By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Sean Wiebling doesn’t see going from being the head girls basketball coach at the second-biggest school in Texas (Allen, enrollment 5,400) to the being the head boys coach at Garber, which has an ADM of 103.51, as a step down.
In fact, he sees going back to his alma mater (class of 1993) as a step up for family reasons.
His wife, the former Ashley Baker, is an Oklahoma Bible Academy graduate. Her parents, brother and a number of aunts and uncles still reside in Enid.
The Wieblings’ son, Jackson, is about to enter the first grade, which makes the move timely as far as building lifelong friends.
“This is where I want to be,’’ Wiebling said. “It’s a good decision for us and for our families. We need to get our son around family and establish some family roots.’’
He said there were a number of pluses and minuses about being at Allen, “but it was time for us to get back in the area and put some roots down.’’
While Wiebling coached at Allen, his wife was employed by another school district in the Dallas area. They lived yet in another district. Ashley Wiebling will be the librarian at Longfellow Middle School.
“It’s tough to feel a part of the community that way,’’ Wiebling said. “We’re small town people and that wasn’t what we were accustomed to. We’re doing what’s best for our families.’’
One of Wiebling’s toughest jobs at Allen was having to cut players. Allen had a system of weeding down players.
“It was really hard to tell some kids that had really worked hard to be the best they could be was that there was somebody better than them,’’ Wiebling said.
Some faculty members at Garber remain from Wiebling’s time there. Wiebling said he was excited about renewing friendships.
“We have been bouncing around the country,’’ he said. “It’s good to re-establish those friendships. It’s going to be nice to know everybody in the building. We had more math teachers at Allen than teachers at Garber. It’s just nice to feel part of the community.’’
Wiebling, who was at Allen for four years, has been an assistant at both Arkansas State (one year) and the University of North Texas (four years) and Garden City, Kan., Community College. Garden City went to the Final Four while he was there.
Before entering the college ranks, he coached a year at both Coyle and Covington-Douglas.
“There are going to be some adjustments,’’ he said, “but I’m looking forward to it. I think kids can be more rounded at a small school as opposed to a large school.’’
One of his adjustments will be getting most of his players late from football. With Allen’s girls, he had his team together from Day 1 in practice.
Wiebling doesn’t see that as a negative. Winning in football is good for basketball.
“Winning carries over to all sports,’’ Wiebling said. “They kids have been in a competitive situation. It gets them in condition early.’’
Wiebling is a defensive-minded coach. He is flexible offensively, noting a high school coach has to adjust to his talent.
“Whatever you run, you have to defend well,’’ Wiebling said. “We base everything off that. We have run mostly man-to-man, but at times we run a zone to change the pace of the game.
“Our philosophy is to try to be as tough and physical and strong-minded as they can on the floor. You have to be able to put them in a scheme where they have the best chance to be successful.’’
He wouldn’t characterize himself as either a disciplinarian or a players’ coach.
“You have to ask the kids about that,’’ Wiebling said. “I try to have a good relationship with them, but I don’t let a lot of things fly. We want kids who will be good representatives of the school, and be good role models and be a positive influence. If that’s being a disciplinarian, I’m a discplarian.’’
Wiebling’s father, Fred, is a retired school superintendent. The elder Wiebling took the superintendent’s job at Garber when Sean was a junior.
“I had to behave,’’ Wiebling said. “I didn’t have to worry about a phone call to my parents. He knew I was in trouble before I did.’’
The Wieblings lived in Balko for 10 years before that. Wiebling played football at Balko under legendary coach Bob Kramer.
“That was a great experience for me,’’ he said.
Wiebling met with his new team last week. He succeeds Marc Hatton, who will devote his full attention to being the school’s principal.
“Coach Hatton has been a huge benefit in this transition period,’’ Wiebling said.
Hatton had arranged for the Wolverines to participate in two summer camps.
Garber is coming off a 19-7 season. The Wolverines were eliminated by Texhoma in the area losers bracket quarterfinals.