wanted to coach, when was the first time that coaching popped into your head? Was it something that you always knew you wanted to do? Or was it something that didn’t come to you until your playing career was winding down?

Dean Rahas: [00:47:59] I [00:48:00] would say Hm… I would say probably when I got in college, I would say my freshman year I was at Ohio university.

I played there my freshman year and then I transferred during my sophomore year to Cleveland state. And, my high school coach, coach Stavole talked to me in the health and phys ed and the teaching and coaching because I originally started off and believe it or not fisheries biology.

Yeah, and there’s like a lot of, a lot of science classes and chem classes. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I could be a fishy biologist or a doctor here. And so I talked my coach like, Hey, why don’t you again, the phys ed phys ed and health and teach and coach, and it’s a good life.

And it’s a great career. You get to work with kids. And then I worked some summer camps for coach [00:49:00] and really liked working with kids and, and coach in. And then that’s kind of where I got the, got the bug and then playing college ball, Mike, Hey, I think I’d like to coach, be a teacher and a coach and that, that’s kind of how it started.

And then I transferred to Cleveland State. And, played there for three years and, I was lucky to graduate there and then 97 and I got hired in the spring at Olmsted Falls, and then from there, I coached at Olmsted Falls. I was a freshman. I had my first team catch.

I hit my first team. My very first year. It was 97, 98. I had a freshman team and we ended up going, it was 15 and five and we won the conference tournament. And then the second year we went like 16 and four loss in the conference tournament championship. And I was varsity assistant my third year [00:50:00] as full-time varsity assistant.

And then my last two years, I went back to Cleveland State as a grad assistant while I still taught at Olmstead falls. So I was a grad assistant for two years at Cleveland State, which was awesome. Cause I got to coach with coach, miss amino and who I played for my senior year, because my first two years I played at well here, let me go back a little bit in terms of playing you want to hear playing career?

Yeah, let’s hear it. Let’s hear it. Okay. So Valley forge played for coach Stavole. My junior and senior year, my sophomore year, I played some varsity. We had a different coach to had stepped down and retired. So we had Pete Novakovic was a nice guy my, my sophomore year. And then he stepped down and then coach the volley came pack, which was, which was awesome.

Cause I always grew up watching coach to and one of the platform, right. So he comes back my junior year, we go like 11 and [00:51:00] I was 11 and 11, 11 and 10. I think it was something maybe 11 and 10 and, and we had it. It was crazy because we were young. And we had all these games where like, I remember Lakewood were being Lakewood by 20 and halftime.

We end up losing were, we were beaten Ignatius who ended up going to the elite eight. Right. We just didn’t know how to win you. I mean, we were young. We didn’t know how to close out games. So then we come back senior year, lose our first two games, and lose the Ignatius adding nations by 20, which nobody wins at Ignatius.

I mean I mean, they have, the priests are the officials, but I can say that and then we lose the Holy name of Holy name at the buzzer. All right. So here we’re Owen too. And we had all these expectations, like what the heck we’re supposed to be good this year. What’s going on. So then we end up winning 21 in a row and that was the old Leo was Shaw shaker, Cleveland Heights.

We [00:52:00] ran the table. Right. So we went 12 and Oh, in the league. And I remember a great game. It was a, it was a, my senior year. We were 11 and Oh, shaker Heights was 10 and one, and we were planning a Tuesday night at Valley forge sold out Valley forge a big gym. Yep. I mean the upper deck there and a Homesite filled people standing room filled.

So if we win, we win it outright. If we lose, we are co-champs. So we win in overtime at the buzzer. I mean, you talk about. An unbelievable game. I mean, just the shot and the shot goes in at the buzzer and everybody just, I mean, they were like mice on the court, right? So then we B that we meet Ignatius in the district, final, those little rematch.

We ended up beating them in the district finals, go to regionals and we play McKinley at the civic center. We just played bad. We have losing by six, but we played horrible and we just, we lost that game. But [00:53:00] so then I go to OU my freshman year, I play for Larry Hunter, great coach, he was a great X and O guy.

He had won a national championship at Wittenberg. Learned a lot about the game of basketball from him. I mean, just a lot about X’s and O’s and, and all that. And then my freshman year, I really, I kind of got discouraged.  what I mean? I didn’t play a lot. And No, you’re how it is, you come out of high school in, in your all state and all league and all district and all this, that, and the other.

