We sit down with Coach K, as his team calls him, who leads his girls’ basketball team to win the state championship. Coach K touches on the experiences throughout the successful season, from the beginning to the big game. This last season has proved to be a significant one, his Lady Panthers set a school record in wins with 34-4 and were the 4A champions this year! Listen as he discusses the team dynamic, as well as the highs and lows of the entire season and the emotional moments of the state championship game.

Brett Gilliland: Welcome to the Circuit of Success. I’m your host, Brett Gilliland, and today I’ve got a state champion coach with me. Nick Knolhoff, how you doing? 

Nick Knolhoff: I’m doing great. Thanks for having us. 

Brett Gilliland: Anything exciting happen lately? 

Nick Knolhoff: It’s been a whirlwind, you know, ever since we won a couple weeks ago, and, you know, the girls have been so recognized in getting these, all these accolades, so it’s been great to see them get all this praise for what they’ve done.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah, it’s awesome. We got a number of the girls here and, uh, maybe we’ll get them up here later. You think? Should we…

Nick Knolhoff: I think we should.

Brett Gilliland: Should embarrass them a little bit. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah. 

Brett Gilliland: Get ’em in here. Get, get the assistant coach in here as well. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yes, yes. I mean, what and what a first year she walked into, you know, first year.

Brett Gilliland: First year? 

Nick Knolhoff: Assistant with me. Yes. 

Brett Gilliland: Well, I think it’s, you’re the, you’re the reason then, right? 

Nick Knolhoff: She was, she was the missing factor. 

Brett Gilliland: She was the missing factor. That’s right. Well, I’m gonna call you coach, if that’s all right. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah, no problem. 

Brett Gilliland: So, uh, if you can coach, maybe for those that are listening to this or watching this right now, that may not know exactly who you are, but they followed the run.

I know for me, I didn’t have a kid on this team, but I, I know a lot of the girls on the team and, uh, and I’m sitting in a hotel room for my son’s soccer game. I’m in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s pouring down rain and I’m in a hotel room and my eight year old and I are watching the game and we’re going crazy. It was awesome.

So it was a semi-final game, uh, and then got to come back and then I was at an event. Uh, for a, a gala charity event. And when, uh, Ms. Shannon here made two free throws to go to overtime, I may have screamed Yes. Really loud in the event when I was supposed to be quiet. So, uh, that had that going for me. But again, so if you can Coach K, tell us just a little bit about you. What’s made you, the man you are today, you’re upbringing, all that kind of stuff, if you will. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah. Um, ever since I’ve been little, um, I’ve been in a gym. My dad was a coach for 20 years. Um, he was at West Junior High, uh, which is a junior high in Bellville for like 16 years. Um, and everything I can remember of being over there in that gymnasium watching my dad coach hanging out with his players.

Um, then he went on to coach at Althoff with Greg Leeb and then he was at Bellville East doing freshman for them. So I’ve just always been involved in around basketball my entire life. With that being said, it’s part of the reason why I became a teacher, um, because I just knew I wanted to be a coach. Um, so I’m in my 15th year, uh, Wolf Branch School.

Awesome. I’m the athletic director there as well. Uh, that’s where I began my coaching tenure. I did that for about eight years there, doing the boys and the girls. And then I got my first varsity job over at Althoff Catholic, um, for two years. And then this position became available and the rest is history. I’ve been here six years now at O’Fallon. 

Brett Gilliland: Oh, that’s amazing. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yes. 

Brett Gilliland: And didn’t I see, uh, recently six coaches of the year awards? Uh, ever since I’ve taken over at O’Fallon Yes. I’ve won the I B C A Coach of the Year for the last six years. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah.

Brett Gilliland: That’s amazing. My kids go to a Althoff, so if that’s okay. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah, no, I, I, they, you know, they gave me my first opportunity. Um, so I. Love everything about Althoff. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. So, and your dad now, I think, was with you on the court, right? 

