Kilgore College’s basketball program offers its players opportunities both within and without the world of athletics, thanks to its longtime coach.
KC Rangers head basketball coach Brian Hoberecht has been coaching teams at the collegiate level for 20 years and this year’s season will mark his twelfth at KC.
Hoberecht spoke to Kilgore Lions Club, Thursday, Nov. 21, about his accomplishments as a coach and the achievements of his players in seasons past and present. As he began, he mentioned the KC Rangers would be heading to Sherman, TX that evening for a game against Grayson College. The Rangers won that game 80-70 and they have a 6-2 overall record for the 2019-2020 season so far.
Hoberecht described the Rangers' practice and preparation routine leading up to game day. He and his staff give players important points on which to focus before they face off against another team.
The preparation includes rigorous academic studies in addition to working out and warming up in the gym as game day approaches.
“Our preparation is just as important as how we play each day and I think it’s a big reason why, in my 20 years of being a coach, that we’ve had a ton of success and we’ve won six championships at different levels and our guys have continued to grow and mature and get better and gone on to have success at the next level. I think that’s a big part of it,” Hoberecht said.
This philosophy of preparation has led to numerous success for KC’s program.
“In the last seven seasons, KC had a 144-71 overall record and a conference record of 73-59 in NJCAA Region XIV. In the last seven seasons, 24 of (Hoberecht’s) players have signed Division I basketball scholarships at four-year schools.
During the 2018-19 season, Hoberecht won his 200th game as head coach at KC. Under Coach Hoberecht, the graduation rate has continued to be more than 90 percent of all two-year players at KC,” according to Hoberecht’s biography page on the KC website.
“Our routine starts an hour and a half before the game,” Hoberecht said, describing how the Rangers prepare on game days.
“From meetings to warm-ups, an informal warm-up to a more formal warm-up, it’s a full day’s worth of activities. It’s not just showing up at game time, change clothes and go play. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into that time and it’s what allows us to continue to be good on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively.”
He went on to describe how several KC basketball players have already been signed to teams at larger schools, thanks in part to the Rangers' national rankings.
“We are number 10 in the country right now in field goal percentage. We’re shooting 54 percent from the field right now, which means that we make more than one out of every two shots that we take. We are right at number 20 or 22 in three-point goal percentage. We are shooting a little over 40 percent from the three-point line.”
Following their first loss of the 2019-2020 season, a close 72-71 against Snow College Nov. 1, the Rangers “turned around” and defeated the number 14-ranked team in National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1, Odessa College, 70-63 on Nov. 2.
In addition to success on the hardcourt, Hoberecht’s players have gone on to achieve goals in realms outside of sports.
Earlier this year, Hoberecht got a call from a former player who enrolled in KC as an international student with the goal of returning home to help his community.
“I got a call last spring from one of my former players from one of my first three years here. He called me out of the blue and I hadn’t talked to him for awhile. He called me and he said ‘Coach, I want to tell you thank you.’”
Hoberecht said he was surprised by the call, as he and the player had a rocky relationship at times.
“He had just graduated from where he was. He was in West Virginia. He said I just graduated and I’m headed home and I’m getting ready to start medical school. I’m going to be a doctor in my home country and none of this would have happened if I didn’t start at Kilgore. If you wouldn’t have helped me and allowed me to get started and give me that opportunity, I wouldn’t be doing this today.”
The KC Rangers basketball schedule can be viewed at www.Kilgore.edu/Athletics-Organizations/Basketball-Men/Schedule.