Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coach Maurer


THIS is where im from.....

Appeal Sports Writer

"'Hoosiers don't simply enjoy basketball, they're consumed by it; basketball is their lifeblood."

- Kurt Vonnegut

RENO - Forget about welcome to the jungle, baby, welcome to Galena boys basketball coach and Carson City resident Tom Maurer's "Cave."

There is no confusing Maurer's de facto domicile with the high school's gymnasium, which is also called "The Cave." In fact, there is no comparison whatsoever. The roughly 9 x 9-foot office at Galena High School - the 46-year-old Maurer's home away from home - contains far more basketball-related memorabilia than a mere gym could ever hold.

Call it the Tower of Maurer, a veritable basketball Wailing Wall where every available inch of space - floor to ceiling - is jammed full of paper of some kind. Instead of prayers, there are newspaper clippings, box scores, scouting reports and photographs that testify to Maurer's all-consuming passion for his Holy Trinity of basketball, family and teaching special education students.

Along with a pair of impossibly comfortable black chairs that would make Dr. Evil or a member of SPECTRE envious, Maurer's lair contains a desk, television and VCR, mini-refrigerator, wall-to-wall video tapes of game film and a library of binders full of old scouting reports, all of which are dominated by a master schedule/calendar.

Not that Maurer, who hails from Gary, Ind. - Hoosier land itself - is consumed by basketball or anything like that. Doesn't everybody have a basketball court outlined in masking tape on his office floor, with the caps of Magic Markers lined up to represent players while doing a little X-ing and O-ing?

On Feb. 13, the night before his Grizzlies will end their season with a loss to Douglas in the semifinal round of the NIAA Northern 4A Regional Championships, Maurer is in the midst of game-planning before the two-hour practice that precedes the one-hour film session.

He removes the three rows of carefully prepared and condensed scouting reports from his tape basketball court so that a pair of visitors can make themselves at home in this ultimate man-cave, which is under the watchful eye of Indiana coaching legend Bob Knight, who looks down from his autographed picture on the fridge, where UCLA coach Bob Wooden's pyramid of success is also mounted.


Maurer's Cave tells a lifetime full of stories, but it takes the coach himself to fill in the details of his formative years.

Maurer, who is of Polish and German descent, grew up in the Polish-Italian section of Gary, once a Midwestern melting pot that revolved around the area's formerly abundant steel mills.

His father, Bill, worked in the steel mills for 45 years, before dying of a heart attack. Maurer - the youngst of five siblings - said his father never took an interest in athletic endeavors, but his oldest brother Bob (Maurer had two older brothers and two older sisters), who was drafted by the New York Yankees, played a role in his life that still affects him and his philosophy to this day.

"He was a true sport athlete," Maurer said of Bob, who along with his 88-year-old mother, Virginia, lives in Lewiston, Idaho. "I feel like big brothers always teach the values of life. If a kid is mentally tough, he usually has a big brother. I call it the 'Big Brother Theory.'"

But Gary is known for more than being a steel mill town: It's also the murder capital of the United States. Maurer's other brother, Will, and his cousin, Mark, were shot to death and his oldest sister, Carol, was killed by a drunk driver. (His other sister, Phyllis, is still alive.)

Maurer, who said his family was robbed every Halloween in spite of moving several times, was shot in the left knee during a drive-by.

Maurer attended Highland High School in Gary, where he was a two-sport athlete. He was a 5-foot-6 point guard - the only sophomore to ever make varsity - and a left fielder.

It was baseball that got Maurer out of Gary - at least for a while. He went to Northern Idaho Junior College, but tore a muscle in his right arm. Then it was on to Indiana, where he received in-state tuition and graduated in 1987 with a degree in special education.

"It's always been my passion to help exceptional children - severely handicapped, emotionally handicapped, health impaired and learning disabled," said Maurer, who is the special education and site facilitator at Galena.


While at Indiana, Maurer made three acquaintances that would forever change his life: He met his future wife, Dianne, current IU assistant coach Dan Dakich and Bob Knight himself.

