Coach Cole ready to continue Kingwood's basketball tradition
By Josh Koch on May 24, 2017 8:00 pm
HOUSTON – Days after Monte Cole found out he was indeed getting his first head coaching job, the former Atascocita assistant reached out to who he considers a legend.
“I talked to him for a good 30 minutes,” Cole said about calling former Kingwood coach Royce Huseman. “He congratulated me. He’s been really helpful. I went over to Kingwood on Monday during athletic period and had a chance to sit and talk to him, talk to Coach Odom and watch the guys.
“He’s been real helpful and he’s offered to help more down the road.”
Cole replaces Huseman, who became a mainstay at Kingwood High School over his 26 years of serving as the boys basketball head coach.
Huseman – who announced his retirement on April 21 – left the program after 600-plus victories, including claiming the 2005 5A state championship.
“It’s a great opportunity to come in there and follow Royce Huseman is pretty awesome to be able to do that,” Cole said. “Follow a guy who’s had so much success and a program that’s so well established. Me coming in there my main focus is to keep that tradition going.”
Cole comes from Atascocita, which quickly became a household name in the past few seasons considering all their success.
Serving as an assistant coach under David Martinez for five years, Cole watched Martinez build the program into a state power – reaching No. 1 ranking in Texas in 2016.
Atascocita posted a 38-1 record in 2016, its only loss coming in the 6A state championship game to DeSoto. From 2014-2016, Atascocita racked up an overall record of 102-10 and three-straight trips to the regional finals.
Learning from a coach that built up the Humble and Atascocita basketball programs under his tuleage, Cole said were lessons he’ll carry into his first stint as a head coach.
“Being able to see how he ran a program was huge for me,” he said. “Each year my responsibilities increased. I grew as a coach to the point where I felt I was ready to take over a program. A lot of that is attributed to him. He was a big influence on my career.”
Prior to arriving at Atascocita, Cole served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Hardin-Jefferson, under former head coach Todd Sutherland and current coach Clay Davis.
Taking the knowledge he’s gained over the years from Sutherland, Davis and Martinez and rolling it into one, Cole felt it was his time to lead a program of his own.
“I don’t know if I could have stepped into a better situation,” Cole said. “Not only is it Kingwood, which is a premiere job. I get to stay in Humble ISD. I’m ver familiar with Humble ISD, I love Humble ISD.”
This is the first time Kingwood has ushered in a new head coach since 1992.
With the impact that Huseman had on the program during his tenure, massive change isn’t something it has experienced in nearly three decades.
“It’s going to be an adjustment for everybody,” Cole said. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. He did some great things. He’s basically a legend in the state. There’s a lot of things he’s done that I will continue to do. I’d be crazy to go in there and just change up everything he’s established. I’m definitely not doing that.
“The program is so well established and so well-rounded there’s not a whole lot I’m going to have to come in and redo.”
Looking forward to the remainder of this school year, Cole said there is a to-do list for him to tackle.
Filling out the rest of his coaching staff will be the first task at hand. Then he will take time to evaluate the program, its strengths and weaknesses in preparation for the fall.
The biggest key for Cole this summer is building relationships with the players. Them getting to know him and vice versa. Outside of the basketball know-how, Cole said the biggest lesson he took from Martinez was building those relationships.
With that formality taken care of during the summer, Cole said they can just focus on basketball once school begins.
One of the games that will definitely be circled on the schedule for next season will be Kingwood’s roadtrip across the bridge to Atascocita for a District 21-6A clash.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Cole said about facing his former mentor in Martinez. “It’s probably going to be a little weird at first going over there being a visiting team. I look forward to that. I’m a competitor. That’s one of the better programs in the state. To go over there and compete against them and coach against him, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“It’s been a good rivalry in the past and hopefully that’ll continue.”