Coaches’ Corner - 1/5/17
The Laurel Outlook recently spoke to Joliet High School head girls and boys basketball coach John Nelson about bow hunting and how coaching both girls and boys basketball teams does not make him crazy.
Nelson was born in Colorado and moved to Red Lodge when he was in the fourth grade. He graduated from Red Lodge High School and then went to Jamestown College (now University of Jamestown) in Jamestown ND, where he played baseball and graduated with an elementary education and physical education degree.
Nelson is a self-employed contractor and his wife of 12 years, Julie, works for EBMS in Billings. They have a son Jack who will turn three years old in January and a daughter Jordyn who was born on Christmas day, four weeks early.
He’s coached in Joliet for nine years. After being the boys assistant coach for three years and the girls assistant for two, Nelson took over as the girls head coach two years ago and started coaching the boys this year. This is his first year coaching both teams.
1. What is your philosophy on coaching young student/athletes? “My coaching philosophy is to use my athletes. If we are small and fast we will be uptempo. If we are big and not as fast we will be more of a grinding half-court team. No matter what I always try to instill a family atmosphere in my teams.”
2. What is your guilty pleasure? “Bow hunting. I love to bow hunt. During hunting season if I have time I will be in a tree stand or hunting with my bow somewhere even if it’s during rifle season.”
3. What do you think scares your student/athletes the most in life? “I would say failure. I think they are worried about feeling like they let someone down or disappointed somebody.”
4. What are you most scared of? “Losing my kids or family.”
5. What or who got you into coaching? “My family. Sports are huge in my family so I’ve always been interested. Especially my dad and my cousin Hank.”
6. Why did you choose this sport specifically? Did you play growing up? “Yes, I’ve played ever since I can remember. My Grandpa Joe put up a hoop in the back yard for all the kids and grandkids and that’s what we did all the time. I played in high school and then on intramural teams in college.”
7.What professional athlete do you tell your athletes to look to as a positive ambassador for your sport? “Tim Duncan. He is hard working and humble.”
8. What quote do you live by? “Its 90 percent mental and 20 percent physical.”
9. How do you deal with the many different personalities on your team? “We have a great group of boys and girls with great personalities so they make it easy. We preach family and team, and all the kids are buying into it. We have lots of laughs together and keep things light.”
10. Why did you choose to coach in Joliet? “We both wanted to live in a smaller community and there was an opening for a junior high job and the rest is history.”
11. What are your hopes and aspirations for this season? “To be competitive every night and to keep improving. My main goal is to have the kids enjoy the season.”
12. What is on your bookshelf? “‘The Freelance Bowhunter,’ ‘Toughness.’”
13. What song do you use to inspire and/or motivate your athletes? “I don’t use music as a motivator.”
14. What is the best advice you have ever been given? “Coaching is not all Xs and Os, it’s about relationships.”
15. What is the last movie you saw? “‘The Secret Life of Pets,’ “which turned out to be one of Jacks Christmas presents.”
16. What is one thing people would be shocked to know about you? “That I’m actually NOT crazy for wanting to coach both teams.”
17. Who was your role model or a person you looked up to when you were growing up? “My cousin Hank and my Grandpa Joe. I spent most of my summers growing up staying with my grandpa, and me and my cousin played baseball, basketball and football all the time. Hank is a teacher and coach in Colorado.”
18. Who were the most popular band when you were in high school? “Nirvana was probably the most popular when I was in high school.”
19. What are your team’s strengths this season? “For the girls it is their unselfishness and overall character of the team. They are very hard working. For the boys, it’s their athleticism, unselfishness and they are all very hard workers.”
20. What is the favorite part of your job? “Being a part of the kids lives. Having kids that played for you and are playing for you, and when they ask for advice in life, and the relationships that are created. We have a great group of boys and girls that makes my job enjoyable.”