MARK ANDERSON – HEAD COACH OF THE BASKETBALL LEAGUE’S OWENSBORO THOROUGHBREDS – EPISODE 337

Mark Anderson

Website – http://owensborobasketball.com/

Email – coachanderson14@gmail.com

Twitter – @coachinbb

Mark Anderson is the Head Coach of the Owensboro Thoroughbreds of The Basketball League.  Anderson is a FIBA licensed coach and USA Basketball Gold Coach Licensed! He has 18 players that have signed internationally in the last 4 years from the minor league teams he’s coached in the United States and Canada.

Anderson won a NJCAA D2 National Championship at Cuyahoga Community College and was also named national coach of the year in 2004.  He was an assistant coach at D3 Hiram college in Ohio from 2007-2010.  Prior to his time at Tri-C, Anderson was the head coach at the University of Akron Wayne College from 1997-2002.

Anderson has worked the McCracken Basketball Camp since 1983 and been the Site Director since 1995. He has directed numerous youth camps throughout his career as well as professional free agent camps since 2011.  Mark has coached High School, Juco, Division III, and minor league professional basketball.

In 2019 Mark was the Head Coach of the Jamestown Jackals from the North American Basketball League and in 2020 he became the Head Coach of the Owensboro Thoroughbreds of The Basketball League.

Don’t miss our Hoop Heads Pod Webinar Series with some of the top minds in the game across all levels, from grassroots to the NBA.  If you’re focused on improving your coaching and your team, we’ve got you covered! Visit hoopheadspod.com/webinars to get registered.  Make sure you check out our new Hoop Heads Pod Network of shows including Thrive with Trevor Huffman , Beyond the Ball, The CoachMays.com Podcast and Cavaliers Central with Justin Matcham, our first podcast dedicated to covering the ins and outs of an NBA team. We are unbelievably excited for the content we’re going to be bringing you in the weeks ahead as more of our new shows come to life.  If you’ve ever thought of hosting your own basketball themed podcast or a pod that covers an NBA team we want to hear from you about joining our great lineup of show hosts.

Grab a notebook and get ready to learn as you listen to this episode with Coach Mark Anderson from The Basketball League’s Owensboro Thoroughbreds.

What We Discuss with Mark Anderson

  • His grandfather playing professional basketball in 30’s and 40’s
  • Sports specialization and playing multiple sports in high school
  • Growing up in hoops crazy Indiana
  • Going from a high school star to not playing much in college
  • How being unfulfilled as a player led him into coaching
  • Getting involved with McCracken Basketball Camps
  • How AAU changed the look & feel of old school basketball camps
  • Why coaching young kids helps him when he coaches pro players
  • How well do we teach the fundamentals here in the US vs. overseas?
  • Class systems in high school basketball state tournaments
  • Starting his coaching career at the high school level
  • Getting his first college job at University of Akron Wayne College while teaching at Cleveland Central Catholic (OH) High School
  • Learning logistics, time management, and preparation at Akron Wayne
  • The biggest difference at each level of basketball? The speed of the game
  • The challenges he faced at Tri-C despite winning a 2004 D2 NJCAA National Championship in 2004
  • How he got involved in minor league professional basketball
  • The challenges and joys in minor league pro basketball
  • Getting connected with David Magley and The Basketball League
  • The importance of a supportive spouse in a coach’s life
  • Helping players achieve their dream of playing professionally and moving up to bigger contracts/opportunities
  • What makes the The Basketball League unique: Community involvement & character
  • Coaching the Owensboro Thoroughbreds

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THANKS, MARK ANDERSON

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TRANSCRIPT FOR MARK ANDERSON – HEAD COACH OF THE BASKETBALL LEAGUE’S OWENSBORO THOROUGHBREDS – EPISODE 337

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle and tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast  Coach Mark Anderson.  Mark, welcome.

Mark Anderson: [00:00:11] Thanks guys. Looking forward to being on with you guys.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:14] It’s going be a lot of fun to dig in. You have a wide variety of experiences in the game, and I’m really excited to be able to dig into those with you, find out more about each of the stops along the way and your coaching career and some of the different places that you’ve been leagues you’ve coached in levels you’ve coached at just really excited to dive into that. Want to go back in time though, first to when you were a kid. And just tell us a little bit about how you got into the game when you were younger.

Mark Anderson: [00:00:41] Okay. Well, I grew up in Northeast Indiana outside of Fort Wayne. So, you know, basketball is huge over there.

Kind of like football is here, but, everybody had a hoop in their driveway. No, you get out, you shoot around things like that. But, my grandfather, [00:01:00] Dave Herps was a professional back in the early forties. He played for the Fort Wayne Harvester team. And this was back when, you know, right at the end of the depression and that’s where guys would be hired and then given a job. So he kind of had that yet. I found out from my uncle this past week that he turned down a scholarship to go to the University of Illinois to play, back in the early thirties. So he was, he was a pretty good player. He ended up playing in the, the world games in Chicago, 1939, 1940, and played against the original Harlem Globetrotters.

So my one regret and all that is I never asked him about these things. When I was growing up, I would go up to his Lake house and spend a week with him or so, but basketball never came up. He never brought it up, but my mom would tell me things about him. So I was kind of intrigued, but you know, again, growing up in Indiana, you were kind of expected to play, so we would [00:02:00] get out and we’d play.

And that’s probably about where it started.

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:06] And you played all sports I’m assuming when you were younger, compared to the kids today, who a lot of times specialize. So maybe just talk about your overall sports experience or your experience as a kid because I think that’s something that kids today miss out on.

Mark Anderson: [00:02:20] I would agree with that. Yeah. We didn’t specialize back then. You know, when it was football, we played football, whether it was tackle out in the school yard, baseball, these were the days when you have the mid hanging on your hand, around, you know, right around the neighborhood and he didn’t come in to, you know, it was dark and these things really did happen.

Then, and, you know, go and play baseball. I was probably on my first, real sport that I felt that I was good at was baseball. Cause I played that a lot cause there’s just more opportunity to do it, as a team sport. But then as I started to get into [00:03:00] junior high, I started to concentrate more on basketball, but I played all three sports.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:06] So when you say you started to concentrate a little bit more on basketball, what did that look like? Like from your development standpoint, was that you playing more pickup games? Was that you getting in the gym or getting on the driveway, working on your game? Just what was it that you did when you started to focus a little bit more on basketball?

Mark Anderson: [00:03:24] This was before AAU. So this was late seventies. so when we moved, when we went from New Haven, Indiana out to Woodburn and we were out in the corn fields of Indiana and my dad ended up building this, basketball goal on the driveway. He had a six by six piece of lumber he put into the ground.

He took a, saw and cut out a back board and then just got the rim and the other brackets and put it together, just going out there and playing. And we had a driveway that was kind of, [00:04:00] you had the arc, your shot. I learned it. I learned to have a good arc on my shots being out there.

And it was also a coated driveway. So you’d sweat or it would rain. It was pretty slippery. So we, we learned to be, have a good balance growing up with that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:19] Yeah. It’s a lot different than it is today. I know hearing you talk about the brackets and the cutout wooden backboards. That sounds pretty familiar to me.

That’s the same thing that I had in my suburban driveway. My dad was kind of was old school. So we had a wooden pole and some u-clamps and I had a fan shaped backboard that was cut out of plywood. And that was my basketball hoop. From the time I was really young and my hoop started  out really low.

My dad was maybe ahead of his time and I was probably seven, eight years old. And my basket was probably seven feet tall at the time. And I attribute a lot of my ability to shoot the ball over time to growing up, learning how to [00:05:00] shoot it correctly because I was always shooting on a lower basket when I was younger and I wish more kids had the opportunity to do that today.

That just doesn’t happen nearly as much as it probably should. Talk a little bit about your high school cool experience as a basketball player, maybe one or two memories for you that stand out as a high school player.

Mark Anderson: [00:05:18] Well, I played for the same coach all four years, freshmen. I was on the, junior varsity, and then the following year, he got the head coaching job at Woodland High School.

