By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Ryan Felder, the son of former Waukomis football and basketball coach Mike Felder, feels he is more than ready to take the reins of the Cimarron girls basketball team as his first coaching job.
“I’ve been around basketball my whole life,’’ said the 26-year-old Felder. “My dad has had a big influence on my sports career. It’s a big part of why I know so much about the game of basketball.
“I feel like I am ready. I’ve learned from coaches who I think are very knowledgeable about basketball. I’m ready to take everything I’ve learned and put it on this program.’’
Felder played at Waukomis and Sterling (Kan.) College before assistant jobs with the Enid boys under Ryan Wilkinson and the Chisholm girls under Terry Middleton.
At Waukomis, he helped lead the Chiefs to back-to-back area semifinals under Monty Unruh, another one of his mentors.
“It was really fun to be a part of that experience,’’ Felder said.
He said playing at Sterling made him more of a student of the game.
“Going from high school to the collegiate level opens your eyes to the technical part of the game ... the speed of it, the intracities of it ... you don’t have to think about that in high school; you do in college,’’ Felder said.
The biggest thing about being a coach’s son was learning coaching was a business.
“Coaching is more than the X’s and O’s,’’ Felder said. “It takes a big commitment to be successful. You have to create trust and be part of the players’ lives.’’
He had a good first meeting with his team, which was eliminated in the first round of districts this season.
“Hopefully, they’re as excited as I am,’’ he said. “I have a lot of high expectations and I’m excited to run my own program. I’ve learned from a lot of good coaches and we’ll see what we can do at Cimarron.’’
He said hard work and commitment will be the key to turning around a once-proud program. The Lady Blazers went to the area tournament in 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2008 and went to the state tournament in 2001.
“The tradition is definitely there,’’ he said. “It just depends on how hard they want to work. If we put in the level of commitment to get back on track, our record will take care of itself.’’
The Lady Blazers leave Sunday for the prestigous Froniter Camp and go to the Chisholm Team Camp in July.
“I’m looking forward to it,’’ he said. “This will give us some time to get to know each other and see what my expectations are.’’
He said he will try to be the same kind of coach his father was. Mike Felder retired from coaching after the 2011 football season, but still is teaching at Waukomis.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an intense coach,’’ the younger Felder said. “I’m passionate. I like to explain things technically. My dad has been a huge influence at Waukomis schools over the years. I hope I can have the same type of influence at Cimarron. He’s one of the best coaches around.’’