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Peers, Former Players React to Albrecht’s 700th Win at STLCC

January 09, 2012

Randy Albrecht  
Randy Albrecht notched his 700th career win
at St. Louis Community College Jan. 4.

As Randy Albrecht ticked away the victories on the way to 700 wins at St. Louis Community College, you would have no inclination to believe that was a coach closing in on a rare milestone.

The longtime STLCC coach has a penchant for deflecting credit, and instead dispersing it between his players. Fortunately, Albrecht’s peers and players do the bragging for him.

Jay Harrington is in his 33rd year as the head coach at Southwestern Illinois College, and is one of the few area coaches who knows what it takes to reach the 700-win plateau at the junior college level.

“I don’t think anybody realizes how hard it is to be a junior college coach, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing it 30-plus years or not,” Harrington said. “You’re recruiting. You don’t have the number of assistants everyone else has. People have no idea how hard it is.

“I’ve always said Randy Albrecht is one of the best coaches I’ve ever faced,” Harrington added. “If he would have had the scholarships that (all-time NJCAA wins leader) Gene Bess had at Three Rivers, or Coach (Bob) Sechrest at Mineral Area, he might have had 800 or 900 wins. He’s playing in a league that’s half Division I and half Division II, and with what he’s still been able to do, you have to give Randy Albrecht all the credit.”

As it stands, Albrecht’s 700th victory, which was attained with an 87-77 win over Tohono O’odham Community College on Jan. 4, places him ninth among active junior college coaches. Over his 35 years at STLCC, Albrecht has brought in a tremendous wealth of talent, coaching seven NJCAA All-Americans along the way.

Bill Brandenburg was the most recent selection, as he garnered the honor following a stellar 2007-08 season under Albrecht. Brandenburg is quick to credit his coach for his collegiate success.

“Coach Albrecht is 100 percent the best coach I had in college, and I went to three colleges,” Brandenburg said.

Brandenburg said a key difference between Albrecht and the majority of college coaches is Albrecht’s ability to contour his game planning to fit his roster, instead of trying to foist an existing system on a new player. What results is a roster of players that is more empowered to play to their own strengths, instead of forcing their way out of their comfort zone.

“A lot of coaches look at you and see how they can change you,” Brandenburg said. “He used what I used well to put me in position to score. It just brings out the best in a player.”

Bringing out the best in his players has been a necessity this year, with players such as freshmen Harvey Mills and Jamese Taylor playing significant roles after not playing competitively in recent years.

With the Archers now proving to be competitive once again, carrying a 9-6 record into the second semester, this could be one of Albrecht’s more difficult—and successful—challenges. Count Brandenburg among those who never had any concerns.
 
“This year, I’m not worried about him having a winning season,” Brandenburg said. “Whatever players he has, he’ll figure out a way to get them to win. He can bring certain attributes out of players that maybe they didn’t even know they had.”

Albrecht’s consistent, yet positive critiquing of his players is also a hallmark of his coaching style that Brandenburg credits as differing from the majority of college coaches.

To the average onlooker, Albrecht’s outward on-court disposition couldn’t be more relaxed. By comparison with some of today’s younger, hyperactive coaches, Albrecht’s demeanor suggests he may get more excited reading the morning newspaper.

But behind that guise is a highly-prepared coach who is a stickler for strong fundamental play. Harrington, a long-time rival who has split his two games against Albrecht this year, has taken notice.

“To me, he’s one of the toughest coaches to coach against,” Harrington said. “There is not a better fundamental teacher of the game and strategist in the Midwest than Randy Albrecht. I don’t care who you put up there. Randy is a better coach than Gene or myself.”