by Josh St. Hill
After Years of coaching, Robert Shelton passed up the job of Monticello’s Varsity coach to return back to his own alma mater of Louisa County High School. Although Shelton was a wonderful coach, it appears that he left the team in good hands, as Gary Spry isn’t only preparing the team for a good athletic year, but a great academic one.
“I can remember as a youngun’ watching coach Carter and feeling inspired. Seeing a guy turn a team around both physically and mentally like that was amazing, and I think that’s what Coach Spry is trying to accomplish with us,” said Monticello’s Junior guard Kari Brooks on Coach Gary Spry’s recent bump up to Varsity Basketball Coach.
Spry’s philosophy requires a lot of work, but in the end it’s a simple one: “Stay disciplined and stay smart.” During practice Spry requires a lot of running, “Up and downs are constant,” said Jacoby Jackson, “But when we look back at it, it wasn’t a punishment, but preparing us for in game situations.”
Most of the time after the running Spry takes the tired players and puts them on the free throw line to shoot, or makes them do drills such as Three Man Weave or Laker Drill.
“We like to see what players can perform fatigued, if we put you in the fourth quarter and we see your tongue touching the ground we can’t depend on you,” said Jackson.
Off the court Spry is also preparing the team for a different game, the game of life. Recently Spry has been checking in on his athletes in class, making sure they sit in the front, and talking to them in the hallways about reports their teacher gave on them.
When asked why this matters to him so much, he said, “In the game of basketball, the NBA is very far fetched for these kids, Division 1 the same way. If your grades aren’t on point, if you’re just barely skating, by then their dream is going to be cut short fast.”
Coach Gary Spry has always been a familiar face to the Mustangs, he’s always contributed to the JV’s success and Varsity’s as well. Now that he’s running the show not only are the players excited for a winning season, but an educational one as well.
“Spry’s the definition of a good coach, not only is the game important but the academics are as well. Without him, I don’t believe The Mustangs would be prepared the way we are today,” said Brooks.