Nick Knolhoff: He was, he’s now retired. Um, he has all the time in the world. He just wants to be around the sport and coach with me again. So he sits on the bench with me. Yeah. 

Brett Gilliland: That’s incredible. So, and you played, uh, basketball growing up? I assumed didn’t just coach…

Nick Knolhoff: You know, I wasn’t very good. Um, I knew what to do, I just didn’t have the athletic ability. Part of that is I can envision things on the court, um, which allows me as a coach that I can see things form. Um, I think the best aspect I have is my X’s and O’s during game times, and I kind of see a couple plays ahead.

Um, but other than that, you know, I played at East, didn’t get much playing time, and then I did play JV basketball at McKendry.

Brett Gilliland: Okay, nice. And how long ago was that? I’m just kidding. You don’t have to answer that. Um, and so when you think about the basketball this year, I mean, you’ve obviously been around it, you’re basically your whole life, like you said.

Um, what was the biggest learning and some of the biggest turning points for you when you think about this season, the run that you’ve all had and the, the rec, what was the record again? 

Nick Knolhoff: We were 34 and four.

Brett Gilliland: So 34 and four. Phenomenal record. Uh, I remember going to the, uh, the game in Alton, or I mean here in O’Fallon against Alton.

I mean, the house was packed. It was awesome. But what, what did you. About these girls and about basketball and just about the game, uh, this season?

Nick Knolhoff: Their leadership, their character, everything just kind of fell in line this year with these girls. Um, you know, I’ve had these seniors for four years now.

Um, we did have a great team during Covid, um, that we didn’t get a chance to make this run. Um, and so they kind of saw the writing on the wall that this could be their last opportunity with the type of talent that we had this year. Um, but as far as team chemistry, you know, I’d always said our secret sauce is our team chemistry.

These girls get along with each other on the court, off the court. They’re competitive. We’re able to have competitive practices, but then they can turn around and be best friends. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. 

Nick Knolhoff: Um, it from the start of the season to the end of the season, we really didn’t have the internal bickering or, or, or, we had a lot of camaraderie, um, and it just kind of seemed to flow and I just kind of saw like, okay, we’re getting along, we’re starting to click at the right time. We really do have a chance to make a run here. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. That’s amazing. So when you saw that, obviously you had, uh, some, I think a couple mid-season losses, right? That were not supposed to happen. 

Nick Knolhoff: So our four losses were five or less points. So we’re talking two possessions in these games. Um, we were very close and could have probably ran the table.

Um, and I know they would’ve loved that, but, you know, I hate to say it, but sometimes the loss helps you. Um, and we put a schedule together that challenged them. You know, I think we had seven games where teams were in the Final Four, whether they’re in Missouri or Illinois. You know, we played Oakville, we played Mater Dei, we played Peoria.

We got third at State in Illinois. We played vsan, we played, uh, Cape Notre Dame who got fourth. And I think three A. And then we also played Eureka, who got fourth and six A in Missouri. So we played championship level talent all year. And then we traveled to Evansville, Indiana to play one of the top teams there.

They were 25 and one when they got upset in the second round there. You know, they thought it was their year too and they got upset and that happened. Um, but we went and traveled to their place to play the best teams this year. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. What did you do as a leader? Um, from the culture standpoint, you know, for me, from a professional standpoint, culture’s huge, right?

It’s, there’s really not much else you can say about culture other than it’s one of the biggest things for our entire company. And so I would assume it’s the same whether it’s at a school or on the team, but what did you learn about culture and how did you, as the leader, put that into those girls?

Nick Knolhoff: I’m still trying to, and they do a great job. Um, you know, Mr. Molar, our AD at o’Fallon has great pillars, um, you know, compete fiercely, lead boldly and love strong. And I truly do try to build on those within the program. Um, you can compete and, but you can also compete and lose games and then they need to know how to lose as well.