Maurer married Dianne, a former gymnast who also attended Highland (they never met in high school), in 1984 and took his first coaching job in Kooskia, Idaho, where he guided his team to more victories in the 1987-88 season (five) than it had in its previous five years.

"I just wanted to get out of Gary really bad," he said. "My wife moved to Kooskia at Christmastime, but she said if she didn't see a mall in five minutes, she'd divorce me."

So it was on to Carson City, where he's lived ever since. He landed the coaching job at Carson Middle School (then Carson Junior High), where his teams compiled a five-year record of 231-45, an 84-percent winning percentage.

Thanks to Dakich, Maurer seized the opportunity to work in Knight's summer basketball camps for 12 years, where he watched the NCAA's all-time winningest coach at work for five weeks a year, and for several years traveled back and forth from Carson to Indiana.

Knight and Maurer never grew close, but one day the coach asked Maurer when he would get a real job. And - thanks in part to Knight - he finally did.


"Hoosiers talk basketball for an hour after they're dead and have stopped breathing."

- K.V.

Galena opened its doors in 1992 and Maurer saw his dream job open up.

"Coach Knight called the office and asked to speak to the principal, Jackie Jones," Maurer said. "She didn't know who he was. He said, 'Give me the (expletive) vice-principal (Ross McCumber)'. Two days later, I got an interview."

Along with giant magnet team shots of all his Grizzly teams over the last 16 seasons - none of which include his photo ("Those are the kids that earned it. I'm just a teacher. I'm not part of the team.") - there is a year-by-year breakdown of Maurer's coaching record at Galena (he is 282-198 overall).

His team has won seven High Desert League championships, seven regional titles and last year the Grizz took its first-ever state championship.

There is one title that has eluded Maurer, however: He has never been selected by his fellow coaches as Coach of the Year.

"Isn't that funny," said Foothill coach and former University of Nevada point guard Kevin Soares (1988-92), who assisted Maurer in the 1992-93 season. "I think what happened is a lot of coaches have animosity because he does things for kids and has had so much success. A couple of coaches are jealous. There's no other way to put it.

"I think he does an excellent job. I consider him the best high school coach in the state. Galena is the best prepared team in the state. He does it the right way. He does it for the kids. The kids come back to help him on the staff. That ought to tell you something about him."

Assistant coach Doug Cordova is one of those players who have come back to help Maurer. Cordova, who played for Galena from 1995-98, also lived with Maurer when he was a student.

"He is like a father to me," Cordova said. "He guides me. One thing I like about him and why I stick around is that he's open to anything. He's never done learning. He gets better each year."


The power that is Maurer is part Knight, part street smarts and part self-motivator.

"It was nice to get that Indiana, Bob Knight integrity into me," he said. "I've seen the other side of life and it's no way to live. Education is the most important thing to being successful. Knight is a believer in self-discipline. There has to be consequences when you do something wrong. You can't get something for nothing."

To show he walks the walk, Maurer went from a rotund 210 pounds to a toned 155.

After telling the joke that he got tired of Dianne saying he was "fat, bald and stupid," he said he was trying to prove to his players the value of mental toughness. Instead of going to his hotel room after a series of games in 100-degree Modesto, he'll go four miles on a treadmill and eat low-fat food.

Leading by example - that's something Maurer, who has two children - believes parents should do.

"There are a lot of great parents out there," he said. "But a lot of parents don't allow their kids to speak for themselves. They don't teach them any responsibility skills by teaching them to listen.

"You hear and you listen. To hear means it's in one ear and out the other. To listen means you get it, you learn to do it."

Maurer doesn't allow his players' parents to e-mail him. They have to go through their son first to meet with him.

"I teach my kids the same thing," he said. "I teach them to shake their coach's hand and thank him for his time. That teaches them to be responsible, speak for themselves and to listen."


