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Urban

Former Region basketball coach Mike Urban, left, and former Region official Mike Waisnora both now live in Florida.

So you just got done shoveling snow for the umpteenth time this month and you're sick of the freezing temps and seeing your breath.

Mike Urban feels your frustration.

"This is our 'cold time' right now — it's supposed to be 70 (today)," he said during a phone interview Tuesday.

Those Florida people love to rub it in.

If you follow Region sports, you know this guy. Mike Urban taught and coached in the Highland school system for 30 years — 13 as boys varsity basketball coach, four years as girls varsity coach, and several seasons as a baseball and football assistant.

Upon retiring, he and his wife moved to Lakewood Ranch, Florida, in 2013 but the coaching bug never left.

This school year, the inevitable happened. Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota needed a boys varsity coach, Urban applied, and was hired in a heartbeat.

"I am the head coach until they kick me out the door," said Urban, who has no teaching duties. "We have a really young, inexperienced team and start three sophomores. Football, baseball and lacrosse are the most popular sports here and basketball comes in after that."

We have Hoosier Hysteria. Florida has the beach.

"Being able to coach young kids, help bring them along, and have a positive effect on their lives is what matters most to me," Urban said.

Cardinal Mooney has 510 students in grades nine to 12 and is about the same size as our Andrean and Bishop Noll high schools.

"Our basketball gym is smaller than Highland's middle school gym," Urban said.

It's seldom empty, however.

By fielding 28 teams in 14 sports, more than 75 percent of CMHS students participate in at least one sport in any given year and some may participate in more, according to the school's Web site.

Boys hoops is a 24-game season, there are district standings and no conferences, and the postseason tournament is seeded.

Urban's Cougars are currently 5-10, with eight of those losses coming on the tough, demanding road.

"Most of our road games are in the Tampa/St. Pete area and the round trips by charter bus are between 170 and 180 miles," Urban said. "But I'm proud of our kids. They never give up."

Urban uses the internet to follow Region news. He knew about the unfortunate deaths of fellow coaches Robert Hall and Marvin Rea and uses two basketball Web sites — crossover.com and huddle.com — to closely follow son Marc, who coaches the Chesterton boys.

It's as if Marc lived down the street.

Earlier this season, former longtime Region official Mike Waisnora worked one of Mike Urban's games and the pair had a great time swapping tales and catching up afterward. Turns out Waisnora and his wife live 45 minutes from the Urbans.

"Mike will move up quick (in the ranks) here. He's a strong official and they need those," Urban said, adding the animated Waisnora did not 'tech' or trade banter with him during their game.

"Old coaches and officials never die. They just move to Florida and continue doing what they love."

Hopefully, Mike Urban can adjust to that 'cold time' spell in his part of the Sunshine State.

"Weather and the snow had a lot to do with us moving here," he said. "I don't have to shovel, drive or walk on it anymore."

Nothing like rubbing it in, eh?

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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