And so my sophomore, junior and senior year, I played for him. I ended up scoring over a thousand points. this was pre three point line and. 44 straight games in double figures and kind of proud of that one. They just met shot a lot. Yeah. I ended up averaging 22 points, a game as a senior and just under eight rebounds nine rebounds a game.

[00:06:00] So we always got stuck. This was before class basketball in Indiana came about. So we would get stuck in the Fort Wayne sectional going against South Side or Fort Wayne, or I can remember here I am six foot one guarding Marty, Seacrest. Who’s six foot six or a gray guy for Tyler Iserdads. There’s a Miami Dolphins now I think, or Jacksonville.

It was down there tied in his father who was six, eight played at Purdue. So we had no chance coming out of, out of our sectionals. So we knew it was pretty one and done, but it kind of, the neat thing is we would play at the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum and, our conference tournament was held there. So we got to play three straight years in the Fort Wayne Coliseum, which is kind of cool.

See, it’s eight thousand nine thousand and two are the Fort Wayne Pistons used to play in the NBA before they became the Detroit Pistons. So it’s kind of [00:07:00] a, kind of a mystique thing to plan. And actually that’s where I scored my thousandth point was in my last game one in there. and, that’s pretty much what I remember about that.

You know, I got a lot of good things out of playing high school sports and playing the different sports. I thought that that helped me in basketball. I ended up playing volleyball my junior and senior year we had, it was a sanctioned sport. Ended up increasing my vertical jump. I had played football the previous two years and then went over to volleyball.

Cause I thought that that would really help with my jumping and quickness and reflexes. And it did it paid off.

Mike Klinzing: [00:07:38] At what point during your high school career, did you start thinking about wanting to play sports in college? Cause I know you also played some baseball, correct? In college. So you played some basketball and some baseball.

So when did you start thinking about the opportunity to become a college athlete?

Mark Anderson: [00:07:56] Probably towards the latter part of my sophomore year, I [00:08:00] thought, that this could be something that I can pursue at the next level, but not knowing at what level I could pursue it, but I knew that I was good enough.

But at what point or what level would I be at? And, and that was an eye opener once I got there, once we get into that. But, that’s kinda why I went into coaching, but, I knew early on that I could probably play it and then baseball. It was just the fact that now let’s just see if I can, you know, walk onto a baseball team while I’m there in college and see, and it worked out, I played at two different colleges, baseball and basketball.

Mike Klinzing: [00:08:38] All right. So talk about the adjustment from high school, which is, I think what you were hinting at the adjustment from high school sports to college sports for you, what that was like, just in terms of the challenge that it presented to you when you first got to college.

Mark Anderson: [00:08:52] Going from being a star to being a bench warmer.

That was [00:09:00] probably the most difficult thing for me, but I also was able to sit back now, mind you, I worked hard at what I was doing. And, you know, would make the starters of the guys ahead of me work because I could shoot the ball with the best, anybody, but that was probably about it at that level.

but it was the fact that sitting back and watching what was going on, I think, and the fact that I always say that the reason I went into coaching is because I didn’t get fulfilled as a player. And that void is what pushed me into coaching and sitting back and watching how some guys did things that I like.

And some things I did that I didn’t like. And I learned a lot in those four or five years of being in college, watching and being around the sports and playing basketball and baseball that I put into how I do things.

Mike Klinzing: [00:09:57] So when you think about going into [00:10:00] coaching, was it just, had it been something you had thought about in high school and growing up, or were you still thinking of yourself?

Strictly in playing terms at that point. And it was sort of once the opportunity to play began to get taken away that you started thinking about coaching, or I had coaching always been on your mind from early on?

Mark Anderson: [00:10:18] No coaching wasn’t it was, summer of 1983. So I was a sophomore in college and I started working in the McCracken basketball camps, which is still work to this way.

And it goes back to the founder of the McCracken camps was branch McCracken and a coach that won national titles in the 40’s & 50’s. The term  Hoosiers came from, how fast did he pick the players at their pace of play? That’s where the term Hurryin Hoosiers came from was Branch McCracken’s teams when he passed in the 1970s son, David McCracken took over. And it was my senior year in high [00:11:00] school. My high school coach gave me a letter and said, Hey, you might be interested in going and being a counselor at a basketball camp. I said, Oh, cool. All right. Earn some money and do that.

Let’s see what happens because my intent was to go in and get my business degree and just to like, my dad was doing, be it a salesman or whatnot for. For the rest of the time. So I call up, go to McCraken and I said, you know, coach, I’d like to work. And he goes, well, I’ll tell you what Mark I’m full this summer.

This is when the camp was all outdoors up in Indiana. It was really hard to get in as a counselor. If you didn’t go to the camps, you know, they didn’t know who you were and I had never gone to their camps. So he’s, he says, I’ll tell you what next summer you call me. And this time at this point, next time I guarantee you’ll be okay.

I’m sitting in class one [00:12:00] day. This was probably May of my senior year. I get up. Speaker for me to, to come down to the office. All right. I didn’t do anything in my trouble for something. No, here it was coach McCracken and he was an adjunct professor at Bluffton. So he would drive from Fort Wayne to Bluffton was probably about an hour and a half drive.

So yeah. And this always stuck in my mind. I took the time to come to the high school, off the highway, stop get me out of class and say, here’s what I’m going to do. I guarantee that you’re going to be in next year. And he was a man of his word. And that’s the reason why Mike, I still do that camp to this day is the loyalty that he showed to me is I’ve always returned that to him.

And that respect also. So 37 years of being with the McCracken camp, the only two summers I haven’t worked, it was 1987 when I graduated college. In [00:13:00] 1989 when I got married and then this summer, all the camps for that have been canceled because they were up in Michigan and Indiana because of COVID-19.

Mike Klinzing: [00:13:12] That’s an incredible story. Just when you think about the fact that here was a guy that. Didn’t know you from the next guy and yet took the time to invest in you and pour into you. And then clearly you’ve done the same in terms of giving back and wanting to be a part of that. What beyond. Coach McCracken himself.

Just talk to us a little bit about what makes the McCracken camps so special in your eyes. What keeps you going back other than that loyalty factor? I’m sure it’s just the quality of what goes on. She just explained to us a little bit about what makes McCracken camp so special. Well,

Mark Anderson: [00:13:49] it’s, it’s always been hands on, just from day one.

You know, we, we just never, the motto is we don’t roll out the basketballs. We don’t play five on five for four [00:14:00] hours a day. And things like that. We teach, we teach the games. And that’s where I’ve learned that, that side of basketball, he taught me how to teach the game of basketball in the way of fundamentals and things like that.

And those are the things that I’ve always cared about. And, and we care about the kids at the overnight camp. So we made sure the count and the toughest job is being a counselor. I’ve been the site director for the last 25 years. So these guys that are the counselors again, to make sure the kids are in their rooms every night, they’re there with them 24 seven while we’re there 24 hours a day.

It’s no longer seven day camp, but you know, those things right there where we stay with the kids, we, we invest our time with the kids. I think that’s what brings we would go streaks of. Four or five years having the same kids coming back because of the way we treat the kids, the game, they’re not always the best basketball players, but I think because we showed interest and we [00:15:00] taking the time to coach them and just like the recruiter may be the best.

We were still taking the time to coach the kid who may have the least count out there, those types of things. And I think building the relationships are the things that I’ve learned from that also.

Mike Klinzing: [00:15:17] Yeah, that’s so true. I wanted to ask you, as you were talking, thinking about my own camps here in Cleveland, and just the way that the camp business and the way summer basketball has changed, obviously since the time you first started there at the McCracken camps, I would guess that probably the.

Talent level or the ability level of the players today at camp are probably a little less than the talent of the players. You got 15, 20, 25 years ago, just because the summer basketball scene has kind of shifted out from underneath the camp model and moved over to the AAU and playing games and tournaments all the [00:16:00] time.

Would you say that’s probably an accurate description or no?

Mark Anderson: [00:16:03] Oh, yeah. That’s spot on. I noticed that. I don’t have to. It’s funny that you said that it’s just talking to one of the counselors yeah. About that. But the thing is, is that yeah, I started notice when, Ohio was one of the first States in the Tristate area to allow coaches to start working and with their players during the summer.

