Southwestern Heights Mustangs

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Chad Novack named new boys coach at Holcomb

Published 4/12/2011


Tradition and winning basketball have gone hand-in-hand at Holcomb High School, dating back to the days when Dave Novack was on the bench coaching the Longhorns' boys program for 18 years.

Few are more aware of that tradition than Chad Novack, son of the legendary HHS coach who led the Longhorns from 1981 to 1998.

The younger Novack, 32, will have the opportunity to put his own stamp on the program after officially being approved by the Holcomb USD 363 Board of Education on Monday night as the new head boys basketball coach/physical education teacher.

"Yes, I'm excited," said the younger Novack.

Prior to getting hired by Holcomb, Novack spent the past seven seasons as head boys basketball coach for Southwestern Heights High School in Plains, compiling an 80-69 (.537) record.

"I think every coach always has varied thoughts about coming back and coaching where you played," Novack said. "The opportunity to come back to my hometown, move closer to my family as well as my wife's family, and coach a program with a great tradition, were the principal reasons for my interest."

Novack is a 1997 HHS graduate, and went on to play basketball for two seasons at Garden City Community College under Kent Davison (1998) and Jeremy Cox (1999). From there, he transferred to Fort Hays State University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in education.

He began his teaching/coaching career at Southwestern Heights in the 2002-03 school year, when he was hired as the junior high boys basketball coach. He was in that position for two years before being promoted to the high school boys basketball position.

"I've been fortunate to have learned so much under him (Dave Novack)," the younger Novack said. "I was always around him when I was just learning to walk. I then got to play for him, and had more opportunity at the college level to learn under coach Davison and Cox. I've had one of the best high school coaches here as well in Barry Mellen (Southwestern Heights girls head coach), and have learned so much from him, too."

Novack said there are three specific components to his basketball philosophy.

First, he wants to get the kids to work hard at all times, believing this will carry over into their school work and past high school.

Next, he wants to get the kids to act right and represent the school and community with a sense of pride.

He also wants to teach the kids to work together and put aside any differences they might have. In his opinion, that is the only way a person can be successful, both as players and as citizens.

Novack replaces Scott Stegman, another Holcomb native and HHS graduate who had been Holcomb's head coach for the past nine seasons.

Stegman previously said he was asked to resign on March 11 by HHS Principal/Athletic Director Jarrod Stoppel, saying that Stoppel told him that the school would like for the program to go in a different direction, although he didn't go into any specifics.

Stegman had a 151-57 (.736) record during his tenure, including a 14-9 mark this past season.

Stegman said he told Stoppel he wanted to think about whether or not he would resign.

A little more than two weeks later, an email dated March 28 from the USD 363 district office surfaced.

The email was obtained by The Telegram and said, "USD 363 will have an open position for the 2011-2012 school year at Holcomb High School for a P.E., and health teacher and head boys basketball coach."

Stegman has not yet resigned his coaching or teaching positions with the district.

According to USD 363 Interim Superintendent Demitry Evancho, the board has taken no formal action on Stegman's supplemental contract for the 2011 school year.

There has been controversy in the Holcomb community about not bringing Stegman back, Novack said he hoped everybody could begin with a fresh start upon his arrival.

"I think the entire community, the kids, everyone, needs a fresh start," Novack said.

"I have a lot of respect for Scott. We've talked a lot through the years, and he's done a good job. Whatever happened, it's unfortunate. I hope we can get past that and move on. That would be in everyone's best interest, especially the kids."

The email about the open basketball/P.E. position was sent March 28.

On April 1, Novack was interviewed for the position with the search process being overseen by Stoppel.

"Our principal and athletic director (Stoppel) handled the interviews, and I reviewed the candidate he recommended," Evancho said today. "

He (Novack) is a well qualified physical education teacher and a good basketball candidate who has had a good record. We're fortunate to get a top-notch person who was available."

Novack and his wife Aaron, have one child, a boy, Eli, 11 months.

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Found 9 comment(s)!

