NEW BOSTON – If you’ve spent any time around this year’s New Boston Tigers team, you may have heard how they refer to themselves as the “Tiger Gang”.
A term that is usually used in reference to a group of individuals doing illicit activities has no bearing on this group of Tigers who just won the school’s first district title since 1960 on the hardwood.
Instead, it’s a term that New Boston players and coaches alike have not only adopted in reference to themselves, they’ve embraced it and have reaped the fruits of their labor in the form of postseason win after postseason win.
To this New Boston team, calling themselves the Tiger Gang is not only a way of identifying themselves, it’s a way of emphasizing the close familial bond they share. And that doesn’t go for just the players, it goes for the coaches as well.
New Boston head coach Adam Cox hasn’t only aligned himself with people he can trust to help him on the sidelines, he’s surrounded himself with people he considers his brothers.
“Me and Adam met about twelve years ago, when he moved his family out to South Webster,” said Roger Hall, a longtime friend of Cox and one of Cox’ assistants this season, as well as father of former South Webster star Kacie Hall who now plays division one basketball at Presbyterian College. “My daughter and his daughter and his daughter are the same age. Me and him had the same goals, same outlook on how to play basketball, and our daughters did too. We’ve been family ever since.”
“I think it’s the key to success, bringing that family bond,” said Corey Allison, another assistant and longtime friend of Cox, as well as father of former Portsmouth star and University of Marshall signee Ky’re Allison. “Nowadays, it’s huge with trying to make an impact in the kids life. Building that trust so when we do get on them, they know we’re trying to help them and not hurt them.”
This year’s New Boston staff includes Allison, Hall, Anthony Maynard, Kade Conley, Brandon Herrforth, and Shane Buckley.
For Cox and his staff, the most important lessons they can teach this New Boston group don’t have to be on the court, but rather off of it.
“I’m selling them as being more than champions on the court,” said Cox. “I want them to be something in society. I want them to look back and think, ‘He might have been our best coach because he loved us, but he taught me what it took to be successful.’”
To build a family atmosphere within the Tigers locker room, it’s the coaching staff’s belief that their relationship with each other as coaches plays as much of a factor as their own relationship with their players.
“I know a lot of them look at us like their dads or their uncles,” said Hall. “Adam (Cox) has them over to his house, spending time with them. They look up to him, and I think they see our relationship and it reflects back on them.”
“We use ourselves as examples a lot,” said Allison. “Coach will be quick to bring up experiences between himself and Coach Hall and him and myself. We use those examples of us a lot to show our closeness and the importance of building these relationships with each other.”
Even though they’ve accomplished more than any New Boston team in the last 59 years has, there’s still a hunger amongst the Tigers coaching staff and players with their eyes set on a bigger prize, one that will require two more wins in Athens. To achieve that, they know that if they come out ready to play the way they’re capable of, they’ll position themselves nicely for two more wins and for a chance to play at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University in the state semifinals.
“We’ve got to play Tiger basketball, we’ve got to be a gang,” said Cox. “We’ve got to fight and be ready to play hard. We know our strategies, their strengths and their weaknesses. We’ve got to play Tiger Gang basketball. If we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be right where we want to be.”
New Boston is set to tip off their regional semifinal contest against Berne Union Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. with a spot in the regional final on the line against the winner of Coal Grove and Berlin Hiland.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT