August 28, 2019Less than a month into the North Harrison girls' basketball season a year ago, then-assistant coach Barry Geltmaker was in the lead role on the sidelines. With Missy Voyles missing games for health reasons, Geltmaker assumed the role without hesitation.
With a nudge from the current North Harrison players, Geltmaker applied to succeed Voyles, who resigned from the post in the summer, and was named head coach at the most recent school board meeting.
Barry Geltmaker was named the girls' basketball coach at North Harrison. The North Harrison alum spent the previous season as an assistant coach. Photo By Brian Smith
"I think it's going to be an easy transition for the girls because they had to put up with me for three weeks while Missy was gone," Geltmaker said. "They know what to expect."
A 1975 graduate of North Harrison High School, Geltmaker has plenty of Cougar blue in his blood. He began coaching softball when his daughters became involved with sports and then added basketball to his resumé. When the North Harrison softball job opened in 1994, Geltmaker was named coach, later winning a sectional.
A year after beginning a 10-year run as softball coach, Danny Schmidt was named girls' basketball coach and reached out to Geltmaker to take an assistant job. Geltmaker stayed on as a girls' assistant for nine years, the last few with Voyles.
"After I retired (from the postal service), Missy asked if I would come back and coach eighth grade," he said. "It was only supposed to be for one year because the person who was supposed to coach was sick. Then, I did it a second year and a third year. Then, she asked me to come back up to the high school with Alan Reed."
Geltmaker won several games as a sub during North Harrison's 17-7 run this past season, including wins over Scottsburg, Silver Creek and Jasper.
"I got a little bit of experience last year," he said. "The first time I coached with Missy, I actually coached the sectional because she was having her first child (Konnor). He came early, so she was out that sectional. We won the first game and lost the second one."
After a coaching hiatus, Geltmaker said when he returned, he realized how much he enjoyed being around the players.
"I forgot how much fun coaching was until I came back," he said.
Geltmaker figured the school was looking to hire a teacher for the position and initially thought the girls' coach was required to be in the classroom.
"I had some visitors at my house and they wanted me to do it," he said. "I put it off because I thought you had to be a teacher. I told the girls I can't, but, they came back and said I didn't have to be a teacher. I knew they didn't have a lot of applicants because of the lack of teaching openings. I came to talk to (Principal) Matt Kellems about it and put my name in."
Geltmaker said the girls can expect some changes from one regime to the next.
"People ask if I am going to change things, and there will be changes," he said. "If any coach takes over, there are going to be changes here or there. I'm not sure you'd be a good assistant if you always agreed with the head coach. The head coach doesn't want the same answers every time. Alan is good with that, too. You want honesty."
Assisting Voyles during the 2003 regional championship run featured a high-scoring offense that thrived on shooting well. It was a different style compared to last season, which featured several players at 6 feet and taller.
"In high school, you can't be set in one way," Geltmaker said. "You have to adapt to your talent. This group, we will have to work more on defense than offense. I'd love to press, but I'm not sure that fits this team best with as big as they are. We could possibly work on pressing, but we should be able to rebound with anybody. We have some shooters, too."
Geltmaker has a good understanding of the Lady Cats' roster. He helped coach a majority of the summer games.
"We are going to be big again," he said. "We should be in the mix for conference and sectional … I'm pretty excited. I think we will win our share of games."
Geltmaker said he's organizing the coaching vacancies from the elementary levels to high school. Reed is slated to help on the high school staff.
"I'm trying to get everything organized after accepting the job," he said. "I talked to coach Voyles, and she's going to turn things over to me to help out. If I need anything, I'm sure she'd tell me anything I need."
The first official girls' basketball practice is set for Monday, Oct. 21.