No surprise for fans: Brubacher back as TC men’s coach

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The decision wasn’t announced for more than a week, but followers of Tabor College athletics figured it was inevitable: Don Brubacher is back as the men’s head basketball coach.


In late March, Brubacher announced he and assistant coach Jeff Luster would be switching responsibilities for the upcoming season. But earlier this month, the planned transition fell apart when Luster resigned to take an assistant position with Colorado University.


Brubacher said he comes back as head coach with mixed emotions. Though it adds to his workload-he also is athletic director, head women’s soccer coach and teaches physical education classes-Brubacher said he welcomed the opportunity to lead a strong group of returning players from a team that made it to the NAIA national tournament this past season.


“It was difficult to make the announcement that Jeff Luster was going to take over the team and I was going to step out of the head position,” Brubacher admitted. “That was difficult for me primarily because the team did make, in my judgment, very considerable strides in the course of the season-and yet I felt we were far from done developing the players we had in the program.


“But it seemed it was best for the overall athletic program, and certainly would not be a detriment to the men’s basketball program,” he said. “So we made that move.


“I really did have a strong desire to stay with the group and try to pick up where we left off and continue to make some real positive strides.”


Aside from his personal interest in the team, Brubacher said he felt compelled to return because of a promise he made a year ago to four transfer players that either he or Luster would be their coach.


“That was our plan, that was our expectation, so they would know the person they would be working with for the two years they’d be at Tabor,” he said.


Though he looks forward to working with next year’s team, Brubacher said he is concerned how the demands of coaching will affect his role as athletic director.


“I think the entire athletic program needs and deserves considerable attention, including a lot of effort to go into fund-raising,” he said.


Brubacher, with 19 years head coaching experience, said the duration of this latest appointment has not been determined.


“It depends how we can meet other needs in the department and how positions can be structured,” he said. “If it’s possible for me to continue coaching men’s basketball and find ways to have the time and energy to work on behalf of the entire athletic program in appropriate and effective ways, then this could become a longer-term arrangement.


“If we can’t find ways to accomplish what needs to get done for the entire athletic program, this (appointment) will probably be short term.”


He said hiring additional staff is being discussed at the administrative level, “but how that will work out we have no idea, especially with the number of head coaching positions we have to fill.”

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