INDIANAPOLIS | When Park Tudor takes on Bishop Noll in Saturday's Class 2A state championship game, it will be very big for Panthers coach Ed Schilling.
But when some look at his resume, they would doubt a high school game would mean that much to him.
Schilling graduated from Lebanon High School and played college ball at Miami of Ohio. He and Ron Harper led the school to back-to-back NCAA appearances. Schilling holds most of the school's assist records.
"That's how good Ron Harper was," Schilling joked.
He then returned to Indiana and coached three years at Western Boone and four years at Logansport.
This is where his story gets really weird.
Schilling became an assistant coach for John Calipari at UMass in 1995-96, the year the program was ranked No. 1 for 10 straight weeks and made it to the Final Four.
That summer his phone rang in the middle of the night.
It was John Calipari. Again.
"Congratulations," he said to Schilling. "You're now the youngest assistant coach in the NBA."
Calipari took over as the head coach for the New Jersey Nets and brought Schilling along. So in 310 days on the calendar, Schilling went from being a high school coach, a college Final Four coach and an NBA coach.
It is the fastest that anyone has ever climbed that three-pronged ladder before.
"It was crazy," Schilling said at Monday's IHSAA state title news conference at Conseco Fieldhouse. "One day I'm helping a freshman open his locker in Logansport, then I'm coaching Marcus Camby and we're ranked No. 1 and then I'm coaching against Michael Jordan and the Bulls."
After his one-year stint in New Jersey, Schilling was the head coach at Wright State from 1997 through 2003. He then went to Memphis for two years as an assistant, again under Calipari.
Finally, he returned to Indiana. Being on the road non-stop recruiting was getting in the way of his family. So he became the executive director of the Champions' Academy in Zionsville in 2005.
He also learned something that everyone inside Conseco on Saturday already knows: High school basketball is the best highlight in most people's lives.
"No matter where I went I always heard from my high school teammates and I'm talking every week," Schilling said. "That's where the bond is made that lasts a lifetime. It's a place, as a coach, where I can really have an impact on their lives."
Schilling took over Park Tudor's program in the summer of 2009. The Panthers did not make anyone shake in their boots. They lost five straight games and started the season 4-8.
But Schilling's team won seven straight before falling to Wheeler, 41-38, in last year's state final.
Making history is nothing new to Schilling. His grandfather, Walter Cross of Thorntown, won the Trester Award for Mental Attitude at the state finals.
Park Tudor's coach, though, knows that Noll could be very tough to beat in this game.
"Noll has all the ingredients for a great team," Schilling said. "The have speed all over the court. They have a big man inside. We're going to have to be ready for whatever they bring."