Head Girls Basketball Coach
Midfield High School
State Champions 2007 & 2008
State Runners-up 2006
WillofaChampion: Many coaches have their student-athletes working hard to win state championships, what is something special you have done that has enabled you to win two state championships?
Coach Ware: I have broken the year up into four phases. First phase is immediately after the regular season until the last day of school. We focus a lot on conditioning in this first phase, working out, getting faster and stronger. Phase 2 is during the summer and we focus on the fundamentals. We do a lot of one-on-one work with the girls and they play AAU. Phase 3 is when school starts; here we focus on agility, quickness, and lots of drills enhancing ball control. Phase four is from the first regular season practice to the last game. Phase four is about putting it all together.
WillofaChampion: In phase 1 and 2 how much time do your girls work to be the best?
Coach Ware: The girls are working four to five days during the week. Before I came; Midfield High only won 10 or so games a year. But the girls didn’t work like we do now. We added discipline, hard work, and goal setting to make us one of the best in the state.
WillofaChampion: What did you do to make Midfield high a state championship caliber program?
Coach Ware: I never played for losing program. When I played Elementary and Middle School basketball we won our league championships. In high school we made it to the state finals every year I played on the varsity. We didn’t finish first, but we made it to the state finals every year. At junior college I was a two-time All-American and we won the conference championship. At Arkansas State, under John Brady, we won the conference championship. So I learned to win from all my coaches. I’ve applied the successful things from those coaches into my program. One of those things was to make a contract with my girls. In the contract they agree to conduct themselves appropriately in the classroom, their commitment to our program, how to handle recruiting, goals, and how we handle predictable and unexpected changes. The girls sign the contract and I hold them to it.
Will of a Champion: How do you handle the recruiting of your girls?
Coach Ware: I have had All-state, All-Americans, and McDonald’s All-American basketball players and I handle recruiting the same with all of them. First, I know my girls and the type of environment where they will succeed. So when I meet a college coach I try to figure out if there will be any character or personality conflict’s between that coach and my girls. If there would be, then I tell my girls not to go there. But if our girls can play for that coach, then I check out the social life of the college to see if it’s something that my girls will enjoy and want to be a part of. If it is, then I don’t need to worry about our players working hard academically. If the girls are happy with the coach, the basketball program, and the college atmosphere and social life they will do what they have to academically to succeed and remain apart of that college. So if the other things fit, I don’t worry about the academics. They will make sure those are successful if their happy in the other areas.
WillofaChampion: Your players that received scholarships how did they get discovered?
Coach Ware: Both our program and AAU. The best girls will get discovered either in their high school program or AAU. But because college coaches have more time in the summer to recruit you get better exposure in AAU. We also run a summer hoops academy for any high school basketball player in our city or state. College coaches come to watch that academy and see girls play. The coaches that come tell me that many of the things we do in our program they’re doing at the collegiate level. So we know our girls are being properly prepared for that level. In regards to recruiting; when coaches come watch our seniors and juniors they also see our sophomores and freshman. So now the recruiting perpetuates; when they see the older girls, they see the younger and come back to see those young one’s when their old, and see the new young ones, and the cycle continues. But it started with our successful runs to the state tournament and AAU.
Will of a Champion: Your girls that are the best such as your McDonald’s All-Americans, how much of their ability is because of their work ethic?
Coach Ware: The girls know the right way to do things and how to work hard, through repetition, sweat, and lots of time with a ball. The girls that are the best do those things. I’ll tell you I have an eighth-grader that’s a gym rat. She is in the gym or on the playground before and after school in good and bad weather. She is talented, works hard and puts in the time. She’s going to be special.
Will of a Champion: What do you expect from the captains of your team?
Coach Ware: I tell the girls anyone can politic and win the votes of her teammates to be a captain. But not all captains can be a leader. The leader of the team doesn’t have to be a captain. Captains that our leaders get other players to do the right things when they’re supposed to. Captains set the example by working hard and doing what they’re coached to do even when it is hard.
Will of the Champion: What do your players grades mean to you?
Coach Ware: They mean a lot. This past year we had the valedictorian and the salutatorian on our team. In 2006-7 we had the valedictorian on our team. When I first came we had to really work on getting are grades acceptable. But it means a lot to me and my assistant coach, because it’s part of that contract, part of doing things right in order to be the best. Being the best means doing your best academically.
Interview: April, 2008
This is Coach Ware’s fifth year as Head Coach at Midfield. In his five years, Midfield High has made it to the state tournament five times, been to the state finals the past three years winning it the last two years. Midfield High has also been number 12 (2006-7) and number 5 (2007-8) in the nation by USA Today.