Um, you can lead boldly and I try to push that onto them to where they’re leading each other sometimes. Which is necessary for when they leave the program cuz you know, you’re not, basketball’s not always gonna be around and then love strong. You know, I tell the girls all the time that I love ’em. I’m their biggest fan.

Um, one of the knacks on me, I can tell you is that people say I’m not hard enough on them sometimes. Um, but I’m not that type of old school coach. Uh, I think girls need to hear a lot of positive reinforcement as well, and I try to tell them things that they do well. And just kind of gain the respect through that aspect.

Brett Gilliland: You think they’d agree with that? 

Nick Knolhoff: I do. I really do. 

Brett Gilliland: Like, I don’t know if some of those practices, maybe, maybe not, but, and, and so obviously, you know, I’m looking at that some of these girls here and you’ve got, you know what two that are going to play Division one basketball, I think, is that right? Two? 

Nick Knolhoff: Yes, yeah..

Brett Gilliland: And then, and any others going to play basketball? I know one’s going to play softball. I mean, so you had quite the talent on the team this year, and how did you get that to come together and mold it to where you don’t have that one person that just says, this is all about me. 

Nick Knolhoff: We, they really understood their roles. You know, it’s, it’s probably one of the first years where I didn’t have to have a, a player-coach meeting or a parent coach meeting. Um, they just kind of bought in and they were the biggest fans of each other. Um, they knew who we wanted to get the ball to in certain situations, you know, Shannon Dows going to Illinois State.

Jay Lapelle is going to Indiana State. You know, Malia’s going on a college scholarship and Layla Jackson’s going to, um, University of Illinois Springfield. And you know, one of my biggest challenges this year was I kind of started to start two freshman there at the end over two seniors. And I was like, worried about how that’s gonna play out.

And you know what? They took it under their wing. They became the biggest fans of each other. And you can see ’em. I go back and watch these state games where my seniors have their hands around them. They’re, they’re helping ’em on the. Um, it’s just really good to see that they kind of stepped up into that role as well for them.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And you can’t teach that, man. 

Nick Knolhoff: No, you cannot. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. What, um, so talk about, uh, kids, uh, and parents in today’s world. So let’s maybe turn the page from a little bit, we’ll come back to the girls, uh, basketball team now, but talk to us about parents and maybe what we can do better. I’m a father of four boys. Um, you know, that, that after the game talk in the car, uh, the practice, I’m a big believer and let the coach, coach, I mean, you know, one of the kids here, Claire, you know, her dad, Steve’s coach, my kids basically their whole life.

And, you know, I don’t call him and complain or do this stuff and it, that’s just what I believe. Um, but what, what is your thought on that and what would advice would you have for those parents that are watching right now. 

Nick Knolhoff: You know, you have a tough loss or you’re, you’re on a losing streak. The girls are already hard on themselves. The parents are hard on ’em. There’s no reason for me as a coach to be hard on them as well. And my belief is coaches are human too. You know, the game is fat. Basketball is fast paced. Yeah. It’s not like baseball where you can do a double switch. I make decisions and changes on the fly. And sometimes they’re the wrong one.

Sometimes we do things wrong as well. Yes, I can hear the chatter. You know, there’s always 350 coaches in the stands, questioning what you do. Um, but you just gotta believe in yourself that what you are doing is right for the team, not that individual player. And that what you are doing is right for your team going forward.

And yeah. Uh, today, Today’s day and age, it’s very hard to be a coach because you get questioned on everything you do. Same as a teacher. Um, parents do feel like they have a say, which they do. And, um, which is really difficult when they try to confront a coach after a well fought game. That you may have came out on the losing side on, um, I just really wish, you know, they took a step back themselves and realized, would anybody like it if they came and questioned them during, their, whatever their profession is. 

Brett Gilliland: Come in my office here and question me, right.