Mike Klinzing: [00:53:30] It’s tough. It’s tough to sit when you’ve been well, you’ve been the guy, your whole career,

Dean Rahas: [00:53:35] Right. And it’s a shot theory go, what I mean? But the reality is, and, when you go to college, not everybody’s going to be the man. So you gotta you gotta accept your role or move on.

So had to my freshman year of transfer, go back to Cleveland state and I wasn’t even, I wasn’t even going to play basketball. I was just going to be a student. That was a crazy story, Mike. [00:54:00] So I just they, I’m just going to go be a student, get my degree, teach, coach, whatever. So I’m walking to class and I hear somebody say, Dean, like, yeah, Hey coach, what’s going on?

So it was Oh gosh, what was his name? Well, I can’t remember, but his daughter played at Valley forge and he remembered me and he was a coach he coached girls basketball. He goes, what are you doing here? I said, we’re just going to school. He goes, why aren’t you at you? I said, nah, I’m done playing basketball.

So I’m just going to go to school. He goes, no, you’re coming with me. Let’s go. So he takes me to takes me to the coach’s office at Cleveland state to Sean Hood who was there. And, he goes, Hey Sean, he goes, Dean Ray has this. Oh yeah, Dan, what’s going on, man. You were with, he’s like looking at me like what, what are you doing here?

, like people were perplexed. Like you’re, you’re Ooh. I’m like, damn coach. I’m just, [00:55:00], I’m kind of Don. I’m not, I’m not playing. And he’s like, no, no, no, no, you gotta, you gotta play now. You’re playing. Yeah. I mean, so I’m like, all right. I mean, I go, I gotta get in shape. I got to he goes, don’t worry.

You’ll, you’ll be fine. So, so I started playing and yeah, that’s kind of how it I got into it and then I had to sit, I had to sit that year, what I mean? And then I was able to play the next three so if I would have never seen, at girls coach I probably would have never played.

And gosh, why can’t I, I cannot believe, I can’t remember his last name. Oh my gosh. His daughter played at Valley forge.

Mike Klinzing: [00:55:46] It’ll come to you in an hour from now.

Dean Rahas: [00:55:49] You know, your last name, Duffy. I’d been Duffy. And I probably, who knows where I, what I would have done and then, so I had to sit that [00:56:00] year and then, I played for Mike Boyd for two years.

And then, he stepped down and then coach mass got hired and I mean, which was a blessing and had a great senior year just really cause after playing for two years I, again, I was starting to think, man, is this really for me? And then coach mass came in and it was just a breath of fresh air and a shot in the arm.

And, and, and like, I always tell people, I said I played four years of college basketball. I said, but I got to play for three different coaches, three completely different coaches. I mean, and, and even when you’re playing for coaches that you may not like you still learn what not to do. Absolutely, and Larry Hunter was a great X and O guy and, and God rest his soul. He passed away a few years ago. But in terms of, relating the kids and communicating with kids. I mean, [00:57:00] he was all business. I mean, it was all business and here I came from high school coach to volley and he was a player, right.

Mike Klinzing: [00:57:08] You’re right. Building relationships.

Dean Rahas: [00:57:11] Yep.  what I’m saying? And, and, and coach Hunter was just had a different all business man. So then I go to, I don’t even state and I have Mike boy, well, Mike boys on the other end of the spectrum, know what I mean? He was not really a disciplinarian, there wasn’t much structure.

So I kind of learned from each coach what to do and what not to do. So he’s on the other end of the spectrum, Mike. So then here comes coach mass. Well, coach mass is just like my high school coach, coach, the volley. Hey, when it’s time to work, we’re going to work. But, when it’s time to have fun, we’re going to have fun and again, great basketball, mine, great coach, even better, man.

So personable, I mean he just he just loved being [00:58:00] around people. I mean, he loved relationships and he was so connected. I mean, I could just tell you the people that he knew you wouldn’t even believe. And it was just a, it was a great experience so to have three college coaches was, was really it was crazy at the time, but when I look back on it, I mean, I learned so much just, it was, it was great.

