Time is drawing close for former player turned coach Chris Sullens to make his WCHS coaching debut. Sullens is no stranger to the Warren County sports program. He grew up playing right here in McMinnville as a Pioneer. He has also coached extensively in the area recently for the Boyd Broncos, as well as Eastside Elementary and Warren County Middle School.
The following is a transcript of the Standard and coach Sullens about what Pioneer fans can expect this year:
Q: What does it take to win games, offense or defense?
A: I think it takes both to win basketball games, but most teams are stronger on one end of the floor. My thought has always been no matter how well you play offensively, our teams should bring a team defensive effort to the floor every night. That is the foundation for everything else our team stresses. We will stress both ends of the floor with the idea we improve daily at each phase. We will also stress the importance of rebounding on both ends and understanding when the basketball is shot, it is a 50-50 basketball battle we must win 100 percent of the time.
Q: What do you feel the program was missing?
A: The only thing this program is missing is hardware and banners. The fan support in this county is second to none. It has amazed me the amount of support the people of Warren County give our team, my staff and myself over the past months. It has truly been overwhelming and much appreciated. Our administration, headed by principal Jimmy Walker and Todd Willmore, gives us everything we need to be successful.
They are fully supportive and have been behind our program from day one. I have the best staff in high school basketball in this state. All those guys are a joy to work with and I am fortunate to work with them daily.
Our players have done everything we have asked. They are a great group of guys who want the same thing every other person in this county does. They want to be successful. I was hired to help lead young men in the right manner and help those guys be a part of something special. We want to add trophies to the cases and banners to the rafters in the coming years. We have the puzzle pieces in place to make that happen in the future. I truly believe that.
Q: How much intensity will you bring to the floor of Charlie Dalton Gym this year?
A: I just coach the way I coach. I don’t know any other way. We want to get maximum effort out of young men. I have always tried to coach the way my father works daily. He never asks anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself and he is hardest working man I know. Many who know him will agree with that.
I believe you can outwork your competition. I want people to realize I am doing my very best to bring a quality product on the floor for the people of Warren County. I will enter that gym door trying to get the best out of our players. I will make mistakes, but bringing effort should never be one of these mistakes.
Q: If you could teach these young men one thing, what would it be?
A: I want to teach the young men of Warren County hard work and determination to reach their goals pays off. I want them to leave the program knowing I respect and care for each of them after the days on the floor are over. Regardless of what direction they go in life, I want them to look back and say I encouraged them to get back up from the hard moments teams and players go through in competition. I hope they realize giving up isn’t an option and at no point should they ever think they can’t be successful.
Q: At this stage in your life, coaching at this level. Why now?
A: I am life-long resident of Warren County. It has been a part of me for over four decades. I met my wife here and I enjoy living here raising our children. Coach Andy Jacobs gave me a chance to play high school basketball here - a sport I love that my father and I spent many hours in the driveway playing. From the first day coach Jacobs allowed me the opportunity, I wanted to somehow leave a mark on the hardwood in my hometown. I enjoy coaching. I love competition.
I want to see over the coming years if I can help bring some pride and passion back to Charlie Dalton Gym. As I have stated before, this is my dream opportunity in coaching. I will end my coaching career on the sidelines of Warren County. I hope I make my wife, my children, my family and all others in Warren County proud of what we do in the future of boys basketball at Warren County.
I believe we will be successful and I promise not a day goes by that I am not thinking of how we can make this program better. Warren County will get the best of what I have to offer on the basketball floor.