So what you call a guy who names his two sons Trey Utah Mo Maurer and Ty Basketball Jones Maurer ("Two days after he was born, Social Security called me up and asked if it was true. I said, 'Absolutely'")?

Well, he's the type of guy who spends every spare minute traveling to schools like Indiana, Georgetown, Illinois, Gonzaga, Kansas and UCLA - among others - to learn all he can about the sport he loves so that he can teach it to others.

He's the type of guy who uses the bathroom light in UCLA's locker room to take notes on Bruins coach Ben Howland's lecture during film - and then have his cell phone go off playing the Indiana fight song.

He's the type of guy taking his team all around the country to play nationally ranked teams so that adversity can forge a stronger player.

And he's the type of guy that will tell you that Newsweek ranked Galena No. 504 academically (no other Nevada school ranked that high), a public school with 1,400 kids competing with prep schools.

Call him whatever you want; he's heard it all already.


There may be some people who are glad Maurer's Grizzlies came up short to Douglas. There may be some that are clicking their heels because he'll graduate nine seniors, including 6-foot-8 phenom and Nevada signee Luke Babbitt.

But in Maurer's mind, there's always next season, which gives him a chance to teach even more.

"I hope they think I get players," said Maurer, who also coaches fourth-and fifth-graders at the Reno-Sparks Boys & Girls Club. "Neither Luke Babbitt nor anybody else who came in is a true basketball player. You have to make them true basketball players. Nobody has figured out Galena's basketball success.

"I have the ideal job. I work with handicapped kids and I work with high school basketball players who aren't touched by shoe companies. I get to work with Galena kids as much as they want to be worked with."

Maurer, who said he had a chance to begin coaching at Youngstown State when he was 24 but turned it down because of job-security issues, said he's going to remain at Galena through 2016, so that he can coach his own boys.

"Then I'll get a job as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines," he deadpanned. "It's a great airline. I'll get to wear my shorts."

Oh, and one last thought for his detractors.

"I can't wait to prove them wrong next year," he said.

Soon - very soon - the door to Maurer's Cave will close and the sign that reads "MAURER LOCKDOWN, FILM SESSION, EMERGENCY ONLY" will be swinging on the doorknob.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

QUote of Week 12/15 08

The invention of basketball was not an accident. It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play "Drop the Handkerchief.
-- James Naismith

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Sparks Family YMCA, 3rd Annual Holiday Handles
Sparks, Nev. (TBD) – Spark’s Family YMCA presents Holiday Handles Basketball Camp, Offering two sessions Dec 22 – 24, 2008 and Dec 29-31 2008, at the Sparks Family. Holiday Handles Basketball Camp provides young athletes seeking to improve ball-handling, footwork, coordination, individual and injury prevention skills with 3 days of intensive instruction and competition

Holiday Handles Basketball Camp Pricing
• Who: Half day camp (9-12pm) for 1-3rd grade; Full day camp (9-4pm) for 4th -8th grade. Registration will be limited so hurry in to get registered.
• When: December 22-24th and December 29-31st; Camps will end at 2pm on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.
• Program Cost: Half Day Camp is $65 per child $50 for YBA Participant.
Full Day Camp is $100 per child $85 for YBA Participant; $50 for second sibling.
• Where: Camp will be held at the Sparks YMCA Family Center Gymnasium.

Director: Mike Atkinson A.C.E CPT, EliteProPerformance.com

Teams: Team pricing is available; please call 775-342-7333 for more information.

To register for the Holiday Handles Basketball Camp at the Sparks Family YMCA please contact for more Information contact:

Brian Sundeen - Sparks
(775) 323-9622 ext 1240

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quote of Week 11/24/08

Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.
-- Scottie Pippen

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Atkinson not the typical JC player,

Below is an article that was written on me in Junior College. When this article first came out I was really angry at the writer. I thought it would isolate me from my teammates. (My teammates were indefferent) Discussing my financial situation and family situation, In a culture were Finances are not a typical topic for a sports writer on a college athelete. Over the years my career had taken a crazy path, i look back at this article and realize that its all true. You cant help where your from or what advantages or disadvantages physically socially, economically you may have. We all are teamates in a game called life, basketball has no boundaries, I have met more people from every background possible in this game and you know what we all had in common, Basketball. Sport reveals mans need to compete and to work together to achieve goals. I love the game for that reason alone.

