Matt Reisberg, a Carroll County native, started coaching girls basketball at Carroll Christian School in 1997 and boasts an overall record of 399-156 with the varsity girls squad.
He coached and taught at Mount Airy Christian School from 2008 to 2013 before returning to Carroll Christian as an administrator and coach.
The Patriots captured the Maryland Christian Schools state championship three times (2004, 2009, 2016) and the National Association of Christian Athletics championship in 2012, and the Patriots were runners-up in 2010 and 2011 — all under Reisberg’s leadership.
The Times caught up with Reisberg to discuss his basketball coaching career, changes in the sport, and his thoughts on coaching boys and girls basketball at the same time.
Q: You’re coaching boys and girls basketball at Carroll Christian this fall. How did that come about?
A: When I went to college to be a coach, I dreamed of coaching boys basketball. It is the greatest sport on the face of the earth.
When I arrived at CCS, they had a successful boys program and coach. The girls team had not had a winning season and I was asked to help with that. Honestly, at first I was not excited to be offered to work with the girls, but it did not take long at all until I fell in love with coaching the girls. Through the years I had been asked several times to take the boys team, and I was always willing, but I was not willing to give up the girls team to do it. I love coaching the girls team, and the administration always felt it would be too much so I stayed with just the girls. I would try to help out and mentor the boys when I could.
The boys program had been struggling, so four years ago I hired a four-year college starter to come to coach and build the program. He did a great job in building the program. Being a new coach, I would sit on the bench and mentor him and the boys. When he decided to transfer out I began looking for a coach. I interviewed several coaches, and the last one that I interviewed was an assistant coach at Princeton University. When I met with him and told him about each individual on the team, several times he made a comment that to be successful a team needed someone who knew the game and someone who had a passion for the boys. He said several times that with my love and passion for these boys, he thought I would be the best fit for them. I continued to tell him that I did love them and that I would love to coach them but that I love coaching the girls and would not give that up. I offered him the position, but he eventually decided to stay at Princeton. As I began to look for other coaches, I kept hearing him say that I was the one with the passion for this team and that he thought there was no better fit.
I decided to start doing some open gyms to get the guys working and preparing for the season while looking for a coach. After the first open gym I came home and said to my wife that I needed to coach this team. Now I am living the dream! I get to coach a practice, and when it is over I get to have a whole other practice. I get to coach a game and then do it all over again, and it is awesome!
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of coaching both programs?
A: It is easy to coach the teams. I love the kids and love the sport. The hard part is the sacrifice of time with my wife, but I am very lucky. I started dating her 32 years ago when I was in the seventh grade on Dec. 14. She has always been my number one supporter and knows that it is my passion. I would not be able to do what I do without her. However, going to four teams makes an even bigger sacrifice. It helps that one of my daughters is a junior on the team and keeps stats for the boys teams and my oldest daughter (who graduated from CCS last year) keeps the book for all four teams. That helps me get time with them. I do miss time with my wife and youngest son, though — my oldest son is married and a senior in college.
The other challenge is keeping a constant level of energy. It is tough to be on the go from 5:45 a.m. until late at night every night or to keep energy with multiple games in a night. It is easy to fall asleep when I get home. Again, I am lucky to have the wife that I have — we just celebrated 26 years of marriage and 32 years of her following a little yellow bus.
Q: You’re closing in on 400 career wins as Carroll Christian’s girls hoops coach. What does this mean for you and for the success of this program?
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A: For me, it is not about losses and wins. It’s about the number of players that I have been blessed to invest in. I love to try to impact their lives in a positive way, and I try to make things into life application for them.
Success is not measured in wins and losses. It is measured for a coach in the character of the players that he or she produces. I have been blessed to serve the players and their families through the years, and the success is not attributed to me. I have been blessed to have several former players that have been able to have come back and help coach so I could continue to mentor them … Beside the assistant coaches there have been many middle school coaches who have invested in the players before they came to me. They helped to develop and lay a foundation with them.
Lastly, the success has been the credit of the players. They have always worked hard and done their best. I stress to them that success is giving 100%, 100% of the time and that is practices, games, etc. Our goal is to be better today then we were yesterday, and one of the greatest joys is watching players improve.
Q: How have you seen the sport change in the last decade?
A: The commitment of players has changed. The dedicated ones are always there and the number of ones that it takes work to get them to work is increasing. The commitment of the parents is changing. Parents used to always be there to support their kids. They used to always insist that the kids be there. These days there are always other things for many players. The ones who get to the next level make the sacrifice to fully commit and will always be there.
Q: What is your favorite thing about coaching basketball at Carroll Christian?
A: I love to see players develop character, and I love to see players improve. I love to spend time with them and to see them develop as individuals. I love to mentor them. I love to see them succeed at the next level and succeed in life. I love when they come back! I am starting to get to where I now have children of former players who I have the privilege to work with and I love it!