The Rangers Men’s basketball coach Luke Reigel comes from a long tradition of winning basketball programs.
He currently has a career record of 191- 172 here at Parkside, just 39 behind Steve Stephens’ record of 230 wins.
Experience in Winning
Not only is he the second-winningest coach in Parkside’s history, but he also has the experience of winning national championships as both a player and coach while at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.
While at Platteville Reigel had the opportunity to be a player and an assistant under coaching great Bo Ryan.
“Everything within your program has to be done the right way,” Reigel said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s practice, recruiting, travel, weights, you name it. Everything has to be done in a first class manner if you’re going to have success.”
One similarity between the teams Reigel has helmed is their winning mentality.
“The biggest thing is the expectation that every time they step on the floor we’re going to win,” he said. “The confidence that our group has right now is similar to those teams in the fact of it doesn’t matter who we play or where we play them, our players believe that we’re going to win that night and that’s helped us a lot this year.”
But he had unique words of praise for this year’s team.
“It’s a special group,” he said. “They really care about each other; they’re unselfish and it’s been a fun ride so far and we hope it lasts another month.”
The Rangers most recent game was against divisional opponent the University of Indianapolis. The Rangers played a tough game but were unable to pull out the win. They lost by a score of 74-85. Alexander Brown lead the team in scoring with 17 points, Kendale McCullum chipped in 14 points and 6 rebounds, and Kyle Flanagan added 12 points and 4 rebounds.
The Rangers will play their final regular season game on February 25th at 7:30 P.M. in Romeoville Illinois versus the 20-7 Lewis University Flyers. If students are unable to make the trip but would still like to watch and support the Rangers there is a live broadcast link in the schedule section of the UW- Parkside sports website, http://www.parksiderangers.com.
From the start of the season the Rangers have been outperforming the preseason predictions from those not intimately familiar with the team.
However, the success of the team came as no surprise to Coach Reigel and his team.
“We graduated a lot of good players from last year’s team and I think most people expected us to be way down. Says Reigel “That wasn’t the case with our players; we’ve set the bar at a high level and we expect to reach that level every year. So from our locker room they’ve had high expectations, but outside of our locker room I would say we’re far past anybody’s expectations for our season.”
One reason why this year’s success was no surprise to the team, according to Reigel can be attributed to the fact that
“We have great leadership. When you have leaders in your program that have high expectations for themselves and for the group, that’s where success starts. And our captains, our seniors, have done a great job maintaining a high level of excellence.”
The players he cites as being the most influential leaders on the team are his two senior captains Jalen Currie and Andy Mazurczak.
“Jalen Currie gives us a lot of energy and guys feed off of how hard he plays.” Coach Reigel says. “Andy has been in the program for four years and he’s the winningest player in Parkside history; and he knows how to approach the day-in day-out grind of the season. He leads by example; he leads by his words; he just understands everything you need to do to be a great leader.”
A Winning Attitude
Coach Reigel states that a big part of creating a perennial winner is to cultivate a winning mentality,
“You bring in quality people and get them to buy into the mindset of the only way to turn it around is to work hard every day. You don’t just show up on game day and try to win then. You have to put in the work year round. And if you get good people that are willing to buy into what you do, then you have a chance to change the culture of the program.”
Coach Reigel claims that what has been the best part of working with this year’s team has been their work ethic and their great attitudes towards practice each day.
“The thing that’s most enjoyable with working with this year’s group is that whether guys are playing a lot or playing a little, they come to practice every day with a great attitude. And even in past years when we’ve had a lot of success, we’ve had guys that may not have brought the greatest attitude to practice because they weren’t playing as much as they’d like. That hasn’t been the case all year. One through 14 on our roster comes to practice every day with a great attitude, and that makes it enjoyable for coaches to come to work every day.”
Preparing for a Playoff Push
On February 28th the team will move on to the next step: the GLVC tournament. Reigel claims that in preparation for the playoffs the team is sticking to their tried-and-true routine that has gotten them to this point.
He adds that part of the key is to “make players understand that it’s not going to get any easier as we keep moving forward. If they take that approach in practice every day, you’ll be fine as you keep going forward.”
“It would take our program up one more level.” Says Reigel on what winning the GLVC postseason tournament would mean. “We’ve had so much success in the regular season, we’ve been in the semi-finals a number of different times, and in the GLVC tournament; but we’ve never been able to cut down the net and win a championship in that regards, so that would be special.”