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Central's Jossie moves to Oak Creek

Basketball coach resigns after four years at school

June 1, 2010

Work ethic, intensity and enthusiasm - those are among the qualities that Mike Jossie will take from West Allis Central High School to Oak Creek.

Jossie, the head basketball coach for the past four seasons at Central, resigned last week to accept the same position at Oak Creek after the resignation there of eight-year veteran Bernie Lindner.

Basketball, however, was not the primary factor behind the move.

"It is really due to the opportunity that was presented to me as an educator," Jossie said. "I will get the opportunity to teach in a variety of settings and that was something that was appealing to me. The basketball job is really a bonus, and they (Oak Creek administrators) felt I was the right fit for the rebuilding job of that program."

Oak Creek athletic director Greg Lampe is one of the school officials who hold Jossie in high regard.

"Mike is very professional and very enthusiastic," Lampe said. "He also is willing to put forth the effort to develop our youth program to a greater extent."

The youth program is indeed one of Jossie's highest priorities.

"For me, the intriguing part is that I will have an opportunity to build a foundation for the program," he said. "The youth program is where we must start, and I am extremely excited that there are numerous people who would like to be part of the building.

"With a new coach, there are always going to be changes, and the players and people involved need to welcome these changes and realize they are what the program has needed."

Jossie also plans to bring some changes to the varsity program, which struggled to a 3-20 season in 2009-10, including an 0-14 record in the Southeast Conference.

"My job is to challenge these young people to be the best they can be on and off the court," he continued. "The players are going to work harder than they worked before. If they thought practices were difficult before, they have not witnessed a Coach Jossie practice."

Although he can be tough when necessary, Jossie clearly enjoyed a mutual respect and admiration with his Central players. "I leave behind a group of young men, past and present, whom I have grown to love over the course of four years and who really helped turn this into a more competitive program," he said.

The Bulldogs were 5-16 three years ago but posted 10 and nine victories, respectively, the past two seasons.

Jossie, though, derived a much deeper satisfaction than simply winning games in his tenure at Central. "When I first took this job," he said, "I thought wins and losses meant the world to me, but over time, you realize they last briefly. The relationships you build and the direction in which you lead kids are what lasts a lifetime. When I look back here on my time, I feel we were successful, because we shaped young persons' lives."

Jossie is coming off a battle with testicular cancer last winter but recently finished his treatment. Doctors have told him there is now a 97 percent chance he will be cancer-free for the rest of his life. "I like those odds," he said, "and either way, I am going to live life to the fullest."

Part of that will be taking on the rebuilding job at Oak Creek. "Rebuilding a program takes time," he said. "I have a vision in mind, but everyone must be patient as I change the culture of the program. The potential is endless at Oak Creek, but hard work is what it will take. I know I am going to do everything I can for these young men and I believe they will do the same for me. This is going to be an interesting journey, and I am going to enjoy it as well."

PARTING COMMENTS

As he leaves West Allis Central High School, Mike Jossie expressed his appreciation toward his former and current players, as well as the parents he worked with in the past four years.

FORMER PLAYERS: Oren Bloom, Derwin George, Mac Kraker, Ben Hart, Alex Kingsley, Matt Neary, Bobby Gnatzig, Ryan Ford, Jake Gritzmacher, Tyler Dressel and Charlie Fazen

JOSSIE: "They would do anything for the coach. They wanted to build something special and they accomplished many great things."

2009-10 PLAYERS: Jarvis Garrett, Darvell Brown, Anthony Harris, Chris Helm, Austin Soppa, Najeal McMillian, Robert Fabry, Corey Sigler, Isaac Millen, Terrence Garner and Nick Starich

JOSSIE: "I hope they know I gave them everything I had. I hope they realize just how special they are to me and that I will be watching from afar and wanting them to be successful players and successful young men."

JOSSIE ON PARENTS: "They always allowed me to coach and allowed me to do what I thought was right for their child. They showed the utmost respect to me. Pete and Colleen Kraker continue to do everything for this school and I was fortunate to have them as support. I hope Oak Creek has people like the Krakers because they made my time here special."

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