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Randy Small, the coach of Schoolcraft boys hoops, has been appointed as the next generation of families in the center of a 400-win event

Randy Small, the coach of Schoolcraft boys hoops, has been appointed as the next generation of families in the center of a 400-win event

SCHOOLCRAFT, MI - Randy Small received no colorful cake or confetti, no balloons or big surprises after his Schoolcraft boys basketball team defeated Galesburg-Augusta for the 400th time ever.

As a result of most game nights, he went home and spent the rest of the day with his family, which may not be flashy, but is certainly fitting because those are the people who paved the way for the milestone win.

Small said that it's difficult to have done it without them because it takes a lot of time and a lot of sacrifice. "The month of June is typically devoted to basketball, and then from mid-November to mid-March, you're devoted to basketball, which means you don't go on vacations when everyone else is going on vacations, so it's been pretty tough, but they've been very supportive throughout the whole time."

The Smalls, dating back more than two decades to Randy's time as the JV coach at Marcellus, have been a family affair for them. Connie, the young player, logged the ball charts with her husband, continues to do from the bleachers.

Both daughters Jacquelyn and Savannah have celebrated their father's achievements from the stands, while their daughters Garner and Walker have played for Small at Schoolcraft, with the former supporting his father to the state championship game in 2009.

Though Small's oldest son, Derrick, never played for his father, he has been on Schoolcraft's coaching staff for the past 10 years.

Small's family sphere increased by a dozen kids every winter, but he credited them with being the main factor that has allowed him to succeed on the court.

I've been coaching varsity basketball for the last 17 years, and my kids have become second, even at Marcellus when they were younger, he said. When I came up with the coaching job at Schoolcraft, we agreed as a family that it would be a year to year proposition, and that we would have a family vote every year on whether or not it would be good for our family going into next year. So, that has really made it a family thing.

Coach Randy Small, the late Savannah Small, and his wife Connie, all have a win.Sue Moore

Of Small's 400 victories, 310 have come in his 17th year as the Schoolcraft boys, 11 from one year as the Schoolcraft girls and 79 from his six years as the Marcellus boys program.

During the same period, there have been several long-term assistants that have assisted Small, including his son Derrick and Adam Sziede, who is in his seventh year of career as a schoolcraft boys coach.

Ive been really fortunate with having some really good players, but I will say that our coaching staff has done, I think, a pretty good job just adjusting to our talent level, because sometimes weve been really good offensively, and sometimes weve had to be really good defensively, Small said.

Right now, Small's Eagles are 5-2 going into Friday's game against Constantine, with losses coming to Division 2 Parchment and Division 1 Hudsonville.

Small believes the Eagles have a lot of time to work on their careers in order to make the dreams happen.

We must be a lot better at the little things in order to get that chance, and there are some really good local teams, which to me is always the toughest part of the tournament, he said. We have to take care of the little things before we can start worrying about the big stuff, and right now we have a long way to go in that area.

I think we are making progress, but we have a long way to go to be consistent, and I think that's the first thing that were trying to establish, basically, is consistency effort-wise, performance-wise, etc.

Small will not know until sometime in April if he will play for Schoolcraft for the 18th time, but if he does decide to return, it will be because of the lasting relationship he has with current players.

When we have practices, well return and either want to jump in on the action or simply be a part of the shoot around or whatever, he said.

Ive got some former players that are coaching now in our program, and I think that's really cool, and that means that youre having a real impact on their lives in a positive direction, and you must have impacted them in certain ways that they want to return, so I think that's pretty cool. It's kind of like Im helping to raise other kids, and maybe that's my strength.

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