Advertisement

Parasiliti: Naylors enjoy family rivalry while guiding Rebels hoops

February 24, 2013
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Sometimes, dads have big feet.

When traditions and heritage are in question, a father’s footsteps may seem like size 22 EEE to a son.

The imprint is huge and hard to fill.

But then, there’s the approach Nate Naylor takes when he travels in the same circles as his father Kevin.

Nate follows the path Kevin has left behind, and rubs it out along the way.

That’s the kind of relationship the Naylors have. They are father and son, and colleagues who work in the same profession. It is the basis of some competitive fun, too.

If you didn’t know, the Naylors have turned the South Hagerstown boys and girls basketball programs into the family business.

Kevin is the fourth-year head coach of the boys, while Nate is in his second year guiding the girls.

Both have brought a level and higher standard of success to a school which has struggled to be consistent and unable to always fully display its level of talent.

Meanwhile, it has sparked a bit of a friendly rivalry that both relish.

This year we were introduced to a sibling rivalry as brothers faced off in the Super Bowl. Now in Hagerstown, take a look at the family feud in basketball, especially now as both teams begin their quest for a Maryland Class 3A state championship.

The NFL has the Harbaughs. Area basketball has a father-son act that plays hardball.

“I’ve always kind of taken it as a challenge to be as successful as he has been,” Nate said. “I have to match the success. … That’s the rivalry.”

This isn’t the traditional father-son coaching story.

Kevin never coached Nate after youth leagues.

Nate didn’t learn the ropes from Kevin by absorbing his constant directions.

Instead, Nate watched and collected information. He took what he liked from people he met and made his own style after playing at North Hagerstown and Thomas Johnson.

“His main man is (former Thomas Johnson coach) Tom Dickman, not me,” said Kevin.

“It’s a lot easier for me,” Nate said. “I watched how (Kevin) approached things over the years. I got to see what mistakes he made and I won’t do them and I try to do the things he does well.”

They never worked together on the same team before. Nate never decided to go out on his own before coming back to the program.

For the last two years, they have been coaching separate programs at the same school, using similar principles for framework, but different methods to cultivate success.

“He has a certain style of coaching and I have mine,” Kevin said. “He is like I used to be. He is very calm while I have the tendency to be loud. We both have to build confidence, but girls don’t have the egos that boys have.”

Both came to South to start reclamation projects. In a sense, Nate’s teams are where Kevin’s were in his first two years. Both dived into a pool of tremendous talent with few waves of participation. Both had a strong core of three exceptional high school players to build around. And both have brought structure to their programs.

“I had to teach the program to be successful,” Nate said. “Last year, I had to teach that. This year I have talent. Success opens the doors and gets more kids to come out. You have to put discipline in place and you need to provide structure for the players. I learned that from my dad.”

The foundation is the same, but the march of the respective teams comes from a different drummer.

Both the Naylors have found success, though, and readily remind each other of it. It makes for lively conversation when the family gets together. Family dinners are sparing sessions.

“Ask my wife, she’s in the middle of it. Sometimes she has to walk out of the room,” Kevin said. “It’s little jabs. I’m body shots. He’s head shots.”

South’s girls have rolled through the MVAL Antietam with an undefeated mark and are 19-2 overall. Kevin has had equally successful years, but this year’s Rebels have struggled a little more — though also winning more than losing.

The one thing that Nate hangs over his father’s head, though, is that he was named Herald-Mail Washington County Coach of the Year last season.

“He walks in my house and sits in my chair and says it’s reserved for the coach of the year,” Kevin said. “I’m at work and the guys tell me to tell the coach of the year that they are coming to see his game. If he wins another one, I might as well retire because I’m not going to beat him.

“I don’t look at it like we are competing against each other because I like to go to his games and support the girls. Our rivalry is when we talk about records. Then, we’re competitive. But we sit and help each other.”

The door swings both ways when it comes to advice, but Nate approaches the family competition a little differently.

“He’s my biggest supporter,” Nate said. “On game days, he’s always there for me and for us. Outside the rivalry, we support each other.

“I have told him that I’m coach of the year multiple times. I remind him about how many losses he has. We have to be better than him. We always want to win a state championship. If we both do that, I want to have one more win than he does.”

Kevin wouldn’t have it any other way. He admires Nate’s attention to detail and is amazed about how dedicated he is to his job, stemming from his love for the game.

“A lot of people are amazed how he has grown and how big of a pain he’s become,” Kevin said with a laugh. “I look back and see what he learned and now I learn from him, too. I’m very proud of him. He’s not following in my footsteps. He’s leaving his own footprints.”

With the Naylors, that makes it a competition on whose feet are bigger.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358, or by email at bobp@herald-mail.com.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|