Paul Hale knows what it takes to win as a high school basketball coach in Southeast Missouri, compiling a 486-219 record in 26 years of coaching.
Hale, who retired from coaching after leading Dexter to a 24-4 record in the 2000-2001 season, will try to keep that winning tradition alive at Notre Dame Regional High School. Hale was announced as the new head boys basketball coach and athletic director at a Tuesday morning news conference at Notre Dame.
"I've always admired Notre Dame. I've always wondered what it would be like to go there," Hale said. "It's just a top-notch institution. This is the only job in the state of Missouri that I would have come out of coaching retirement for."
Notre Dame was forced to search for a new coach and athletic director when Darrin Scott was hired as Jackson's boys basketball coach last week. Scott had put up identical 20-8 records his first three seasons at Notre Dame before seeing the Bulldogs' record fall to 6-20 last season, the school's lowest win total since 1950.
"They might have won six games, but you're not going to keep Notre Dame down for long," Hale said. "They'll be back, hopefully sooner than later."
This will be the fifth head coaching position for Hale, who started his career at Stoutland. Hale coached at Delta for nine seasons, then went to Bernie, where he enjoyed 11 straight 20 win seasons and amassed a record of 260-57. Bernie finished 28-4 and second in the state in 1989. Finally, Hale coached at Dexter for five seasons, finishing 70-10 over his final three seasons and coaching son and Southeast Missouri State University guard Brett Hale along the way. Paul Hale also played at Southeast.
Hale said Notre Dame will be another chance to start something new.
"It's like that every new job," he said. "You have to start over. I've had to start over before. I've started over three other times, and this is the fourth time. I'm looking forward to any challenge that may arise."
Notre Dame will return much of last year's squad, losing only one senior. Bryce Willen, a junior, led the team with an 18.1 points per game average.
Notre Dame principal Brother David Migliorino said he feels Hale will be a great role model for the team, and the players will be happy to have him.
"We're very excited, we feel we hit a grand slam," Migliorino said.
Along with his coaching responsibilities, Hale will also take on the duties of full-time athletic director. Hale will be the third athletic director for the Bulldogs in three years, following Scott and Chris Janet.
"I know this is a huge job, but I've never backed down from challenges," Hale said of the athletic director position.
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