Coaches who choose to coach in small towns set themselves apart immediately from the ‘big city’ coaches. They have a different take on coaching and its perimeters. Cottondale’s own Chris Obert is one of those such coaches.
Obert has been coaching as a head coach 15 years, with many years prior as an assistant coach. He’s coached both boys and girls’ basketball from the assistant standpoint to the head coach as well as an assistant on the sidelines for football. Obert is quick to say there is no real difference in coaching boys or girls, and that both his time with the boys and girls were good.
Obert has certainly proven he is equally successful on both courts. While head coach of the girls, he racked up three district championships and two runners up, made it out of district five of six years. On the boys’ side, he has nine years under his belt as their head coach. He has four district titles and four runners up, once again making it beyond district in all but one year, eight out of nine years. He’s taken his girls’ teams to two regional finals and two regional semi- finals, and one regional quarter final. On the boys’ side, Obert’s team had one regional quarter final and four regional semi-finals, and three regional finals.
Obert says there are pros and cons of coaching multiple sports, “It’s easier to come to the job working in the gym and coaching football makes it easier because a lot of stuff rolls over to the gym from the field or the court.”
Obert says of his coaching philosophy, “The biggest thing to me is to try to help the whole young’un. Young boys more than anything need help off the court and field so you have to develop the whole kid. They are young adults and they have to mature. I try to help them mature both on the court as a player but off the court as a person. On the court, we want work hard, practice hard, and play hard. I want them to be disciplined, and we want to have a close group. I have coaching in four parts; part of it is a family type atmosphere. We want the kids to feel comfortable all the time. If they lose eligibility, we want them to feel comfortable to come back and be part of the program – to me that is more important than wins and losses.”
When asked about former players he felt like he had made a difference in through his coaching philosophy, Obert proudly said, “There are several that come to mind. They come back by the school as adults or I run into them somewhere and I see them successful and see that they’ve become successful adults after high school.”
Obert’s success as both a coach and a mentor have not gone unnoticed by his peers. Long time, veteran coach Travis Blanton says, “Chris Obert is one of the best coaches that we’ve ever had in this county. He works as hard as any coach that I’ve been around in 25 plus years. He is always in the gym, somewhere teaching, or learning. He has all of his kids respect and they will run through a wall for him. That’s why his teams never get out toughed. I always regretted trying to prepare for his team. One of the counties true legends, and a great friend on top of all of that.”
Malone coach Steve Welch reiterates more of the same,”He is a good communicator with his players and is great with kids. He is a guy I respect because of the love, loyalty, and extra effort he gives his guys.”
If you have not had the opportunity to watch a well disciplined and dedicated team of basketball players, you have missed some awesome basketball. You have another opportunity as he will take the court Friday night in Grand Ridge in the second round of the District Championship.
The Jackson County Times salutes Chris Obert on a great job both on and off the court.