National sources: Schertz will be next ISU men's basketball coach

Todd Golden, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
·5 min read

Mar. 15—Several national college basketball sources have reported that Lincoln Memorial men's basketball coach Josh Schertz will be the man to take Indiana State's open men's basketball job.

Both Jeff Goodman of Stadium.com and Jeff Borzello of ESPN reported Monday that Schertz and ISU have an agreement in place.

The Tribune-Star reached out to Schertz via email on March 8 about his interest in the position, but received no comment.

Schertz's current Lincoln Memorial team is still playing, and hosting, the Division II Southeast Regional in Harrogate, Tenn.

The second-seeded Railsplitters defeated Tusculum 80-66 on Sunday and will play fourth-seeded Emmanuel on Tuesday for the right to advance to the Division II Elite Eight.

It's unlikely an official announcement will come from ISU until after Lincoln Memorial is done playing in the NCAA Tournament this week or later.

If the reports are accurate, ISU will get a coach that has turned Lincoln Memorial into a Division II power.

Schertz has amassed a 335-68 record at the school, which is located at the Cumberland Gap, where Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia converge. That record is third-best among any coach at any NCAA level.

Schertz is a four-time Division II National Coach of the Year. The Railsplitters' best showing in the Division II tournament under Schertz was a runner-up finish in 2016.

Schertz made Lincoln Memorial the winningest Division II program of the 2010s. After his 14-14 record in his initial season in 2009, Lincoln Memorial has not failed to win 20 games in a season since then.

Schertz, born in Brooklyn and who grew up on Long Island in New York, has not been a head coach at the Division I level.

His only coaching stints in Division I was as an associate head coach for five seasons at High Point, a school that competes in the Big South Conference. Schertz also spent one season at the start of his career at Florida Atlantic, where he graduated from.

A window into Schertz's way of doing things was revealed when he did a mock interview on athleticdirectoru.com in September 2020.

"Our program pillars are integrity, we're not going to cut corners we're not going to take short cuts. We're going to work hard and do things at the highest level above board in every way," Schertz said.

"A second part is competition. A big part of people having pride is a program has to have success. You have to win, we're a competitive, bottom-line business," Schertz continued. "The third program pillar is joy. While we take basketball seriously, we don't take ourselves too seriously. We really want to compete, but we want our guys to enjoy the process and the journey."

Schertz believes in the principle of Kaizen as far as what his program stands for.

"Our over-arching mantra is Kaizen, you see it everywhere in our arena and our gear, it's a Japanese term that means commitment to continual improvement. I tell our team in our first team meeting every year that if we can be known for anything, it's that we embrace the growth process," Schertz said.

"The key, whether you've won 10 in a row or lost 10 in a row is coming in getting the work and getting better. If you can stay focused on that? It gives you the best chance to have long-term success," Schertz said.

Schertz has also won despite budget challenges. He said in a 2020 interview that when he started at Lincoln Memorial, he went from a program that didn't fund all of its scholarships to a fully-funded situation with a fully-paid assistant coaching staff.

Schertz's teams play at an up-tempo style, the Railsplitters average 92.3 points per game this season.

Schertz is a big believer in analytics, to point where one of his graduate assistant is assigned to track analytical trends during games. His teams focus on getting sound shots beyond the arc and at the rim. Lincoln Memorial will rarely take a mid-range jump shot.

Lincoln Memorial will spread the floor and nearly every player has the capability to shoot from 3-point range. Six players have attempted 30 3-point shots or more and 46% of Lincoln Memorial's shot attempts come from beyond the arc.

For ISU, it would be the third time in the last four times it's had a coaching opening where the successful candidate had head coaching experience in the Division II ranks.

Royce Waltman was hired from Indianapolis in 1997. Waltman quickly restored ISU's winning ways, with consecutive winning seasons from 1998-2001, including two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001 before a run of six-straight losing seasons capped his career.

ISU did not hire Kevin McKenna in 2007 straight out of Nebraska-Omaha, he was an assistant at Creighton when hired, but Omaha — then a Division II program that has since ascended to Division I — was where McKenna had head coaching experience.

McKenna was 89-33 with the Mavericks from 2001-05. He had two losing seasons and one winning season with ISU before he left to take an assistant coaching job at Oregon he still has.

Schertz has one thing in common with another ISU legend — Duane Klueh. Schertz was an elite tennis player when he was young. Schertz played basketball at the junior college and NAIA level.