And then they’d be able to, you don’t have to. I graduated, I went to Olmstead falls and like I said, I, I coached there and then they come back to Cleveland state and be able to coach with my college coach and, I was, I also introduced my high school coach. To coach mass amino, while here you get two Italians together.

Right? So those guys become really close friends. So my high school coach, coach Stavole was a volunteer assistant with Cleveland state during that time. So here I get to go back to Cleveland state, picture this, I get to coach with my two favorite [00:59:00] coaches. Right? Coach Massimino, Coach Stavole. I mean, what more could you ask for it was that’s awesome.

Oh, it was, I mean, the story I, I could, I could, I could talk to you for hours. Just stories, about that, but real quick it was cause here I’m still I’m still teaching and all of a sudden falls. Right.

Mike Klinzing: [00:59:23] Did you think you wanted to go be a GA to become, to switch over and coach in college?

Is that why you did it or what was the thought process behind going to be a GA?

Dean Rahas: [00:59:30] Yeah, I wanted to get the experience.  what I mean? I was ready to, I wanted to be a head high school coach. Okay. And Pat Donahue? My God. I mean, talk about another great mentor that I had. I just been so fortunate to have some like the greatest coaches around that I’ve, I’ve worked under coach Stavole and Pat Donahue and coach Massamino.

And you look at coach Hunter and, and just I just, I wanted to get the experience and take [01:00:00] advantage of the opportunity. And I was getting my master’s degree at the time too. I mean, so it worked out great that I was a grad assistant and they were able to help you out with my classes so here I’m teaching it Olmsted falls, but then I’m a grad assistant at Cleveland state and we’d have games during the week and coach mass like to go out after the games, what I mean?

So here, I got to teach in the morning and, and here I’m going out with those guys and it’s funny cause I’m like the young kid. Right with the older guys. And here we go out, let’s say to flan or you, what I mean? After a game, like a Tuesday night and then coaches like, Hey let’s, Hey guys, let’s all go back to my house.

I’m like, coach, I got work tomorrow, you gotta come, you gotta come. All right, coach, let’s go. So here go to his house, he’s making me, it was like Goodfellas. He’s making pasta.  what I mean? He’s got the sausage that she’s [01:01:00] the meatballs. Know what I mean? I was, I was looking for Ray Liotta and those guys, know what I mean?

And then I got to teach the next day and, but it was great. I would trade it for anything.

Mike Klinzing: [01:01:12] I think just the opportunity, like you mentioned about being able to be exposed to different coaches, I think is so valuable. Like for me, I had almost the opposite experience. So I played for the same high school coach that I played for the same college coach for four years.

And so when I got done and I started coaching. In all honesty. The only thing I knew was what I had learned from those two guys. And I was probably a little bit naive and a little bit egotistical and thought, man, I’m a good player. And I know a lot about the game and basically what I did was what those two guys did.

And as a coach, that’s what I modeled, everything that I did. That’s how I modeled the way I interacted with players. That’s how I modeled X’s and O’s, it’s how I modeled the drills that I did. And I Al I [01:02:00] often wonder, like, what would it have been like if I had played and had more exposure to different coaches and different styles and how might that have impacted me?

And then it’s just, again, it’s interesting how your evolution as a coach, you kind of have to figure out who you are and what you are. And for me, like I said, it just was, it was something that I just didn’t have a lot of experience with different coaches because. What was good for me as a player in terms of stability, probably wasn’t that good for me as, as a coach and earlier in my development, simply because I didn’t have exposure to very many philosophies or systems, I only, there was only two. I only knew two systems

Dean Rahas: [01:02:38] So, yeah. And it’s a, I mean, think about it. I mean, most guys that play college, I mean, they either have one, maybe two coaches maybe. Yeah, me, but they have three that’s a whole, and, and you look at I played for three college coaches who all won national championships.

Yeah, absolutely. And you look at, you [01:03:00] look at Larry Hunter at Wittenberg who would get Mike Boyd, Michigan. Right. And then you look at coach Massamino at Villanova. So all three of those coaches brought something and helped me become the coach that I am today. And then can I go to I right out of college, I go to Olmsted falls and they were a powerhouse.

