NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

OK Preps: Retired coach warns of 'pie-in-the-sky dreams' changing high school hoops

Over the weekend, I wrote about the impact of players transferring out of Oklahoma City Public Schools and how it may be affecting the district's dominance in high school basketball.

You can read that column here.

The piece generated lots of interesting reaction, including an email from Alan Simpson. He is a regular reader and a retired coach, having spent 42 years in the business and 35 of those years at Byng High School. There just a few miles north of Ada, he coached boys basketball and tennis.

He is in several halls of fame.

When I asked him if I could share what he wrote, he agreed and said, "I'm just a small town Choctaw Indian who grew up less than a hundred yards from the railroad tracks in Hugo, Oklahoma. I can assure you there's nothing pretentious about me."

No, Coach Simpson, I don't think there is. 

Here's what he had to say about transfers:

"Thirty or forty years ago, kids were leaving their respective schools for a plethora of reasons -- typically because 'the grass looked greener on the other side of the fence.' The OKC District isn't the only place impacted by 'travel teams.' The culprit has become a mainstay among rural areas, as well, and it runs rampant in the Ada area and other communities. 

"In too many instances, the impetus is generated by overzealous parents with pie-in-the-sky dreams of immediate royalty for their kid. 

"Sadly, many parents are oblivious to the gainful lessons that go hand in hand with staying with teammates and playing for your school. So much for the 60's Beach Boys hit, 'Be True To Your School.' We live in a selfish and not selfless world, and far too many parents exacerbate this.

"Unfortunately, parents often see a different game than coaches. I've seen parents at basketball games yelling, 'Josh is open, pass him the ball!' Well, there's a reason Josh is open. Bad shooters, like Denny's restaurants, are always open. 

"Since I retired from basketball, I've witnessed parents watching games with their little notepads and pencils. My bucket list is to tell a parent to 'Be sure you include, bad shots, turnovers and missed box outs, too.'"

Interesting perspective for sure. It's a reminder that transfers have been around for a long time -- but also a reminder that they aren't always the best idea.

I'm never going to tell a family what to do. Stay at your school. Go to another. That's your choice.

But as Coach Simpson said, the grass isn't always greener.

Related Photos
<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure>
Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›