Sun, July 21

Mingus locates future boys basketball coach

Future Mingus Union boys basketball head coach Dave Beery watches the Marauders play pick-up games during open gym. VVN/Travis Guy

Future Mingus Union boys basketball head coach Dave Beery watches the Marauders play pick-up games during open gym. VVN/Travis Guy

Pending school board approval, the Mingus Union boys' basketball team has found its new coach in Grand Canyon High School's Dave Beery.

Beery has been involved in basketball his whole life. The Bozeman, Mont. native just wrapped up his 13th year as a coach. He has spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Division-IV GCHS. While with the Phantoms Beery took a program that regularly made it to the state tournament, but lost its opening game, and returned them to the Elite 8, something that had not been done since the 2006-07 season.

In a prefect example of six degrees of separation, Beery heard about the job from former Mingus principal Marc Cooper. Cooper, who was principal at GCHS during Beery's first year there, heard about the GCHS job from former MUHS superintendent Sharyl Allen. OK, so maybe not six degrees but close enough.

"When I started at Grand Canyon the administration that was there at the time, a couple of people had worked for the [Mingus] school district before and Marc Cooper was the school principal at the time and I think he held me in fairly high regard and he called me and told me there was going to be an opening here coaching, and teaching also, so from there I made a couple calls, found out it was true and it progressed from there."

In his three years at GCHS, Beery reached the Elite 8 twice, in his freshman season with the Phantoms and this year. Grand Canyon finished the season 23-9 with a No. 9 ranking in D-IV. The Phantoms lone blemish in conference play was to El Capitan High School in the D-IV, Section 1 title game. They entered the section tournament as the No. 1 seed riding a 15-game hot streak. Beery holds a 59-27 record with the Phantoms and won section titles his first two years there.

He has to wait until May 27 to officially be named the head coach but he did have a chance to stop by an open gym practice at Mingus and watch his future team ball it up for two hours. Beery was impressed with the turnout for the off-season practice (there were 30 students there) and that after an hour and a half the Marauders only then began to show signs of slowing down.

"Two things I really like are there's a lot of kids here, first of all, a decent turnout and they're playing hard," Beery said. "We're getting close to two hours and they're just now stating to slow down a little bit. I felt like they played hard and were competitive, acted respectable, there wasn't any fighting or anything like that, that's always nice to see."

Beery is not an X's and O's kind of guy. Yes, there will be certain spots on the court he wants his future players to be in games, but what he is looking to do is build "basketball players." Instead of automatically going to a certain spot on offense or defense, he wants his players to see what the other team is doing and act accordingly.

"What I try to do is teach kids to play basketball, rather than to have them run a play," the son-to-be coach said. "I teach them to read situations and how to respond to a situation. You need some X's and O's, run to this spot here in certain situations in games, but my philosophy is; for them to be successful they have to assess what's going on and make the appropriate action based on their assessment."

When it comes to the type of system he will be running at Mingus, Beery said that he will have to wait, analyze the talent he has and go from there. He was used to having size at Grand Canyon, but said that he will adjust accordingly with the more guard-focused Marauders.

"There's certain things that I'll definitely do but I think you have to work with the tools that you're working with and figure out what's most appropriate," Beery said. "Coming from a school where I had some pretty talented post-players the last couple years to here where it definitely looks like it will be guard oriented, from what I've seen here, its going to kind of adjust things we do on both ends of the court."

Beery will be under the gun if and when he gets approved as head coach because June ball is right around the corner. That is the time when teams go to basketball camps and play in weekend leagues or tournaments to gain crucial experience. He is doing his best to get ahead of it as much as he can so he can start to get to know the Marauders and how they play ball.

"It does make it tricky because it's a pretty short time table from my hire date, which hasn't even happened yet, officially, till we're actually playing games," Beery said. "June will come pretty quick but its still better to get some time in June with them ... it will be nice because it will give me a month to assess talent and potential and kind of figure out what kind of style is going to work out best for us."

In the end, Beery liked what he saw. He noted the talent and knows that he will be getting some bigger guys in June, like Trevor Galloway and Zach Simmons.

"There's definitely some potential here," Beery said. "A lot of young kids, a lot of guards, not going to have a ton of size. I know we're missing a few guys because of football but ... I think there's definitely some potential here."