Hoops coach eager to volunteer

By Chris Sigley

Looking at all the new faces on the bench of the NIU men’s basketball team, there is no doubt the Huskies are shallow when it comes to experience.

However, the cagers’ new graduate assistant, Mike Schalow, might be the exception.

The 25-year-old graduate assistant brings with him four years of head-coaching experience and one year as an assistant coach. Schalow arrived on campus this fall to take the reins from former grad assistant Kenny Arnold, who finished his two-year term as graduate assistant last spring.

“Kenny is home and looking (for a job),” NIU coach Jim Rosborough said.

Arnold had the edge on Rosborough’s philosophies when he came to NIU two years ago, as he had played at Iowa when Rosborough was the assistant coach for the Hawkeyes.

However, Rosborough said he believes Schalow’s experience will be his advantage—probably visually more than vocally.

“Somebody told me years ago that one of your biggest responsibilities (as a G.A.) is to be seen but not heard,” Rosborough said. “Mike does a lot of little detail things you don’t read about in the papers. He seems very knowledgeable, he’s had some good suggestions and I think he’s doing a really good job.”

Schalow began his coaching career when he was an undergraduate at Wisconsin-LaCrosse, where he was the head coach at a junior high for two years. Following graduation at UW-LaCrosse, Schalow was moved up to assistant coach at a local high school. During the fall of 1986, Schalow took the position of head coach at Leland High School, which has stationed him in the DeKalb area for the last two years.

After hearing about the opening position at NIU, Schalow jumped at the chance to get his foot in the door in the land of college coaching.

“I made the decision that I wanted to become a college coach, and I thought this was an ideal situation,” Schalow said. “Although this is a volunteer job, it’s no different because this is what I want to do.”

Not only is Schalow one of Rosborough’s helpers, but he also assists in lightening the load on assistant coaches Jon Mackey, Robert Collins and Bill Harris.

“He helps us out on the floor watching the players and he helps us in the office,” Mackey said. “This is his step into college coaching.”

While coaching might be old news to Schalow, the paper work is a different story.

“When I coached in high school, I was more of a teacher/coach,” Schalow said, “but in college, it’s more like I’m a business person/coach.”

Schalow, whose wife, Dawn, is a graduate assistant in the physical education department at NIU, said he is satisfied with the way he has adjusted to Rosborough and the NIU program.

“Adjusting to NIU was relatively easy and smooth,” Schalow said. “I feel the rapport between the players and myself is pretty good. So far, it’s been a great learning experience as well as a very valuable one.”