By Dan Hardenbrook

They call it the “4 Pillars of the Program” and it’s the new focus of the Newberry Boys Basketball Program. “Education, Respect, Leadership, Caring. That’s what our program is all about.” Kenny Depew is the Boys Varsity Basketball coach in Newberry and he knows it’s just as important to win in the classroom and of the court. “We review it everyday in practice. I also have a ‘Thought of the Day’ that isn’t always necessarily about basketball. It may be focused on the team, but it’s something that’s bigger than basketball, and that’s what we want them to understand.”

New Indians JV Coach Nate Moulton agrees with the emphasis on coaching “kids” and not just “players.” The 2002 NHS grad is back home and says a big part of the job is giving back to his hometown. “It feels great to be back home. I have a lot of fond memories here. Now I’m coaching in the same gym where I played. I remember a lot of the good memories. I want to pass that on to the kids.” Last week in practice, Moulton made his team run when he heard players criticizing each other. “We aren’t going to do that here! Not on this team! We need to support each other! Be a good teammate!” He then only let them stop when they started cheering on their teammates and motivating them. Moulton believes that 4 Pillars will produce a lot of positive moments and memories for the players. “Education. Respect. Leadership. Caring. It’s about having high character every day in everything you do. We expect them to be good young adults. And we are here to help them navigate through life.”

Depew knows the numbers well. In his short time as Athletic Director, he has seen only a handful of athletes continue playing in college. “RIght now, I think we have 6 kids from Newberry that are playing at the next level. But that also means that all those other athletes that have come through our programs and our school are now done.” Depew says it’s important to include those life lessons and develop great people instead of just great athletes. “In our program we want to develop young men. That will be a huge help in them growing off the court.” I hope that the 4 Pillars of the Program will help them more in life. If we only work on basketball it’s a disservice.”

It’s great to see a new focus and new energy with the Newberry Boys Basketball teams. Coach Depew comes from a long line of coaches who have just about seen it all. I coached with Nathan Moulton at the middle school level a few years ago when these juniors and seniors were 7th and 8th graders. I could see his passion and how much he cares about the kids he coaches. I’ve spent a ton of time with Lady Indians Coach Jim Dzelak. He preaches the acronym “EAT” which stands for Effort, Attitude, and being a great Teammate. Walter Hanson and Ty Elenbaas in Engadine are building character and chemistry through the motto “Intensity, Determination, and Champions for Life.” They aren’t just catchy cliches. They are messages being shared by great men who want the best for their young guys and girls. Too much time we get caught up in wins and losses and we lose focus on the bigger picture. It’s bigger than basketball or the box score. And locally, thanks to our coaches in charge, we are creating a culture that will last a lifetime.