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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Brian Packard - Planting Seeds in Fruitport


We were invited to meet an exceptional individual who carries the title Girls Varsity Basketball Coach at Fruitport Schools.  By day, Brian Packard is a Landscape Designer at Mike Rose Landscaping in Norton Shores.  In his "spare time" he's found a calling that not many dare and in that, he's also found a purpose in life well beyond teaching things like dribbling, boxing out and lay up's.  His evolution as a coach, especially working his way up to helping craft young women, has become what movies are made of.  Meet Brian.


Beginning in much lower levels of coaching Brian worked his way up to the varsity role over time and found that's where his fit was best.  It was through experience and dedication that he also realized that there were some pretty remarkable challenges facing these young women at Fruitport and that coaching needed to be a little more than drills.  He was facing a struggling program, the effects of the pandemic and the inability for them to play and practice as well as keep that "teamwork" frame as tight as it should be.  There were also some immensely difficult life challenges for these young women to face with the loss of a classmate and a conference that they play in which is remarkably hard.  Loss, hardship, heartbreak and interruptions....not the key factors in putting up a seasonal record of wins and championships.  With a team of young women who wanted to win, there was a challenge set forth not many would have noticed, but Brian did.

As a team, Brian seemed to help everyone come to the understanding that a team is a perpetual endeavor.  It's a continuance of what was there and what's to come.  What was there...well, honestly, it wasn't much left to build on after all that they had been through collectively.  Brian brought wisdom to the forefront and said that only the understanding that rebuilding the team was going to be equilivant of planting seeds...and that it's going to take the current team, and their willingness to not only get out there and play like champions despite the scoreboard, but more importantly, it was on he and all he coached and saw over to be the foundation for the teams that follow.  Set the example.  Build from the ground floor with the basics and the support that entails the entire person through a sport.  Help the juniors and seniors of today be the leadership that the 7th and 8th graders will see, and emulate when they make it to the "big show" of high school athletics, and then on to life.  

This is a remarkable lesson in leadership that's being provided to an incredibly fortunate group of athletes in a school.  Where some only see trophies and titles, the true nature of competition is bring brought forth day after day and that is to not only achieve but to learn and lead.  To show the way for those to come and to share the understanding of winning in the "long term" is so much more than a buzzer beater.  Fruitport, these young women and our community as a whole....we're lucky to have the depth of understanding we do in people like Brian Packard.  Wisdom carries through generations because of people like him.