There are numerous eyebrow-raising numbers associated with boys basketball in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, none more than 2,698.
Eliminating first-year Center Grove coach Zach Hahn from the equation, that is how many career victories the league’s other seven coaches have teamed to produce over their careers entering this week’s games.
In case you’re curious, there are 1,432 losses for a .654 success rate.
Four of the seven coaches have won at least one state championship, the leader being Lawrence North’s enduring Jack Keefer with four.
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This is the MIC’s basketball fabric: Hall of Fame coaches leading talented young men inspired to succeed.
Enter Hahn, who at 26 is less than half the age of North Central’s Doug Mitchell (58) and nowhere close to the silver-haired Keefer (71), the only boys basketball coach the Wildcats have had in Lawrence North’s 39-year history. Warren Central’s Greg Graham at 44 is the MIC coach closest to Hahn in age.
All of which means absolutely nothing to Hahn, whose Trojans take a 9-4 record to Ben Davis on Friday, having just claimed the Johnson County Tournament title.
“To me, age is just a number. Every person brings their own thing to the table, and I’ve had a variety of experiences myself,” said Hahn, a state champion at New Castle High School (2006), Indiana All-Star (2007) and two-time NCAA Final Four participant at Butler University (2010 and 2011).
“There are a lot of firsts for me this year, but I’m fortunate to have a top-notch staff and guys who care about the community. I always enjoy challenges, and these (MIC) coaches were guys I respected growing up. I really look forward to talking to them before games and hearing what they have to say.”
One being Ben Davis coach Mark James, whom Hahn served under for three seasons as an assistant before landing the Center Grove job.
Keefer’s ballclub visits Jan. 30, followed by conference games at Warren Central (Feb. 6) and Lawrence Central (Feb. 12). The Trojans close MIC play Feb. 20 at North Central.
“It’s just every night like the SEC in football. No nights off. And the excellent coaching, the passion and experience. And a lot of W’s,” said Mitchell, who in 22 seasons at North Central has amassed 369 victories and won Class 4A state championships in 1999 and 2010.
“You’re coaching against guys who have been in big games. Guys who have seen it all and aren’t going to flinch.”
Half of the latest Class 4A poll is composed of MIC programs, with Carmel at No. 4, North Central No. 5, Lawrence North at No. 7 and Pike and Ben Davis ninth and 10th, respectively.
“You get to the point where we want to get better, and the MIC makes you better,” Keefer said. “Where it gets hairy is when you have other MIC schools in your sectional.”
Keefer’s Wildcats have Warren Central and Lawrence Central to contend with at the Lawrence Central Sectional; Carmel and North Central are together at the seven-team Carmel site, while westside rivals Ben Davis and Pike take part in the Perry Meridian Sectional.
Center Grove is the only program serving as its sectional’s lone MIC representative.
Mitchell himself is a former Butler player (1975-79) and assistant coach (1986-93), so right there he and Hahn have an immediate connection.
“I’m happy for Zach, but I do think we would all like to welcome him to the MIC,” Mitchell said, laughing. “Zach is a great, great addition. He’s perfect to carry on the tradition of the MIC while Jack (Keefer) keeps the rest of us feeling young.”
CLASS 4A TOP 10
No. 3;Evansville Reitz;15-0
No. 5;North Central;9-2
No. 6;Columbus North;12-2
No. 7;Lawrence North;10-2
No. 8;New Albany;11-2
No. 10;Ben Davis;12-2