(DE KALB, Mo.) A coaching change can set teams back, but that hasn't been the case in De Kalb.
First-year head man Dru Linebach always dreamt of being a coach.
"I get a chance to run my own program, and I knew this was a good opportunity with a good core of guys coming back and a good group of freshmen for years to come," he said. "It was something I couldn't pass up."
Now, the St. Joseph native is living his dream after learning from some of the best along the way. He played for long time Central head coach Neal Hook before serving as an assistant under Columbia Rock Bridge's Jim Scanlon.
Scanlon also just happened to be Hook's high school coach at Benton, and that connection led the him to Linebach.
Now, the former Indian carries philosophies from both men to De Kalb.
"Hook tought me a lot about relationships and just developing great relationships with players. Definitely between him and Coach Scanlon, I take bits and pieces from both of them down here.
The Tgers are off to a 10-3 start this season and fresh off the Osborn Invitational Championship.
While the players aren't surprised by the success, they didn't expect the transition to a first-year head coach to be this smooth.
"At first, a lot of us thought it was going to be hard going from (Ryan) Nichols and having all the success we had," senior guard Austin Hall said. "Nichols kind of jumped up and down and would stomp his feet and stuff, but there's really not much difference between them."
"Coach Nichols and I still see eye to eye on a lot of things," Linebach said. "A lot of the defensive terminology, the style of play, getting up and down, were all things the guys here were used to."
But, if the boys want to make it past just their third straight Class 1 quarterfinals berth, he says there's still room for improvement.
"On our best nights, we have the ability to play with anybody, but on our worst nights you can turn around and lose to anybody. We just need to work on our consistency, not just in games but in practic as well."
"You better come ready to go," Hall added. "You better come ready to go, because, if not, you're going to be on the sideline or the baseline running sprints."
The Tigers welcome in St. Joseph Christian Thursday, where Linebach's brother, Clayton, serves as an assistant.
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