Holmes High School boys’ varsity basketball coach, Mike Listerman, reached a milestone that many coaches just dream about – he won his 300th game as a head coach. The Bulldogs beat Bishop Brossart on January 18 to put Coach Listerman over the threshold.
“Reaching 300 is certainly a milestone, a certain level of excellence, and yet it is only a number. As a coach, you work to win the next game. After you win that game, it's about the next game. It is always about ‘the next game,’” he said. “Just one game at a time, then one day you are at 300, and you're going ‘Wow, have I been at it this long?’”
Coach Listerman is in his 44th year of coaching. He spent 27 years as an assistant coach at St. Thomas, Highlands, Harrison County, Ludlow, and Covington Catholic. His 17 years of head coaching have been split between Covington Catholic and Holmes.
“It represents a tremendous amount of time, effort, and a lot of hard work, both in-season and out-of-season on the part of the coaching staff and all the players,” he said. “However, the thing you have to remember is that I have yet to score a single point, make a free throw, or make an assist or turnover in any of those games. I have been lucky to have good players all these years that listened, worked hard, constantly wanted to improve, and possessed a great desire to win. It is more a tribute to them than me. I just tried to teach them how to be successful for themselves, the school and our fans.”
After 44 years, Coach Listerman’s favorite part of coaching remains the same – being around young people and seeing them grow as players and as people.
“It is always a pleasure of mine to be out shopping, dining, or whatever, and have someone call out ‘Hey, Coach L.’ Invariably it is a former player, student or even a parent who saw me and wanted to say ‘Hi,’” he said. “I always enjoy catching up with them and finding out how they are doing. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to think that maybe I played a small part in helping them be successful.”
Coach Listerman has some words of advice for young coaches working toward their 300 wins. “You need to love being with kids and love teaching them how to be successful in life through the game of basketball. Teach them to work hard, work together for a common goal, and always strive to improve. Make it fun, don't be afraid to laugh with them and yes, cry with them. Show them you CARE about them as people. Do that, and they'll buy into what you are doing on the floor.”
He also adds, “Try to build an atmosphere of family among the players. My best teams were close on and off the floor. Chemistry is so important. Rarely can you be successful without it. Work to develop it. Finally, remember you are a teacher first and foremost. It is not just what you know, but how much your players know that really counts. I have always thought of the gym as just a larger classroom. So be the best teacher that you can be in that big setting.”
Congratulations, Coach Listerman! We look forward to many more wins. Go Bulldogs!