And once that started opening up and then Indiana was, it was the last of the three States, meaning Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, where we primarily get all of our kids from Indiana was the last one to really do that. And then once those three States are doing that, we saw drop-off initially in the numbers of kids.

And then this is when the team camps at the universities started to take off. Because now they had the time that they could invest 10, 12 days of working with their players, as opposed to not just open [00:17:00] gym where you quote unquote, weren’t able to coach them. and those types of things. So, yeah, I would say probably as far back as 25 years started to see that that’s starting to change of the amount of the good players that you would have at camp and actually.

Seeing kids that are beyond sophomore now in high school is kind of rare to see at camp because of the AAU aspect.

Mike Klinzing: [00:17:26] Absolutely. I think that that’s something that has definitely shifted. I know, even for my camps, which are primarily focused on elementary school, kids used to be that I would get a lot of kids in that upper elementary grades of the fifth and sixth graders.

And it seems that as time has gone on, I get less and less of those older kids, even within those lower grades, it seems like I get more of the first, second and third graders now than I ever have. And less of the fourth, fifth and sixth graders compared to what I might have done years ago. And there was definitely, I’m not sure that I can [00:18:00] pinpoint the exact year of the exact time where it started to shift.

But I do know that when I think about. Some of the, the quality of the games, for example, at camp. From 15 years ago, compared to the quality of games that we have today, it’s just not, it’s not really comparable. And yet at the same time, I think that one of the things that I enjoy most about the camp is that a lot of the kids who do come are kids who may be, I don’t know if overlooked is the right word, or maybe they’re just not into that system of AAU yet, but you’re giving them something that there isn’t a whole lot of it out there because from a camp standpoint, I just think there aren’t as many.

Good quality camps out there as there used to be. I think LA previously again, 15, 20 years ago, there were so many more. Camp options that had really good coaches and that were teaching the game and doing things correctly. Yes. Now I think you have, because everybody’s playing and that’s where the money [00:19:00] is.

And the youth basketball business is running tournaments and having teams. You’ve seen a lot of people gravitate both from a coaching standpoint and from a playing standpoint, that’s where people have gone. And so, consequently, you don’t have as many people getting involved in camp, but I still love just getting out on the court.

And as you said, you mentioned it right off the top. When you talked about McCrackin camps, it was just the ability to teach the game. And I think that is what I value about what I do at my camp. And I think you feel the same way.

Mark Anderson: [00:19:28] Oh, absolutely. It’salways interesting because for the last eight, nine years coaching guys that are anywhere from 22 to 34 years old, the elementary kids and thinking, alright, I got to break it back down all the way down and go step by step.

You know, I was telling some people the other day, that’s good for me too. Because, you know, sometimes I got to step back and say, all right. Yeah, I’ve got to reteach the game. And that’s good [00:20:00] for me too because it brings it back stuff that maybe I skipped over. Cause I don’t need to teach it at the level I’m at, but these guys need it. So it brings back a lot of stuff. And that I taught in the past, which I enjoy teaching because I can break it down and take the time and cause this is all new to them. So that that’s also, you know, exciting for me also, because you can see it in their eyes once they get it’s like, Oh yeah, jab step.

All right. Well, you know, a lot of times we see now that that might not be the, it. The Vogue thing to teach, but it’s still a primary move that gets things done on every level. I think we’ve gotten to the point now we’re overlooking the basic basketballs because we want to look flashy. We want to get those likes and everything on, on, on the social media, rather than teaching the game.

And this is, this is an aspect where European basketball players are going ahead of USA basketball player in general, because of their [00:21:00] approach to the game. Now we’ll always have the best basketball players in the world, but when you get past the elite, now you’ve got some of these I’ve been watching on us basket.com or how many European guys have been signed by colleges over here now.

So, you know, it’s becoming more and more of a thing. So as you look at this, we gotta step back and start teaching the game more in the fundamental aspect of it. I think sometimes when we just get, you know, we think that’s great that we’re playing a hundred games and three months during the summer, but what are we really getting out of that?

That’s the thing, you know, you’re traveling, which is great, you know, your plan, but. Are you getting any better? Are the guys other than the elite guys, are the other kids getting better at this? And that’s, that’s one of the things I think we gotta really step back and look at.

Mike Klinzing: [00:21:54] Yeah. I think the challenge there is that when kids only [00:22:00] play in games where there’s a scoreboard and when mom and dad are sitting in the stands and when the coaches on the sideline and people are watching them, It’s really, really difficult to try new things, to experiment, to get out of your comfort zone, to push yourself maybe beyond what you’re capable of, because everything is being recorded.

Everything is being watched, everything is being critiqued and that makes it really, really diff you know, really, really difficult. And so. It becomes a challenge, I think for kids to improve and add things to their game because they never get a chance to so just go in the gym and work on stuff by themselves, they don’t get it to really get any good high level practices where even if you’re in practice and you’re quote unquote playing, or you’re using a games based approach to practice, which a lot of us are using today.

You still have a coach there who is trying to teach the game? It’s not just an AAU [00:23:00] game. Where nine times out of 10, that’s just 10 kids running up and down the floor, kind of playing glorified, pickup basketball, but with a referee, with coaches, with parents in the stands, and it takes away all the good stuff from pickup basketball when you put all those other, other elements into it.

So it’s a, it’s a challenge. And I know I’ve. Been on my soap box before here on the podcast that I really feel like the demise of playground basketball and pickup basketball for kids today makes me sad. Cause I just know how important that was to my development, both as a player and as a person and developing strength of character and all these other different things that I think are so important that I learned.

By playing pickup basketball. And I think when you don’t get an opportunity to do that as much, I don’t think you can learn those same things in the AAU circuit. Now you can learn different things. And there’s certainly really good AAU coaches that teach in the game and helping kids get better. But I think if you could somehow strike a balance [00:24:00] between the two eras and get a little bit of each one, I think you’d have the best of both worlds.

Mark Anderson: [00:24:04] It would be, and that would be, cause it’s just like when you drive around, you see all these courts that are sitting there empty in the cities and the baseball. Nobody goes out and plays baseball anymore either. Yeah, it seems like that’s almost a dying sport.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:19] I was going to ask you about that when you were talking about baseball and having your glove on your handlebars.

Cause I remember that too. And my question, as we were talking that it kinda got away from me. I can’t remember. And I don’t know if you can, the last time you drove by a baseball field and you saw. Eight kids playing a pickup game of baseball or in the yard or in a vacant lot. Like I just, I never, ever, ever

Jason Sunle: [00:24:45] I can answer that question. I’m here

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:49] Here he is. Other sports always get him to jump. So

Jason Sunkle: [00:24:54] I, for the first time last summer was driving by the field down here, [00:25:00] over at Webster and Whitney. Oh, my kids are going to that new playground. You know, that new playground. They put it over there. Mike.

Mike Klinzing: [00:25:07] Yep. I know exactly.

Jason Sunkle: [00:25:09] Yeah, so for the first time, I want to say in 10 years, because I mean, I’ve lived in the same house, my whole life Mark. I saw 10 kids playing baseball on a field and I’m not lying to what I said Will, this is an accident I said to my son Will. I said, this is a rare sighting. It’s almost as rare as seeing dinosaurs look at, there are 10 kids playing baseball.

That’s not organized. And so that’s the only time in my life in the last 10 years that I’ve seen that many kids playing baseball, and I will say this whole nonsense with the major league baseball, isn’t going to help their case right now. I’m just, just, that’s why I think it’s a dying sport because of what we’ve seen matriculating because of all of this and how, you know, they’re arguing back and forth and then how much pay they want and all that rather than, and I know times are tough, [00:26:00] but.

When we see these millionaires going back and forth like that, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help. I mean, major league baseball is not doing a good job towards getting the youth involved like the NBA or the NFL is in there. They’re gained. We’ve got to do a better job with that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:26:18] Yeah. I would agree with you a hundred percent there.

