Mishawaka names Hecklinski as new Boys Basketball coach
A new era began Tuesday for Mishawaka Boys Basketball.
Ron Hecklinski was named the new head coach, a man with 35 years of coaching experience, including 25 in the state of Indiana. A South Bend St. Joseph graduate (1974) Hecklinski has assisted one of his former players at Indianapolis Scecina High School for the past six seasons. Before that, he led Anderson High School to a record of 274-138 over 18 seasons. His Indian teams won five sectional titles, one regional title, and five North Central Conference Championships.
After being introduced Tuesday, it didn't take long for Hecklinski to make his presence known.
"First of all, I don't need microphones because my voice is really loud," Hecklinski said.
Hecklinski coached in four McDonald's All-American games including in 2003 when he had the pleasure of coaching Lebron James, someone he says impressed him not only with his skill but his work ethic.
"Not only did he have the body to be special, not only did he have the god given talent to be special but he had the ability and the work ethic and he wanted to put the time in. And when I said, he was the first on the court, and the last off the court, this is at an all star game where I coached him for a week, it was phenomenal for me to see that, and not only him but Chris Paul and all those other guys, that's why they're at the level they're at," Hecklinski said.
After taking his head coaching "hat" off six years ago, Hecklinski said he believed he was done, until he realized retired life was not for him.
"Hoops is what I do, I mean I was telling these guys, it's what I do, it's what I've been doing since I was knee high to a grasshopper," Hecklinski said.
A man who coaching philosophy hasn't changed in more than three decades, and doesn't plan on changing anytime soon.
"For me to able to influence young people's lives but you know that's the most important thing to me, teaching guys what a jumpstop is, teaching guys how to come off a curl, that's really cool for me, but being able to influence young people's lives is what it's all about for me," Hecklinski said. "I say are you kidding me, I'm going to a school where there's excellence."
"I feel like he's going to bring more swagger for us to walk around school and I'm ready for it," Senior Tre'sean Jeffries said.
Hecklinski was also an assistant coach at Ball State University from 1989-93 when the Cardinals went 97-34 including an appearance in the Sweet 16.