KINGMAN - It's been a few years since the Kingman High boys basketball program turned in a winning record at a season's end, and the Bulldogs have now turned to Nick Juby to make that happen.
Juby, 29, came to Kingman from Broken Arrow, Okla., via Kansas. His high school playing days there included four trips to the state tournament and three of those went as far as the semifinals.
He returned home after college and joined the coaching staff at Broken Arrow High for a number of years before he transferred to another school that had won three state titles. Last year, he was an assistant at a junior college in Kansas.
"I've been under three to four different types of coaches, and I've pulled pieces from all of them," Juby said. "Now I'm learning about all the extra stuff like paperwork and transportation. This is the stuff that's stressful."
Juby has put in his time as an assistant and that went a long way with KHS athletic director John Venenga.
"I think Nick's enthusiasm and eagerness to dig in to the program and make these kids better is what attracted me to Nick," Venenga said. "He does come with a lot of coaching experience."
Juby's goal was to be a varsity high school basketball coach by the time he reached 30. He can cross that off his list.
"I'm real excited to have this opportunity out here to put my stamp on a program and do things the way I like to do them," the new coach said.
One universal truth Juby believes is that kids are basically the same everywhere.
"It's just about getting them to buy in," Juby said. "If a kid truly believes that you want them to succeed and be great, they'll run through walls for you. Most of these guys have figured out that I truly care."
Juby arrived in Kingman back in June, and he's been working with the team to play what he hopes is an up-tempo style of basketball.
"I've always been an offensive guy," he said. "At the end of the day, you're not going to win if you can't score. I want a team that gets up and down the floor with a free-flowing motion offense."
As the season rolls along, Juby has a list of three things he wants people to see that should be the signature of a team he coaches.
"We're going to play hard, 'D' up, and rebound," the coach said. "We do that and we'll be all right. The next thing is getting the kids to understand what playing hard means. This has been the toughest part."