By Justin Whitaker
— One season after taking the boys’ basketball head coaching position at Brownsburg High School, former Butler standout Ronald Nored is making the leap to Division I.
Nored will become an assistant coach for new South Alabama head coach Matthew Graves. Graves was an assistant under Brad Stevens at Butler when Nored played in 2007-11.
South Alabama is in Mobile, Ala., roughly four hours away from Nored’s hometown of Homewood, Ala. Nored was even offered a scholarship by South Alabama before choosing Butler.
The 23-year-old freshman advisor led Brownsburg to an 11-10 record in his only season with the Bulldogs, the first winning season in four years for the 2007 state champions. Brownsburg won seven straight games before falling to Decatur Central 55-53 on Feb. 27 in the sectional opener.
Nored discussed the difficult decision to leave Brownsburg earlier this week in a 25-minute interview when his hiring became official at South Alabama.
Justin Whitaker: How good of an opportunity is this at South Alabama?
Ronald Nored: It’s a great opportunity. This was definitely unexpected. One day I did want to get myself back into college basketball and I didn’t know when that moment was going to come.
After coach Graves got announced and I got a call a couple days later saying that he would like me to go, it just felt like something I couldn’t pass up on as my goal is to one day be a college head coach. Being an assistant coach is obviously a great way to start that path.
JW: You said your goal is to be a college head coach someday, how good of a first step is this?
RN: It’s a good first step because in college athletics you really have to work your way up. Me coming in as an assistant is a great first step to working my way up to a higher assistant and then one day being a head coach.
JW: How unexpected was this coaching offer? When you came to Brownsburg, it appeared that you were here for the long haul.
RN: Like you said, I came to Brownsburg with the expectation of being at Brownsburg. There wasn’t any other thought in my mind, I wasn’t planning on going to any other place. I wanted to be in Brownsburg, I had a great first season at Brownsburg basketball wise and school wise. There’s not one bad word I can say about Brownsburg, I loved it that much.
Another thing about this is, I wouldn’t do it for anybody. I wouldn’t just leave Brownsburg if somebody offered me a job in college just to go because I want to be in college. Having the opportunity to play for coach Graves, working with Darnell Archey, knowing the kind of people I get to work with.
I grew up in Alabama but Mobile is nowhere close to where I grew up. It’s more unfamiliar to me than coming to Indianapolis and Butler. Going to a place unfamiliar to me is really hard to do and I really struggled with if this was something I really wanted to do. As I had conversations with my family and the administration at Brownsburg, I just felt like it would be something good for me. Unfortunately, I have to leave Brownsburg to do that.
JW: What was your relationship like with coach Graves and Darnell Archey at Butler?
RN: From Day 1, I was always close with coach Graves. We talked a lot about hoops and helped me a lot on my path to having a good career at Butler and I’m just so thankful for the time in put in for me. I know he’s going to continue to do that for guys at South Alabama.
Darnell came my second year as the director of basketball operations. Him coming in and hanging out with the guys, we became pretty close and we’ve gotten even closer this past year ever since I’ve been at Brownsburg. Darnell was one of the people I talked to when deciding if being a high school coach head coach was something I wanted to do because he had done that before… He helped me with those first steps of building a program and showed me some of the stuff he did.
JW: How difficult was it to tell your team that you were leaving?
RN: It was awful. It was no question one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Having to tell a group of guys that I love, that I spent all my time for a whole year, telling them I had to leave was really difficult. They know that I love them and I told them, ‘anything I can do from you from here on out I will try and do my best’ and they know that. Hopefully they believe that, they can rely on me and I’m here for them in whatever capacity they need. It’s really hard, there’s no question that it’s the hardest part about taking another job is leaving those guys.
I know that they are going to be successful moving forward. I’m excited about coach Lynch being hired at Brownsburg and what they are going to do. They know that I’ll be the biggest Brownsburg basketball fan in the country. I just won’t be able to do it from the sidelines.
JW: What do you think it said about the coaching job you did a Brownsburg in your first year to be offered a Division I coaching position?
RN: I can’t take much credit for that, all I did was try and put the pieces in place and the guys ran away with it. I’m thankful for them and for what they did. They weren’t doing it for me, I didn’t want them to do it for me. I wanted them to do it for themselves and their teammates. I’m thankful for them because they have allowed me to get this opportunity. I will forever be indebted to them and be indebted to Brownsburg just for the opportunity to coach at the level I did this past year.
JW: Before the season, you said this was not about wins and losses. How proud are you of the way the kids bought into what you were teaching?
RN: Yeah, I can’t be prouder of the guys that I got to coach. Starting from the seniors, the way that they led. We told our guys from Day 1 that it’s going to be a process. The wins and losses might not be what we want them to be and they weren’t, we were 4-9 for our first 13 games. Our guys just continued to get better and bought in.
We talked about it at the end, that you’re the first team in four years to have a winning record at Brownsburg, that’s something to be proud of.
I’m thankful for those guys, I’m proud of those guys, and I’ll forever be proud of those guys for what they did for themselves and just allowing me to be a part of it.
JW: What are some of your favorite memories from this past season?
RN: I really enjoyed our game versus Zionsville. I thought that was one of the toughest games that we played, hands down, all year. The thing about it is we had some guys sit that game and with the way that the guys who hadn’t played stepped up. Tyler Houston ended up starting every game after that Zionsville game; the game before against Fishers he played zero minutes. The guy just found his way, he worked his butt off to get where he wanted to go and he was able to do that.
Also, the winning streak and seeing our guys be able to win seven games straight toward the end of the year.
This is a team that if you would’ve seen them in August or September, they looked completely different than they did when we finished up in February. That was the best part of my time there, just watching them grow together.
JW: As a 23-year-old, you are one of the youngest, if not the youngest, assistant coach in Division I basketball. What does that mean to you?
RN: It’s crazy to think about. But I’m just going to go down there and do my best. I’m super excited about being down there. I’ve been talking a lot to coach Graves and Darnell about our guys and the stuff that they’re doing and going through and learning about the university. I’m just excited to finally go down there and finally experience it for myself.
JW: What are your final thoughts as you prepare to leave Brownsburg and head to South Alabama?
RN: I’m just thankful. I want to thank Dr. Jim Snapp (Brownsburg Community School Corporation superintendent), Greg Hill (athletic director) and Bret Dagne (BHS principal) just for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of a great community, to be a part of a great group of kids, to learn how to be more professional in the classroom and the school, and just grow as a person and a coach.
I learned so much this year. I will forever be indebted to them and I will forever thank Brownsburg for giving me the start of my career.
However far I go, no matter what, Brownsburg will always be No. 1 so I’m just really thankful for the opportunity.