After two years as an assistant coach, Josh Nauman was ready to lead a basketball program again.
The former Putnam County boys basketball coach was hired as the IVCC women’s basketball coach, the school announced Thursday.
“I’m thrilled about it,” Nauman said. “I’ve always wanted to coach at the highest level possible. After coaching 21 years of high school, to get a job as a college head coach is exciting.”
Nauman spent the last two seasons as an IVCC men’s basketball assistant coach under Chris Herman.
“I really enjoyed the college level, working with coach Herman and everything about IVCC,” Nauman said about why he decided to apply for the women’s job. “The one thing I did miss was being a head coach. I missed planning practices, running practices and being in charge and doing things my way. I missed being a head coach after having been a head coach for 13 years. It was a little different to take a backseat and be an assistant. It’s a good opportunity to move up to a head coaching job at the college level and stay at IVCC.”
IVCC athletic director Cory Tomasson said in a press release Nauman’s experience as a high school head coach along with his time at IVCC made him the right candidate.
“Josh had tremendous success as a head coach,” Tomasson said. “I expect his knowledge of the game and his passion for coaching will truly benefit IVCC.
“As the men’s assistant, he learned about our athletic department’s policies and procedures and the nature of college athletics. He is very familiar with our district and has built strong relationships with area coaches.”
Nauman, who founded the Illinois Valley All-Star Games, said he’s excited about recruiting.
“I’m really excited to get to pick my team,” said Nauman, who was 141-69 with four Tri-County Conference titles and two regional championships in seven seasons at PC. “With high school, you’re limited to the cards you’re dealt. At a smaller school, some years it can be challenging. Here I get to go out and pick my own team. Instead of having to adapt my style of play to what talent you have available, now you can try to find a team to fit the style you want to play.”
Nauman replaces Tom Ptak, who went 81-92 and was twice named Arrowhead Conference Coach of the Year in six seasons.
IVCC went 14-15 overall last year and 5-5 in the conference.
“Coach Ptak has obviously done a great job and had a lot of success in the time he was there, and he did it basically with local players, which is great,” Nauman said. “Hopefully, we can continue that and build on the success he’s had. The first year, who knows? Right now, I think there are five girls signed for this season, so I have some work to do right off the bat. Hopefully, we’ll find a few more girls who are interested in playing and go from there.”
Nauman will be coaching females for the first time aside from high school golf and junior high softball.
“It’s still basketball,” Nauman said. “I’ve been coaching basketball for 20-some years. The game is the same. Everyone I’ve talked to who has coached both men and women has said once you start coaching the women you never want to go back. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re a lot more eager to learn, a lot more coachable and a lot of times come in without the attitude that they know everything already.”
Nauman remains a teacher at Putnam County High School. He said he’s talked to administrators at PC and IVCC about working out the schedules.
“I’ll have to schedule later practices,” Nauman said. “I’ve done it for two years (as the men’s assistant). I did miss some practices and a few games. I had to take off early or had to meet the team at the game. That was the big drawback when I first thought about applying. I didn’t think it would work out, but after talking with the principal (Clay Theisinger) at the high school and talking with Cory, I think we’ll be able to work it out without too much trouble.
“I’m excited about it. It’s a new challenge.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.