Long-just what the doctor ordered
When Terry Long became the boys basketball coach at Mustang High School, everyone knew of his track record as a head coach.
Coming from Oklahoma City Douglass High School, where he had played and coached for more than three decades was not an easy decision.
Long had won numerous state titles in a row at Douglass and was staring down another one the following year when he decided to make a call to Mustang athletic director Chuck Bailey.
Bailey was in the process of searching for a new head boys basketball coach after former coach Alan Green took an administrative position in the athletic department.
Getting a call from Long was exactly what the doctor ordered for Bailey and Mustang. Several days later, Long was named the boys basketball coach at Mustang, and the process to win a state championship was under way.
He started working with his new team that summer following his hire. He immediately said, “We are going to win a state championship. Not in a few years, but now. We are going to win now.”
Now, it was clear that group that summer did not have what it took to win a state championship, but he was beginning to build that expectation in their minds. He wanted to create a state championship or bust mentality, and it worked.
Several players, who played in the rotation the previous years, decided they didn’t want to play for Long and his style.
Sometimes a branch needs pruning in order to grow to its maximum potential. That is what Mustang basketball needed. Players who didn’t fully buy into Long and his coaching style would only make the team worse in the long run.
The 2012-2013 season was Long’s first at Mustang. His team was talented, but young. That didn’t stop him from saying he expected a state championship out of that group.
Now, that team wasn’t good enough to win it all a year ago, but their mindset was being molded and formed the way Long wanted them to think.
They suffered a heartbreaking first-round loss to Bixby in the Jenks regional, which was one of the biggest upsets in Class 6A last season.
At the time, the defeat stung to the core, but looking back on that game, it is exactly what this group needed.
Here we are a year later and the Mustang boys are one win away from going to the state tournament and having a real shot to bring home the gold ball.
The Broncos hosted a regional last weekend at MHS and easily won, giving them a much-awaited rematch with Midwest City.
On paper, Mustang is more talented than any other team in the state of Oklahoma, but the Broncos must prove their worth against the Bombers Friday night in Edmond.
Long has this team playing with a lot of confidence right now, which is what they need going forward.
Even if this team doesn’t win the state championship this season, they are in good hands with Long running the show. This group of Broncos is still young and fun to watch.
If not this year, a gold ball is heading Mustang’s way in the next two years.