SEVEN YEAR SCHLARMAN GLORY RIDE COMES TO AN END
By DAVE SCHABELL
The heavily rumored loss of seven year Brossart Head Coach Willie Schlarman became reality today when Coach Schlarman met with his team and announced to them that he would accept the position as head coach of the Highlands Bluebirds for the upcoming basketball season.
The seven year Willie Schlarman era has been marked with school record after school record for unprecedented success. He has taken us to places we had never previously been before, nor ever dreamed of being, and showed us things that we had never seen before – a glory ride that included numerous trips to the mountain-top and a journey to the promised land.
We have experienced a full range of emotions over the past seven years, beginning with an appearance in the 10th Region Tournament Championship game Coach Schlarman’s first year, a season that saw the Mustangs win 28 games against the toughest schedule in the history of the school, setting the expectations bar high and establishing the tone for the remainder of the Schlarman era. There have been disappointments along the way, but they are far over-shadowed by the successes.
Early on he taught us that it was no longer cceptable to play good teams close and lose – he taught us how to win – and on December 9th, the third game of his first season the fledgling Mustangs bought in and beat Holmes for the first win of the Schlarman era which would see one hundred and forty more victories follow throughout his seven seasons. On December 15th of his first year the Mustangs would defeat Covington Catholic on a half-court buzzer-beater by Nathan Seiter which would pave the way to our being among the elite basketball programs in Northern Kentucky during the Schlarman reign. His Mustangs would repeat the CovCath feat on two more occasions during his tenure, both times when the Colonels were ranked Number One in Northern Kentucky.
We would be 38th District Champions on three occasions, a never-before accomplished feat, be District Runners-up twice, participate in five regional tournaments, winning one 10th Region Crown and being runners-up once. Prior to Coach Schlarman’s coming to Brossart the Mustangs had never won a game in Regional tournament competition. During his stay the Mustangs posted a 7-4 record in post-season regional competition. We would play in the Sweet Sixteen State Tournament in 2000 where we defeated Graves County and finished in the Elite Eight. He would be “Coach of the Year” on four occasions.
During Coach Schlarman’s seven year tenure, the Brossart Mustangs appeared in the Cintas Center on three occasions, played in the Shoemaker Center, traveled to Western Kentucky and played in the Owensboro Sportscenter, have played in McBrayer Arena at EKU on three occasions, and recently participated in the Rupp Classic at Lexington Catholic High School. We spent a week in Florida at Embry-Riddle Team Camp in Daytona Beach, Florida on three occasions.
Coach Schlarman was named 10th Region Class “A” Coach of the Year on three occasions, and 10th Region Coach of the Year in 2000. He was also named the Kentucky Post and Enquirer Coach of the Year the same year.
In his seven years Coach Schlarman coached teams would defeat Campbell County a total of seven times and NCC on four occasions. No Brossart team had beaten NCC prior to the Schlarman era. We would be 38th District Champions on three occasions, a never-before accomplished feat, be District Runners-up twice, participate in five regional tournaments, winning one 10th Region Crown and being runners-up once. Prior to Coach Schlarman’s coming to Brossart the Mustangs had never won a game in Regional tournament competition. During his stay the Mustangs posted a 7-4 record in post-season regional competition. We would play in the Sweet Sixteen State Tournament in 2000 where we defeated Graves County and finished in the Elite Eight. He would be “Coach of the Year” on four occasions.
From day one he was in command of this program. It was spelled out very clearly back in June of 1997 when he took over the program that this was going to be a dictatorship, and that never changed. While there was often much discussion on an issue, the final decision always rested with Coach Willie Schlarman. That is what made us good. We all knew our roles and performed them with confidence.
“Regardless of how many times we may go to Rupp in the future – there will never be another like the first-time. No matter how often or how sweet wins over teams like CovCath are, they too will pale in comparison to the first ones.”
Willie Schlarman has transitioned this program from a Division III small-school program to the peak of the mountaintop in hoops competiton throughout Greater Cincinnati and the entire Commonwealth. We have developed the attitude that we will go anywhere-anytime and take on all comers. It wasn’t always that way – 31 losing seasons and only 7 winning seasons heralded the arrival of the “Schlarman Era” when Willie assembled the 97-98 team during the summer of ’97.
They say that all good things must come to an end – but we don’t anticipate that happening. Drawing on the foundation and fundamentals ingrained in us throughout the past seven years by the man who has brought us to this plateau, we plan to keep on keeping on and are indebted to Willie Schlarman for bringing the Brossart Mustangs to the “next level” and for taking us all along for the ride.
Over the years Coach Willie Schlarman will become a legend in Brossart Mustangs lore. He will always be remembered as the man who made us believe and allowed us to witness our Mustangs running out on the floor at Rupp for the first of what we hope will be many return engagements.
We wish Coach Willie Schlarman all of the success in the world in his new challenge as head coach of the Highlands Bluebirds and hold no animosity towards him for leaving our program. When he came to us in 1997 we asked him for two years – he gave us seven. Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do – and for Willie Schlarman to return home to his alma mater and coach his Highlands Bluebirds seems like a natural progression for him.
Again we thank Willie Schlarman for all of the time and effort, headache and heartache, good times and bad times that he devoted to sharing the great experiences that he himself once experienced as a player, with our Brossart Mustangs.
Thank you Coach – from an appreciative and admiring fan base – We Had The Times Of Our Lives!!!!!
Oh yea – and by the way – See ya in the SyDome next season!!!!!