It's All In the Name

When I lived in Holcomb, it was enjoyable and the teachers were a fine group of people. My kids got a good education. When a situation arose and my child got the short end of the stick I realized, we didn't have the right last name.
Sorry, Mr. Stegman, I wish you well.

Posted by: Used to Live in Holcomb on 4/18/2011

HHS Basketball

I think this change of coaching staff could have been done with more dignity and respect. I hope Coach Stegman has the opportunity to coach again. I also think the USD 363 superintendent and high school principal have put Coach Novack in a difficult situation. Because of his name, he is expected to do great things. As somebody has already stated, it comes down to the student athletes. Good luck to both Coach Stegman and Coach Novack.

Posted by: Bob on 4/13/2011

Is This a Surprise??

I guess that it has come to be, a coach has been found...not a real surprise who it is. I wish Novack the best, however, I hope he is mindful of the people he has inadvertently stepped on to get to his big dream. I also hope he appreciates the talent that he has inherited from Coach Stegman. Watch your back, Chad, there might be some parents who do not like your decisions who go and whine to a spineless administrator, putting you on the hot seat. Good Luck, you will need it! Oh, and by the way, brush up on your texting and emailing skills, you will need them to communicate in your new setting!

Posted by: Good Luck! on 4/13/2011

Welcome Chad!

I live in TX now but grew up in Holcomb, played for Coach Dave Novack (a living legend), & Chad was always around the team as a kid. I could tell he would grow up into a fine young man. If he's half the coach his dad was HHS is lucky to have him.

Posted by: Derek on 4/12/2011


For every one person upset that Stegman is gone, ten of us are thrilled. So looking forward to Mr. Novack bringing life back to Holcomb basketball. We have not had fans like the days his father coached. Watch for the school to be filled with bb fans this fall. We support you Mr. Novack please dont let us down.

Posted by: Holcomb Sports Fan on 4/12/2011


If you did have a GCHS grad you might actually win some games.

Posted by: GCHS Grad on 4/12/2011

Western Kansas Soap Opera

What in God's name is going on in SW KS? Indecent Liberty with underage HS girls-Disorderly Conduct- unlawful relations with a minor and the tame issue of just firing a BB Coach because a few parent's children can't play the game of BB. I guess this throws out the old notion of moving to a small town to raise your children.

Posted by: CC on 4/12/2011

Holcomb Basketball

Your replacing a coach with a 736 winning percentage with a coach with a 537??? That would be in a different direction. Your AD must be a GCHS grad!! Good Luck

Posted by: Confussed on 4/12/2011

Surprise Surprise

HAHAHAHAHAH I Love it, thanks to the internet comments section we already knew who had been hired OVER A WEEK AGO.
If you applied for this job at Holcomb you had NO CHANCE of getting it..FYI.
High School sports has become nothing more than live-action fantasy leagues for has-been adults living their dreams through kids.
NEWSFLASH: If you've got the players you're gonna win games, so yeah if this new guy has the horses he will win, if not, he wont. Coaches get too much blame and wwwwaaaayyyyy too much credit.
This teaches our kids very valuable life lessons I think: If you have connections doors open for you. Succeeding in life is not about what you do, its all about networking. This is not cynical, this is true.
I could care less who coaches at any school, but lets not pretend to give "interviews" or tell people who we are firing that we want to "go in a new direction".
Lets be honest. We fired you because we want this other guy to do your job.
Yeah it hurts, but at least its real.
Grow up people, these are just GAMES we are talking about. The more important lesson is what it teaches the kids, and this is what I would say:
"Boys, listen up. In life, you can work hard, do a great job, do all and more thats required of you and you will have SOME success. BUT, if someone who's in charge doesn't want you around anymore, you're screwed. Now that doesn;t sound fair, and its not. Life isn't fair, so you have to be prepared and do your best to keep the people above you happy. If not, be prepared to bounce back to a new job somewhere else. Always remember who's in charge and where you stand, and at least be ready to face the consequences if you upset ones in charge."
If we are honest with kids (kids arent dumb) we will let them know that this IS life.

Posted by: HHHHH on 4/12/2011