I see baseball as a sport that has some huge challenges ahead of it. And I think one of the things that. I also point to when it comes to baseball. I mean, there’s a lot of things we can go into. There’s the labor issues and the things that we’re talking about here. Then I think there’s the fact that for so long, the playoff games and world series games that used to be on during the day when we were kids now on go late at night, the games are so long kids today and there are, we know their attention spans are different.

They’re not going to sit and watch a four hour baseball game. And baseball is a game of subtleties that if you don’t understand those subtleties, you’re not going to enjoy it or appreciate it nearly as much. And kids today, [00:27:00] aren’t going to invest four hours in a baseball game to learn all those subtleties.

And then I think the last thing is that. You go and you watch a baseball practice as a parent and you watch your kids play baseball during a practice and the level of activity that they get during a baseball practice compared to if they go and play basketball or soccer or lacrosse, which is becoming more and more popular, there’s just so much more activity.

You go to a baseball practice and let’s face it. The only thing fun to do at baseball practice is to hit, right. That’s what everybody wants to do. Yeah. And if you’re lucky, If you’re lucky you hit for five minutes during a practice, if you’re lucky and that’s, that’s the fun part. And the rest of the time, all the time you’re sitting around, maybe you’re.

You know, shagging some fly balls or whatever, but it’s just not, it’s just not as fast paced and it’s not as fun. And it takes, it takes a lot of investment to begin to appreciate what makes the game of baseball. Great. And I just think that the way our society is today is not [00:28:00] necessarily conducive to baseball, continuing to be popular.

So it will be interesting 50 years from now. We can revisit this discussion and see where baseball is.

All right. Let’s talk a little bit about after you get done with college, you end up. Getting into high school teaching and coaching. So talk a little bit about your very first experience where I know you were coaching multiple sports. So give us an idea of what that was like coming out into the real world and immediately becoming a coach at the high school level.

Mark Anderson: [00:28:30] Okay, my first coaching job was in 1987 junior high. And this was at the high school that I had graduated from and I was thrown into the fire right away. I just call it leads up to where, but, I had the head coach’s son. I had another head coaches on one of the bigger schools in Fort Wayne.

I had, the head football coaches son, and I had my brother [00:29:00] on the team. So I had multiple eyes watching what I was doing. So I had to be on my game every time, but it was interesting. Mike and Jason, the only one that ever gave me trouble was my mom. Do you want to know why my brother wasn’t playing the other three that were head coaches never intervened with what I was saying.

And the fact of, you know, saying, Oh, you need to do this. You need to play him the da. And I didn’t know, they would give me pointers and things like that, but I always started with great. They let me learn on my own. So I was a junior high coach for three years. And then. I got my first teaching job in 1989 at Westview high school up in Topeka, Indiana outside of Elkhart Shipshewana area.

If you ever go through there on the turnpike on your way to Notre Dame or Chicago, you go right by it.

Mike Klinzing:  Home of Shawn Kemp

Mark Anderson:  Yeah. I was about to say that, but I know if people would remember him, but I missed [00:30:00] that and against him by one year he graduated in 88. So if I did coach against Brad Miller, who played a long time in the NBA, he was at noble high school.

But, So I ended up coaching, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and became at one point, I wasn’t head coach of all three of those sports in the same year. Yeah. I sat back now, wait a minute. I’m coaching 48 out of 52 weeks. I got this isn’t gonna work. So I gave up baseball and, and had volleyball for one more year and gave that up and then just concentrate on basketball.

But it was interesting thing. So to speak in Shipshewana as a community at the time was probably about  2 to 3000 people in the high school. When I was there, had about, I would say at max 350 people, but our gym was built in [00:31:00] 1990 and built with 18 baskets in it, three full courts and had 3,400 seats.

And for the community, like I said, less than 3000 and we would get. Upwards, if we’re playing our rival Lakeland or, or Fairfield or Goshen high school, we would get close to 3000, 200 in there. And that wasn’t unusual for that time period. And this was before class basketball was in Indiana and the attorney.

And I can recall when I was a excellent there, we went against, lean Ayllon and Chapman clay. When they ended up, you played here, NBA ended up winning, the state championship in Indiana. Yeah, we played before 8,000 people in Elkhart central at 10 o’clock in the morning. And then we’d beat Fairfield.

One of our rivals. And had to go back then that evening one place out then clay. And we ended up losing to them like four, [00:32:00] if we were the one that we were gone to regionals, I think we had a good chance to go to semi-state that year with the team that we had. We didn’t have anybody over six foot three.

Our frontline was five 11, six, three, five 11. Their frontline was six -six, six-nine, and six- eight. So.

Well, I remember after the game we got home and I popped in the VHS because I know we had a chance to win this game. Cause we lost by four, between the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, we had gone 10 straight trips where we didn’t score. And that was the ball game right there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:32:40] Yeah.

That makes it a little tough. Aren’t you asking you this? Let me ask you this about high school basketball. If you had your preference, would you. If you could set the system up any way you wanted it to, would you still set up a classless system or do you prefer to have the schools divided by size? If you could set it up in an [00:33:00] ideal world, which one of those systems would you prefer?

Mark Anderson: [00:33:03] Well, I grew up where there wasn’t class and played through it and coach through it, and I always thought that that was great. I see the, I see the benefits of both. But, I would say you probably gotta go to the class. You can’t get ridiculous with having like six, seven classes, like some of the States have.

I don’t know. I don’t remember how many in Indiana now. Cause I had left Indiana in 96, 97 and that came in and 97, 98. so, but I, again, it, not many of the small schools ever beat the big schools, but it became interesting when it would get close. And there was always that I think it was the thrill of, and again, people who didn’t grow up in Indiana really didn’t get the movie Hoosiers.

We thought it was great. You know, it was that thrill of going up again, you know, [00:34:00] David and Goliath, and sometimes David would win. And that was the cool thing about it. But I also get the class basketball, you know, going down to Columbus and watching it down. There you go. He’s a great basketball.

Mike Klinzing: [00:34:14] Yeah.There’s definitely pluses and minuses. I think the bowl systems, the chance for that monumental upset in a classless system. Always has that sort of romantic feel to it that wow. And that small school jumps up and beats, their big school rivals or somebody that isn’t expected to get beat. I think there there’s a lot to be said for that.

And yet when you have a class system, you’re obviously either getting out the playing field in a lot of ways, and then you’re also providing an opportunity for. More teams and more kids to finish their season with a victory, which is always a positive as well. When you think about again, what the purpose of high school sports is all about to be able to have kids have that kind of positive experience, I think is, is a good one.

And you could, I think if you execute them well, you can probably get a [00:35:00] lot of value out of both out of both systems. So you leave Indiana and you eventually make your way to Cleveland. Talk a little bit about how that transition happened.

Mark Anderson: [00:35:10] Well, my wife’s from Strongsville. So that was the big reason. But, so going back to the South Bend Clay story, that was 94.

So the head coach retired from coaching. I get the job. So we were a senior laden team. So the next year, I think I only had two of my 10, 11 guys varsity experience. Okay. So we go 11 and 11 and then the following year, it was like disaster. We ended up nine and 12 and then, and then that system where they won, he won 80% of the games that he coached and then they weren’t happy with him.

Well, if I win less than 50 %, are they really going to be happ?. So, I resigned with air quotes. [00:36:00] I had an interview set up in, Indianapolis, and this was, you know, again, one of the things that played into the outbed that year worked in Indiana at 96. So my wife’s father passes away on mother’s day and it was 96 and we are accepted. I got an interview in Indianapolis. He says, well, I think we’re going okay. So I got an app, the team, this is, this Mike was something, it was called the golden opportunity to the University of Akron. They brought in seven of us for a graduate study or to get a master’s in secondary administration, a secondary education administration.

And then they also gave us a staff. I think it was like 12 or 14,000 and paid for our master’s degree. So I got my master’s done on one year and had the opportunity to go [00:37:00] out and into the field and around Northeast Ohio. And then observed student teachers. And part of that, I, I saw that there was an opening at the university of Akron Wayne College down in Orville, and I’ve been out of basketball for a year.

