Doug Sporrer was an assistant at Euless Trinity for three seasons before coming to Keller. Joyce Marshall jlmarshall@star-telegram.com
Doug Sporrer was an assistant at Euless Trinity for three seasons before coming to Keller. Joyce Marshall jlmarshall@star-telegram.com

Girls Basketball

Why would this coach leave a successful girls basketball program like Keller?

The Lonnquist Notes, by Kevin Lonnquist

klonnquist@star-telegram.com

July 31, 2017 04:08 PM

No matter how great your ambition, dreams don’t become reality unless you pursue them.

Doug Sporrer had no reason to leave the Keller girls basketball team, which is now under former Mansfield coach Kate Goldberg. Through nine seasons, the Lady Indians had gained respect as a consistent winner. District championships coupled with deep playoff runs were the result of seven of them. He won 195 games, nearly 22 per season.

But Euless Trinity’s program has been his dream. When legendary coach Sue Cannon announced her retirement at the end of the school year, her former assistant couldn’t ignore it.

People don’t leave Trinity unless they retire. There are high quality people here. What I hope is that they will keep me for another 20 years until I decide to retire.

Doug Sporrer

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After all, he had been there for three seasons, understood the culture and understood the type of players who came through. He lives about a mile away from the school.

Before he officially took over for Cannon in July, the 41-year-old Sporrer still had to answer one question when he interviewed for his new job. Why did he want to come back to Trinity?

“You have to challenge yourself and put yourself in some uncomfortable things to see how you’ll handle it,” Sporrer said. “At Keller, things were good. I owe [Keller athletic director] Bob DeJonge a lot because he took a chance on me. But here, you have to start over. It’s a different group.”

In the time that has passed between Sporrer leaving for Keller (2008-2009) and returning to Euless, Trinity’s stability had always caught his attention.

Administrators and teachers had been there for decades and wouldn’t trade their situation for anything. Consistency counts. Leadership is trusted. And it doesn’t hurt that since 1986, Trinity had endured only two losing seasons.

There is a popular theory in coaching that you don’t want to be the one who immediately follows a legend. You want to be the one who follows the one who followed the legend. Traditionally, the stigma on the immediate follower is that the legend’s shadow will remain a fixture in the school.

Sporrer understands that theory. But his reasoning for pursuing the job carried its own merit. There’s no telling the next time that job would open, so there could have been regret had he not done it.

“I was definitely at ease going back,” Sporrer said. “People don’t leave Trinity unless they retire. There are high quality people here. What I hope is that they will keep me for another 20 years until I decide to retire.”

There is a popular theory in coaching that you don’t want to be the one who immediately follows a legend.

In some ways, Sporrer is a disciple of Cannon. In others, he’s not. He picked up on Cannon’s meticulous organization skills when preparing for an opponent or just going through the day-to-day operations of the program during the season and the offseason. Ironically, they faced each other seven times, with Cannon winning four, including the last, an overtime thriller at the Flower Mound tournament last year.

But when teams play his teams, they know they’re going to see a zone defense. It would be borderline treason for a Sporrer-coached team to play anything else. The Lady Trojans are going to have to learn his motion offense that relies on screens.

Due to his late arrival, Sporrer is spending the weeks leading up to the start of school with individual meetings with varsity players and parents. Adjustments are part of sports. Comfort zones are disrupted. It’s not about the challenge. It’s how you respond to it.

“You don’t take a job because of certain things like the number of players coming back,” Sporrer said. “The biggest key to my success at Keller was just having the kids get along. Team chemistry really set the culture with that first group of players and went all the way through. I want the same thing at Trinity.”