Montana legend doing it his way for OC hoops
July 4, 2008 · Updated 12:41 PM
Go ahead and say it again: Reece Gliko.
Its a great name, but it doesnt mean anything around here, not in this land of ferryboats and latte stands.
But go to Montana and shout his name. Itll turn heads.
Reece Glikos a legend in Big Sky country. This left-handed shooting guard from Belt, a farm community of about 800 people thats located southwest of Great Falls between Fife and Raynesford, was the most prolific schoolboy scorer in Montana history.
Gliko went on to play at Rocky Mountain College, an NAIA school in Billings, Mont., then transferred to NCAA Division II Montana State-Billings, where he averaged 26.4 points his senior season in 1997. The former Yellowjackets sharpshooter made 12 3-pointers in one game against Southern Oregon. He scored 54 points that night.
Yeah, they know this kid in Montana. Hes not a kid anymore, even though he looks like he could pass for one of the basketball players hes now coaching at Olympic College.
Ken Waldo, a sophomore from Olympic High, is the captain of the Rangers. Hes never seen Gliko play, but hes not surprised to hear about the scoring exploits of his coach.
Every time he throws one up in practice, he doesnt miss, Waldo said.
Gliko, 27, has a year of professional playing experience under his belt, having played overseas in Malta, an island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean. He worked for another year as an assistant at Montana State Northern, an NAIA school in Havre. Then he hooked up with the now-defunct International Basketball League as an assistant director of player operations for the Cincinnati Stuff.
Al Gleich, a veteran coach from this area, was an assistant with the Stuff and ended up sharing a room with Gliko. Gleich, a former Olympic High coach, returned home and ended up landing the vacant job at Central Kitsap High. Shortly after, Gliko found his way to Bremerton to coach the Rangers.
Gliko has taken over a program that, until last season, had been competitive on a yearly basis in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges under coach Barry Janusch.
Although Janusch had a freshman-dominated team a year ago, only three Waldo, Port Townsends Greg Caldwell and Bainbridges Drew Stenesen return from that 8-20 squad.
Thats OK, Gliko said. Kids who are walk-ons display an extremely developed work ethic. They know their backs are against the wall and have something to prove. Theres nothing guaranteed. I need all the guys to realize that. Its a privilege to be part of a team, not a right.
Glikos Rangers, who open the season at home on Saturday, Nov. 17 against Grays Harbor, dont have much size. And quickness doesnt appear to be a strength either.
Glikos not complaining.
Like I told the kids, character is more important than talent and I feel very comfortable with this group, said Gliko, whose philosophy is old school.
My expectations will follow along with my philosophy of doing things hard, intelligent and together. I think if we can do all we can do to reach our potential in those three areas, then winning and losing will take care of itself, he said. I dont want us to base our success on wins and losses and I know society will do that.
You open the sports page and the first thing you look at is the team score, but our success wont be based on that as far as us, as a unit, as a family.
There are people outside who will base (success) on wins and losses. Were not going to worry about that. If we work hard and become the best that we can be, whether thats 20-and-0 or 0-and-20, our success will be gauged on our effort, our intelligence and our togetherness.
Theres no denying that hes a strict disciplinarian. Players arent allowed to wear hats indoors. Their shirts are always tucked in their pants.
If Glikos players miss a class, its an automatic one-game suspension. Unless theyre sneaking them, you wont find any Rangers sucking down carbonated sodas either. Diet and conditioning are an important part of his program.
Glikos been putting the Rangers through two-a-day practice sessions, starting with a 90-minute workout at 6 a.m. Theyve been returning to Bremer Center gym for another practice in the evenings, usually at 6 p.m.
Well continue two-a-days until I feel were at a place where weve matured mentally and get to the point where we dont need it anymore, he said.
Theyre here to be a basketball player, right?
Actually, Gliko places basketball behind faith, family and academics, but he makes sure his players dont have time for much else.
For these guys to have a special experience, youve got to be tough, he said. Youve got to sacrifice. Youve got to give up things. Things like parties or going to the mall every afternoon. Youve got to give that up.
Youve got to eat good food. Dont eat junk food and give up. If you sacrifice like that, itll be a special experience.
These kids have done a great job. They deserve to be commended for how hard theyve worked so far.
But hes going to keep pushing.
The kids arent tired, he said. Sometimes you think youre tired, but youre not. The human body is amazing. It can do incredible things. Theres been stories about people that have done some unbelievable things. Im not asking them to do the unbelievable. Im just asking them to strive for excellence.
Waldo, an active 6-foot-5 center, said, Coach pushes us hard, but hes only trying to make us better. He wants us to be mentally strong as well as physically strong.
Hes very serious, very to the point. He knows what he wants to get done and how to get it done. Hes not going to compromise his integrity or his beliefs.
The extra conditioning, Waldo said, will pay off.
Theres no other team in the league practicing twice a day, Waldo said. We might not be as deep as some teams, but at the end of games, well be outrunning teams.
You wont find an assistant coach sitting next to Gliko this season.
I know the commitment it takes to be on our team is more than other teams, he said. I wanted to make sure the assistant had the same ideas of what the basketball program should be like. You have to be on the same page. I havent been around the area and dont really know whos who. And to be honest, I didnt have time to go searching for one. It would be nice to have one, but I dont think I need one.
Glikos college coach, Craig Carse, assisted Dale Brown at Louisiana State for seven years. Glikos since developed a close relationship with Brown. Hes developed his philosophy from those coaches, along with going back to the root of the whole thing John Wooden.
Gliko didnt come from a basketball-crazed family. My parents dont know anything about basketball, he said. But I remember the first time I picked one up and learned how to dribble. I just spent hours playing and watching. I lived five miles outside of Belt on a farm, so I was out in the country with nobody else around. I was just blessed with a hunger for the game. It was my best friend growing up.