By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Your thoughts probably will turn to Bill Presley if the subject is basketball coaches at Diamond High School.
Robert William Presley doesn’t mind that at all.
“I’m appreciative of the Diamond community,” Presley said Tuesday. “The Diamond people — parents as well as players — treated me just great. In a word — unbelievable.”
Presley, who last coached the Diamond boys in 1999-2000, was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last Saturday. Induction ceremonies were held at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield.
“It left me a little humbled,” Presley said. “It was a complete surprise until just recently. They (friends working on the induction) did a good job hiding it from me.”
The group actually recognized Presley, who still calls Diamond home, the day of a Wildcat alumni game at Diamond on March 31.
That affection/satisfaction for Diamond perhaps partially explains why Presley didn’t stray far when he left the Wlldcats for a year with the Carthage boys and four with the Crowder College women.
Add up the wins — boys, girls and Crowder — and Presley is 475-208. That includes 302-135 with the Diamond boys in 16 seasons.
“It takes a long time and it takes good kids,” Presley, 58, said of his success. “There were so many players, of course.
“I would have liked coaching more years at Crowder,” Presley said. “But when my son reached 7 or 8 I was spending too much time coaching and recruiting.
“I’m thankful, too, for co-coaches and assistant coaches such as Tracy Prigg, Rusty McDermott, Tom Brumfield and Eddie Jones,” Presley said.
Presley and wife Becky — formerly Harrell — live on 486 acres.
“I’m a cattle rancher,” Presley said. “We raise cattle. We also have rental properties.
“Behind every successful cattle rancher there’s a wife with a good job,” Presley said. “Becky is a rural carrier out of the Neosho post office.”
Son Bert ironically is a mail carrier in Joplin. He has two children — daughter Aerica, 14, and son Odell, 12.
“I got into building homes and real estate and I had to make a choice. It was coaching or business interests,” Bill Presley said.
Presley attended Alton High School for three years before moving to Fair Grove with coach Mitch Haskins and graduating in 1972. He then played two years each at Trenton (Mo.) Junior College and John Brown University of Siloam Springs.
“Gary Garner, at Trenton, and Bill Haynes, at JBU, were the coaches that influenced my coaching career the most,” Presley said.
2012 MBCA Hall of Fame inductees
Stephen Boeh (Hannibal, Bowling Green)
Ronald Cook (Jackson)
Chris Ellis (Parkway South, Maryville U.)
Bill Goodin (Princeton)
Rick Kirby (Parkway Central)
Bill Presley (Diamond)
Gary Stanfield (Willow Springs, Hillcrest, Drury U.)
Denny Hunt (Filbert Lifetime Achievement Award)
Mike Bissell (Lake of the Ozarks)
John Covington (Four Rivers Conference)