Nick Knolhoff: Right, right. Um, the girls give everything they have and I tell ’em, you can only control what you can control. Can’t control if the ball’s not going in that night. Um, but you can maybe play better defense or you can give better effort, but there are things we as coaches do that we make mistakes during certain games. And that’s just the human aspect of the game. Yeah. And we don’t need to be necessarily criticized for it all the time. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. So the, the hence the name of this podcast, the Circuit of Success. There’s, there’s four things that I believe is, is your attitude, your belief system, the actions that you, you take every single day, and then ultimately the results you get. Right. So the result was state championship, we got the result. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yes. 

Brett Gilliland: Fair?

Nick Knolhoff: Yes. 

Brett Gilliland: Okay. We got the result. So when you hear the word attitude, talking to these girls, but talking to other people, watching or listening to this, what, what’s, what would you say when you hear the word attitude?

Nick Knolhoff: Uh, you reflect how your attitude based on your body language and practice, and it’s not about you, it needs to be about your teammates and your team, and you can portray your attitude based on how you are verbally or non-verbally doing that in practice. Um, you gotta have a good attitude about everything.

Um, there are teams where sometimes they go on a losing streak, you know, how are you gonna react to that? So you’ve gotta have a great mindset. To be able to achieve what we are able to do. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I call it the bounce back theory. I, I have seen, I’ve been in business for 22 years, that the, the people, the most successful people that I’ve had the fortune to be in around, um, they bounce back really, really quickly, right from negative stuff.

Whether it’s a missed shot or a bad presentation at work, they bounce back really, really quickly. So when you hear me talk about that, Do you have any thoughts on this season? Anything like that, that could say, here’s what happened. We bounced back and we changed our attitude and we changed it pretty quickly.

Nick Knolhoff: It’s funny you said that too, because, uh, I would say that to them in the locker room, um, after a loss, you know, in the Highland tournament, in the Macu tournament, it’s tough to have that bounce back game to play for third place. You know, that’s not the game you want to be in. But you gotta be able to bounce back.

You gotta not have a losing streak during the season. That’s a goal now that we have, is that we are not gonna go on a two game losing streak and bounce back. Um, things aren’t going your way. You lose your starting spot, you’re losing some minutes. How is that gonna affect you? Or is your attitude still gonna be there for your teammates and help them out and to be honest, um, there were a couple scenarios throughout the year that it challenged me and it challenged them, but they were able to bounce back and have great attitudes for the most part, for the entire year. 

Brett Gilliland: And so when you hear the word now belief, so the second circuit on the circuit of success is the word belief.

When you, when you hear that word, what comes to mind? Number one. But number two, I think what you said earlier is, you know, there’s 350 coaches in the stand. What I heard there was a strong belief system in yourself and in your coaching ability, right? So what do you, what do you hear when you, when you hear the word belief?

Nick Knolhoff: You just gotta believe in them. Um, and that’s the only way that you can go as far as we did, is that they also have to believe in you. Everything that you are doing in your program. And I’m talking off the court stuff, you know, how do you relate to them in practice? How do you get to know them outside of the game of basketball? Um, can they believe in you and trust you in those situations that they’re going to respect you?

And I tried to tell them all the time, you know, in timeouts, you’re never gonna see emotion in my face as like panic mode. I’m under composure. Funny story too, in the state game we were losing and, uh, I, and during the time out, and the lady actually said it on the, on the NFHS. I told them, um, first of all, I asked them if they’re having fun and we were losing.

Uh, the second thing I said, well, you don’t want it to be easy. You want it to be hard because everything that you want has to be hard because then the end, it’s more satisfying when you do get what you want. So in the third quarter there, um, that’s exactly what I told them. They believed in what I said, and they were able to pull it out.

Um, just over the top thrilled of these girls and how proud I am of what they accomplished. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. So then the, the, the third one is action. Um, we have to take action, right? You gotta show up on days you don’t wanna work, you still gotta do it, right? You gotta, you gotta show up, you gotta work on the free throws, you gotta, in the boardroom at work, whatever it may be. You gotta hear that. So, um, action. What’s that mean to you?

