USI Men’s Basketball adds Happe to mix

Bradie Gray

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On Aug. 26, the Men’s Basketball Team announced the hiring of Clinton Happe as its new graduate assistant to replace Blake Woodard.

Woodard is now at Millikin University in Illinois, where he has accepted an assistant coaching position for the Division III basketball team.

Happe, a former McKendree University student athlete and sports management major, was considered for the graduate assistant position after he joked with Men’s Basketball Coach Rodney Watson following a basketball game.

“I said to keep an eye out for me because I was looking to coach someday and he took me seriously,” Happe said.

Happe joins two full time assistant coaches and Watson on the sidelines.

“We use the term ‘graduate assistant’ only because Clinton is basically volunteering his time and we help him with the tuition part of his masters program,” Watson said. “There is no distinction between levels — he is an assistant coach. The only difference is that he’s going to school and the three of us aren’t.”

Happe seems to already have developed solid relationships with the rest of the staff and basketball players, knowing Coach Watson so well that neither of them could recollect actually meeting each other for the first time.

“I’m not sure how we met,” said Watson. “I know I kept an eye on him when he played for Reitz and then I remembered him from when our teams played each other.”

As for Happe’s many duties, he hasn’t delved into all that the position requires of him yet.

“Right now, I’m mostly working in practices with individual players,” Happe said. “I’m there for their workouts, which range from anything on the gun to the couple of hours that we have to practice each day, and I go with them to the weight room and sports acceleration.”

Once the season starts up, Happe will add assisting the players with on-court coaching during games to his list of duties.

Coach Watson has high hopes for where this position will take Happe.

“My goal is for him to get an opportunity to get his hands on every aspect of the game, most of which takes place off the court. That’s where most of our work is done,” Watson said. “I’d like for him to see a different side of basketball, more than he did as a player. It’s quite a bit different on the third floor than it is on the first.”

Happe plans to finish coaching here at USI as part of his graduate program and further his coaching career wherever it may take him.

“I would like to be an assistant coach and eventually a head coach,” Happe said. “Traveling to coach wouldn’t bother me, but I do like Evansville, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all.”