So I thought, well, hi, let’s see what happens out, sending my resume in and go from there. I ended up getting that job and then the following year for a year. Yeah, the following year I got hired and also to teach at Cleveland Central Catholic. So I had a, I would drive from Brunswick to Cleveland to Orville, to home, you know, throughout the basketball season for the next five years.

So it was good. I got to build a program from bottom up. I did everything there. I had assistants, but did things, the thing was is that, you know, we were all part time, so everything was on each of us to do the different things. So, [00:38:00] you know, in that respect, I learned a lot of things. We increased the budget.

We increased, we went from. We ended up at 17, 18 wins my last three years there. So we turned the program around in the ORCC to Ohio regional campus conference. And it’s good basketball. It’s just, a lot of times it’s overlooked. People don’t really take it as being college basketball, but it is, and it was a, it’s a good experience.

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:30] What were one or two things that you learned from that experience that you still carry with you today in your coaching?

Mark Anderson: [00:38:39] Oh, that’s a great question. One or two things from that, that I had to time management was very crucial because of all the driving and the, and where I had to be logistics and then being prepared.

So time management and preparation was, it had to be spot on every time. And [00:39:00] that’s the two things. My practices, I could give you a practice plan if you came in a practice script and we will hit everything on there at the exact same time, unless. I don’t like how they’re doing something or it’s going really well.

And I’ll give them a little extra time, but everything is in order what we’re going to do when we’re going to do it. And those were the things that I learned that from the other. And I was looking at there’s three coaches influenced my basketball. but that’s some of the things that I learned from them.

But I think that thing. Going back to your original question, the logistics and, the, the being organized.

Mike Klinzing: [00:39:40] So how did you manage your time in terms of doing all the prep work and the things that were required for you, from you as the head coach at a college basketball of a college basketball team, while you’re during the day teaching at a school, which.

Clearly sometimes if you’re the basketball coach at the [00:40:00] school, you may be afforded some time during the day to be able to think about basketball or have an extra planning period or things like that, that we’ve seen for other coaches. But for you, obviously that wasn’t the case cause you weren’t coaching at Cleveland central Catholic.

So just talk to me a little bit about what your day was like, how you went about. Planning for practices, preparing for games, just how did you manage that time? I’m just curious.

Mark Anderson: [00:40:25] So a lot of my prep time, I would usually have two during the day one. I would get the things I needed for. Classes as teaching and I taught like four different things throughout the day.

So I had to juggle that too. And then, then one of them would be, you know, I would have to get practice typed up and have it printed out to watch films and sneak it in there. at home, if I could sneak it in there, those types of things. So it was, it [00:41:00] was like I said, I had time management and then to recruit, I started just making up a different, like posts.

Cards sending them out to the different schools in the area or down around Orville on that and doing it a lot of that way, because I just couldn’t, I couldn’t get out to see everything. So that was the way that we did it there. And it worked. I mean, we had our guys, you know, to this day, I still keep in touch with a lot of them ones that one’s now principal that played for me down there.

A couple others that had gone into coaching. So it was good experience.

Mike Klinzing: [00:41:40] When you finish there, then you get another opportunity to continue at the college level and you get to. Go to college community college. How does that happen? How do you get that interview? Just describe for us how you get to that job and what the interview process was like for you to get to try.

 [00:42:00] Mark Anderson: [00:42:00] See that was because we had played them a home in a way for a couple of years and the athletic director, Dan O’Connor who’s now in Alaska is a president at a community college. He called me out of the blue one day and he goes, we have an opening. Would you be interested? I said, sure. And we got to talk.

And he just, he liked how my teams were organized, how I went about it on the sidelines. And it was a perfect say it because Central Catholic was only five to seven minutes away from Tri-C Metro campus. I thought, man, this would be great. This would cut down a lot of driving. Well, a lot of things I could get done during the day now and be prepared and it would be like a lot easier and it ended up, so we were in, that was 2002.

We would’ve gone from Chicago and dad had their 40th anniversary up there. We drove to Orlando to see my cousin who worked at Disney. So we [00:43:00] got to get into Disney. Or a pretty good price when, driving back and he calls me and says, no, we, we, I wasn’t the first choice. So I said, okay. He goes, but the person who.

We want, because he’s asking for a little bit too much on what we can give him. He goes, would you still be interested? I said, yeah, he goes, can you be in here tomorrow? I said, I’m in South Carolina right now, but I’ll do my best. I said, yeah, I’ll get there. So I ended up having this second round in there and talking.

I’m going through a second round of interviews. And the one thing that I did that I’ve never done anywhere else, I guaranteed that we would play for a national championship by my third year. And, cause I felt that with work central, we’re, we’re kind of the community college [00:44:00] and the players that I had in class at Central Catholic, I thought I could build something special there.

And it turns out that we were able to, and now my first year there, we went, 10 and 16, but the thing I was most proud of that year, we only lost one guy out of 14, to grades because Juco gets a bad rap and they, you know, everybody thinks our guys go there because they don’t have the grades. That’s not the reason why guys play Juco, especially in a metropolitan areas because a lot of times they’re overlooked.

And that was the thing that I found is that I assembled and my assistants,we were able to put together pretty darn good team of guys that were overlooked in the Cleveland area.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:47] So, what was the biggest difference from your experience at Wayne? When you go to the Juco level, what was different about it?

That maybe what were some challenges? What were some [00:45:00] things that you immediately liked about it? Clearly, the ability to find overlooked recruits was key to your success, but just talk a little bit about maybe the differences between being a coach at university of Akron, Wayne, versus being at Tracy.

Mark Anderson: [00:45:14] Speed of the game. You know, that’s a look at every level. Mike, that’s the biggest, different speed of the game. It’s not necessarily the skill difference in many cases, it could be. But when you look at it, guys can shoot it. All the levels guys can really handle the basketball at all levels. Guys can defend the differences, the size and the speed.

And that’s what it comes down to. I can still remember my first year at Tracy and we’re going, and the guys are on the Courtland coach. Come on, call them like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It’s, it’s moving tasks. So that’s the one thing I had to get used to is the speed of the game. You know, everybody always adjust, but that was, that was the thing.

[00:46:00] And I had bigger guys that I could go get. That was nice. We had, we could pay for books and tuition. We couldn’t pay for housing. So we had several scholarships that we could divvy up amongst the guys. So that was good in that respect.

Mike Klinzing: [00:46:22] A challenge again, to be the head coach at that level, and not being able to dedicate yourself full time during your work day. To the basketball part of it. How did you go about dealing with that as you went through your five years at Tri-C?

Mark Anderson: [00:46:43] That was a lot of, it was the, actions made through the different players that we had, that my assistant coaches has always been in the Cleveland area.

So that was huge. So their names were known. So that helped. The funny [00:47:00] thing is, is that after we won the national championship and then went back the following year to the final four, The next few years, very reason I was there for five years. Guys didn’t want to come play anymore. I mean, I would say, you know, we just won a national championship.

I can still remember being on the phone with a local kid. And I said, I can get you the opportunity to be seen by division one, definitely division two, because all of our starters went either division one or division two. After that, he goes, no, I’m not interested. And I was kind of like, Wow. Okay. So that was kind of what we were up against at that point is that guys in the Cleveland area, they didn’t want to come to Tri-C. Now, Mike Duncan, who was my starting point guard on that national championship team is now the head coach there. And he’s doing a tremendous job. He’s really put together, an outstanding career coaching there. And, one of the things that he has that I didn’t have [00:48:00] is a wood floor in here.

We had that tartan, that rubber surface.

Mike Klinzing: [00:48:04] Well, I played down there a lot.

Mark Anderson: [00:48:06] Yeah. And that was part of the reason why guys didn’t want to come and coaching on that and then going out and my knees would hurt. And I could just imagine how the guys felt, you know, going up and down that court for two hours a day and jumping and coming down on it.

