Not everyone will be sad to see Michael Noszka and his 227 wins leave Wilmington High School’s boys basketball program.
But Noszka had his hand on the rudder of the most successful 14-year stretch in WHS history.
To that, I say “Thank you.”
Noszka is leaving Wilmington to take over a struggling Cincinnati St. Xavier program in the high-powered Greater Catholic League.
To that, I say “Good luck, Mike.”
Not everyone will feel this way. And we have proof to back that statement. Other coaches have left programs and been harassed beyond belief simply because they took what they felt was a better opportunity for them and their families.
Yet there are people who – because of jealously or resentment or sheer stupidity – will snub their noses at those coaches as well as Noszka for leaving.
To that, I say “Don’t be a spoil sport or punk.” There are other words, but that is the kindest way to put it.
Noszka has worked his tail off for WHS basketball. He raised the bar on individual players and the expectations of them, their role on the team and the program itself.
Nowadays, most people don’t like to have the bar raised on them. They like that comfy low-set bar they can ease over without any effort.
“I think the word more than anything is courage,” Noszka said. “I told the people at St. X this is a courageous step for me and my family. We are very comfortable in Wilmington. Our kids are doing well … but I’m stepping out. I’m going to be 50 in August and I’m taking another career step.”
With Noszka, effort was the only measuring stick. Play hard or sit next to him on the bench.
Noszka admitted many times being a member of the Hurricane basketball program wasn’t for everyone. He was good with that. No hard feelings toward anyone who didn’t want to achieve success the same way he wanted to achieve it.
Noszka opened the doors to all, but wasn’t going to stand their and usher them in.
If you walked over that threshold, great. Get ready to work.
If you wanted to stand on the outside and look in, that’s fine, too. But be ready to watch us work harder than you.
“To play basketball here (at Wilmington), you have to love the game, you have to love your teammates and you have to love to compete at the highest level,” said Noszka. “Some people didn’t love the rigor of our schedule.”
Noszka is demanding as a coach, not only of his players and assistant coaches, but of himself. Not everyone bought in to that premise.
So there were times when numbers were down but the numbers that wore the orange and black knew they’d earned that privilege. They also could look around and see others who could be counted on to have their back.
“I always tell my players at the end of the season, getting ready for the tournament, you don’t have to worry about anybody quitting on us,” the coach said. “If they were going to quit they’ve already quit. It’s not any bad feelings. I want people who are passionate and who want to compete at the highest level.”
With that in mind, Noszka will be a great success on North Bend Road. With so many more athletes to choose from, numbers won’t be a problem once Noszka puts his stamp on the program.
Another Noszka trait that will be missed at 300 Richardson Place is an unselfish demeanor. When he noted St. Xavier was 3-33 in its last 36 Greater Catholic League games, he pointed out one more interesting fact.
“I told them during the interview that we were the last team in Southwest Ohio to beat Moeller, March 9, 2016,” Noszka said.
Don’t see it?
We as in Wilmington. Not I as in Michael Noszka the coach.
Good luck wearing the blue and white, coach, and thanks again for all you did during your time in orange and black.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports