A second chance on the basketball court

 

A LeRoy teacher will soon get a second chance on the court.

Some may remember Mark Edmundson as the LeRoy boys’ basketball head coach a few years ago.

Now, Edmundson is getting ready to hit the court again as he has officially taken on the head coach position once again.

Things have changed for Edmundson, both in his personal life and his coaching techniques.

“There were several variables that led to me resigning the first time,” said Edmundson, who pointed out one of those reasons was a newborn child. “I wasn’t having a lot of fun coaching, and I blame most of it on myself, too. I put too much emphasis on winning then.”

But now Edmundson will be tackling golf in the fall and boys’ basketball in the winter. And although the two sports are “night and day,” Edmundson says he loves both sports equally.

“These are easily my two favorite sports,” said Edmundson, who golfed and played basketball for four years at Illinois Wesleyan University. “Coaching golf is very easy. It’s an individual sport, and it’s a lot more objective. It’s easy to tell the difference between someone who shoots 45 and someone who shoots 48. But basketball is much more subjective. And the time commitment is much more than in golf.”

Edmundson started his coaching career right after graduating college. He stayed at IWU and coached the junior varsity basketball team there for four years.

“I realized then that if I wanted to be a head coach, I would have to do it at the high school level,” said Edmundson.

So while he earned his teaching certificate, he took on the head coaching position at U-High for two years before teaching and coaching at Bloomington High School for another two years. Edmundson landed a nearly ideal position in Arthur, his hometown. But after two years, he realized he wanted to live in the Bloomington area again.

There began his career at LeRoy High School, where he still teaches and coaches to this day.

One reason Edmundson wanted to take on the position at LeRoy was the smaller school size.

“In the smaller schools, the opportunity for kids is diverse and enormous,” said Edmundson about the extracurricular activities available. “I prefer kids to have all kinds of opportunities. Basketball is a small part of these kids’ lives. If I ask for too much from them, it can push them away. I only get part of their time.”

Edmundson wants to put the focus less on winning this time around and more on making it fun for the kids and him.

“Last time I put too much stress on myself and the kids, and I only wanted to win. This time I’m going to do a better job of making the games fun. I think if I can do that, the success will come,” said Edmundson.

The boys’ basketball head coaching position became vacant this summer when previous head coach Jake Kennedy resigned.

“Jake did a great job and not just because of the winning last season,” said Edmundson of his predecessor. “He taught basketball and did it the right way. I’m sorry to see him resign.”

But the coaching staff will get new faces this year and all coaches hope to keep up the success of the program. Edmundson will be joined by Wayne Meyer, who will be taking over the junior varsity team. One of the main reasons Edmundson applied for the head coaching job was Meyer.

“We both talked, and most years we wouldn’t have applied for the positions,” said Edmundson. “But the respect the students have for Mr. Meyer was a big reason I did apply. That and the quality of character of the kids this year will make for a good time.”

Miles Morris will also be joining the coaching staff alongside his once head coach. Morris played basketball for Edmundson nearly a decade ago at LeRoy High School and will return to help out his alma mater.

As for his coaching philosophy, Edmundson doesn’t plan to change too much.

“The team shot well and scored well last year. I will probably let them go offensively since they had success. As for defense, I prefer man-to-man. But I will play whatever is successful with the team,” said Edmundson of his coaching style.

This week, Edmundson and Meyer are checking out the talent pool they get to work with in the future during LeRoy’s boys’ basketball camp. This is their first look at the players and getting a hands-on experience with the boys before hitting the court in the winter.

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