Dropsey ‘honored’ to succeed Stiverson as head coach of Braves

By Brad Morris


Nate Dropsey wanted the opportunity to maintain the culture that Logan Elm boys basketball became known for under the leadership of long-time head coach Doug Stiverson.

And he received the opportunity on Monday when the Logan Elm Board of Education voted to approve him as the next head coach of the Braves.

“It was a pretty emotional day when Coach Stiverson told us he was stepping down and a sad day for Logan Elm basketball, but right then I knew it was an opportunity that I wanted,” Dropsey said. “Coach Stiverson has been an incredible mentor to me who I learned from in every practice and every game we had.

“I wanted the honor and responsibility to carry on the tradition that Coach Stiverson built here at Logan Elm over the last 24 years and to maintain the culture and other staples of our program, while adding a little bit of my philosophy.”

Dropsey, 38, has coached in the program for 12 years, three years at the middle school level and for the last nine seasons as junior varsity coach.

“Logan Elm basketball is all about toughness, being unselfish and having a family culture, and those are definitely values that we will continue,” Dropsey said. “Coach Stiverson is the best coach in the Southeast District, and part of his core philosophy is being very fundamentally sound, especially defensively, playing with tremendous focus and guarding tough, and I want Logan Elm basketball to continue and be known for that.”

Nate Dropsey

Stiverson is pleased to see Dropsey follow him as head coach and discussed the intangibles he respects about his former junior varsity coach.

“Nate is a great Xs and Os guy who has always wanted to learn more and more about the game, and he is also very good at skill development with players, helping the kids develop different parts of their game that they need to work on,” he said. “Nate also really cares about the kids, not only as basketball players but people, and he will do whatever is necessary to help them become successful in basketball and life.

“Nate really cares about the program being successful on-and-off the court and he will be a tireless worker to make that happen.”

Jeff Holbert, Stiverson’s long-time varsity assistant, will remain on staff as varsity assistant for Dropsey, who has also asked Jeremy Neff, a middle school coach in the program over the last 18 years, to become his junior varsity coach.

“The first conversation I had after Coach Stiverson told me that he was stepping down was with Coach Holbert and if he would be my varsity assistant? Coach Holbert told me that he wasn’t done yet,” Dropsey said. “Coach Holbert and I are friends and having him on the bench as my varsity assistant means a lot to me, because Coach Holbert is a tremendous coach who has an advance knowledge of the game.

“When we are talking about a team we are getting ready to play, Coach Holbert can remember what sets they were running three, four or five seasons ago, he’s great with scouting reports and putting our kids in position to be successful. Being a first-time head coach, I will lean on Coach Holbert at times, because he is good with in-game situations, and he will also help our kids with the transition. I want our kids to have faces they are familiar with, so having Coach Holbert and Coach Neff on staff with me will be a tremendous advantage.”

Dropsey said he wants the program to reestablish a freshman team to increase the number of kids participating in the sport and help with player development.

He also wanted to thank his wife, Ellie, for supporting him as he takes charge of the Braves.

“It changes our lives, because a head coach has a lot more responsibility and is away from home more, and having her support and being part of the decision means a lot to me,” he said.

Dropsey has opened the gym for players who aren’t competing in a spring sport to get their work in since Stiverson stepped down and is looking forward to summer basketball.

“We are coming off a tough season, especially with losing a couple of exceptional seniors like Tanner Holbert and Braylen Baker to injuries, along with some of the other injuries that the team had,” he said. “It put us in a tough position where we had to play some younger kids and put them in larger roles than we expected them to be in, but I think it is going to help with their development going forward. They learned the varsity game and what they need to work on to maximize their success on the varsity level.

“I’m excited about the kids we have coming back and to begin working with our staff to put in the Xs and Os this summer. Coach Stiverson has been a tremendous influence on me, both as a basketball coach and as a person, since I came to town, and I want to be able to do that as the head coach now with our kids in the program.”

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