Offseason proves hectic for Persin

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 29, 2003

CHESAPEAKE - If you think the regular season is hectic, take a quick look at Norm Persin's offseason.

There was no lounging around the pool or daily trips to the golf course for the Chesapeake Panthers veteran head basketball coach.

Persin was inducted into the Warren High School athletic Hall of Fame this past fall. He joined the likes of some legendary Warren stars such as Paul Warfield, Korey Stinger and Ross Browner.

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Persin has a 448-131 career record in 25 years including 324-67 in 18 seasons at Chesapeake. He has been named the Ohio Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year and was the recipient of the Paul Walker Award at the 2001-02 state tournament.

"It was a heck of a banquet. They do things up right," Persin said.

The induction ceremonies capped a summer schedule that included not only working basketball camps at Kentucky and Notre Dame, but the prestigious Nike and Michael Jordan camps.

"The camps are different," Persin said. "Kids go to the Notre Dame and Kentucky camps to be around Tubby Smith or Chris Thomas. Those aren't the premier players.

"I do the Kentucky camp because I've done it 25 of the 26 years they have had it. I love the Notre Dame program. The thing about working Notre Dame is being on the campus. If you go to Notre Dame, you'll comeback liking them. You may not root for them like your team, but you'll be a fan."

The Nike and Addidas camps invite the top 80 to 100 players in the country. Addidas, based in New Jersey, also invites players from overseas.

"Those are the two premier camps and they're going on at the same time," Persin said. "The Nike people have really put the time into their camp."

While the Addidas camp is mostly about players scrimmaging and spending a little time on fundamentals, Persin said NIKE extends its instruction beyond the playing field.

He said players spend three days in the classroom. Not only does the camp try to showcase the top players, but it also wants to teach the players about life and society. Scrimmages are at night.

"This is something that is unheard of. They try to teach etiquette. When you go out with someone important, they teach them which is the soup spoon or the dessert spoon," Persin said.

"They also have classes on peer pressure, drunk awareness, how to be interviewed, how to do better on your ACT or SATs, and anger management. They bring in the top 30 college players as counselors.

I attempt to sit in on at least two classes."

The Addidas camp lasts four days while NIKE is eight days. Persin, who coached one team, said colleges coaches from across the country are in the stands to watch the daily scrimmages.

"You look across the court into the stands and see Mike Brey, Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski sitting together. The coaches can catch the players all at one time. They might even be there to see one particular player and get up and follow him around to each court," Persin said.

"There's been some criticism of the camps, but I think the camp is great for the kids because of what it's teaching them and it's good for the college coaches to see all the players."

The other camp Persin worked was Jordan's. Although he said it is similar to other college camps, the one difference is Jordan.

"It's a nice camp just because he's there. It's no different than other camps, but he's there and he's there every day. He makes a one-hour speech and then he plays in the evening," Persin said. "A lot of college coaches have a camp and they show up for the last day and talk 10 minutes before the awards ceremony."

Persin said he enjoys working the camps because they keep him busy. But there is a drawback.

"I do it because I enjoy it. If I'm not working a camp or with my team, I'm bored," Persin said.

"The only problem is when I go to a camp, my wife has got something planned. I came back one year and she put in a swimming pool. Twice she's bought new cars. Now when I come back I'm always wondering what she'd done."