ELKHART — Troy Noble’s basketball head coaching stops have lasted a long time only when compared to auto racing pit stops, and none of those five stops totaling seven years has yielded an overall winning record, but Central High School’s new boys head coach can explain on both counts.
Regarding the won-loss marks, “I’ve never taken a job that someone would consider a good job, a job that wasn’t a total rebuild,” Noble said Tuesday.
“I won’t say Elkhart is a total rebuild,” the 43-year-old Noble said, “but I would say some rebuilding needs to be done. There’s talent there. There’s a lot worse jobs. I plan on maximizing our talent and potential by putting in a solid day’s effort every day.”
As for his tendency to move around — Central becomes Noble’s 12th program in less than two decades in coaching — he claims those nomadic days are likely over.
“Elkhart Central will be my last high school coaching job,” said Noble, a Covington, native who has spent much of his coaching career within the Illinois junior college circuit.
“I don’t want to coach anywhere else,” Noble said. “It’s a (Class) 4A school, it’s in Indiana, in a great basketball area. It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s a dream job, a huge job, an important job, and it’s going to be treated that way.”
Historically, the college level has had high appeal for Noble, but he says his lifestyle preference has changed after marrying wife Stephanie five years ago.
“College is a lifestyle you’re out recruiting or scouting five or six nights a week much of the year,” Noble said. “Now that I’m married, the high school calendar is more attractive. I want to be a high school coach.”
Following stays at six Illinois colleges over 11 seasons, Noble left full-time coaching in 2006 for better wages in the private sector, but says he missed coaching during that time.
He returned in 2008 to lead Illini West High in Carthage, Ill., for one year, going 12-12, then joined Galesburg (Ill.) High as an assistant for two years.
He moved back to Indiana as head coach at Tell City High, a 2A school along the Kentucky border, last year. He went 5-17 in his lone season there.
Noble’s Elkhart teaching assignment had not been finalized as of Tuesday afternoon, but he anticipates he’ll be assigned history, physical education or a combination of the two at Central.
He was chosen as Blazer coach from among about 30 applicants.
Six candidates were interviewed, according to Central athletic director Buck Buckley. Three of them received second interviews.
The selection committee included Buckley, another administrator, a parent, a teacher and a representative of local business.
“Coach Noble is a basketball guy,” Buckley said. “His biggest hobby when he’s not coaching basketball is basketball, which is really cool. He’s had a lot of success at developing players, he’s run a lot of camps, he’s a huge supporter of kids having the opportunity to do two or three sports, and he obviously had good reviews as a teacher, which is the first component for us. We looked at all that, and looked at his enthusiasm, his energy, the way he carries himself as a professional, and we felt he was the right guy for Elkhart Central.”
Noble played basketball at Covington, at Danville (Ill.) Area Community College and at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., where he was team MVP, captain and all-conference first team as a senior for a 20-7 club in 1992-93.
From 2003 to 2006 at Black Hawk Community College in Moline, Ill. — the one place he has been a head coach for more than one year — Noble’s teams progressed from 7-23 to 15-20 to 22-8. The program had gone 5-55 over the two seasons directly preceding his arrival.
Noble says he believes Central has the personnel to play primarily man-to-man defense, with players expected to be adept at switching against screens. Offensively, he anticipates favoring an up-tempo approach.
“I want to play as fast as our skill set will allow us to be successful,” said Noble, who worked with prospective players Tuesday upon arriving in town, and is working on finalizing his coaching staff. “I think we’ll want to pick up (opponents) full-court and use our depth, but in the same breath, it’s hard to play more than eight, so we’ll be looking for those eight that will give us the commitment we need.”
Noble succeeds Matt Windy, who went 5-18 last winter and 35-58 in four seasons overall. Windy resigned in March, citing a desire to spend more time with family.
Central, a 40-year-old program featuring eight sectional titles and three State Finals appearances all-time, will be seeking its first sectional crown in 10 seasons next winter and its second winning record in the last eight.
The men’s and boys basketball coaching stops of new Elkhart Central High School boys basketball head coach Troy Noble include:
2011-12: Tell City High, head coach, 1 season, 5-17 record.
2009-11: Galesburg (Ill.) High, assistant, 2 seasons, 44-19.
2008-09: Illini West High (Carthage, Ill.) , head coach, 1 season, 12-12.
2003-06: Black Hawk Community College (Moline, Ill.), head coach, 3 seasons, 44-51.
2001-03: Danville (Ill.) Area Community College, assistant, 2 seasons, 31-29.
2000-01: Parkland Community College (Champaign, Ill.), head coach, 1 season, 10-20.
1999-2000: Triton Community College (River Grove, Ill.), head coach, 1 season, 8-22.
1996-99: Elmhurst (Ill.) College, assistant, 3 seasons, 47-28.
1995-96: MacMurray College (Jacksonville, Ill.), assistant, 1 season, 13-12.
1994-95: Covington High, assistant, 1 season, 16-6.
Note: Noble left full-time coaching to work in the private sector from 2006-08, but continued to direct the Hoop Mountain Basketball Camp in Arlington Heights, Ill.