Rob Oxford: Meet Eddie George, the new face of Highlander Hoops

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Coach Eddie George
Text and photos by Rob Oxford

When Shorecrest High School's Head Basketball Coach Brian Fischer announced his retirement at the end of last season, it took many loyal fans, former alumni and some of next year's athletes by surprise.

After all, 12 years of competitive basketball, including many district and state playoff births had been quite the accomplishment.

As a matter of fact, some will say "them are some mighty big Chuck's to fill," but nobody wears Chuck Taylor's anymore. That is unless you're in a rock band.

One of the most difficult, but rewarding things to do in life is accept a new challenge and approach it with the type of zeal that this 46 year old Head Coach, Husband and Father possesses.

Devean George (former L.A Laker)
Meet Eddie George.

The new Head Coach for the Shorecrest Scots is a self-described "student of the game". He simply loves basketball and refers to himself as a "player's coach" with years of experience at the highest level.

Originally from The Gopher State, the Land of 10,000 Lakes (Minnesota), Eddie spent time in the ABA, CBA, and played in Europe. He was offered a tryout with the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters. He has coached AAU and high school basketball for the past 7 years.

He is also of championship blood. His brother Devean spent 11 years in the NBA, winning 3 world championships with the L.A. Lakers. Yes, THE Phil Jackson/Kobe Bryant Lakers.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Coach George after a recent mini camp he held at the Shorecrest Gym and to say I am excited for next season would be an understatement of major proportions.

The first thing that impressed me, other than his overall enthusiasm at being the school's newest Highlander, was revealing that although he had been offered other head coaching jobs (this being his first) he accepted the position at Shorecrest because he sincerely felt he could "make a difference".

He also informed me that the decision wasn't just his alone. His wife and 3 daughters, were all part of the process. A shining example that Eddie is all about family.

Asking a coach about his coaching "philosophy" can be one of those interview killers. One of those questions that every interviewer asks when they have nothing else to ask. Somewhat similar to "who's your favorite player?"

Instead I asked Eddie if he thought it was important for a player to like his coach? I'm not sure if he was prepared for me to take that specific angle, but without hesitation he replied with what I considered his "philosophy".

"If a player knows you have their back on and off the court, they'll do anything for you and if they see that you're in control, they'll be in control. I want my players to learn from their mistakes and grow mentally as well as physically. I want them to be confident and to know that I am always available for them. I want them to know they can reach out to me for whatever reason."

As far as what can be expected from Coach George come game time next season? He realizes that each player is different and that each has a specific set of skills.

He informed me that Scots Basketball fans will be seeing something completely different next year. The focus will be on "Sets" or "Plays" that cater to the particular skills of those players executing them. Conditioning will also be a huge part of next years program. 

Sgt. Mike and Coach George
in a training exercise
At his disposal,Coach has one of the most qualified trainers in the sport. "The Sarge" Mike Lawson, has spent years working with college and pro athletes locally and around the world and is dedicated to helping them optimize their individual performance.

I can't wait for you to meet the newest addition to the Highlander Family and I encourage you, whether you have a son (or daughter) playing high school sports or not, to get involved. This is our community. These kids are our future.

When asked what would determine a successful first year as Head Coach at Shorecrest, Eddie replied,

"did the players learn anything about themselves and the game, were they able to grasp the concept of having a selfless attitude and did they enjoy the camaraderie of being teammates?"

The losses don't matter and the wins will come.

The last thing Coach George said to me before we shook hands and parted ways was probably the most encouraging.

"We're not going to be good any longer, we're going to be great" Coach Eddie George.

Correction: Second photo is Coach George's brother, Devean George (former L.A Laker)


Unknown July 12, 2018 at 1:53 PM  

great article, Rob! This is excellent news!

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