By George Bremer The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ELWOOD — It’s not quite on the level of Reggie Miller suiting up for the New York Knicks or Peyton Manning suddenly donning the colors of the New England Patriots.
But the irony of Mickey Hosier’s hiring as the Elwood girls basketball coach isn’t lost on the former Alexandria star.
“I met the team and the parents and the community for the first time the other night,” Hosier said. “And I told them I was brought up to hate Elwood. But I’m competitive enough, I’ll make the adjustment.”
It’s a light-hearted answer from one of the area’s all-time most intense competitors, but Hosier’s commitment to his new school is real.
He’ll also serve as the Panthers’ assistant principal, and four of his five children — three girls and two boys — will enroll in the school system.
After brief stints as the boys basketball coach at Wes-Del, Lakeview Christian and Alexandria — and spending the past three seasons as the director of basketball operations for Ball State — Hosier hopes he’s in this job for the long haul.
“This was the right time and the right opportunity,” he said.
It’s an interesting time for the Elwood program.
The Panthers are coming off a 17-6 season in which they finished second in the Central Indiana Conference and have several regulars returning. But Hosier will be the team’s third head coach in the past three seasons, and his predecessor — Tom Kessinger — was fired after accusations of an improper relationship with a player.
Hosier will get his first up-close look at the team today during summer workouts. And he’ll be quite busy for the next couple of weeks.
His contract at Ball State expires July 1, and he’ll split time between Elwood and summer camps with the Cardinals until then. Some might be surprised Hosier — who said he very much enjoyed his time at his college alma mater — didn’t seek out another job at the NCAA’s top level after BSU coach Billy Taylor and his staff were fired.
But he said staying close to home was a greater priority.
“(Ball State) was just a unique opportunity where there was a Division I job 20 minutes from where I live,” Hosier said. “Elwood is 10 minutes away.”
Hosier’s daughters — Gracyn (10), Gabrianna (8) and Jacklynn (6) — are just getting serious about basketball, and he’ll make strengthening the Panthers’ feeder system one of his first goals.
He and his wife, Amanda, also have two boys — 11-year-old M.J. and Maxwell, who turned 1 in May.
Hosier’s time at Ball State helped rekindle his coaching fire. As director of basketball operations, he attended every practice and sat on the bench during games. But NCAA rules forbid the position from doing any hands-on coaching.
“You’re watching, but you don’t get to do a lot of on-court stuff,” he said. “You kind of have to zip your mouth and lock it. Having been a head coach, that’s tough. (Elwood) is an opportunity where I’ll be able to put my mark on a program.”