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Mickles named Greenville head boys varsity basketball coach

Greenville High School’s varsity basketball team has a new but familiar face at the helm.

Greenville native Marcus Mickles has been named head varsity basketball coach in the wake of previous coach Stu Stuedeman’s departure.

Mickles, himself a 2008 graduate of Greenville High School, said that thoughts of being Greenville’s head basketball coach began roughly around that time, or perhaps before.  Though the news of his hiring was surprising, for sure, it was not entirely without expectation.

“This was always a dream of mine—coming back here and being a head basketball coach here,” Mickles said. “The kids who grew up with me always knew this is what I wanted to do.

“I always talked about it.  Even those who played with me in high school always said ‘you act like you’re our coach,’ so it’s always been a passion of mine.  They knew it was going to happen sooner or later.”

Mickles previously served as head coach of the varsity girls basketball team and as an assistant for the varsity boys basketball team as well as the football and baseball teams.

Though Mickles faced a number of other candidates that he called highly qualified, he said that his history of dedication to Greenville’s sports programs gave him the competitive edge over others seeking the position.

“It’s very known in the community that I’m always here for the kids,” he said.

“I’m doing this and that for them, and they know I care for this program.  It’s not a stepping-stone for me—this is what I’ve always wanted to do with my life.  They know that I’m here for the long haul, and I want to help the kids in my own community be successful.”

The 2016 season of basketball was especially informative for Mickles, thanks largely to his predecessor.

“Coaching with Coach Stu last year helped a lot, with him coming from a different system,” he said. “I learned a lot of different things that I knew of, but I didn’t’ t know in as much detail. He really helped show me the ropes, and I appreciate everything he did for me and allowing me to be his assistant—to have input and do different things hands-on.  He really helped me be ready for this position as of now.”

Mickles got to work almost immediately, as the Tigers held their first tryouts yesterday, with a second scheduled for this afternoon.

After that, it’s full-steam ahead with practice beginning Thursday afternoon and a full slate of summer workouts to follow.

His first order of business is to make a number of quality-of-life improvements to the gym (including new rims, nets and a thorough cleaning of the bleachers) for those who spend many of their waking hours within its confines.

And though Mickles is aiming for success on the hardwood, he’s hoping that his Tigers will have success in equal measure off of it, as well.

“They know that I really care about them,” he said. “And just like they’d probably run through a brick wall for me, they know I’d do the same for them. They know I’ll always have their back, and I know they’ll play hard for me. 

“But it’s about more than basketball.  It’s about life lessons.  Not only am I trying to teach them to be great basketball players, but I also want them to be great young men. So it’s really big for me that I get to be at this level to actually demonstrate and be the man that I want them to become one day.”