So, but those were some of the things that. well, once the guy’s been started saying, you know, I don’t know if I really did, when the recruiting became tough there, I thought, all right, I’m going to look for something else. So I’m not going to bang my head against this after, you know, what we put together here and then people aren’t gonna recognize it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:48:45] Yeah, it’s tough. I think that it’s one of the things that. Will you run into, and I think it may be maybe it’s unique to Cleveland, but that’s where my, the majority of my experiences have been. And I think about even Cleveland State [00:49:00] and my dad when I was growing up was a professor at Cleveland State. So I grew up going to games at Woodland gym all the time and seeing the Kevin Mackey era and watching them get to play David Robinson and Navy back in 86.

Looking like they were going to be poised to really turn that program into something that could, you know, be one of those mid-major powers as time went by. And of course, then coach Mackey had his situations and things ended up going South, but they built the Wolstein what’s now the Wolstein.

Right. There’s just one. But I remember, I just always felt like there was a, there was a challenge in getting kids to commit to that kind of urban campus,

Mark Anderson: [00:49:46] right?

Mike Klinzing: [00:49:46] At least back in the day when I was a kid, Cleveland State had pretty much one dorm. Now it’s a little bit different now. They’ve certainly built up the campus.

There’s a lot more housing and opportunity for kids who are. Attending Cleveland state to [00:50:00] be part of a campus life. But back then there was Viking hall and that was a converted house. And there were maybe five, a hundred students living in there. And I think that that was probably a similar challenge to what you ran into is what they ran into at Cleveland state is it’s just difficult to, I would think recruit kids to those kinds of environments where you don’t necessarily have that.

Campus feel that again, that doesn’t necessarily appeal to every potential college basketball player. Cause there’s a lot of guys that grow up in the city that want to continue to remain in the city. Right. It’s still there. It’s definitely, I’m sure it was a challenge that you ran into occasionally.

Mark Anderson: [00:50:37] Oh, yeah.

And now they have like apartments right across the street from the Tri-C  gym and things like that, that weren’t there 15 years ago. That’s really helpful with them all through recruiting. And even back when we had the success. And even Mike’s teams now, I’m not sure how many we did. Cleveland State wouldn’t even come over and look at our guys, even [00:51:00] though we had one go on and play at Rhode Island professionally in Poland now.

So, and I know, you know, it’s just one of those things, that relationship was never really built between those two schools. And it should be because being right there next to each other, virtually.

Mike Klinzing: [00:51:17] Yeah, it’s interesting. And you never know what the behind the scenes things are that go on and why those connections aren’t built, whether it’s a personal relationship between the coaches or just cooperation between the schools or who knows what it is.

And I think you’ve seen that. On all levels of basketball and different areas that in a lot of ways, even on the youth basketball side, it’s become very provincial and territory for a lot of places. Yeah. You see that cooperation might end up being the better route for everybody. And yet people kind of try to, I think a lot of times hunker down.

And so I think that’s a little bit of what you’re seeing. So you talked a little bit about how you started to look around and think about. A different opportunity. And that [00:52:00] opportunity comes to go and coach at the division three level at Hiram. But you go from being a head coach to being an assistant coach.

Talk a little bit about what that transition was like going from being the guy. Who’s making all the decisions at the, as the head coach to a guy who is now making suggestions rather than.

Mark Anderson: [00:52:20] Right. So it was, again, it was an eye opener and I knew that going in that all right. Not everything that I’m going to say or want to do is going to be accepted and that’s okay.

And Steve Fleming was the head coach at the time. And he reached out to me out of the blue. He called me at a Sunday and asked me if I wanted to come out and talk about it. And I did, he was putting together a staff. So not only was I. Yeah, not only that only head coach on there, Mike Marcinko had been a head coach at Hiram and a local high school.

He’s now the girl’s coach in [00:53:00] Independence. And then, we had another head coach on there also. So there was three head coaches under Steve. And so it was, I thought we, we thought we had the best, one of the better staff’s assembled around, but you’re in the same conference with Wooster and Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan , Wabash was pretty decent.

So you, you were looking up at those guys and trying to, you know, Get into the tournament and play. And that was always difficult hierarchies out there, quite a ways from any major city. So that was also kind of tough in recruiting out there. Also, you know, trying to get into Cleveland, trying to go to Youngstown, going to Akron.

And get guys to come. And we could, you know, some of the packages that were offered in the way of financial aid were very lucrative and it worked out for many, [00:54:00] but again, you’re always up against Worcester and wood and, and those teams. So it was a difficult out there. So after about three years of that, and a lot of times, As a head coach, you caught, well, I was have done this and that’s not the reason why I left, but it would, it was just getting frustrated at seeing man.

I want to be in charge again. You know, it’s one of those things that, that I have to be in charge all the time, but it was one of those things. I was just itching to get back. All right, so that sets you off on an Odyssey. Let’s see you got it professional. So I’m not even going to attempt to go through each stop.

I want you to just kind of give us an idea of how you got involved in this. I’m going to just say, minor league professional basketball world, and then just kind of take [00:55:00] us through the different travel stops experiences that you’ve had and the people that you’ve been able to interact with as a result of kind of being in this world that I’m not sure a lot of coaches, a lot of people that were in basketball even are familiar with some of the places and leagues and things that you’ve been associated with.

So just kind of walk us through, I think this is an interesting career path. That you’ve been able to take that. Not a lot of people are aware of.

Mark Anderson: [00:55:26] Yes. well, I started with the universal basketball association at UVA, so it was up here and we had four teams in the Cleveland area and we would play round Robin.

And then, we went to Atlanta. We had the best team to ended up going to Atlanta to play in the league playoffs. And the team down there were pretty stacked cause they had a lot of division one guys, former pros. So I was there for a year and then the Lima [00:56:00] express, within the PBL premier basketball associate premier basketball league.

He even got me, Mike, I can’t even remember all the letters. Yeah. But that was a good experience because in those three years in Lima, we were able to put 15 guys overseas and in Canada. And one of the things that that’s, one of the things I’m proud of is that we were able to get guys to pursue their dreams.

Justin Mans. He ended up playing for us, in two different segments, two over two years, but he got to go into the G league. You got to go overseas. He’s a seven footer who played at Kent State. so we had a lot of mid-major guys that came to Lima. And we played at line central Catholic, which has a pro length court.

And it’s a really great facility over there in Lima. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in it, but, very nice. So we were there for three years, and again, the constraints and we don’t do minor [00:57:00] league very well here in the state. the way they do in Europe, because there’s a lot of guys that are out there that scam players, the money, and then don’t follow through those types of things.

Sometimes owners get in over their head, not on purpose obviously, but they just, they look at it and think, Oh, I can do this. But then once the bills are due, Oh, okay. So that’s why we have a, you know, a lot of leagues schools. the league that I was in, with Lima, that’s what happened. I mean, as much as Lewis was doing everything that he was doing great, it just came down to the finances that he couldn’t do it.

And we all understood that. But then that opened the door for me to go to Canada and the Canadian basketball league, which Carter. I was the coach of the rafters back in the late nineties, two thousands ended up hiring me to come in and, coach the Hamilton team at Hamilton United team, in the [00:58:00] greater Toronto area.

And this was a great experience. And being in Canada was wonderful. The people are great up there. It’s expensive living. But we played, FIBA rules. So that was interesting. That was my first time being involved with that. And then the aspect of that, what I liked was that only the coaches can call time out.

So you can’t have players falling out of bounds, calling time out, wasting one there and things like that. So that was a good experience. And I, and I liked how fast the game moved because it was a 10 minute quarters. Players, get, five files, those types of things. So that was enjoyable. most of our team up there was American and it was always interesting when we’d be out community and it, and.

Talking with people, as soon as we would say a couple words, Oh, you’re from the streets because of our accent. So it was, it was a good experience. it was only for a year. Again, it was one of those things that, the teams [00:59:00] just financially, you had some plan in arenas and, you know, and I, and colleges and the costs.

Up. There’s just so much more than it is here, so that didn’t work. So then I came back here, was looking, didn’t find anything, started working at Brunswick Rec with Mark White, with the Junior Cavs program. And then once he went in a different direction, I took over, I was directing that for. The spring. And that was one of those experiences where I had to step back.

