Coaches’ Corner - 12/22/16

Roger Heimbigner discusses growing up under big wide Montana skies
Outlook staff writer
Roger Heimbigner

The Laurel Outlook recently spoke to Park City head boys basketball coach Roger Heimbigner about his kids, his athletes and the allure of the candy aisles of local markets that render him out-of-control.
Heimbigner was born and raised in Chester, Mont., and lived there for the 29 years, counting his four-year-stint at MSU Bozeman. He remains a Cat’s fan for life. He worked at Chester Schools as the business manager for seven years before moving to Laurel in 1990, and working as their business manager for the next 20 years.
Although Heimbigner retired from Laurel Schools in 2009, he continued coaching at various levels in the boys and girls programs as he had throughout his working years. While in Laurel, he married Denise. They raised three children, Brandon, Britney and Bradley. He now loves every moment spent with his granddaughter Gracie.
“We have a captain for Republic Airways, a nurse anesthetist and a prospective petroleum engineer in the family, so we are very happy with what they have accomplished,” he said of his kids.
Roger and Denise still live in Laurel.
1. What is your philosophy on coaching young student athletes? “My philosophy has always been that student athletes should strive to be good people, good students, and lastly be good basketball players. These kids come to practice ready to improve every day because if you don’t prepare well you won’t succeed in basketball or in life.”
2. What is your guilty pleasure? “I am addicted to dark chocolate; I need to stay out of that aisle!”
3. What do you think scares your student athletes the most in life? “I’m not sure what scares student athletes as far as basketball goes. In talking with my players, I think their biggest fear is what are they going to do after high school.”
4. What are you most scared of? “Last year as a new coach I wasn’t prepared for defenses like ‘box and one’ and ‘triangle and two.’ I pride myself on being prepared and don’t like it when I am out-coached and don’t give my kids the best opportunity to win a basketball game.”
5. What or who got you into coaching? “I have always loved the game of basketball since I was a young boy. My first job after college was the Business Manager of Chester Schools in 1983. I was talked into coaching junior high boys and girls basketball and volleyball. That is when I found out I loved doing it and have continued to coach for the past 34 years. Coaching allows you to continue to be part of the game and stay close to what you love. Having great kids over the years and being able to interact with them on a daily basis has been very rewarding as well.”
6. Why did you choose this sport specifically? Did you play growing up? “I played for the Chester Coyotes in the late seventies and was on a team that went to State two years in a row. It was such a great feeling to make it there and to bring home a trophy and I would like for my kids now to have that experience.”
7. What professional athlete do you tell your athletes to look to as a positive ambassador for your sport? “We don’t talk much about professional athletes, but if I did it would be more old school, players like John Stockton and Steve Nash. Their goal was always to make players around them better.”
8. What quote do you live by? “Do what you love, love what you do.”
9. How do you deal with the many different personalities on your team? “I believe you want different personalities on a team. Being able to mesh those personalities into a team with common goals is a great life lesson for everyone.”
10. Why did you choose to coach in Park City? “I coached in Laurel for over 25 years and had great mentors over the years, especially in Pat Hansen, Bob Ouren and Steve Willis. The amount of dedication they put forth in their program and how much they care about the kids they coach makes them as successful as they are. At some point in coaching, we all want to have a program of our own. Being from a small town, Park City was a good fit for me. They have great kids with a good work ethic that want to put in the time to be successful.”
11. What are your hopes and aspirations for this season? “The goal is always to make it to the state tourney. We have a tough conference schedule ahead of us, but it is an attainable goal. In the end, I just want the kids to have a great experience and to be able to look back and say they gave it their best and enjoyed the ride along the way.”
12. What is on your bookshelf? “I have a couple basketball books from Bobby Knight and John Wooden, but my go to books are murder mystery books from James Patterson and John Grisham.”
13. What song do you use to inspire and/or motivate your athletes? “NA.”
14. What is the best advice you have ever been given? “The game is for the players not for the coach.”
15. What is the last movie you saw? “‘Hacksaw Ridge.’”
16. What is one thing people would be shocked to know about you? “I collect Hard Rock tee shirts. Over the years we have visited about 15 different Hard Rock Cafés while traveling around the country.”
17. Who was your role model or a person you looked up to when you were growing up? “My mom and dad. Both were very hard working individuals that strived to make things better for our family. They sacrificed many things so that their kids could have better opportunities in life.”
18. Who were the most popular bands when you were in high school? “My favorite bands were the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin, but I am a country guy now. Zac Brown band rocks!”
19. What are your team’s strengths this season? “This is probably the best passing team that I have had. These kids are unselfish and an assist is just as important as scoring points.”
20. What is the favorite part of your job? “I enjoy being around the student athletes and being part of their successes or failures; molding individuals into a team with common goals is always rewarding especially when you are able to reach some of those goals along the way.”


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