• 45°

Fundamentals the ‘old school’ way

Straughn boys varsity basketball coach Rusty Andrews runs through a drill during a summer practice session Tuesday afternoon. | Andrew Garner, Star-News

Straughn coach Rusty Andrews will take the reigns of the SHS basketball program, and hopes to make the program more fundamentally sound.

Andrews was hired as the new boys varsity head basketball coach after former coach Todd Reynolds’ was released from the position at the end of the school year.

When asked whether he saw a change regarding the basketball program, Andrews said he “felt like they may make a change.”

“I’m one of those coaches that believes in fundamental basketball, and that’s something I noticed (Straughn) kind of was lacking,” Andrews said. “We’ve got good athletes. They work hard. I’m from the old school, and you’ve got to be fundamentally sound.”

For the past two years, Andrews was at the helm of the eighth grade basketball team at SMS, and teaches all math courses at SHS.

Andrews said that the point he tries to get across to all of his players is how to play the game.

“They’re going to learn to be a basketball player,” he said. “We told our guys at the junior college level that when you leave us, you will be able to go and play in anybody’s system because you’re going to understand basketball.”

Andrews, who lives in Dothan, was a systems analyst for 22 years and started coaching in 1994, where he worked as an assistant coach at Enterprise State Community College under Mike Pugh for two years.

After another two-year stint at the former Enterprise State Junior College as an assistant, Andrews started his high school coaching career at Headland Middle School, where he established the program there.

He was at Headland for six years before coming to Straughn.

“I have always loved coaching,” he said. “When I worked as an assistant at the college level it was as a volunteer along with my analyst job.

“I just loved what I did, and my wife (Lesia) realized I loved what I did,” he said. “Then, she finally told me that we’re in the position now that ‘you can do what you like to do.'”

With the upcoming 2010-11 basketball season, Andrews said he is already analyzing what the new area play will bring with Andalusia, Ashford and Headland.

“(Andalusia) Coach (Richard) Robertson, you know he’s going to be tough and you know where the ball is going,” he said. “It’s going to go inside. If we can build our program to be anywhere close to him, then we will have accomplished something.

“That’s something for us to strive for,” he said. “He’s set a very high standard in this area, and that’s where you want to be.”