Meet Chris Wolski, the boys' coach at North Paulding HS in Dallas, Ga., who is in his fourth season of, as he puts it, "running and gunning." Previously, he had run everything from Princeton, to Blocker-Mover (that sounds interesting!), to Flex, etc., looking for anything to help. He settled on a hybrid of the Grinnell style, as created by coach David Arseneault, and the old Loyola Marymount stuff employed by then-coach Paul Westhead.
So far, he and the Wolfpack are off to an 0-2 start, with a game against Walker HS on Tuesday night. Coach Wolski is in his 14th year of coaching, and in his fourth season with the program, which began exactly four years ago with only freshmen. This will be his first team with seniors.
I caught up with Coach Wolski via e-mail, and here is all you need to know about him and his team:
(How did you come to The System?)
Coach Wolski: "I was at a small school that had no chance of competing. I started researching the philosophy of basketball with kids that had trouble winning and came across Coach A's philosophy; therefore, I was exposed to his system. Previously, I had known about Coach Westhead's philosophy, but nothing about Coach A's philosophy."
(What was your research like when you made the decision?)
Coach Wolski: "As I stated above I researched the philosophy at a previous school. I contacted Coach A and he was awesome in answering my questions via e-mail. I also bought his book and DVDs."
(What has been the biggest challenge at your school?)
Coach Wolski: "The biggest challenge has been getting the parents to buy in to the style. The previous school I was at I was fired because of the system. Literally, I had one board member that didn't think it was 'basketball,' and got me fired. Here, since I opened the school as coach, there has not been as much resistance. It amazes me, though, how much people still do not buy in to the system."
(What about staff? Administration? Players?)
Coach Wolski: "My staff is totally on board. We have control of 6th - 12th grades; therefore, I have 6 teams running and gunning. I really believe this will help sell the system in the long run. My sell to the staff and administration is the fact that we DO NOT have real basketball players. In grades 6-12 I have a total of 5 year-round basketball players. The rest are just good, or great, athletes. Therefore, this system, LMU, gives us the best opportunity to be successful."
(What do you want to get out of The System?)
Coach Wolski: "Ultimately, I want the kids to know what it feels like to totally outwork someone else. They are buying in to it this season wholeheartedly. We are 0-2 to start this season, but they grasp what we are doing and know it is just a matter of being in better shape to do what we do."
(What's been your best experience so far?)
Coach Wolski: "My best experience came the year I was fired. We were up 32 going into the 4th quarter and we have the mercy rule in Georgia. They put 6 minutes on the clock and my players started flipping out about why. I told them why, and one of my least talented kids looked at me and said, 'But coach, down 30 points in a quarter is NOTHING.' Kids believing that they are never out of it is by FAR THE BEST PART OF SYSTEM BALL!"
Amen to that, Coach Wolski. I appreciate his time, and wish him and his team the best of luck during the rest of the season. I'll do what I can to keep you updated.