Game Time coach Stoermer in game for love

BY CLARK CAHILL | JULY 07, 2009 7:20 AM

Some people go fishing or play an instrument in their spare time. For Games Time’s Coralville Hy-Vee head coach Mike Stoermer, his free time consists of mostly one thing: basketball.

Aside from playing and observing the game, Stoermer has coached in Game Time since its inception in 2001. Knowing Stoermer coached girls’ AAU basketball for many years, Game Time director Randy Larson asked him to coach when he was assembling the women’s league. It did not take long for Stoermer to realize the Game Time was something he wanted to continue working with.

“After I agreed to coach in the league, I pretty much just fell in love with it,” he said. “My daughter played in it, and there have been many great connections made since it has started. I really enjoy it.”

The Coralville Hy-Vee store director coached the Iowa Elite AAU team from 2005-07. But once Stoermer’s children started participating in college athletics, he decided to take a break from coaching AAU and focus on watching his kids play for a little while.

“I have two kids playing collegiate basketball right now, so I’m spending a lot of my time going to those games,” he said. “When my kids are done, I may do some more coaching at some point.”

Stoermer’s daughter, Courtney, recently finished her sophomore season at Northern Colorado. His son Jordan, the youngest of the three, plays basketball at Kirkwood, and his eldest son, Cody, played soccer at Iowa Central.

This summer, Stoermer was lucky enough to draft one of Iowa’s best incoming recruits in Morgan Johnson. Despite the small amount of coaching he can do in the summer league, he said, with a player such as Johnson, he wants to instill confidence.

“I think she is the big surprise of the league and is way better than everyone thought,” he said. “I just try to give her confidence and let her know she doesn’t have to worry about anything right now.”

Johnson said that although Stoermer tries to make it fun most of the time, he still makes sure the players play the game the right way.

“He definitely makes sure we are working on the key fundamentals, such as boxing out,” she said. “He makes sure we are pushing ourselves and making ourselves better, but at the same time, he can throw in a few side comments that make us laugh.”

For his veteran players, such as Iowa junior Kachine Alexander, Stoermer said there isn’t much he can tell them that they don’t already know about the game. But even though they might know the fundamentals, he can still challenge them.

“I’m always trying to challenge [Alexander] with things that will keep her motivated,” Stoermer said. “If I can challenge her to stay committed on the defensive side of the ball all game, it will rub off on the other players on the team.”

Alexander said she enjoys her coach’s defensive mindset.

“You can have an off night on offense, but you should never have an off night on defense. That is actually one of my mottos,” Alexander said. “That is what [Stoermer] is all about.”

Stoermer’s team has a 5-1 record, the best in the league so far, and he attributes the success to the emphasis on hustling and playing tough defense. Because there isn’t anything a coach in the Game Time can do for discipline besides taking away playing time, he tells his players as long as they hustle, they will play.

“I tell them if they are committed to playing defense, they will play more,” he said. “But most of all, I want them to know that I’m doing this for fun because I love it, and I want them to play the game as though they love it.”

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