Profile: Meredith Leads Boys Basketball to Success

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Head coach Luke Meredith and the boys basketball team cheer during the sectional semi-finals at Richmond HS on March 5, 2021 against Mt. Vernon. Photo Credit: John Kennedy

Under head coach Luke Meredith, the boys basketball team ended the 2020-2021 basketball season 14-10, which is the second highest win total since 2004. Meredith, who has been the  boys basketball head coach at GC for 3 years, talked about what makes coaching worth it. He said, “It is very stressful, but this is what I prayed for. This is what I always wanted to do with my life. It’s worth it when you see the growth/development of our players through the season, years, (and) journey of playing high school basketball. It’s never easy, but ALWAYS worth it. Everything you want is always on the other side of hard.”

Adam Lester, 12, co-captain of the team, discussed the positive aspects of being on a team for Coach Meredith. He said, “My favorite thing about playing for Coach Meredith is his passion for our team, and we can really see how bad he wants to win.”

As a head coach, building relationships is very important. Meredith said, “My favorite thing about being the boys basketball coach at GCHS is the relationship I have formed with my coaching staff (Johnson, Mullins, Bolden, Loudenburg) and more specifically the current/former players in the program. We spend a lot of time together and I feel a special bond with all current and former players through this journey of basketball. I care for them, we trust each other, and they play hard for our program, community, and school!”

 Owen Anderson, 11, has seen Meredith’s enthusiasm and spirit for the game on a daily basis. He said, “I love Coach’s energy and how badly he wants us to succeed day in and day out.” 

For his part, Meredith said what his most eventful moments in his coaching experience are. He said, “My most memorable moment in my coaching experience happens to be 3 favorite items: 1) Receiving the ‘call’ from athletic director Jared Manning when I was offered the job to come here from Avon HS to be the next MBB HC at GCHS. It was a career goal of mine to be a (head coach) in the state of Indiana and to achieve that goal was a great moment for me and my family, 2) When we defeated Mt. Vernon in January 2020 here at GC. The faces of our kids in the locker room is something that I’ll always remember. We worked so hard that year, were big underdogs, and they deserved that moment. Pure elation in the locker room,  & 3) Pre-game of New Palestine game at Richmond last year 2021- seeing the fans finally back in the stands and the GC Rage student BLACK OUT gave me chills.”

Both Lester and Anderson described this moment in the locker room as one of their most unforgettable moments in their basketball career as well.

Lester talked about what Coach Meredith does to make the sport enjoyable. He said, “He really likes to joke with us and have a good time, but when it’s time to play he’s the most well prepared and organized coach there is who instills full trust in his players.” Meredith discussed how he keeps the boys engaged and having fun. He said, “I keep the team engaged and bringing the juice by pre-practice talks, music during practice, competitions in most drills, and guest speakers. We always have fun, but work hard as well!!!” Anderson mentioned what Coach Meredith does to keep things light. He said, “Coach Meredith makes basketball fun just by telling jokes and making us laugh.”

Meredith has to carefully balance his home and coaching life. His family is invested in the sport as well, which helps. He said, “I balance home and coaching because our family loves basketball. Having my boys and wife in the stands on Friday nights watching us play is something we enjoy as a family. Both my boys love the game of basketball, play for our youth GC JUICE feeder system, and always pick their ‘favorite’ players every year to cheer for from the stands. My wife does an awesome job of being supportive of me and my dreams/goals to coach basketball. We all do it together; we moved to Greenfield 3 years ago and fell in love with the community, schools, and our TEAM.”

Anderson talked about some benefits of playing basketball. He said, “Some advantages of playing basketball are being able to be with a family every single day.” As for Lester’s thoughts, he said, “The experience and memories that come with it.”

Along with the highs, there can be obstacles along the way. Lester discussed some of those challenges. He said, “The biggest challenge of basketball is fitting in my school work into my schedule as well.” Anderson added, “The biggest challenge is definitely trying to be good enough to benefit your team all the time.”

Meredith mentioned what drills and strategies he plans on using to train the boys for this year’s season. He said, “The team loves one drill: MICHIGAN MONDAY.” MICHIGAN MONDAY is a 10:00 full court competition drill that they do on Mondays in practice. Meredith talked about how he prepares the boys physically and mentally when they are facing a challenging opponent. He said, “Doesn’t matter the opponent- we will do 3 things: JUICE (energy and effort); COMPETE (refuse to lose); STANDARD (play hard ALL the time-standard is the standard). Your practices ALWAYS snitch on you in games.  REPRESENT GREENFIELD.” He also talked about what he wants the boys to learn in basketball and what his number one goal is. He said, “The #1 GOAL: Represent our school, city, and basketball program the right way. Be the best person they can be, best student they can be, best basketball player they can be!!! (In that order)” 

Meredith’s inspiration for a lot of his beliefs and principles comes from someone very close to him. “My mom- Brenda Meredith- is the most influential person in my life because she is the toughest woman I know and (she) raised my sister and I with high expectations to respect teachers/school, work hard, and always try your best,” he said. 

About how he encourages confidence and team-building among the team, Meredith said, “Confidence comes from preparation. If you prepared for the moment, there is no need to become nervous. Prior planning prevents poor performance. You put in the work in the dark when no one else is watching, so you can shine when the lights are on and the popcorn is popping.” 

There is little doubt that the players have been inspired by that light. As for what he will remember from his time with Meredith, Anderson said, “I’m gonna remember that fire he brought to practice and to games everyday which is why we have been so successful. He pushes us to work harder every day.” 

Lester will graduate this year, which makes the memories bittersweet. He said, “I’ll remember most the fun he brought to every practice and workout and how his motivation only inspired me to work even harder.” 

As for Meredith, what he wants his players to take away with them is this: “I want my players to remember that I do care for them more than just on the basketball court- its more than 4 quarters. I’ve been to players’ weddings, graduations, (and) college basketball games, and will be able to continue our player/coach relationship well after their 4 years at GCHS. Once your coach, ALWAYS your coach- that’s what it’s all about.”