Nick Knolhoff: You know, like right now, I already sent out our June schedule for next year. Um, it’s, it never ends. It’s yearly, you know, we’re already going into June. You know, but from November 1st to March 1st, when these girls, five months is a long time to spend together every single day.

 And there are the dog days of practice where like you got the injuries, you’re not feeling well, you don’t want to be there. You got other things on your mind outside of basketball with family or friends or school. Um, it’s just a grind. Um, but we were able to continue to put everything together. Put it, put what we were thinking, our goals into action.

You know, one of our goals was to be undefeated at home. We start small, you know, uh, we wanted to win against the team that was state ranked. Uh, we wanted to win a regional again for the third time. We wanted to win a very first sectional in O’Fallon history. And then from there everything was brand new to us and they just kind of went all the way.

Brett Gilliland: So how did that process go? Was that you deciding that as the head coach is that you come to practice and look at them and say, Hey, let’s create our goals and what are they like? Share with us how you do your goal planning.

Nick Knolhoff: At the beginning of each season. I find a couple of clips, um, motivational clips, um, to show them and kind of how I want the season to go and just to motivate ’em a little bit.

And then I make them come up with a theme for the season. Last year, or sorry, two years ago, I showed him the Ernie Johnson, the I Love You clip that he gave to Alabama football team. 

Brett Gilliland: Yep. 

Nick Knolhoff: And we’ve kind of broken every huddle since then for two years doing that. Uh, just, I, I love you. We do everything for each other.

Um, and that’s actually going to be on our state ring as well, cuz that means something to them. Um, and I sent that to Ernie Johnson and he replied back to me in a dm and he FaceTimed the girls, surprised them before one game, uh, two years ago. Um.

Brett Gilliland: That’s cool. 

Nick Knolhoff: It was awesome. And, and then I also showed a clip saying, good, you know, if things happen to you, just say it’s good.

If you lose, it’s good If something bad happens, good. It’s meant to be that way. Um, and this year, um, they came together, my seniors came together and they, they put move as one with like a chain link. You know, we’re gonna do everything together. We’re gonna, we’re gonna win as one, we’re gonna lose as one.

Um, we’re coming together as a, a tight-knit unit and playing for each other. 

Brett Gilliland: And let’s walk through that state championship game. So, double overtime , right. Double overtime win. Shannon, what you had what 0.5 seconds left, or what was left on the clock when she had to make those free throws. You remember exactly. You probably remember exactly.

Nick Knolhoff: In in regulation. 

Brett Gilliland: In regulation. I’m, I’m sitting here watching it on the screen. I’m nervous. 

Nick Knolhoff: So actually, so what happened was we ran a, we ran a play and we turned it over. Surprisingly, you know, I looked back at that game and to be honest, I think their coach lost them the game um, because it was so loud, we had turned the ball over.

I’m screaming foul. We have to foul. We have to foul. And their coach takes the timeout with like 30 seconds to go when we were gonna foul, they just, no one on the court could hear me. Yeah. Um, so then they have to inbound the ball. We lost track of a girl somehow and they got a wide open layup. And miss the layup, you know?

Otherwise, if they don’t shoot that we’re fouling, they’re shooting free throws. They might be up four, so then we get a run out. Shannon gets fouls with like 17 seconds to go and with ice in her veins, she just knocks ’em both down. You know, cuz in that timeout we talk scenarios. She makes one, here’s what we’re gonna do.

We’re gonna go for a steel cross half court, then we need to foul. She makes ’em both. We’re just gonna play it straight up and see how it goes. She makes ’em. Luckily, Beaumont comes down and doesn’t hit a shot and sends it to overtime. Um, and then in the first overtime, um, they got up three and they were boxing one on Shannon and we ran a play called Loop.