I mean, what Pat Donahue did there, nobody will ever do. , he won, I think 13 league championships, like eight district championships. I think two elite eights. I mean, his, his Winnie percentage was ridiculous. You just, you don’t see that and for him to be there, I think 20, maybe 20 years or 20 plus years, what he did was just so I learned a lot from him I go I’m having a hall of fame coach and co in high school hall of fame coach in college, and then Pat died and he was a hall of fame high school coach.

Mike Klinzing: [01:03:57] Those are some great people to be able [01:04:00] to be able to learn from. Without, without question, I want to ask you about, you’ve had an opportunity to coach Larry Nance Jr. Who is an NBA player, not many high school coaches get the opportunity to coach a guy who’s going to be a future NBA player.

So just talk a little bit, and not only that, but. He has a father who was an NBA player and a darn good NBA player at that. So just maybe tell us a little bit about what that experience was like. Maybe what set him apart in terms of did, early on that, Hey, this guy has an opportunity at some point, maybe to play in the league.

Was he more of a late bloomer? Just kind of give people an idea of what the experience was like coaching Larry.

Dean Rahas: [01:04:41] When I took over at Revere, he was in fourth grade. And this is funny because I remember coming home after youth league and telling my wife because they were in fourth grade, then there was a fifth grade class.

That was good too. I go tell my wife would go, honey. I go, look. I said, [01:05:00] when these guys get dies, cool. I said, we’re going to be really good. She goes, they’re in fourth and fifth grade. I go have a look, please listen. We are going to be really good, so, I mean, thank goodness they stayed together. They all came up through Revere, went to high school and we were able to during Larry’s junior year the wind, the first league championships since 1976, I mean, it was like a like a 35 year drought of no championships.

And we went back to back his junior and senior year. But he was you could tell at a young age, he was a skilled, big kid. And he was a kid that am, I remember because the travel coaches wanted to put him on the block. Right. And they said, Oh, coach, we got to put them on the block.

I said, the heck you are. I said, I want him to play the perimeter as much as [01:06:00] possible. And it’s, it’s hard to take a kid. Who’s been playing five feet from the basket, his whole life, and turn them into a perimeter player. Absolutely, because you need those perimeter skills the passing and the reading the defense and making good decisions and shooting and ball handling, all that stuff.

And it’s much easier to move a kid who’s played outside inside. So that’s what was a big hit a big draw on and really attracted me to him was his ability to, have this skill to play the perimeter at his size. And he wasn’t a giant kid, but you could tell he had the long legs, the long arms, the big feet he was he was going to be good.

So, and he was a late bloomer Mike, this it’s not some kid who was a phenom, right, as a freshmen.  what I’m saying? And, when he got drafted, I said, [01:07:00] I’m willing to bet because he got drafted in the first round. I said, I’m willing to bet. Every kid that got drafted in the first round was probably like a four year starter, like a phenom.

 what I’m saying? Dominated in high school. So here we go, a freshman year, he plays freshmen, plays a little JV. And I really thought when he’s a freshman, he was going to be a lot better. He’s going to be farther ahead. And he wasn’t, he just kind of was just kind of hit, like hit a rut in his sophomore year.

, the more I’m watching him open gyms and stuff, and I’m looking at his skin and his color and he just, he just didn’t look good. He didn’t look healthy and he was getting tired quick, Mike, know what I mean? Like you could tell the kid was trying to run. He was trying to move, and he just wasn’t going anywhere.

And he was very weak. So I, I told Larry senior, I said, Hey, Larry. I said, why don’t you go take him to the doctor, I’m thinking to myself, maybe he’s got an iron deficiency, [01:08:00] what I’m saying? And so Larry, he goes, all right, take some of the doctor. They find out that he’s got Crohn’s disease.

He had ulcers all over his stomach, that’s why he was weak. He was tired. He didn’t have an appetite. He’d just come home and sleep after school. So once they started treating him for the Crohn’s disease, he immediately started putting on weight. He started growing, he started the have more energy.

He started to look healthy, know what I mean? And he was like a, like a new, like a new person. And he comes back his junior year. He comes back his junior year and he’s., he’s coming off the bench for us.  what I mean? And his turning point was, as we were at was, or his junior year, and we had won several games in a row [01:09:00] and here we go to Wadsworth were down 19 and a half.

Yeah. It was worth. And we come out in the second half and I think we’re down maybe 13 going into the fourth and we cut it to one. We cut the one, we shoot get the rebound. He gets filed. We’re down to one. And he’s at the line one in one, by the way, one-on-one with maybe 12 seconds left hits the first one that’s high.

