COVINGTON, Ind. — At Zionsville, Shaun Busick was coaching a team that could catch a small part of attention in the Indianapolis area.
But now as coach for the Covington boys basketball team, Busick said that he can be part of the main focus once basketball season rolls around.
“In the Indianapolis metro area, there is always something to do. On Friday nights, if we are playing Carmel, we might get a good crowd, but we usually get a gym that is half-full,” Busick said. “That doesn’t happen in Covington, it is not a knock on Zionsville, but you can go to many things and in Covington, basketball is king. We had a good fan base, but it just wasn’t as big compared to Covington.”
Busick, who spent 14 seasons at Zionsville before taking the Covington job a couple of weeks ago, said that the move to town was a great fit.
“I think for our family, we were looking for a basketball-crazy school in a small community and it checked all the boxes,” Busick said. “They had jobs for me and my wife and it seemed like a great fit for us. Our son is going to be a freshman at Covington this year and the fact they have smaller class sizes and we felt it would be in his best interest from coming from an academic standpoint. There were a lot of great pluses and we are excited for the opportunity.”
Busick takes over for Adam Ballard, who moved on to Pendelton Heights High School in Indianapolis, and built a foundation Busick says he can definitely work with.
“Coach Ballard did a great job and I can see that with the open gyms that we had. The kids know how to play basketball and that’s a great bonus,” Busick said. “We have some great players back and we have some great leaders coming back as well. The success we have had, it says something about a program that can win.”
Busick has also had the help of Ballard through the transition.
“The kids know how to win and thy work hard and that is because of their former coach and Adam did a great job,” Busick said. “We actually met through a mutual friend and Adam has been very helpful in whatever I needed and any questions. It is great to not work from scratch and knowing that you have a great base to start from.”
Like every basketball coach in Indiana, Busick is working alongside the IHSAA guidelines to return to play from COVID-19, but he has been impressed with what he has seen from the team.
“I would definitely say the opening for Phase 1 and now Phase 2 set by the IHSAA has been wonderful for the kids,” Busick said. “There were some restrictions and we are following a big safety protocol. The kids are screened, we have hand sanitizer breaks and the kids bring in their own water, so it’s been good for our kids because they have been quarantined for a few months and it was tough on the boys as well as everyone else.
“They are very thankful now they are back in the gym and they will never take it for granted again. I had a good coaching friend come in to a practice (Tuesday) and he told me about how enthusiastic they were and how much passion they showed. I have enjoyed working with the kids and seeing how they are as basketball players and bonding with each other and those are great positives for us.”
Busick has a 28-year career with stops at Zionville, Bellmont, Argos, North Knox and Crown Point. With Bellmont, Busick led the team to the 2004 state title game, but lost to Evansville Mater Dei.
The potential of doing great things at his new job has excited and motivated Busick into the new season.
“We are fired up and we are excited to be here,” Busick said. “Hoosier Hysteria is found a lot in the smaller towns and we feel Covington is one of those.”