YELLOW SPRINGS — When he took over the Yellow Springs girls basketball program, Tim Minnich knew he had to start at the bottom.
It was more like rock bottom as the Bulldogs were 2-21 in 2016, the season before he arrived.
“We tried to get as far down into the younger ages as we could,” said Minnich, who helped build the Beavercreek Stars program into a feared and respected youth basketball factory.
“We kind of took something like that and took it down to the younger grades (in Yellow Springs),” Minnich said.
Now in his fourth year as head coach — with son, Nick, and daughter, Morgan, on the bench and along for the ride — the reboot of the Bulldogs has taken place. Yellow Springs is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Metro Buckeye Conference with a Dec. 30 rematch against Legacy Christian — which handed YS its only loss earlier this month — looming.
The Bulldogs were 14-10 with a tournament win in Minnich’s first year, and followed that up with a 6-16 record in year two and an 11-11 mark last year with a crew of freshmen and sophomores starting regularly.
Youth continues to be served this year.
Juniors Annlyn Foster and Haneefah Jones played AAU ball during the spring, sophomore Aaliyah Longshaw has been an AAU regular since middle school and sophomore Angie Smith, the younger sister of scoring machine Elizabeth Smith, has been hanging around the Yellow Springs gym for years. Freshman Corinne Totty played AAU ball for Morgan Minnich last spring.
“Now all of the sudden we’re reaping the benefit,” Tim Minnich said. “It’s just been consistency from seventh grade on up.”
The elder Minnich is also consistent with how he runs practices.
“Our high school practices are nothing but fundamental practices,” he said. “We’re behind as a group. We don’t have (many plays). Everything we do is skill.”
And a lot of what they do was brought from Beavercreek, which has successful youth and high school programs. Included in that package is Nick Minnich, who coached with his father for one year at Beavercreek and remains an assistant football coach for the Beavers.
Nick Minnich handles the defense, inbounds plays and all the behind-the-scenes work so Tim Minnich can focus on the offense.
“We would be about half as good as we are and I probably wouldn’t be here,” Tim Minnich said when asked how valuable his son has been to the Bulldogs. “It’s really his program and that’s where we wanted to go. He has the energy to move that to the next level.”
Nick Minnich, 24, said his one year coaching with his father in Beavercreek changed his outlook.
“I fell in love with coaching the game of girls basketball,” he said.
And that love is continuing for Nick Minnich, who will take over the program from his father some day.
“Coaching at Yellow Springs has been one of the best things that’s happened to me,” Nick Minnich said. “It’s opened my eyes to the game of girls basketball.”
Others have also noticed the Yellow Springs team. Before their arrival, Nick Minnich said nobody wanted to play on the team or come to games. The boys team was good, but the girls team was an after thought.
Now athletic director Jeff Eyrich comes to games, Nick Minnich said. Principal Jack Hatert made the long trip to Ansonia to watch the girls play last weekend, the morning after a home game. There were nearly 20 other fans who made the trip as well.
“That didn’t happen before,” Nick Minnich said. “Girls see that light. ‘Oh, the AD is asking about us. The principal is asking about us.’ ”
Completing the family coaching trifecta is Morgan Minnich. The 20-year-old started her hoops career at Beavercreek and then transferred to Yellow Springs when Tim Minnich landed the job there. She is officially a middle school assistant, but often times she helps out with the high school team.
“She’s a big piece. She’s closer to their age,” Tim Minnich said. “She can work with the girls. A lot of them know her when she played.”
Morgan Minnich keeps stats during the high school games and will eventually be a head coach, Tim Minnich said, adding that he expects her to go out on her own.
“Nick and I are kind of a combo,” Tim Minnich added.
It’s definitely a combination that’s worked, on and off the court.
“It’s been really a dream for me to be able to coach with my kids,” Tim Minnich said. “Didn’t really set it up that way, but now that it’s happened, it’s been the best experience for me.”
And with the Minnichs on the bench, the Yellow Springs kids can experience their best as well.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.