It Ain’t Over till it’s Over

Friday, I will visit Wren Baker.  I will turn in my keys and laptop computer.  My 13 years at Northwest Missouri State University will come to a close.  Wren is my boss and the athletic director at Northwest Missouri State University.  He’s my third boss in my 13 years at Northwest.  I will always be grateful to my first boss, Jim Redd, for hiring me in June of 1999. 

Dr. Bob Boerigter followed Jim.  I will always remember how Dr. Bob evaluated the coaches.  He set up an evaluation process that gave them gave three levels of success.  You could either “meet expectations”, “exceed expectations”, or fall “below expectations.”

I’m not sure how many evaluations I received from Bob, but I never received a “below” and I never received an “exceed”..  We won as many as 24 games and lost as many as 17, but the evaluation never changed.  Dr. Bob wasn’t big on glowing evaluations, but he didn’t criticize much either.

Wren Baker has been my boss for a little over a year.  I know for sure it would have been great working for the new boss for many more years.  He’s a basketball man from past experiences.  He knows how to raise money and he knows the pressures coaches face.  I’m convinced coaches will flourish under his leadership.  I am confident he hired a great coach to replace me as the women’s basketball coach.  Mark Kellogg is a winner.

Usually I use my blog to tell stories about other people.  My last blog on this website will tell a story about me.  For the past 10 years, I had a second business that was a true labor of love.  The business came out of necessity as the coach at Northwest.

As I began working for the Bearcats, I wanted to take the team to a tournament inHawaii.  I had used a service out ofMinnesotathree previous times, but their prices had made it impossible to use them.

Luckily, I had a former player, Marissa Maaske, living and working inHonolulu.  I asked her to find a gym and hotel, price transportation, and build a package for teams.  For my part, I wrote all the NCAA Division II teams to see if there was any interest.  Rockhurst, Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech,CalState– LA, and Northwest entered the first Hoop N Surf Classic in the fall of 2002.

One thing led to the next and Malika Sports has survived many ups and downs.  My part of the company was to talk to coaches.  Marissa’s part was to set up everything inHonolulu.  Now the company has a new name, Malika Sport Tours.  It is officially based inMaryvilleand I will work out of the offices of Maryville Travel beginning July 2.

Tera Nelson, the owner of Maryville Travel, has been great in keeping a secret.  Tera always set up my family baseball trip each summer.  She also found plane tickets for my grandson, Jacob, to visit his dad inPortlandeach summer.

Tera and I started to talk about working for and with Maryville Travel about two years ago.  To Tera’s credit, she had opportunities to bring other people into the office or even sell Maryville Travel.  She held fast and Monday, July 2, Tera will begin to train me on the travel business.  I hope she doesn’t get as sick of me as my players did each March.

Three years ago, Lori Hopkins, my assistant coach, issued a challenge.  She said, “If Sherri Coale (the Oklahoma head coach) writes a blog, why don’t you?”  So Stein’s Blog became a weekly routine in my life.  I have missed one week on my own and a blog didn’t go up one week my SID went on vacation.  Otherwise, my stories have hit the Northwest website each week.

My first blog was about a challenging freshman, Tara Roach.  Roach came fromElkhorn,NE.  She just completed her four years of eligibility. Tarahad good years and not great years during her career at Northwest.  However, she was probably the biggest fan-favorite I’ve ever had in my 13 years with the Bearcats.

Twice, my written words in Stein’s Blog got me in a little hot water.  Once, I accused the Arkansas Tech women’s basketball team of “stealing” our pizza’s after a game inMaryville.  The school protested and my boss, Bob Boerigter, asked if it was acceptable to change one word.  With a grin, he requested “stealing” be changed to “taking our pizza.”  With the same grin, I accepted his suggestion.  I don’t think it was really a suggestion.

About a year later, I was all fired-up about some policy of the NCAA.  I called them a name in this blog that refers to a government that has total power.  That might have been a little strong.  Wren didn’t request a change; he demanded that never happen again.  Trust me, it didn’t.

My time at the Northwest Athletic website comes to a close this week.  Chuck Holley, aMaryvillephotographer and friend of mine, told me I have developed a “herd” over the past three years.  I guess a herd is a term for those that have too much time on their hands and click on my blog.  Chuck suggested I attempt to keep my herd intact. 

I will continue to write Stein’s Blog on my own websites.  Since I will become a travel agent, my new business website is malikasporttours.com.  I advertise travel options for college teams on the Malika Sport Tours website, but there will be a section for Stein’s Blog, too.  I promise never to criticize the NCAA or accuse anyone of stealing (maybe taking, though).

I’m moonlighting in another profession, also.  In the past three months since my retirement announcement, I have written a book.  I am financing everything myself, so I better sell a few books.  I set up a website just to market the book.  I should explain the book first.

In 1983, my high school team won a state championship and went undefeated.  That team was the most mature team I ever coached despite all being high school kids.  The reason was the courage and struggles of a reserve guard by the name of Brenda Florian.

The book is called When the Nets came Down for Brenda.  Brenda never played a second that magical season, but the lessons she taught the team and coaches still are powerful 30 years later.  I try to tell the story in a book.

The website is whenthenetscamedownforbrenda.com.  Probably a little wordy, but the website does market the book.  It also will have a place for Stein’s Blog.  I hope my “herd” stays together.

Many people have asked me if I could do it over again, would I leave coaching after the Final Four season of 2010-2011.  The answer is always no.  I have loved every minute of coaching (almost every minute) and I don’t have a single regret.  I look forward to a new career as a travel agent and possibly an author. 

I guess I do have a single regret; it will be if I lose tract of my friends I have met while in coaching.  If anyone wants to stay in contact with me, I’ll spend most days at Maryville Travel.  You can email me at stein@malikasporttours.com.  See you around.

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Gene Steinmeyer

About Gene Steinmeyer

Gene Steinmeyer coached the Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team for 13 seasons before retiring after 26 years as a collegiate head coach after the 2011-12 season. He retired as the second winningest women’s basketball coach at Northwest as his 2010-11 team won both the MIAA Regular Season and Tournament Championship advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals one game shy of the national championship game.

6 thoughts on “It Ain’t Over till it’s Over

  1. Dennis Frost (frosty) Congrat’s Coach had a lot of good times

  2. Thanks for all the good basketball and support over the years coach, and best of luck in your next steps! Those of us in the pep band will always remember you fondly and hope you find nothing but happiness.

  3. Always loved reading the blog, Stein. Hope to see you visit Orlando someday. Maybe you could start setting up tournaments and running them down here, too!

  4. Stein – I am writing to you to say thanks for pushing to become a better player, person, and coach. It is because of you I volunteer at my local high school as a assistant coach. A step away from my USDA job. Thanks Stein. Schlake…

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