I had her kind of be the one in the corner where she comes up to either pass it back to Layla for a three or then to Josie for a three. And then somehow in that we didn’t get a shot, but the girl left Shannon. And Layla drove and dished it to dj, and I don’t know how demise saw it, but she whipped it out to Shannon in the corner and nailed that three.

I don’t know how she saw it either. But she saw you and why the girl left you? I have no idea. 

Brett Gilliland: Right, exactly. 

Nick Knolhoff: Because it was a boxing one for her. Um, and she drilled it, and then we had to pray in hope that Beaumont didn’t hit another shot. Yeah. And then we, we won it in double overtime.

Brett Gilliland: Oh gosh. Incredible. Incredible. 

Nick Knolhoff: You know, everyone, everyone I talked to, like you said, we love the support of everybody that actually tuned into the game and watched it. And everybody that has spoken to me said I couldn’t sit down. I was like three feet from the tv. Like it was that good of a game that people were on the edge of their seats standing up and just now that you know, the scoring can look back at it, it’s like, oh, awesome.

I know what’s gonna happen here. But in the that moment, I can only imagine what people were watching the game. You know, because it was a blur to me on the sideline, you know? I’m just taking it all in and I’m just, I was satisfied that we got to that game. Um, winter Lowe’s, I was just over the moon joyous.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Yes. I think talk about the community too. Cause I mean, we talk about, that’s one of the values of our firm, Visionary Wealth Advisors is community. And, uh, I, I’m a believer if you make a living… cause that was actually an Althoff gala, and I’m sitting at a table, you know, there’s eight or 10 people at our, at our table and it’s coming down to crunch time.

I’ve got my little phone up propped against, you know, a little flower thing or something. There’s people from, you know, Althoff that are coming and watching that game, right? We’re all watching, everybody’s going crazy and it, it is just really cool to think. But that does, for the Commu Fallon right now, there’s a lot of a Fallon people that can still go to Althoff.

But what it does for the area, yeah. I mean it’s huge. Right? So what does that mean to you and what does it mean for the community to win a state championship? 

Nick Knolhoff: It’s, it’s awesome. Cause I can remember when the Althoff Boys team with Jordan Goodwin and them when I was coaching there, and just everybody was tuned into that game for the area and then our Bellevue West Boys and then the East Side Boys. The same year 3A and 4A. Yeah. From 6 180 1. And then you had Oakville and Mater Dei and us able to pull it off in the same year. Um, it’s just awesome to see, even hear from people that I wouldn’t even think that would even care. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah.

Nick Knolhoff: About girls basketball, let alone O’Fallon that you hear from and all the emails and all these random texts. I didn’t even have like people’s numbers in my phone and like, congrats coach. What an amazing season. Um, it’s just awesome to see for these girls that this area, you know what, we’re not the tight-knit community like a, like a Breese Central, you know, or these smaller towns like Oakville, but O’Fallon so large.

Um, but when something like this happens, you know, I saw the, the camera footage, how packed first Street lounge was like that just. It, it meant so much to me and for them to, that that many people cared to watch them play in the state championship game. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I I think it’s cool too cause they, they don’t know this yet cuz they’re young and they just, they just did it.

But when they’re old, like, I don’t hold you, but, and you’re old like us. Right? I mean, this is something you can never take away from somebody. 

Nick Knolhoff: No. 

Brett Gilliland: Right. So, so what, what would you tell them? That they can say that forever they are a state champion. 

Nick Knolhoff: I, I told him, I go, it’s probably not gonna hit you for another five or 10 years.

This is a little, an ultimate lifetime goal that people dream of and never get the chance to do it or get to that, even get to that event. You know, just being at Red Bird Arena. And just being part of the state championship series of the Final Four was in itself a dream goal. And then to be able to play in the championship game and win it.

It’s, it’s an unbelievable feeling. You know, I think about all of the coaches that are in the Hall of Fame right now that had never even won a state championship. Um, it’s just now I hope that we’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like and, uh, and for years to come, you know, we can kind of try to replicate that and, you know, hopefully make it a little bit of a dynasty in O’Fallon.

