By Justin Whitaker
— Two-time NCAA Division-I national champion runner up,
Three-time Horizon League regular season champion,
First two-time Defensive Player of the Year in Horizon League history,
Averaged 7.8 points, 5.2 assists, 1.8 steals per game senior year,
and 2012 Butler grad with degree in elementary education.
Ronald Nored’s resume does not read like typical high school head basketball coaching candidates.
His experience playing for the Butler Bulldogs prepared Nored to take the reins of the Brownsburg high school boys’ basketball program.
“I was coaching when I was playing,” Nored said. “Through scouting reports, watching a lot of film, understanding how other teams did things, and putting our team in position while I was on the floor to be successful against that. So I coached for four years before I ever came here.”
A year ago, the Homewood, Ala., native was starting the rigorous college basketball season for Butler. Now, he is preparing his Bulldogs for the 2012 season with a tough schedule and Hoosier Crossroads Conference looming.
Quite a difference a year makes for the 22-year-old.
“It’s hit me in the face like a bunch of bricks,” he said. “I’m so used to gearing up, being in practice right now, and getting after it. I just worked out for the first time in over five months two days ago. I’m out of shape, I’m eating a lot, spending a lot of time in the office but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I like doing this a lot more than I like playing. And I love playing basketball.”
Nored assembled an experienced coaching staff with each bringing their own specialties. Gordon Hayward Sr., Bronson Lickliter (head coach at Randolph Southern the past two seasons) and 36-year Marian University coach and recent retiree John Grimes are each part of the coaching staff.
“Having that kind of experience to help me in this process and this journey has been really good,” Nored said. “The basketball part of it I love. I love being on the floor, I love being with the guys, I like that can we spend time teaching and that kind of stuff. That’s where I feel I get the most out of myself is in that time.”
Much like his own playing style, Nored wants Brownsburg to be known for their defense.
“That’s our deal, we are a defensive team,” he said. “There’s no question about it.”
Getting his team to adapt to that mindset is going to take time.
“Being defensive-minded takes a whole lot and to do it the right way takes a lot and it’s a long process,” Nored said. “It’s about every little bit of the possession buying into doing it the right way.”
Because of his experiences guarding NBA players like the Charlotte Bobcats’ Kemba Walker, Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, and Sacramento Kings’ Marcus Thornton while at Butler, Nored knows that defense is his strength.
“I know how things are supposed to work defensively. I’ve put my body through hell the last four years doing that. I know where guys need to be, how they need to be. I can tell when they are being lazy, I can tell when they are tired, I’ve been there. I was there less than 12 months ago,” he said. “Even as I was playing, I was still pointing people in the right direction and telling them how to rotate. So I’m just taking what I’ve done here, removing myself from the actual playing field, and being able to look down and see everything all at once.”
At the same time, Nored has been soaking up coaching advice. His Butler coach Brad Stevens recommended, “Don’t do a lot early. Build your foundation.”
A trip to a West Virginia basketball practice left Nored with the advice, “You got to be yourself.” And those words from the Mountaineers’ coaching staff have stuck with Nored through the beginning stages.
“The biggest thing has been finding my voice and who I’m going to be for my team,” he said. “I really like that because I spend a lot of time thinking about that and how I want to shape our program with me being at the head of it.”
Six seasons ago, Brownsburg won the Class 4A state basketball championship 40-39 over Marion. Add Nored’s young age and the expectations that come with being one of the bigger schools in the state, and there should be pressure to perform. But said he does not feel any.
“None. I get the opportunity to come in here and do what I love to do and I’m thankful for that,” he said. “I’m going to do that the best way I can do that. I’m going to hope our kids do that and we just all watch it play out from there. Whether we win, whether we lose, if we gave our best and everybody could see that, I don’t think anything else matters.”
Nored’s teammate at Butler, and Brownsburg graduate, Gordon Hayward hit the game-winning shot as time expired to propel the Bulldogs to victory in the state title game in 2008. He was the first person Nored contacted in the hiring process.
Nored asked the Utah Jazz guard/forward if he thought that Brownsburg was a good community and a viable spot for him and Hayward’ answer was, ‘No question about it’ according to Nored.
“That’s all I needed to know,” Nored said.
With Hayward’s stamp of approval, Nored accepted the job during the spring while still enrolled at Butler. The crazy set of circumstances that began with Hayward playing at Brownsburg and then Butler, where he was roommates with Nored, to Nored coming to coach at Hayward’s alma mater, all the while staying a Bulldog throughout the process is not lost on him.
“I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason and God kind of shaping the way things happen, and I think the way our staff has come together, the way how we have lined how I’m here, how I got here, how all of this even happened, I think that has a lot to do with it,” he said. “I’m so thankful that I get this chance, it’s awesome.”
During the day, Nored puts his education degree to use as a graduation coach for the freshmen at BHS. He gets an opportunity to tutor them, keep data on the class, and serve as a mentor for the class of 2016.
After performing on one of the biggest stages in all of sports, the recognition lessens when students and faculty walk into Mr. Nored’s office.
“Some of them know, most of them don’t, which is really nice for me. I hate any kind of extra attention I get that comes from playing basketball,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed being here and getting to know people, even some of the people who do know I played, I’m not just some figure they watched on TV, they actually know who I am and know my personality.”
One BHS staff member recently walked into Nored’s office with a Butler shirt on and pen in his hand to jokingly ask him to sign the shirt.
“I said, ‘Heck no, I’m not signing your shirt, ‘” Nored said laughing. “But they’ve been fun, they’ve been great. This is a great place to work because you get to work with great people.”
Nored expects that when the ball stops bouncing, the gym door closes, and the classes graduate that he will have help molded some great people as well.
“I just hope that once these guys go through our program that they leave better men than when they came in,” Nored said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Everybody has to end basketball at one point, I just hope this was a positive experience for them and that they had a lot of fun doing it.”