New Wyoming East boys basketball coach Derek Brooks says there’s no place like home.
Brooks was named coach of the Warriors yesterday by the Wyoming County Board of Education.
“There’s nothing like going back to your alma mater as head coach,” he commented.
While he felt he had a good shot at the job, he admits he worried as the time to select the coach got nearer.
“I didn’t sleep at all the night before (Thursday), because I knew they were going to pick the coach,” he said.
“I’ve been in basketball all my life,” he said. “I didn’t know if my lack of coaching experience (would hurt my chances), but I thought I would be considered.”
Basketball has been part of his life almost since he could stand up.
“There’s video of me dribbing the ball from the time I could walk,” Brooks said. “I was one, one-and-a-half. There are pictures of me dribbing the ball down the street.
The son of Mullens and WVU hoops legend Herbie Brooks, he joined organized basketball when he was five.
He is a 2004 graduate of WEHS and has fond memories of playing there.
“My favorite memories are of the Westside games,” Brooks remared. “We didn’t fare too well against them when I was playing, but I loved the hype and the crowds.
“Growing up in the area, you see the Wyoming County basketball tradition,” he said. “All the schools that went into Wyoming East—Mullens, Pineville, Glen Rogers and Herndon—have that tradition.”
After high school, he played college roundball at Bluefield State and obtained a degree in computer technology.
Brooks says he learned a lot from playing at the collegiate level.
“It makes you slow the game down a little bit and see that you’re doing,” he commented. “It helps you with the Xs and Os.”
His love of basketball stems from his love of competition.
“I hate to lose,” he stated. “Losing is part of the game, and it makes you work hard. Competition is priority No. 1.”
The competitive spirit lives on. Brooks still plays summer league basketball.
He expects his teams to run an up-tempo offense most of the time but not necessarily always.
“If you’re playing a team that is bigger and quicker than you, you may have to slow it down,” he noted.
“The same with defense,” he continued. “I mostly like to play man to man, but if you’re playing a better team, you may have to go zone.
“I’ll be putting in my offense and defenses,” Brooks said. “We won’t change everything, but everyone has his own way of coaching.”
He says he will meet with former head coach Rory Chapman to discuss matter and will meet with the team this week.
Brooks knows expectations from fans are are always high.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” he stated. “Wyoming East has a winning tradition, and winning is what I stand for.”
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.