HAMLET — It's a common theme when you talk to a great coach about his career. Their success is always somebody else's fault and it's for a very good reason — the great coaches know that it took a lot of very special and very dedicated athletes — and parents along the way to get you where you are.
Terry Minix' numbers are unquestionably among the greats of his profession, 401 wins in 27 years and state championships in 2007 and again in 2014.
Let alone the number of wins, anyone who has ever coached knows that it is nearly impossible to win one state championship, let alone two. Absolutely every break has to go your way over the course of a season and many great coaches in many sports have worked their entire careers and not appeared in a state title game, let alone won two.
Other than in the back of his mind, it's something that no great coach thinks about when he starts his career.
"I'd be lying if I said I did," said Minix after win 400. "It makes it easier when you have a community that supports you and kids that want to work. That's made it a lot easier on me to stay year after year."
You also have to have those that you look up too as a "mentor" if you will. Minix had one of the best.
"When I started this,” said Minix, “I idolized a couple of people and one of them was Steve Neff and what did he do? The guy was incredible."
Indeed. Neff recorded 653 wins in his career at NorthWood and a state championship of his own in 1999.
"I thought 'maybe someday' but that was far fetched," said Minix of looking at Neff's accomplishments. "He helped me along the way in the early years. I love what he did for his community and I love this community and these kids."
Here's where Minix started blaming others. Starting with his players.
"It's easy to be a good coach when you have good kids and good players," he said. "I have kids that really want to work hard, who will do whatever I ask of them whether it's in the summer or in the season."
"And I'm very blessed and fortunate to have the Moms and Dads that support me and what I do," he said. "They understand that I'm here to help their kids be better individuals. They are student-athletes. That's the big thing. If you aren't going to be a good student you aren't going to be playing basketball for the Lady Cats. It's been fun. I'm enjoying it. I've got a great bunch of girls this year and I'm excited."
Success can be a heady thing, but once again the memories of the great ones are of something different than wins.
"The state championships are huge," said Minix. "But the big thing is the community. We don't have a whole lot in Hamlet and Grovertown and the way they come out and support us — that's the number one thing that I am always going to remember."