I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.
The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.
So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist. I write the posts on odd numbered days of the week and John does even numbered days.
In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.
If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.
My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.
John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.
Drew Richards a German Spa Experience with Mike Oppland
This post was originally published on January 27, 2015 and has been updated
In 2014 our university men’s basketball team at UNC Pembroke was looking for a new assistant coach. The vacancy became available when Ben Thompson left UNCP to go to V.M.I. Ben is now the Head Coach at S.U.N.Y Canton.
Our Head Coach Ben Miller who today is in his 10th year knew then who he wanted to hire and his name was Drew Richards. Drew has made a great impact on the Pembroke basketball fortunes since he arrived and the team is currently sitting on top of the Peach Belt Conference (as of Jan 26, 2018). Drew is from Rogersville, Mo., and has great success both as a player and coach over the past 10 years. A former player under Ben Miller at Missouri State, Richards made the trip to Pembroke from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. Drew also was voted one of the Top 25 Assistant Basketball Coaches in NCAA Division II.
Drew dunking on Drake University during his playing days at Missouri State.
He served as an assistant coach for Cameron (NCAA Division II) during the 2013-14 campaign.
I got to meet him shortly after his arrival at a reception for new faculty and staff in the fall of 2014. At 6’9” it wasn’t hard to miss Drew. We immediately formed a friendship over coaching basketball. Over the Christmas holidays we both discovered we shared a love for beer. He liked my blog on “The beer of the day.”
We started giving each other tips on beer. In one of those sessions he told me a great story about a friend of his named Mike Oppland who played professionally in Germany with Drew for the Erdgas Ehingen Steeples. Mike had played for Valparaiso and Truman State. Drew told me that Ehingen is a town situated on the left bank of the Danube River located about 20 miles from Ulm, Germany. The population is under 30,000 and was a friendly place.
Map of Germany with red pin dropped in at Ehingen
Drew had a standout collegiate career and that led to a professional playing career in Europe. In 2011 Drew, started coaching at a top flight junior college Missouri State-West Plains and remained there until 2013. The West Plains Grizzlies posted a 42-20 (.677) record, as well as winning the 2012-13 NJCAA Region XVI regular season title. In 2013-14 he was the assistant coach at Lawton State where he was an integral part of the Aggies’ best conference start in school history in 2013-14. Drew played four seasons at Missouri State and led the team to three trips to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). He led the team in blocked shots in each of his last three years at Missouri State. After college he went to Germany to play basketball.
Drew Richards story with Mike Oppland on the German Spa Experience
While Mike and I were playing for Erdgas Ehingen Steeples I kept asking the local players and coaching staff what are some experiences Mike and I should get as Americans while we were in Germany. The General Manager of the Ehingen Club was Nico Drmota and he suggested we go to a Kurbad and take in a spa experience.
We asked what it was like and all we heard was that at the end of the spa you get to drink great local German Hefeweizen Beer.
Nico described everything else but all Mike and I heard was beer. People in the Germany are very health conscious. They are interested in prevention (Vorbeugung) as well as cure. A Kurort is a resort for preventative medicine, recovery, or cure. If it is called a Kurbad it is a German spa. Mike and I were headed to the Kurbad to experience some things I don’t think you will find in America.
The first thing we learned about the German spa is their etiquette is quite different from America when it pertained to clothing. The spa was co-ed and everybody in the spa was nude.
Before Mike and I entered the spa we pictured beautiful German women in their twenties and beer. This was going to be the life of milk and honey. When we entered the spa it became evident that no females in their 20’s-30’s or even 40’s were present. We had all body sizes and types except the ones we were looking forward to. What we had were men and women in their 60’s. When Mike and I heard nude spa this wasn’t the visual two guys in there twenties were counting on.
We were shocked when we got out of the first pool (did I mention we were naked) and were told to pour honey all over our bodies. The spa had a huge pot of this hot mixture that was loaded with honey. We rubbed it all over our bodies and jumped into a second pool to rinse off. I didn’t believe it but that honey mixture did make my skin feel rejuvenated and smooth.
After the rinse off we were directed to the sauna for a steam. After the sauna it was back in the pool to cool off. After that final rinse and cool down we were pointed in the direction of the bar where sure enough they were serving up Hefeweizen beer. I apologize to anyone who might refrain from drinking a hefeweizen because of the visual this story presents. The life a of pro basketball player in Germany is not all milk and honey. Just honey and beer.