Jim Sykes is the head coach of the Men’s Basketball team here at Morningside. During his time here, he has put together one of the most impressive coaching resumes since he was promoted to the position of head coach in January of the team’s 2003-2004 campaign. He has recorded a .647 winning percentage, and a 277-151 win loss record (Coaches). Jake Brand, a current student at Morningside and a former men’s basketball player said, “Coach Sykes is a really good guy. He’s always been very professional on and off the court, and has never been rude to me.”
But how did Sykes make it to Morningside? Why did he decided to become a coach? In an interview with Sykes in the spring semester of last year, I found out the answers to these questions.
Jim Sykes first decided he wanted to be an elementary teacher and a coach after he was influenced by his 6th grade teacher Mr. Neumeier. Athletics were always at the core of what Sykes wanted to do. He played several sports in school, and thought the coaching aspect might be fun as well. “I figured if I wasn’t good enough to play, maybe I’d be good enough to coach,” Sykes said in the interview.
When Sykes first started working as a teacher and a coach, he was teaching elementary school in Waverly, Nebraska. He helped as an assistant coach on the football team, and was the head coach of the basketball team. He said that the sport he chose to be the head coach for was a close call. He liked the atmosphere that football provided, but also liked being able to coach five guys on a court, and being in charge of both offense and defense. Zach Polk, a Morningside alumni and former basketball player under Sykes said, “His coaching style is intense. You have to be able to handle the intensity of his coaching style or you might crumble under the pressure. You have to realize though, he’s doing the things he’s doing because he wants the team to succeed.”
The chance to coach at Morningside was an opportunity for Sykes. An acquaintance of his got the head coaching position for the Men’s Basketball team, and asked if Sykes would be interested in being his assistant. As was stated earlier, Sykes gained the head coaching position after being promoted there in the middle of the 2003-2004 season.
Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from https://morningside.edu/athletics/mens-basketball/coaches/