South Putnam basketball coach Micah Elliott may be new to the school, but he is certainly no stranger to the Eagles. As a former player and assistant coach at Monrovia, he is familiar with the Eagles as a conference rival.
"I think it's a great opportunity," Elliott said. There's senior leadership that's going to be here -- three or four kids that are seniors. There is also a strong group of juniors that's had a lot of varsity experience."
The 1998 Monrovia graduate and 2003 Indiana grad will have almost the entire roster back from last year. Only senior point guard Michael Sebanc graduated.
This year's senior class should include leading scorer Noah Boswell, Conor Frame and Dayne Nelson. The massive junior class includes Nathan Welty, Cameron Chestnut, Adam Masters, Drew Cash, Derek Dean and Spencer Smith.
Elliott hopes he can bring a different attitude to this mix. As a coach at Monrovia under Chris Sampson, Elliott has been a part of four WCC champions, a sectional champ and a regional champ. He was also twice a sectional champion as a Bulldogs player.
"It's a lot of attitude. The only thing that I think is holding us back is the attitude to start winning," Elliott said. "Winning is a cycle, where you win some and then the community gets behind you. You start filling the stands and the boys start feeling that they're part of something special."
But the new coach also realizes his program is not the only one to be a part of the attitude change. He cites the success of other teams as proof that South Putnam is turning a corner all across the board.
"I know the football team had pretty good success in the WCC last year. Baseball had a great run. I think there's already a change. Kids are starting to want to win and want to be part of something special. So I think I've come in here at a great time when the change is already starting to occur," Elliott said.
However, the attitude is not the only place the other programs will help each other out. Elliott said his players have already benefited from weight training with Football Coach Troy Burgess.
"Coach Burgess has been working with them a lot in the weight room. I've already noticed a size difference from playing them last winter to this summer," Elliott said. They look good. They're working extremely hard, playing football, baseball. They're very active."
While Elliott plans to draw on his winning experience at Monrovia, he is not looking ahead to playing the Bulldogs. His team's first focus will be within Putnam County.
"I'm concerned about starting off with the Putnam County Tournament," he said. "I'm worried about Greencastle, North Putnam and Cloverdale and trying to find ways that we're going to win. We've already talked and that's one of our goals that the players have set. That's the first thing that we're focusing on."
The coach wants to leave no doubt that he's now an Eagle.
"I'm not concerned with anything or my past. It's South Putnam now," he said. "The boys are the basketball program. This is not my program; I'm a part of it. It's the boys. It's the community. I'm just a piece of it."
The coach said the kids are already doing their part, he only hopes he can bring that missing ingredient.
"There's a lot of positives just from the kids," Elliott said. "Hopefully I can bring the winning attitude.