I was coaching the coaches and coaching the kids, and it was a great experience. Cause we USA rules, USA basketball with the no zone. I gave him one off offensive play and then taught them five out, and are substituting patterns where we’re set in stone. So we didn’t have any problems when it came to well, he’s playing more than [01:00:00] my son.

That just didn’t go on. And, I would referee every game, during a time period, each weekend. So they would see me there and it was, it was a great experience. We had great people that were coaches. We had guys that would come in and referee it was a good experience, in learning that and taking, you know, just taking basketball back down to its grass roots and.

Second and third graders and teaching them the game of basketball. It was a good experience from there. The new league that was formed, the basketball league that was Dave Magley was a former Cleveland cavalier. He was in Indiana, Mr. Basketball in 1978. I remember him. He’s about four years older than me.

So I do remember him playing. He played at Kansas.

Mike Klinzing: [01:00:52] Do you remember. Who he got drafted with, with the Cavs? Do you remember the famous saying,

Mark Anderson: [01:00:56] Oh yeah. They just saw it the other day. It’s [01:01:00] Bagley, John Bagley,

Mike Klinzing: [01:01:01] Bagley, The Bagley and Magley duo. I still remember that vividly.

Mark Anderson: [01:01:05] Yeah. Bagged in that. Maggie, have you heard of either of those guys that I’m a huge Cowboys fan.

Mike Klinzing: [01:01:11] So there you go.

Jason Sunkle: [01:01:13] Oh, you never heard of John Bagley. I was born in 86. I was born in 86. Mark. You got it.  

Mark Anderson: [01:01:21] I was in college then Jason. But now Dave, now his claim to fame is that he’s the worst draft pick that was ever taken by the Cavaliers. And he makes fun of that. But. The fact that he’s given guys yet and to go and earn a living.

I mean, we’re not, semi-pro all of our guys are we, I don’t even use that word because once you get paid, you’re, you’re a pro, but. None of our guys have to work a second job because they’re paid and half their housing is taken care of. they get meal money on the road. and we’ve got probably the best known in the [01:02:00] league with Chris, Alison who lives down in Columbus.

The team that I’m coaching this past year was Owensboro. But let me go back to that first year in the TBL. So I’m up in Jamestown, New York, about two and a half hours from here, just, and it’s about an hour South of hour and a half hour South of Buffalo, about 45 minutes East of Erie. So a coach there for a year, we missed the playoffs by a game.

We had a winning. so for only this, the second time in 20, some years in coaching, I’m tired. And that I handled this one much better because I know it’s a business. and then Chris calls me and we talk and then I ended up down in Owensboro. But let me go back to the Canadian experience where we’re really cool about that is that.

There I had Butch Carter who coached the NBA would call me after games and give me pointers on what he’s taught. Cause our games were on [01:03:00] TV up there and we would have conversations about. You know, where could we improve? And I’ve done better. I would ask him some things about doing this against this, asking me and I would ask him things.

So that was a wonderful experience. There is that I got to, talk to the guy who was actual NBA coach of the year, guys at the highest level.

Mike Klinzing: [01:03:24] Butch is such a bright guy. He’s been such an advocate for us on the podcast, and we have been fortunate enough to have him. And he actually, when he was coaching back at Middletown, he coached one of my former teammates down at Kent who was only with me for, he came for his freshman year and then left midway through his sophomore year and transferred to Miami Greg DarbyShire, who runs.

Pro Camps now, which got started back with Butch. So there’s all these, it’s amazing. The connections then obviously we’ve had your former boss, Louis Shine. We had Lewis on the podcast and he’s been great with us too. It’s just, it’s incredible how [01:04:00] small the basketball world really is. It just is. It’s incredible to me.

Mark Anderson: [01:04:06] Well, and through all of this, a guy, another guy in Columbus, Don Sellers, who actually got me into the work in the NBA G league, national tryouts back in Chicago, and then two years in. New York. So I got to meet Bob McKinnon. So I got a good rapport with him through Don I’ve met Jim Clemons where I’ve sat down and we’ve talked about the triangle offense.

He gave me some pointers. Now a lot of coaches, they don’t like the triangle. They think it’s outdated, but you don’t have to run it every time down. You can use aspects of it. And then through, through that, I’ve also met and talked with Craig Hodges. He gave me some pointers about the triangle often. So it’s kind of cool that through all of this, you said it’s such a small [01:05:00] world and going out to Vegas and doing some of these camps and combines that I’ve done around the U S.

I’ve got to meet some very interesting people. And I think that’s the big, biggest thing that I take out of this is that building these relationships, not only with players, I still keep in touch with students and players. I coached back in. The early nineties. and then the guys that I’ve coached on the pro level, you can, there’s a few of them that are still out and about playing overseas, which is cool to see.

and then Allen, the TBL, how we’re opening up markets. And she wants to go down to Dallas and a couple of weekends to be a guest speaker and coach for a summer league down there with one of our teams. But as we’ve seen with what’s going on, you know, Dallas right now is one of the big breakout areas.

So we’ll see where that goes. But the thing is, is that the relationships that are being built over this time period are the things that I cherish the most [01:06:00] about this game of basketball.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:03] All right. I have two questions. First of all, let’s ask, I want to ask you just about all these different stops that you’ve had in this.

Professional basketball Odyssey. Did you always maintain your home base? Back here in Cleveland and then just sort of fan out to the different locations that you ban, or did you pack up and move to the places where you were coaching?

Mark Anderson: [01:06:26] No, Lima. I moved there. Well, let’s step back. If I was going to do this My wife had to be agreeable to this.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:36] You better have a good wife if you’re going to do all this stuff,

Mark Anderson: [01:06:39] right. We’ve been married 31 years and she’s a teacher and coach too. So I knew that once our kids were grown and out of the house, it would be a little bit easier to start doing these things. That’s one reason also I waited so long to try to do something like this. cause I knew it would be a little [01:07:00] bit easier. So yeah. So I would, live during the season. I would live at the places where I was coaching Jamestown two and a half hours after a Sunday night game. I’d come back. So we wouldn’t crack this on Monday and I go back Tuesday afternoon, Owensboro.

Six and a half, seven hours. And I wasn’t gonna, I couldn’t do anything there. So I had to stay down there full time. So once the season started and of course we would cut short this year because of the outbreak, but we probably have the best arena, one of the better arenas that, in the best in our league, the Owensboro sports center.

And if you act on what comes back in, what next year, like they’re supposed to, they have the sun dome. Which is kind of cool to play out there and, and you know, and traveling. So when I was at Jamestown, one weekend, we flew to Seattle, had to get in, then strive to Yakima drive back to Seattle where we were staying.

And that was two and a half hours. [01:08:00] Get up at four, get on a flight. To fly to San Diego play in San Diego. Get up the next morning at four, again, fly to Vegas, drive up to Misskey play at Misskey drive back, took the red eye back to Cleveland, got in at like five 30 in the morning. And then they shuttled us back to James.

So yeah, serious travel.

Mike Klinzing: [01:08:26] All right. So that leads directly to my next question, which is. How many teams are currently in the basketball league and what is the, what’s the vision? What’s the plan, as you understand it for that league.

Mark Anderson: [01:08:42] Alright, so we have 15 teams, and there’s kind of like the pod set up.

Now. There’s going to be a, let’s see, in New York state, there’s four teams, three teams, and Jersey. So you can count that as New York, then there’s two in Florida. [01:09:00] North Carolina has one, we’re in Kentucky, Indiana’ll have two. Ohio has two with Dayton & Columbus. Dallas area has two Little Rock’s coming in and we’re hoping that Yakima comes back along with Mesquite and San Diego. The long term vision is to put teams. Back in markets that once had a CBA team. or a G league team that is now all the G league teams are trying to get within a, you know, 45 minutes to an hour from their, from their parent teams, which makes sense.

If you’re going to have two way players and you want to send guys back and forth, it only makes sense to have them that close. So the long range term term would be to get probably. this year 15, 16 teams, the following year, add another four or five. So 20, just keep building it like that.

[01:10:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:10:01] That’s really cool.