It hits the second one that put us up one Wadsworth has the ball with whatever, maybe nine seconds or something, they call a timeout and we change our defense and we end up winning the game. Right. And that was really after that, he just went straight up, what I mean? It wasn’t like a gradual improvement.

It was like straight up and he just kept getting better and [01:10:00] better. And you could see then over the summer he got better. And then in the fall he got better then senior year that’s when the school started coming around, know what I mean? He was he was all set to go to Michigan because I called beeline because when I was at Olmsted Falls, we had Mike Gansey and Mike Gansey played for Beilein when he was at West Virginia.

So yeah, I knew beeline that way. So I’d call John Beilein and watched them several times and loved him. And. And wanted to offer him a scholarship and then it fell through his, his assistants. Weren’t big on them. Right? This is crazy. His assistants were big. They didn’t think he rebounded enough.

Right. Meanwhile, I think he was getting 14, rebounds a game. It’s just, it’s just crazy how people think. So they end up and so he’s all set. He’s thinking, all right I’m going to go to Michigan, Because they said, Hey, he’s our guy. We want him. So [01:11:00] all the other schools backed off. So then they end up they gave his scholarship to someone else.

So here the kids devastated, crushed. So was I. Because he would have been a great player, Michigan with John beelines offense.  what I’m saying? Cause John he likes guys that can shoot guys that have a high basketball IQ, which is what Larry Jr was high basketball IQ still as he’s a great passer.

You watch him play. I mean, he makes passes. You don’t see guys at his position make so here I’m scrambling. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I got to call these coaches now. And the ones that were interested him. So I, I get ahold of OU and John Gross. Was it OU at the time. So I explained the situation to John.

John goes, I’ll be there tomorrow. So John comes, comes over, we talk to somebody’s office. And I mean, it was he goes and talks to the Nancy’s after it, their house, and it’s just going to [01:12:00] be a done deal. No. I mean, it’s a formality. They had an official visit set up. I mean, who goes though? You and doesn’t let go.

Absolutely great. A real great, that is one of the best looking campuses around. So couple of days later, John calls me, he goes, Dean, I got bad news. I said, what? He goes he goes, our APR came back the academic performance rating. They do that, I think every five years. And we lost a scholarship because the coach who was there before John was O’Shea and they had a kid who didn’t meet the criteria.

And then they took the scholarship. Cause if you don’t meet certain criteria, the NCAA can take a scholarship. So here Larry was all set to go to OU and he had a scholarship. Okay. So he goes to Larry shy comes, flies and hubs, and sees me, we talk, he flies Larry out. Larry comes back. And he’s loving it.

He said, I’m going to Wyoming [01:13:00] up. Upstate what? Let me just go into Wyoming. I love what I love it there, coach blah, blah, blah. He goes out and I’m thinking to myself, there’s no way in hell. He can go to Wyoming. Nobody’s going to see him play. His parents are going to be able to see him. So I called John Gross.

I go look, John, I go, what can we do to get him? It’ll you? He goes, well, he’d have to pay his first year. But after his first year, we get that scholarship back and he would be put on scholarship. And even though he’s not a scholarship, his freshman year, we can still treat him like a scholarship player. He could still start and play this, that, and the other I’m like, okay, great.

So I call Larry senior. I go, Hey, look, I go, this is the situation, I know you probably don’t want him to go Wyoming cause he’s going to be on their side of the planet, are you interested in doing this? So I explained to him, what I talked with John about and Larry goes, yeah, I’ll talk to Larry Jr.

, bond and see what he says and may have them gone to visit [01:14:00] but by then Larry Jr was just, I think he was, he just wanted to go to a place where he was wanted, and he could get a scholarship. Right.  what I mean? Which, which understandably. So for sure.

, because think, I mean, Michigan broke his heart and you’re now, Ooh, this goes, and then here comes Wyoming. They fly him out there and promising the world and treat them like like he’s a million dollars. So he ends up going to Wyoming, And then, the rest is history.

I mean, he just, worked out from, thank God, I was really worried about him going there. But it was a good move for him because it was, it wasn’t too big it was, and it’s not knocking in Wyoming in that conference, but it was a conference where he could develop his skills and his confidence, and he could carry that team, which is what he did his senior year.

