Coach’s Corner: New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy

With his team’s third state final in five years just days away, we talk to New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy.

 

Question: What were your expectations for this year’s team?

McCarthy: We expected them to compete at every practice and every game! We expected them to improve every day. We believed if we were able to do the right things daily we would be able to make the states and play deep into the tournament.

 

Question: What are the key elements that determine deciding how your team will approach each season?

McCarthy: One of the big keys every year is for our students to be academically consistent. To make certain our players attend and meet all their responsibilities daily. We have great team chemistry on the court and off the court aspects. Our guys are extremely unselfish and check the egos at the door.

 

Question: How do you manage your program’s infrastructure? (Academics, practice, teaching, team culture etc.) What kinds of things do you do to assure your kids are meeting academic responsibility while still putting in maximum effort and commitment with basketball?

McCarthy: Here at New Mission we have a terrific relationship with the BSA (Boston Scholar Athletes) program. The BSA plays a big role in supporting academic support for all of our teams. Jarrick Walker is the zone facilitator here and does a terrific job along with the tutors he brings in to work with our student-athletes. All of our student-athletes are required to spend designated hours working on academics; and getting support in the Zone.

 

Question: What are the most important elements to having and maintaining a successful h.s. basketball program in the city of Boston?

McCarthy: I believe the culture of your program has so much to do with how things go with your team. Here we try to emphasize “Value”. Value being a good student, and value being a good teammate. We try to encourage all of our kids to embrace valuing being a part of our program and learning to appreciate their part. Our teams have had a recent history of success and we want each person to learn how he can be part of that and contribute to it equally no matter what their role. Make sure our players understand their role as part of the school and program and that means in the classroom, on the court, and in the community.

 

Question: From a philosophical perspective; how has the development of the program changed since you began; compared to where it is now?

McCarthy: I would say when I started, I was trying to be the best coach I could. We were able to win early and fortunately, we had some talent. There was some success and with that came expectations and people who wanted to take shots and criticize our program.   We are now in our third state final in five years. I believe what has changed for our program is the support our kids receive and loyalty and pride the people around our program provide. The kids in our program have had the biggest effect; they have had a big effect on me personally. They have changed me as a coach. Before I was so concerned about what people outside our program thought about me, what we were doing and everything, but now I just focus on what our kids need. They have made me focus more on improving myself and not worrying about anything else. I really believe our players over the years have helped me more than I’ve helped them and I tell them that all the time.

 

Question: What has surprised you the most about this year’s team?

McCarthy: How our kids have developed such a strong team bond. They really like one another and enjoy competing together.  We have some experienced guys, young guys and all have played for one another without pause or ego. They have really bought into being a team first. The other thing that has been somewhat surprising is how flexible our guys have been. We have added something new pretty much every practice and the guys are able to adjust. We started the year somewhat slow with their ability to adjust but as the season has progressed, we have really improved and our ability to adjust quickly is now strength.

 

Question: What are your team’s greatest strengths; what area of play do you take the most pride?

McCarthy: Our team always tries to work at being tough as a whole but always, always on the defensive end first. We also try to teach, coach and allow our players the opportunity to learn through playing. I am most proud to see our guys learn and be able to read through situations out on the floor.

 

Question: What have been the greatest challenges you have experienced during your tenure as coach?

McCarthy: I would say support for our program. Over the years, we did not always get the city support that I believe we should have gotten. I used to get very disheartened at times when I would see how teams like Brighton got all this support, but when we advanced, we did not always have that kind of support. However, as time has moved on I just try to focus on what we can control. The support has improved. In addition, I am grateful to (Brighton head coach) Hugh Coleman, who has been an unbelievable supporter of our team this year. He has attended every game. I am certain I have seen some other guys as well. I guess the reason it bothered me more is because district teams do not really ever get the publicity from the news and media suburbia teams do, so it is awesome when the city supports its teams no matter who advances.

 

Question: You are in your third state final in five years. What other goals do you have for the program moving forward?

McCarthy: The first goal is to get into practice and come up with a strategy to win one more game (laugh.) But honestly I would like to continue to field competitive, successful teams, win, graduate kids and help them go on to college. I am hopeful that we can win it this year, move to the division 1 level next year, and continue to build at that level.

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