I think that it’s something that, like I said, the top of this part of the pod, not a lot of people really know or understand what’s going on with professional basketball on that minor league level. And just how many guys still love the game and want to continue to play. And obviously it affords coaches an opportunity to be able to continue to coach in different.

Types of situations and all different kinds of players that come through there. What’s the, what’s the part of that experience. And again, you don’t have to narrow it down to one team or one league or one situation, but just overall, when you look at that whole entire professional basketball experience, what’s the one or two things that really stand out for you that you love about being involved with professional basketball at those levels.

Mark Anderson: [01:10:52] Helping guys attain their dreams, giving them the opportunity to continue cause their window, their [01:11:00] window of playing is going to be 10, 12 years tops. I mean, I can coach another 14 years till I’m 70, which is my goal. So that would have put me in the game somewhere around 40, almost 50 years of coaching.

So the thing that I like is that. Giving the guys the opportunity, a lot, one of the questions I’m always asked is in a difficult to coach. Yeah. He’s at that level. And I. No, because they know if they’re going to be knuckleheads. They’re not going to get the opportunity to move on because no one overseas is going to bring in a knucklehead.

you’re not going to have that opportunity. So I’ve been blessed to have guys that are that’s one reason why we’ve moved so many guys over the last. Sure. I think I have 15 in Lima and in the previous teams. So I’m somewhere around 20 some guys in that time span and given them opportunities to go overseas.

Now, once they get there, [01:12:00] it’s up to them. But I think it’s, you know, it’s enjoyable to see these guys. Have that dream that put in the time. And there’s a lot of work that goes into it again, as I said, we’re not semi-professional we’re pros and the amount of time that these guys put in that’s unseen, the weight training on their own.

They’re going in and putting up shots on their own. You know, they cannot rely on somebody else to say, Hey, let’s go do no. They’ve got to have the emphasis to do that themselves. Cause they know their one foot wall. We’re all one phone call away from being removed at that level. But the thing is, is that they know that somebody right there, if they’re not going to do the extra work.

Mike Klinzing: [01:12:48] Yeah. It’s absolutely true. Go ahead.

Mark Anderson: [01:12:49] Well, I was just going to add what makes the basketball league different than a lot of these other leagues is the amount of community work that we do. Like Owensboro. We did so many things. [01:13:00] We would go into elementary schools, Mike and Jason, and we would have the whole gym or us.

And I was, I was a male. You know, we’d go in and talk for 25, 30 minutes. And sometimes it would go over an hour because the kids kept asking questions and they wanted, you know, they weren’t trying to get out of class and, you know, being a teacher, I look at teachers, I can say, I could see that they were like, okay, this has gone long enough.

We can get back into class and we would have to cut it short. But we worked at schools where it was all school assembly. Or a minor league basketball team, and these guys would come out. The guys I’d have with me were so good at talking with the kids and getting behind the microphone. And, and we would, we would exchange stories with the kids and then I would take the microphone into the stands and we would have question and answer, and it was a great experience.

And that’s one of the things that I think sets our [01:14:00] league apart from some of these other ones.

Mike Klinzing: [01:14:03] Yeah, I would think so that, that probably, I would guess is not a priority for every single place that you go. When you do put that into it. I think it goes to one of the themes that’s run through our podcast is using basketball to help, to teach life lessons.

Didn’t have a positive impact. And in a lot of cases, we’re talking about having a positive impact on the players, within your team, but you’re talking, yeah, not only about that, but you’re also talking about being able to have a positive influence on the community around you. And I think when you can pay it forward and use the game in that way, to me, that really is what.

Coaching and teaching. And just all of that is all about is really, I try to have a huge impact on the people around you and then getting to use the game of basketball, which we all love as the vehicle to be able to do that is especially rewarding. And that goes to my next question, which is how do you go about.

[01:15:00] Helping a player who let’s say you have somebody on your team who has aspirations for playing overseas. You feel like as their coach, that they have the capability of doing that, what type of contacts have you built up? What kind of help can you give a players in that situation?

Mark Anderson: [01:15:17] Well, all our games are live stream.

That that’s huge. That helps. we use a thing called sportscaster out there where the games are there. the other thing is through agents, the combines that we have. I know I get contacted from a lot of three LinkedIn. I get a lot of contacts from that overseas asking me about the players. so that’s one of the things and our stats are legit.

Our stats for the league. Are updated. We’re on the genius sports, which is FIBA certified throughout the world that helps. So teams overseas can look at it and say, Oh, all right, now we can compare it. our league is up on us, [01:16:00] basket.com, so that everybody in the world can see what’s going on with our teams, our rosters.

So those types of things, those right there, have helped.

Mike Klinzing: [01:16:15] What do you see for yourself moving forward as you look to, you said you have about 14 years more of coaching. Hopefully when you look out over, across those 14 years, what do you see yourself? Doing in those next 14 years with the game of basketball, do you see yourself staying in the professional ranks?

Do you see yourself wanting to at some point, maybe go back to college, maybe do some things with camps. Just talk to me a little bit about what you foresee in your future.

Mark Anderson: [01:16:47] Yeah, over the course of this, when it starts to wind down, I don’t necessarily have to be a head coach, maybe being on somebody’s staff, on helping a [01:17:00] young coach at a college level at a pro level.

again, it’s one of the things that I guess I’ve seen at this level is it’s difficult to advance. Without a huge break. but sometimes you never know when that’s going to come. And I think that’s one of the things that keeps me going. I’ve had other people ask me, you know, relay, keep doing it so well, you never know.

I mean, it’s one of those things that something could come along and who you’re talking to, who sees you in the gym? Who sees you overseas? One of those things, you never know who, you know, as we tell our players, you never know who’s watching and it could be one of those things. So, and camp’s always continued to work camps.

again, I, I started once he started happening, I reached out to you and some of the other local guys that liked to do some things with you guys locally. now that you know, that things [01:18:00] have kind of opened up in that respect, I don’t know. I never know where it’s going to go.

Mike Klinzing: [01:18:06] What is a basketball junkie to do right?

Mark Anderson: [01:18:08] Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [01:18:11] That’s what it’s all about. I think that, again, your experiences in the game have been so wide ranging as a coach. I think we’d probably be hard pressed to find anybody who’s had the variety of experiences. That you’ve been able to have thinking about the high school level, the college level, the professional level, and just getting to be in so many different places and work with so many good people and getting a chance to coach players at all different levels.

I’m sure has had to be tremendously rewarding. We’re getting close to an hour and a half. So before we wrap things up, I want to give you a chance to let people know where they can find out more about you, how they could reach out to you, get in touch with you. Go ahead and share any of your contact information or social, social media.

And then I’ll jump, I’ll [01:19:00] jump back in and wrap things up.

Mark Anderson: [01:19:02] Okay on Twitter, you can call them @coachinbb, Instagram, the coacha14. I’ve got a YouTube channel,  the coach Anderson in which I’ve had some game films up there and also, drills and things that I’ve done over the years.

Facebook, unless I meet you personally, I probably won’t accept. I’m a little leery on that one, but, once I meet somebody and then they send me a Facebook request, I usually will accept those, so that, that would be it. I’m on LinkedIn, Mark D. Anderson. I put stuff on there also about that, most of my social media, actually all of it.

Yeah. Other than Facebook, is basketball or sports.

Mike Klinzing: [01:19:55] Yeah, I can relate to that. I don’t think I have anything on any social media that anybody’s looking to [01:20:00] find out. Anything about me personally is going to have a hard time doing it on social media. Let’s put it that way, Mark. We will put all those social media accounts and the information in the show notes.

When we put the episode up for anybody who is trying to fiercely scribble that down and Mark, we can’t thank you enough for spending some time with us tonight. I’m really glad that you reached out to me a couple of weeks ago about camp. Unfortunately, at that time I thought everything was going to be shut down for the entirety of the summer.

It looks like now maybe. I’ll be able to get back and maybe do a couple of weeks of camp here at some point, but I feel very fortunate that you and I were able to make contact and that you were willing to come on and be a guest here on the hoop heads pod. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know you and find out more about your career and to everyone out there.

Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.