He carried a team to the NCAA tournament they won their conference tournament and he did blow his knee out, [01:15:00, during his junior year, which it was amazing that even came back the following year. Mike, I mean, I when I talked to him after he got hurt, he was kind of leaning towards sitting out a year and then coming back.

But man, he came back better and stronger and which I couldn’t believe, but it probably helped with the position that he played. I think it might be easier for a big guy as opposed to a guard and …

Mike Klinzing: [01:15:26] The medical, the medical is so good now. It’s amazing. It’s incredible.

Dean Rahas: [01:15:30] Yeah. So they got him and then he had a great senior year.

His stock went away up and., the more I started watching him I started thinking he’s, he’s an NBA player and I don’t even tell college guys college coaches that like that. We’re not sure about him. I’d say, let me tell you something about Larry Jr. I said, because of our one coach came and watched him and said I don’t kill coach.

I don’t know if he’s tough enough.  what I mean? I don’t know if he’s, I said, [01:16:00] look, I said, if you want somebody that knows how to win, you want Larry. If you want something that makes people around him better, you want Larry, you want somebody that you don’t have to worry about doing dumb things off the court.

You want Larry? I said, now, if you want somebody to go out there and start pushing someone and throwing bows and, and fist the cops, I go, you don’t want Larry? I said, but I will tell you this. If you don’t pick him up, I said, in two years, you will be kicking yourself in the butt saying, why the hell didn’t we get that kid?

I remember as clear as day saying that to one of the coaches.  what I mean? Yup. But it just cows coaches, they, they, they play so much, so much value on it. You athleticism for sure.  what I mean? And, and there’s so many guys that are skilled and they’re athletic, but number one, they don’t know how to win.

Number two. They don’t make guys around them better. So to me, if you can’t do those two things, why in the hell do I want you, [01:17:00] and, you look at Mark fuel Gonzaga, and yet granted, Hey, let me tell you something. Butler would have beat anybody in the country that night they might have been, they were fantastic.

They may have beaten some NBA teams that night. They were that damn good. All right. But you look at Mark. I like Mark view, squeaky clean, not in trouble, no violations. He gets guys who look like average Joe’s right. Any wins with them because they play together. I mean, that’s why they won all those games and run defeated.

I mean, they were, they were such a good team, but they met a team that was just that much better but so Larry ended up getting drafted, which was great, got to play with Coby got to play with LeBron. And he just, the, just the, just a great guy.

I mean the whole family, I mean, his brother, Pete who’s at Northwestern. I saw him last week he shot me a text and wanting to come up to the high [01:18:00] school and work out. So got him in the gym, got some shots up. And the daughter, the older daughter who played a Dayton, Casey , she’s wonderful.

I mean, she’s an assistant coach at Revere for the girls program. And I said, I always tell her, I say, Hey, I’ll bring you along in our program because she’s so good. She’s so good. And then the parents Janie and Larry are, are really just special, special people. They’re Very humble down to earth, they don’t want any special treatment or they don’t want to be different than anybody else and, and they’re always very generous and kind and gracious.

And, my wife, Lisa and I we’ve become really close with their family over the years, and I talked, I still talk to Larry senior. We probably talk, I don’t know, once or once a week or once every other week we talk quite a bit. So yeah, I just, I must have been really lucky, Mike, really lucky.

Mike Klinzing: [01:18:54] Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, I think one of the things that I always find is that when you [01:19:00] have parents who have had some athletic achievement themselves, that they tend to be, at least in most cases, I think more grounded in terms of being realistic about who their kids are. And they’re not trying to live vicariously through their children, which we see a lot of people do.

And it’s great that again, you had the opportunity to coach those guys and I’m sure like they’re very public successes that you can see the success that each of the brothers have had in their own way. And then I’m sure you have a lot of kids that. Don’t have the same type of public success, but you mentioned the kid who’s in med school and you talk about the kid who’s back on your coaching staff and those successes, I’m sure are equally as important to you, even though they aren’t as public.

And I think that’s really what coaching is all about is yeah, we all love to win and I know you’re as competitive as anybody. And ultimately what happens out on the floor is important, but really you start talking about the impact that you can have as a coach on kids and [01:20:00] you see that impact. Five years later, 10 years later, 20 years later when they’re having families and they’re getting a promotion at their job, they’re getting married or having kids or whatever it might be.

