Sports

Hall of fame coach honored for starting program

The original group of third graders to play in the Fairfield youth basketball league are, from left, front row, AJ Greiner, Brittan Bowman, Cole Engle and Jackson Weaton; second row: Mark Diers, Austin Simpson, Collin Breen, Carson Crile, Tristan Waugh, Caden Joes and Cooper Drish.
The original group of third graders to play in the Fairfield youth basketball league are, from left, front row, AJ Greiner, Brittan Bowman, Cole Engle and Jackson Weaton; second row: Mark Diers, Austin Simpson, Collin Breen, Carson Crile, Tristan Waugh, Caden Joes and Cooper Drish.
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Besides the weather postponing several sporting events over the last two weeks, it also forced several members of Trojan Nation to keep a secret longer than expected. That they would be honoring hall of fame basketball coach Dan Breen for starting the youth basketball program back when his son Collin and their kids were in third grade. Now they are all about to graduate high school and the school is celebrating it’s first conference title in boy’s basketball in 15 years.

Are you happy with the way it’s progressed?

“It started when these kids were in third grade and the last two years, I’ve been out, but the youth program still goes on.”

What was your inspiration to start the program?

“I had young kids and we were looking at a system that wasn’t working, so I just thought I would start something that would give the kids a head start. We started with 10 kids the first very year and just an open gym and two years later we had 140 so obviously there was a need.”

What has led to the success that we see now?

“It always comes back to playing the game fundamentally right. The right techniques, the right tempos and just develop a love for basketball. I don’t even know how many of these kids would be basketball players if they didn’t get a good start.”

How much are you enjoying the boys’ programs recent resurgence?

“I’m always proud of what the kids do. I have a little higher standards than most, so I agonize a little more over the mistakes more than I do take too much satisfaction with what they do well.”

Where is your confidence on the high expectations for this team?

“You know, high expectations are a good thing. I’ve always thought you have to start with that so I don’t think the expectations will hurt them any. At this time of year, confidence is the issue.”

You’ve expressed an interest in getting another shot at Oskaloosa. Excited to see them in Fairfield’s bracket?

“I sure hope they get to play Osky. I know the kids are looking forward to it.”

What were you feeling when you were presented with the quilt?

“I was just a little flabbergasted. I never thought about something like that. It’s just a really nice gift and something I can always have.”