MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. -- For his whole life, Jack Trosper has wanted to coach basketball. He'll continue to live out his dream, this time as the newly annointed head coach of Wabash Valley College's women's basketball team.
Originally hailing from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Trosper began as a student assistant for the men's basketball team at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi after emaiing coaches and asking if they needed any help.
"The first thing I did was email the coaches and ask if they needed any help and became a student assistant my freshman year and did that when I was in college and learned a whole bunch from the coaches," coach Trosper spoke of his experience at TAMU-Corpus Christi. "It's always kind of something that's always been in me, just always interested to learn different things and learn from different people."
After his stints at those schools, Trosper accepted a position at Great Rivers Athletic Conference foe Southeastern Illinois College as an assistant for the men's basketball program. While at SIC, the head women's basketball coach resigned in the middle of the season and the Athletic Director offered Trosper the position, to at least hold until the college could find a replacement candidate in March. Trosper took the opportunity and made the switch to coaching women's basketball.
"It was a funny story, so I was the assistant coach on the men's side at SIC and the women's coach resigned and so it was kind of vacant in the middle of the year and our athletic director asked if I wanted to take over the program just until March just kind of as a stop gap until we hired someone new and I said sure, no problem, I'll help however I can," Trosper recalled. "I really enjoyed it, the different things you have with the women's program. So when March rolled around he asked me if I wanted to still continue with it, I agreed, so it's hit the ground running from there. I like the aspect of the women's game, it's different than coaching men. It's different, but I enjoy it a lot. It's something I'll stick with now that I'm on the women's side now."
So having made the switch to women's basketball, Trosper coached against former WVC head coach Luke Scheidecker, whom Trosper developed a relationship with. Scheidecker swayed Trosper to join WVC as an assistant coach last season, assisting the Lady Warriors to a 30-3 record.
"I knew Luke personally and when his position [as an assistant] opened up I thought it would be something beneficial for me as a coach," Trosper said. "For me to be around a program that had had a lot of success sustained for a long time in every single sport, that was something very intriguing to me."
Then this offseason came, Scheidecker left for an opportunity at Indiana State University as an assistant coach, leaving Trosper at WVC, a prime candidate to fill Scheidecker's shoes -- which the board of trustees agreed on, approving Trosper as Scheidecker's successor.
"Initially I felt good about it, I had been here a year and had a good rapport with the girls," Trosper spoke of the coaching search. "All the girls stayed, so I think that was super important, we didn't have one girl that left after coach decided to leave. I prepared as if I hadn't had it yet, so I didn't take it for granted. I went through the interview process and did my best at it in preparation that I may not get it. So my mindset was to prepare as if I don't have it yet and work as hard as I can to make sure I'm doing everything necessary to acquire the job."
Many individuals from the coaches community reached out to congratulate Trosper on the position, the best advice he was given? Just to be himself, as he added that he'll add his own style and flavor, but had many similar ideas to Scheidecker, so much will stay the same.
Now, coach Trosper inherits a talented squad with a couple transfers, Ryan Jones from Delaware State and Summer Blevins from Northwest Florida State to give the Lady Warriors a couple experienced and very talented options.
"We're very excited," coach Trosper spoke of his team. "Myself and coach Scheidecker were able to recruit these girls each other. We were very excited about the opportunity we have, the numbers of returners we have, the new additions we brought in through transfer and the freshmen we have. We're going to play fast, last year we led the country in scoring in different aspects of our offense. We're going to look to keep that same mentality, the same tempo."
Still, coach Trosper succeeds a coach who went 61-5 in his two-year tenure, transforming the Lady Warriors into a JUCO power. Though Trosper played a role in WVC's success, he feels some pressure succeeding the successful Scheidecker, but perhaps not in the way you may think.
"I feel pressure, but it's been pressure that I've always had on myself," coach Trosper said. "Me and coach Scheidecker have talked about it a little bit. We've helped create this pressure and that's kind of what we wanted. We wanted to build a program that's recognizable and successful. I think we've generated that pressure within ourselves, so there is pressure there but it's not something that we didn't expect or I didn't expect. I knew having a program like this and coming into a program like this, it's what you want. You want that pressure.
The Lady Warriors began workouts upon the start of school and will be able to start officially practicing on Oct. 1 -- meaning the season is finally nearing. For Lady Warrior fans and the citizens on Mount Carmel, the newly annointed coach had a message.
"I just want to thank everybody in the Wabash Valley community and everybody here in Mount Carmel. Very excited for the season and can't wait for their support. The support they gave us last year was tremendous and we're hoping to continue that. We'll be out in the community, having the girls out, having them around and we're very excited about the possibilities we have this year and we think we have a great group of girls and we're excited to showcase that for the community."
Coach Trosper will make his WVC head coaching debut at home on Nov. 3 against Brescia's JV squad at 1 p.m. -- offering fans their first glimpse of the new look Lady Warriors.