And I think that’s one of the things that coaching has really continued to evolve in that direction in terms of building those relationships. And I promised you that we would try to keep it to an hour and 15 minutes. Sorry. So I’ve already bought some Arctic blown past my time limit, which I knew I was going to, but I want to ask you one final two-part question and that is, I want you to share when you look ahead, what is your biggest challenge that you see in front of you?

And then number two, what’s your biggest joy when you got to get out of bed in the morning and you wake up as the head basketball coach at Revere, what’s the biggest joy you get from that. So your biggest challenge and your biggest joy,

Dean Rahas: [01:20:50] Biggest challenge well, we just had two great senior guards, graduate two [01:21:00] kids who score over a thousand points during the same year, which is a rarity. I mean, that’s just, just tremendous kids and whenever you lose special players and every year we do for the most part you think, Oh gosh, who’s going to, who’s going to step up.

Who’s going to fill those shoes. What are we going to be like?  I think that’s the biggest challenge is who’s, who’s going to step up who’s going to, who’s going to carry the torch and continue this the success that, that we’ve had, we’ve been able in the past 10 years that when five league championships and the school’s first district championship and then, five and four district runner ups.

So as a coach, you want more you want to win more and, see the kids succeed and, and do things that they’ve never done before. And when I came to Revere we said we want to win a league championship and we want to win [01:22:00] a district championship. We’ve been able to do that.

And I just, I want to see our kids that cut the nets down. I want to see them do those things. And because I know what it, what it did for me. And I know how important it was to me and still is. And, and I look back on it and I really just, I want them to enjoy that, I want them to have that feeling and I hope they do.

Cause, it goes by fast and you only go through high school once that’s it, four years and you’re done, so that’s, that’s the challenge right there is. To, to get back on top, and not be, not be content and it’s easy to, it’s easy to be content I mean, we we’ve won the league and we won the district.

But yeah, we still got to stay hungry. And the next question was your biggest joy. My biggest joy is just seeing the kids improve and get better. And, and the neat thing you and I, we talked about the youth league and [01:23:00] it’s so fun to see these kids first and second grade, and then you see them progress third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, and you see these kids get better.

And, and that’s, what’s fun is because you, you look forward to coaching these kids and you think someday and I tell kids, Hey, I can’t wait to get to high school so we can coach you. I can’t wait to see you, and that’s what that’s what keeps you going?

, it’s the kids. Yeah. I mean, if, if I didn’t like the kids I wouldn’t be coaching this long and, this was my 19th year as the head coach at Revere my 24th year teaching and coaching overall. So that’s the joy right there is, is working. I mean, that’s why, that’s why you do this.

I mean, if you don’t like kids and you’re probably not a teacher,

Mike Klinzing: [01:23:51] Or you’re probably not a good one anymore.

Dean Rahas: [01:23:56] A good one, right? Yeah. That’s [01:24:00] that’s, I would say that’s the, that’s the joys, the, the kids and all the different personalities and so it, it’s fun. It’s rewarding.

Mike Klinzing: [01:24:10] Absolutely. All right.

Before we get out, share how people can get in touch with you, whether you want to share email or social media, how can people reach out to you after listening to the podcast? And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

Dean Rahas: [01:24:22] Yeah. We have our Twitter page, that we have for boys basketball.

And let me get that here. It’s CoachRahas @RevereBoysBball. And that is our Twitter page, my email at school is a D as in Dean [01:25:00]

Mike Klinzing: [01:25:03] Awesome Dean, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to jump out with me tonight.

It’s been a lot of fun for me to reconnect with you both on our phone conversation a couple of days ago, and then. Talking for an hour and a half tonight spent a lot of fun. And it’s one of those things that you think about all these relationships you’ve had in the game over the course of time. And people kind of, you drift in and out of people’s lives.

And I’m glad that we were able to reconnect. And this was a lot of fun to kind of talk and learn more about your story. That some things that certainly, I didn’t know, growing up and knowing you as a kid it was a lot of fun for me. So I thank you for that. And to everyone out there, we appreciate you listening to this episode and we will catch you on the next one.


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