You never know. You know, you get past an Alton next year in a sectional and you can make a little run again. I mean, we got an opportunity where I think we can do it two years in a row and get back there, so.

Brett Gilliland: That’s amazing. So I think expectations are big too, and they wanna open up for questions if they have any, or if we can convince anybody to come up here as well.

Um, but when you think about your expectations now is you won a state championship, right? I’ve done some things in business and it’s like, okay, now the expectation’s high. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah. 

Brett Gilliland: So how do you come stay cool, calm, collective, and, uh, not, I’m not sure. Show up next season. 

Nick Knolhoff: Yeah. I’m not sure I’m there yet. You know, when I took over the program, I was looking back at previous years and like they had four winning seasons in the last 12 years before I took over. So one of my goals was we’re gonna, let’s win 20 games. And then we did that my first year, like okay. And we lost the regional up at Chatham Glenwood.

I’m like, okay, next year let’s win 20 games and win a regional, you know, has been since 2007, since O’ Fallon’s won a regional and just kind of upped my goals of not only my coaching self, but for the team and just kind of see how far they go and kind of goes along with what I do at practice, you know, um, I throw a lot of stuff at them.

We have probably more sets than three teams combined. Um, but it’s like anything, the more you throw at ’em, the more they adapt, the more they learn, why not just continue to throw more at ’em just to see what they can do? So I challenge them all the time, um, with offensive sets and things that we’re gonna be doing in games.

You know, what would you do if I was playing against you? How would I scout you? How would I guard you? And I try to tell them that kind of playing the other advocate, what are these teams gonna be doing against you. Um, so as far as going forward, you know, we most wins we’ve ever had. Um, Shannon broke the single season scoring record.

She broke the all time scoring record. Um, Kelly broke the assist record. Um, I’m not really sure how you can top this season, um, but we’re gonna try, um, because I do think that we have so much talent still in the program. Um, but I don’t think it’s that we need to hold next year’s season or the seasons after to this one.

This was just a unique season. Each season has its own goals, um, and I think we’ll still be able to accomplish those next year with next year’s team.

Brett Gilliland: I love it. I love it. Do you think we can get anybody to come up here? Yeah. And say a few words?

Nick Knolhoff: I, I would like Coach Bitner to come up here first year and just kind of talk about what she thought of the program in her first year.

Brett Gilliland: He’s totally called her out and she’s gonna make it happen.

Nick Knolhoff: Come on up here, coach B

Brett Gilliland: I like that it’s not, So Coach B, where did you, uh, where did you come from? You, uh, this is your first year at O’Fallon, so where, where did you come from to, uh, to join us? 

Coach B: I, uh, we lived up by Chicago, by St. Charles. Okay, sure. And so we moved back about five years ago and I um, I taught up there and I coached boys and girls basketball up there.

And then I, um, stayed at home with, took care of my kids for five years and then found the job at O’Fallon and this basketball position came open and I, um, inquired about it so.

Brett Gilliland: And do you teach in O’Fallon as well? 

Coach B: Ahuh, yep. 

Brett Gilliland: Okay. So teach at O’Fallon and, uh, and now coaching basketball. 

Coach B: Yes. 

Brett Gilliland: Now, are you the secret sauce then, if it’s your first year and you win a state championship?

Coach B: No, I am not the secret sauce, but I have it. It was an amazing first season. Um, the, the best basketball team I’ve ever been a part of, I feel very lucky. I’m so proud of all the girls. Uh, it’s just a, it’s been a phenomenal experience. Um, coach was talking about the texting and the people messaging you and I had you know, playing basketball at, I, congratulations. You did it for all of us. I mean, it is just a dream if you, if you’re an athlete, um, you know that that’s the ultimate goal and for it to actually come to fruition is amazing. So it’s just a feeling that it’s, it’s not really ever gonna go away, I don’t think.