"Are You Elite?"

When I started this blog it is intended to give atheletes a resource and tell them my story. Read the article and the next one i post will leave you smiling.(Written 3years apart!)
www.eliteproperformance.com, Training in Northern Nevada, Reno Personal training

Atkinson not the typical JC player
Joe Curley, jcurley@insidevc.com Tuesday, February 11, 2003

It's not just the floppy blond hair and eagerness to involve his teammates that distinguishes Mike Atkinson from most of his out-of-state California community college brethren.
While many of the urban outsiders that pepper California rosters come west to forget pasts intertwined with all the symptoms of an underprivileged upbringing -- like hunger, drugs or gangs -- the 6-foot-4 Reno, Nev., product comes from money, which qualifies as a skeleton in the closet when you spend your Saturday nights playing the city's game with urban offspring.

"I wouldn't like to say I'm from a higher class or anything," said Atkinson. "I'd say my parents make a good living. I've never felt uncomfortable about that. I'd say I fit in pretty well."

As much as he would like it to be otherwise, he is a very different JC basketball player.

A significant portion of his teammates and opponents live from check to check on financial aid. Atkinson pays the $650 monthly rent for his Simi Valley apartment by liquidating his stock portfolio. Most out-of-state players know the impotent feeling of living in California without a car. Atkinson paid for his 2000 Dodge Durango out of his own pocket.

He spent the first 10 years of his life with a successful entrepreneur for a stepfather, living in a 6,300-square foot mansion that included 21/2 acres of grounds, tennis courts and lake access in a private community outside Reno. Although his psychotherapist mother is remarried, to a dentist in a 4,800- square mountaintop homestead that overlooks the city, Mike bears Charles Atkinson's surname and considers him his father.

Yet he has made his choice, spurning other life paths to play basketball against players for whom there were no shiny alternatives.

"If he didn't have this love for basketball, he'd be at a four-year institution," said Atkinson's mother, Donna Hamilton.

Somehow the game reached past individual-based sports of the upper class, like tennis and squash (the loves of his stepfather), and gripped him. His first word was ball. At 4 years old, he started playing basketball at a local YMCA after his grandmother fabricated his age. A year later, he told his mother he wanted to be a Harlem Globetrotter.He was selected to take part in his school system's program for gifted students, but used most of his creativity on the court. He developed into a refined, if undersized, post performer in a structured, winning program at Galena High, where he played in three Nevada state title games. When he disappointed in front of college coaches at an important tournament, he returned home to shoot for hours on a school night in the freezing mountain air.

"Maybe his natural, genetic ability isn't great," said Hamilton, "but his desire and his heart is."

Making his teammates better became the most important thing in his life. When no scholarship offers came, he elected to continue playing at the only level available to him.

At Moorpark, he has made himself into the best 6-foot-4 center possible, averaging 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while taking every loss like he would a cyanide pill.

"Whenever anybody watches him, you hear the same thing, 'God, I love your No. 22,' " said Moorpark head coach Remy McCarthy. "It's because he does everything he can for us. He gets by more with his heart and his head than his athleticism."

Knowing a team is made up of more than simply five scorers, several four-year programs have shown interest in giving Atkinson the scholarship for which he has detoured his life. When he accepts, he will do so with the knowledge that he earned it on his own, without any advantage at birth.

