Jon Teitel's "Coaching Greats" Series: Former Kennesaw St. coach Tony Ingle

June 19th, 2011
In the latest installment in his "Coaching Greats" series Jon Teitel spent some time with former Kennesaw State head coach Tony Ingle, who won 178 games and a Division II national title in 11 seasons at the school. During Coach Ingle's tenure at Kennesaw State he also led the program from Division II to Division I, where the Owls are currently members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Jon Teitel: In 1971 at North Whitfield HS you were named First Team All-Tri State. How good a player were you back in the day, and how far did you think you could go as a player? 

Tony Ingle: I was not nearly as good as some people said I was.  I played at a small school, and I was a hustler who did the best I could.  I scored 18 points per game as a senior and almost averaged a triple-double.  It was a great honor to make the All-Tri State team. 

JT: What are your memories of the 1990 NCAA Tournament as an assistant coach at BYU (Elden Campbell scored 15 points in a two-point Clemson win)? 

TI: It was a dream come true to go to the NCAA Tournament.  It looked like both teams were trying to freeze the ball with the 45-second shot clock, even though we were both trying hard to score.  Clemson ended up getting beat by Connecticut in the Sweet 16 that year on the famous buzzer-beater by Tate George.  

JT: What are your memories of the 1991 NCAA Tournament (Gary Trost scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win over Virginia. Brian Williams scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in an Arizona win)? 

TI: Virginia had John Crotty, who was a great guard.  We had a high-post feed offense, and Trost played really well for us.  Arizona beat us like we stole something and never gave it back! 

JT: What are your memories of the 1992 NCAA Tournament (Maurice Williamson scored 30 points (10-14 FG) in an LSU win)? 

TI: When I walked onto the court and saw Shaquille O'Neal, it reminded me of something my uncle once said about a big old marlin he saw hanging over a bar: "Anyone who said he caught that was a liar!"  I could not believe how big Shaq was. We had some big guys who tried to guard him, but he ended up setting a tournament record with 11 blocks.  He was like King Kong swatting airplanes off of the Empire State Building! 

JT: What are your memories of the 1993 NCAA Tournament in Chicago (Trost scored 26 points in a nine-point win over SMU. Kansas' Rex Walters scored 28 points in a Jayhawk win)? 

TI: God it was cold in Chicago!  We played really well against SMU.  Kansas had Walters, Greg Ostertag and Jacque Vaughn, but we had the lead in the final minutes of the game. 

JT: What are your memories of the 1995 NCAA Tournament (Kenneth Roberts and Russell Larson each scored 20 points in a six-point loss to Tulane)? 

TI: I thought we had a better team than Tulane, but they beat us because we were not mentally focused. I am still mad about that one. 

JT: In the late 1990s you were a scout for the Utah Jazz. How did you like being a scout, and why did you decide to later get back into coaching? 

TI: I became a scout because Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan were kind enough to give me a job. 

JT: In 2004 you beat Southern Indiana to win the Division II national title, and were later named NABC COY. What did it mean to you to win the title, and what did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor? 

TI: When I was the interim coach at BYU, we played a tough schedule and had a few injured players and I ended up going 0-19.  I bounced around for a few years just to keep the family fed, then got the job at Kennesaw.  Winning the title was the biggest thing to ever happen in Kennesaw. We were on national TV and I was very nervous.  We won even though nobody really gave me a chance a few years before that.  I took my son Golden to the Final Four banquet in San Antonio in 1997 after I had gotten fired, and he leaned over and told me that one day I would be honored at a Final Four banquet myself. Seven years later, that is exactly what happened.  I told the crowd in 2004 that nobody was more appreciative than me. 

JT: In 2005 the program made the leap from Division II to Division I. Why did the school decide to do that, and what is the biggest difference between D-II and D-I? 

TI: They decided to do that because everyone had gotten excited in 2004 after seeing us on national TV.  When I first got here we would not even have 20 people show up for our games.  At the first game I told our PA announcer to just announce who was there in the crowd so we could get the game started quicker!  We ended up averaging well over 20 wins per year in D-II, but it was a whole different ball game in D-I.  All the other coaches at our school did not know what was coming, but I knew it would be tough because we did not have a lot of depth.  I lost all of my assistant coaches the summer before we went D-I, which was also very hard. 

JT: Your son Tony Jr. was your Assistant Director of Basketball Operations, and your sons Golden and Israel played for you. How proud are you of all of their success, and which one of you was the best player in the family? 

TI: There is no question that Golden was the best player in the family, as he set some Utah state records in high school.  He was only 5'8" but was a great passer and shooter, and at age 12 he made over 100 free throws in a row at practice.  Israel became a college head coach at age 23 and Tony Jr. moved up the ranks while working for me.  They are all great kids who were good students and players, and I am really proud of all of them.  There was one year when each of us got called for technical fouls, even though we were not hotheads! 
Coach Ingle is also on Jon's list of best coaches in Atlantic Sun history.

Belmont: Rick Byrd (1986-present) 518-278, 4 NCAA tourneys, 4 conference titles, 1-time national COY, 2-time conference COY
Campbell: Danny Roberts (1969-1983) 233-178
East Tennessee State: Murry Bartow (2003-present) 162-98, 3 NCAA tourneys, 2 conference titles, 1-time conference COY
Florida Gulf Coast: Dave Balza (2001-2011) 153-121, 1 NCAA tourney
Jacksonville: Joe Williams (1964-1970) 92-61, 1 NCAA tourney
Kennesaw State: Tony Ingle (2000-2011) 178-165, 1 D-II national title, 1-time national COY, 1-time conference COY
Lipscomb: Don Meyer (1975-1999) 663-181, 1 NAIA title, 2-time national COY
Mercer: Bill Bibb (1974-1989) 222-194, 2 NCAA tourneys, 2-time conference COY
North Florida: Matt Kilcullen (1999-2009) 98-186
South Carolina Upstate: Eddie Payne (2002-present) 120-146, 2 NCAA tourneys, 1 conference title, 1-time conference COY
Stetson: Glenn Wilkes (1957-1993) 552-435