The Pryor Times

June 12, 2014

Gilmore’s encore begins with kids’ camp

Chuck Porter
Sports Editor

PRYOR, OK — The echoes of bouncing basketballs rang off the empty Burdick Center walls Wednesday after Pryor head coach Russ Gilmore wrapped up the second day of the Pryor Tigers Boys Basketball Camp.

Some of the older campers stuck around after the four-hour camp to put in a few more reps in front of Gilmore, who is entering his second season as the Tiger boss.

"We hit a little bit of everything, from the basic fundamentals to having a little bit of fun," Gilmore said. "Everything that's designed in our system, we put in this thing."

Gilmore arrived from Pecos (N.M.) High just in time to host the camp last summer, and he's already seen improvements across the board from the Pryor novices.

"The longer you have this, you get the same kids over and over again," he said. "Several of these kids were here last year. It's critical that you get this."

Gilmore had help at the camp in 2013 in the form of his assistant coach, Greg Pate. Pate helped during stretches this summer, though he will not be around in the winter, having accepted the head coaching position at Porter High School.

"Last year, I was just getting here and he had this camp lined up and he had team camps lined up," Gilmore said. "He drives the bus. He did everything."

Gilmore will face yet another season of adjustment with a new assistant coach, though he loses just one senior from his 2013 squad that went 12-11.

"One of the hardest things to do is not only teaching your players a new system, but teaching your coaches," Gilmore said. "[Pate] spent a year under me and learned everything in the system ... I'm happy for him. I told him I'd rather have a coach that wants to be a head coach and move on than one that doesn't aspire to be a head coach."

Gilmore said during his first 12 months in Pryor, the biggest adjustment he has had to make comes with the size of the school and his players' availability.

Pryor has around 800 students in its ninth-through-12th grade ranks, about one-third of the size student body Gilmore drew players from in the past. Many of Gilmore's players are two- or three-sport athletes, making scheduling difficult at times.

"I'm used to being at a school with 2,500 kids," Gilmore said. "I've been at schools with those numbers for about 30 years. Having to share kids with the other sports has been a big adjustment for me."