By Chris Whitfield
In the process of building a basketball team at an athletic program restarting from the ground up, Dalton State College men’s basketball coach Tony Ingle finally has a “staff.”
On Monday, the Roadrunners announced the hiring of former Spring Hill College student assistant basketball coach John Redman as Ingle’s assistant. After decades without sports, Dalton State is relaunching its athletic program during the 2013-14 academic year. The Roadrunners played basketball at what was then Dalton Junior College from 1969-79.
Ingle was hired last summer, and while he hasn’t been without help from within the athletic department, Redman is his first official assistant coach.
“As much as anything, the best thing is that he hasn’t heard all of my old jokes,” Ingle said. “He stays and listens to every single one of them.”
Redman is the first hire for Ingle, who said — all jokes aside — that it was nice to have someone in the office with him.
“The major things we are bringing him in for are recruiting, academics and infrastructure,” Ingle said. “I think that he is a multi-faceted, but he is not a typical graduate assistant.
“He has really coached for three years, and he has had his hand in a little bit of everything. There are a ton of things that we have to do and he is a sharp tack. It has been great to be able to communicate and bounce things off of each other and have someone to delegate some things to. We are still recruiting and are still trying to get scheduling finalized and get into our permanent offices, and we have a lot of things on our plate.”
Redman, the son of LPGA member Susie Kirk, had his basketball career cut short due to injury at Spring Hill, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) program, in Mobile, Ala. For the past three seasons, he has worked as a student assistant coach, gaining more and more responsibility under Badgers head coach Robert Thompson, who was fired last year after posting a 142-156 record over 10 seasons.
Redman said he was eventually given duties as recruiting coordinator and served as the team’s academics liaison.
“I am a firm believer that my passion outweighs my experience,” said Redman, who signed with Spring Hill out of Spanish Fort High School in Alabama. “The reason I came here is to learn and grow as a basketball coach. My background is recruiting and academics, and that is where I will be able to help the most for the school.”
At Spring Hill, Redman helped bring in three players who went on to earn Southern States Athletic Conference All-West Division honors and also coached his younger brother, Ben.
Like Spring Hill, Dalton State will be an NAIA program, officially joining the organization on Aug. 1 after being approved for membership this spring. Unlike Spring Hill, the Roadrunners don’t have the foundation that past seasons provide.
“Our biggest challenge as of right now is just getting the train going and getting everything moving,” Redman said. “We are still in the station, but they have a lot of great things going on and are way ahead of the game. The main challenge is to get kids to believe in something that isn’t there yet. There has been no past team and no past record. You have to get a lot of players up here by selling your dream of what you are trying to build.”
Ingle said he has been impressed with his new coach since the first time the two met.
“I talked to his coach that he worked with down there and got a good recommendation and I was impressed with him,” Ingle said. “We have to hit the ground running and he brings a lot of enthusiasm. We have to dig the foundation here.”
Redman said it was a job he pursued when it became available.
“I had heard coach Ingle had an opening and I had heard from other coaches what a great coach he was,” Redman said. “I called him and the first time we talked it was quick and to the point. From there, I just kept calling him until he told me to come up and we would meet. I am real excited to be here and Dalton State has a great thing going on here.”