Latest Issue

Webb Weekly’s Own Scott Lowery Has Coached 700 Junior High Basketball Games

Terming it “quite a milestone,” Webb Weekly’s own Scott Lowery recently coached his 700th junior high school basketball game in a career that stretches more than 34 years. He is the South Williamsport Junior High School team coach and has sometimes acted as an assistant for the varsity high school team. We thought it would be nice to celebrate this milestone by interviewing Scott and have him review his career and what it has meant to him. What follows is that interview.

How did you get started in coaching?

“I began coaching JHBB in 1987-88 as the 9th-grade coach. I held that position for 26 seasons through 2013. In 2014 South Williamsport dropped the 9th-Grade team, and I began coaching the 8th-grade team, which I have done ever since. The rationale behind dropping 9th-grade basketball was based upon declining enrollment numbers. That, coupled with the fact that the better freshman players were being moved up to the Junior Varsity team, led to teams that weren’t competitive at the 9th-Grade level at that time.”
What drew you to coach junior high basketball?

“Since I was in elementary school and playing games at the old Community House (located on West Southern Avenue where the CVS Plaza is today), I’ve always enjoyed the game. I played high school ball at South. My daughter (Denise) and son (Doug) also played at South. Doug went on to play college ball at Salem-Tiekyo, where he was named the West Virginia Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year his senior season. I’ve always enjoyed teaching young people about the game and skill development.”
Did you have a mentor or someone who influenced you as a coach?

“Bill Byham was my high school coach at South. I learned a lot about basketball from him, but more importantly, I learned a respect for the game and how to compete. We became life-long friends, and he influenced many decisions I’ve made in my life, among them getting into coaching.”
What is your coaching philosophy?

It’s pretty simple. Every season I tell my players I have two goals: 1.) For them to have fun and enjoy the game and 2.) Help them to become better players by the end of the season than they were when the season began.”
Compare coaching from when you started until how it is now?

As the years go by, it seems a bit like Groundhog Day. Every year the kids I coach are 13 and 14 years old, so it seems a bit like time is standing still, but each year the reality is I am a year older. Really, coaching the game isn’t much different than when I first started. The 3-point shot has changed the game, and today, when kids go to the gym, the first thing they want to do is fire away from the three-point line. But kids are still kids, a bit goofy and immature at the Junior High level. Perhaps one of the biggest differences is there are fewer kids really dedicated to basketball. There are other sports that pull them in different directions, and the electronic gadgets they all possess present challenges that weren’t there many years ago.”
What have you learned through coaching?

“My college degree was in Communications Arts with a minor in psychology, and both of those things have been a big help in coaching. Coaching, like most everything else in life, is all about communications. At the Junior High level, there are so many things going on in young people’s lives. They may have family issues at home, problems in the classroom, social issues, and personal insecurities. Every player is different, and one of the things I’ve learned is that you can’t treat all the players the same. I’ve never been a yeller, and I take a lot of time in one-on-one discussions with the players trying to get to know them and what makes them tick. Some open up. While others won’t. I explain to them that respect is a two-way street. I won’t embarrass them on the court, and they won’t embarrass me or our program off the court.”
What are some of the challenges of coaching?

“Much as I’ve stated above, the challenge always is getting your players to understand the reasons why things are done and to play the game with respect — for the game, their teammates, and their opponents. Many of the kids I coach in Junior High never see a varsity uniform, but lessons I can help them learn will stay with them long after their playing days are complete.”
What is it that you enjoy the most about coaching?

“That ‘AH HA!’ moment when the light bulb in their mind turns to green when something they’ve been taught goes right for them. I’ve always believed that to become successful in life, one first must have achieved some moment of success. If I can help them achieve that moment, it is worth all the time and effort you put into coaching.”
As you look to your future, what do you see?

“I see a coach who has enjoyed 34 wonderful years of coaching younger people savoring every moment. I’ve had a few opportunities to move up to the high school level, but I’ve chosen to stay with the Junior High kids. If you do things right, you can be a positive influence in their young lives. I hope to be able to do that for as long as I can.
What has been the highlight of your coaching career?

“It may sound corny, but just walking into the gym with a whistle around your neck and a clipboard in your hand provides a daily thrill. No doubt, the wins are better than the losses, but it is through losses that some of the best lessons can be taught. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to coach on the staffs of a lot of very good coaches, including Dwight Woodley, who gave me my first coaching duties, Larry Manikowski, Harry Binger, Allen Taylor, and Tom Griffith among them. I also coached our current South Williamsport coach, Rob Houseknecht, when he was in Junior High. Now, I am coaching for him. Reaching 700 games is a memorable experience for me, but it is more about longevity than expertise. Hopefully, the lessons I’ve passed along can be useful to those I’ve had the privilege to coach. I am enjoying the ride!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *