By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
It is always tough getting a new job and going into a new environment, no matter the situation. The situation at Rock Valley College (RVC) gave new men’s basketball coach Craig Doty an extra degree of difficulty.
The school year had already started when the Golden Eagles were looking to replace their coach and nine players from their roster.
“I interviewed for the job and got it very quickly,” Doty said. “Within 24 hours, actually, I had the job. I was packed and back in Rockford in two days.”
After moving from an assistant job with the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, his first task was filling out his staff. Luckily for him, he knew someone locally who isn’t a bad coach.
Doty called up Steve Goers, the Illinois high school legend and former Rockford Boylan Catholic coach who leads the state in all-time victories. Doty knew coach Goers from recruiting former Titans star Armani Flannigan while he was an assistant at Central Wyoming College.
“I brought coach Goers on because he has a relationship with this entire community,” Doty said. “Our goal is to tap in to the resources right here in the local area, and there is a lot of them.”
Starting after the school year, Doty had the extra restriction of not being able to add anyone to the roster who wasn’t already a full-time student before Sept. 15, which was before he started. That is where Goers and some local flavor came in really handy.
The roster is littered with former area players. There are former Belvidere North and Belvidere stars Brandon Schwebke and Quentin Canty. Rockford Auburn’s Tairhe Turner, Byron’s Brandt Voiles, Boylan’s Keenan Franklin and Aaron Rimkus, Rockton Hononegah’s Marcus Holman and Winnebago’s Seth Booker all on the roster.
All have helped fill out the roster and made some team building a little easier with familiarity. But the biggest help has been Schwebke and Canty, who both have extensive experience as varsity stars.
Canty is fourth on the team in scoring, playing almost 20 minutes a game and giving a great lift off the bench.
Schwebke has become Mr. Everything for the Golden Eagles. He is second on the team in scoring while leading the team in rebounds and minutes, while starting every game.
“He’s one of our go-to guys,” Doty said. “In fact, it’s hard to even take him off the floor. The kid is a gem. He gets it on the floor, off the floor. And he can shoot the heck out of it, too.”
After starting the season 1-4, the Golden Eagles have won five of their last seven as they get ready to start conference play. As both coaches and players have been able to spend more time building the program, they are starting to see a lot of success on the floor.
“We have great kids, they really get it,” Doty said. “The kids have bought in, and they’re working their tails off.”
From the Dec. 19-25, 2012, issue