Basketball time is family time: Kouts' Kobza has coached daughters the last six seasons
WESTVILLE -- After the 2016 girls basketball season, Ron Kobza had a conversation with his oldest daughter, Morgan, about his plans.
"I went in her bedroom and talked to her about it, to let her know I was putting in my letter of resignation," the Kouts coach said. "She was moving up for her freshman year, I was just going to enjoy their sports, watch them, be a fan, a parent."
Kobza thought the chat had gone well until his wife Jeannie emerged from Morgan's bedroom about 10 minutes later.
"She said, your daughter's bawling, she's upset that you coached all those girls all those years and you're not going to coach her," he said.
So, instead of stepping down after his eighth season with the Fillies, Kobza has stuck around for another six, not only seeing through the balance of Morgan's career, but that of daughter Lyndsey, now a senior, as well.
"It's ironic how it came about," he said.
However it all transpired, Lyndsey is glad it did.
"I feel really grateful that he's my coach," she said. "I think it's great to play for my dad. There was always talk that he would step down and every single time he brings it up, I say, I just don't want to deal with the noise, you're going to be the best coach, you're going to push me more, help me more than any other coach would. Obviously, there's some ups and downs, but there's always more positives than negatives. If something happens, we can always go home and talk about it. He's always more understanding. He makes me a better player. He makes me work harder than the other girls. If I'm not doing my best, he'll make sure I get it done."
While Ron debates the claim that he holds his own kids to a higher standard, there's no debating how it's turned out.
"You always have ups and downs, coaching your own kids, but it's been great," he said. "They haven't been elite players in any program, but they're above average. They've helped their teams. The way it's always been for us, you're at a small school, you play the three sports, do the best you can with the ability you have to help your teams."
When Morgan, now a sophomore Nursing major at Purdue, started out in high school, the family instituted a rule to nip the basketball conversation in the bud when they got in the door.
"She would carry it over from the basketball court to the drive home to the house, inside the house and sometimes it would last another three hours," Ron said. "The rule was, after practice, she had to wait for dad to get a ride home, so we talked on the way home and once the garage door shut, we were done talking basketball."
While the policy remains in effect, it's since been modified to allow some wiggle room.
"That definitely still happens," Lyndsey said. "Normally, we try to have a five-, 10-, 15-minute conversation about basketball, then we try to get on with the night."
There's no question that hoops, Porter County Conference hoops in particular, has deep roots in the family.
Morgan finished with 892 points and Lyndsey, 5-foot-11 forward, went over the 700 mark with 23 in Tuesday's win over Westville. Mom Jeannie (McNeil), a 1994 Kouts graduate, scored 1,033 points in her career, the sixth-most in school history. Ron, a 1990 graduate of Hebron, amassed 1,505 points as a Hawk. The total ranks second all-time at the school, though it's actually the most tallied by a player while actually attending Hebron since Bob Smock's 1,591 total included 123 from Whiteland.
Kobza's senior team went 24-1 and won an open-class sectional at Kankakee Valley and last year's title was his fourth as a coach.
"PCC legend? He always says he was, but I have my doubts," Lyndsey said, laughing. "I don't know how many points he had, but I know He-B-Ron."
The youngest Kobza, like her sister, excels in school as well. She is up for the Lilly Endowment scholarship, which would pay for her entire college education and likely preclude any possibility of continuing sports.
"It depends on the scholarship," she said. "If I get it, I'll probably just go to school."
As for that 4.0 GPA...
"That's mom," Ron said. "Not dad."
Lyndsey Kobza is a Kouts senior coached by her dad Ron, who also coached her older sister Morgan, a 2020 Kouts graduate. The former Hebron star is in his 14th season with the Fillies, where his teams have won 185 games.