"Basketball is Mike's spiritual path," said Hamilton. "Instead of being on a mountain somewhere, he uses basketball to go beyond color and beyond socioeconomic groups. It's his way of telling his teammates, 'We are the same.' "

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quote of Week

When I was young, I never wanted to leave the court until I got things exactly correct. My dream was to become a pro.
-- Larry Bird

ARE You Elite?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sierra Strength And Speed

(Reno, NV)
Winter is approaching I am currently in Reno Training at Sierra Strength and Speed. Right now we have a mixture of athletes training for their basketball School seasons and a group of Pro baseball players have their off season routines in full force as well. The gym is in full swing with Youth Developement classes and Personal Training for sking,Golf and other activities.

I love working with local athletes and take pride in being part of Northern Nevadas finest athletic Performance and Personal Trainig Facility at Sierra Strength and Speed.

Remember any trainer can make you soar, can they fix you? Prevent you from injury? Re Evaluate the way you train.


Request a Date Filling up!!!
Basketball Camps, Oaklahoma, WA,CA,NV

Quote of the Week

"Not only is there more to life than basketball, there's a lot more to basketball than basketball".


-Phil Jackson

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Quote of Week


William Feather


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Twist Video

The point of this blog is to provide resources for athletes and coaches.. Here is another great video on the web by "Twist ". Respect in the field of training :Elite Pro Performance our new Launch of 09 schedule is coming...

"Are You Elite?"


Monday, October 20, 2008

Back in Reno, Pre Season Tips

Its my first full week back since training in Hawaii, with the leaves turning color and the air beginning to chill, we see basketball season on the horizon. Many of the Basketball players I work with train twice a week with me on various programs for Strength Speed and Agility, while working with their respective AAU teams and High School programs on the court. I have a tremendous pride in the athletes that train with us locally and hope that all the players we worked with in other parts of the country are working diligently to prepare for the season approaching.

Few Tips for Preseason training

KEEP using the Dynamic Warm up, so often I ask athletes did you warm up?( 9 out of 10 time not really)

Intake of Calories, A car does not run without gas are you a Benz or a Bicycle???EAT!!!

Incorporate one day of recovery into your schedule regardless if its active or not. We can not lose quality for Quantity.

Has anyone seen that new Nike commercial with the little Ladanian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu tearing it up in the backyard and house and through their careers to the pros with Jay Z beat??
Reminds me of what it takes to become a great player you got to love it and imagine the outcome you want and work for it every second you can.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Maui Pics More to Come

Pics From Maui Civic Center

Maui Basketball and Sunsets

Throughout my basketball carreer I have been fortunate to have travled and entertained fans all over the world well now I find myslef traveling all over the country traning the youth of America.

I Just returned from Maui Hawaii, I was given the opprutunity to work with a High School from Lahina, Lahinaluna H.S the School is the "Oldest this side of the Mississippi" a school so rich in tradition that it has dorm rooms for the traditioned students to travel and live in. However traditon rich it was the school does not have aenough money to support its sports programs and struggles to supply shoes for the players who come from lower cconomic conditions in High Inflated Hawaii. I was blessed to be invited over to work with a independent parent who wants something to change in the culture for the youth program and build a sports program as rich as the tradition itself.

I trained 30 boys and girls all JV and Varsity players for 2 days over 6 hours and loved every minute of it. The Next few blogs will be about the trip and the kids.


Welcome to Game Speed Training Blog

Welcome to Game Speed Training Blog, Sponsored By Elite Pro Performance. This blog was created with the intent to give Athletes coaches and trainers a resource for their training during the season as well as the off Season but to limit it to that would be unfair and unjust.

My name is Mike Atkinson I am a Certified Personal trainer I specialize in Individual player development, I have been all over the country working with the Youth of America, Coaches,College and Pros Athletes and along side with some of the best in the field of training and the game of Basketball. You will hear more about me later.

This blog will give out Praise to the people who deserve respect and for the resources they are. I'm surrounded by professionals in there respected fields I'm well versed in the game of basketball and feel as though this combination makes for an entertaining blog.

"Are You Elite?"


The Author

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Reno, Nevada, United States
Age 26 Sports Specialist Basketball, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Sierra Strength Speed. Eliteproperformance.com

Elite Pro Performance Videos.