It seemed like Wayne Kreiger had done it all.
Hed logged almost five decades of coaching high school girls basketball teams. Hed made a name for himself by giving back to the sport at the state level. And hed spent years coaching alongside his son, Scott, first at Columbia City High School, then at Canterbury High School.
But it wasnt until last year that Kreiger was head coach of a state championship team.
Ken Harkenrider, Canterbury High Schools athletic director, cant imagine anyone who deserved that thrill more.
Kreiger is the kind of coach that some hotshot NBA players might refer to as old school, Harkenrider said. But both athletic director and coach take pride in that label, one that was also used to describe the late John Wooden. Considered a coaching great, Wooden was known for teaching his players the basics, including how to put on their socks in a way that prevents blisters.
It creates this sense of humility – no matter how good you get, Harkenrider said. Whether youre winning or losing, certain things need to be done a certain way.
Coach Kreiger has found that formula. And even after reaching the pinnacle of his profession, hes possibly more excited to come back this season than the year before, his supervisor said.
Hes putting his socks on the right way one more year, Harkenrider said.
The athletic director couldnt have sounded more pleased.
Name: Wayne Kreiger
Title: Associate broker with Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber in Columbia City
Family: Married to Debbie; father of Scott Kreiger, Steve Kreiger and Sally Wherry; stepfather of Angela Miller and Andy Bills; grandfather of 13
What community groups have you been involved with in a leadership capacity? Kreiger is an associate director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and has served on the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association for two terms. Hes a former state chairman of the sports associations polling committee for state rankings.
Kreiger, who has coached for almost 50 years, was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He has coached at Huntington, Columbia City and Canterbury high schools.
What is your most recent accomplishment? Kreigers team, the Canterbury High School girls basketball squad, won Indianas 1A championship this year.
What makes a leader effective? Getting results starts with being a motivator, Kreiger said. Effective leaders also have to be good listeners because useful ideas can come from all levels, he said. And the best leaders are approachable and unafraid to delegate duties, he added.
What leadership traits do you value most? I dont think theres any question: Honesty and integrity, Kreiger said. Thats an absolute slam-dunk as far as Im concerned.
The same principles work on the court and in the professional world.
In real estate, its the same thing, he said. People need to feel that you look at their transaction as the most important thing in the world – because they do.
What is the best leadership book youve read? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey made a big impression on Kreiger. It just helps to break down different aspects of how people can be effective, he said.
What are the best ways to overcome self doubt? Kreiger doesnt allow self doubt to take hold in the first place.
I think youve got to believe in yourself, he said.
When you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, you need to believe youre done the best you could in previous situations, he said. As a coach, thats all he asks of his players. Past failures can quickly overwhelm someone who dwells on them, Kreiger said.
How do you manage your time? I think you have to prioritize, he said. You have to look at the big picture.
To illustrate his point, Kreiger said that if you were the first person on the scene of an auto accident, youd call for help and then evaluate the people in the car to determine who needs immediate help and who can wait.
Your to-do list needs the same kind of triage to help you put things in proper order, he said.
Who are your role model(s) and why? Kreiger tries to model himself after his parents, who were educators at various schools in Huntington County. Theyre both deceased. Earl Kreiger was a teacher and coach who went on to be principal. Helen Kreiger was a teacher and counselor who went on to be dean of girls.
They were very loving and brought me up in a Christian home, Kreiger said.
Wayne Kreiger also considers renowned college basketball coach John Wooden a role model.
Wooden, who coached teams to a record 10 NCAA mens basketball championships, created a pyramid of success that applies to life as much as it does to sports. He was known for saying hed know how his players turned out in 25 years, after theyd become husbands, fathers and community members.
Describe one leadership challenge and how you resolved it: In his role as a real estate broker, Kreiger had a deal that looked dead in the water. But with patient negotiation, he was able to get each side to give in just enough to make the other side willing to move ahead with the sale. By giving a little, both sides walked away satisfied, he said.
What are your goals? I want to make sure that those I come in contact with are successful in whatever endeavor theyre pursuing, Kreiger said.
The same philosophy holds true whether hes working in the real estate arena or with high school athletes, he said.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? On weekends, youll find Kreiger watching all kinds of sports, playing golf, and spending time with family and friends.