Former Indiana star coaching at TJC - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Former Indiana star coaching at TJC

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) -  Hidden away in an East Texas gym, Tom Coverdale is just another basketball coach at Tyler Junior College.  In his home state of Indiana, Coverdale is a star.

"I get a lot of people back home that recognize me just because the state of Indiana loves basketball so much," said Coverdale.  "Down here (in Tyler) it's a lot of football."

Just eight years since his Final Four run with the Hoosiers, some of Coverdale's Apache players couldn't tell it was the same guy.

"Of course they'll make fun of me because I'm not in the great shape I was back in the day," said Coverdale with a grin.

"We give grief about it all the time, he's let him weight go," said T.J.C. Freshman Mitch Marquis with a laugh.  "But he's a great guy.

If the red hair didn't prove it was Coverdale, his shooting did.

"I was like okay so he's our new coach?" said T.J.C. Sophomore Kyle Ford. "Then he got the ball without warming up and started draining three's."

"Whenever a guy says they think they can outshoot me, I say they'll have to get out there and prove it," said Coverdale.  "Now as far as getting up and down the floor like I used to? I don't know if I can do that."

"He's still got game," said T.J.C. Sophomore Lebree Sledge.  "He's just packed on a couple of pounds."

More importantly, more experience. The junior college assistant could be the next Bobby Knight.

"Playing under him for one year I got to see some of the best of that side of coaching," said Coverdale.   "Sometimes it just gets in you, you get upset and it comes out."

The Apaches love his passion.

"He's a great inspiration to us," said Marquis.  "When he says something you make sure to listen."

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