Cinderella Ball: A Look Inside Small-College Basketball in West Virginia

By Bob Kuska | Go to book overview

3

In the months following the “Hoosiers” miracle season, and with his wife’s continued support, Greg Zimmerman signed on for another season as the men’s head basketball coach at Alderson-Broaddus College. With spring now in blossom across the lush Tygart River Valley, Zimmerman arrived each morning at his bright, roughly fifty-by-twenty foot corner office, flicked on the laptop computer on his desk, and sat down to his first tentative thoughts on how to build a college basketball program.

Unlike in the cutthroat, win-at-all-costs world of D-I basketball, at D-II Alderson-Broaddus, Zimmerman knew, there was no pressure from above to make the college proud each winter. As President Stephen Markwood advised him, the A-B job was merely “a stepping-stone” to a better position elsewhere, the implication being that Markwood had no intention of building a nationally recognized D-II program—even after the Battlers’ season and all of its positive publicity for the college—nor did he expect Zimmerman to stick around for more than a few seasons.

“He has been honest with me, and that’s all I can really ask,” said Zimmerman, who, as a small-town guy at heart, values honesty above all else. “I have no problem with President Markwood.”

Zimmerman’s acceptance of the status quo didn’t mean he was at peace with it. Like all college basketball coaches, Zimmerman’s competitive nature compelled him to compete with the best, and, as he had witnessed during his first season, that would be no easy task. Although most WVIAC schools lack high-quality big men and depth, which is why D-I clubs rout most D-II teams, the league nevertheless features numerous players six-foot-seven and under with major college skills. Zimmerman felt he had to bring a few “studs” to campus, even if Markwood and the rest of the faculty could not care less. As Zimmerman alternately joked and opined, he had too much love for the game to go through the motions. He had to stress and exhaust himself about winning. That’s just what good coaches do.

Sitting there behind his dark, wooden desk, Zimmerman began to think “big picture.” Should he “rebuild” with untested freshmen and develop

-82-

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Cinderella Ball: A Look Inside Small-College Basketball in West Virginia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 1
  • 2 50
  • 3 82
  • 4 119
  • 5 159
  • 6 204
  • 7 251
  • Afterword 279
  • Notes 285
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