Aaron Mercer knows the Greater South Shore Conference, having spent the last four seasons coaching at Whiting.
Even in his previous stop at Clark, Mercer saw a lot of the GSSC.
He’ll be a natural fit as boys basketball coach at Calumet. The hire was made official Monday.
“I’ve coached against these kids for the past eight years. They’re hard-nosed kids, very athletic. They get after it. They play end line to end line and that’s the way I like to coach,” Mercer said. “I like to push the ball up the floor, get as many shots as we can. I like to press, to trap. That’s what intrigued me about this job the most.”
The Warriors roster was the biggest attraction, Mercer said.
“There’s size. There are guards that are very quick. There’s some depth there, even from the JV kids I saw play,” Mercer said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to take this job.”
Mercer was 23-67 over four seasons in Whiting. He’s 33-129 as a head coach with three previous years at Clark.
As a player, Mercer was a member of the 1988 Bishop Noll Final Four team. He was an assistant coach at Clark from 1992 through 1999, then at Griffith until 2007 and Clark until 2014.
Calumet was 11-9 last year, losing to Hammond in a Class 3A sectional title game. The Wildcats are no longer part of the sectional, having consolidated schools. Hammond Central is in Class 4A.
The Warriors last won a sectional in 2018. Griffith, Lighthouse, Hanover Central and River Forest make up the rest of the Sectional 17 bracket.
“This will be my 30th year coaching. I always look for a challenge. You want to beat the best. The way the schedule’s set up, it’ll prepare us for the sectional,” Mercer said. “It’s a winnable sectional. It won’t be easy, by any means, but if the kids do what they’re supposed to do it’s absolutely winnable.”
Assistant coaches Johnnie Hudson and Willie Cross will remain on staff with Mercer.