If you want to score against Seth Riddle’s team, you better bring battering rams, catapults and cannons to breach the walls because the new head basketball coach at Mineral Wells High School loves defense.
If Riddle’s name seems familiar to you, it might be because he’s a former all-star from Lipan where he learned a thing or two about playing defense.
Riddle’s playing career at Hardin-Simmons University was cut short by stress fractures in his right foot. Off the court but still wanting an education, Riddle transferred to Weatherford College to continue his education closer to home and then finished his schooling at Tarleton State University.
Riddle was no longer playing basketball, but he was on the campus of one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the country, Lonn Reisman, who fielded some of the country’s best defensive teams over the past two decades before his retirement two seasons ago.
“It was great to watch coach Reisman,” Riddle said. “He was one of the top defensive coaches in the country for many years.”
While he wasn’t playing for Tarleton, Riddle admits attending lots of the Texans games so he could bone up on his own schemes.
Riddle had already been well exposed to top-notch defensive basketball at the high school and college levels before heading to Poolville for his first job as an assistant basketball coach. It was there he served under Steven Stegall, and pair had three highly successful seasons with the Monarchs.
Last year at Huckabay High School was Riddle’s first season as a head coach and he posted an 18-17 record with the Indians.
That’s not an overly impressive mark until you consider facts like the powerhouse Lipan Indians and several other tough teams were in Riddle’s district. The Indians bought into Riddle’s game plan, but it took a while for him to get them to believe in themselves after several tough losing seasons.
Coaching against your alma mater isn’t comfortable either especially when there is a long-established rivalry between the two basketball schools.
“That was tough,” Riddle said. “It was something else because everybody was giving me heck with the rivalry I knew going in it was a David-versus-Goliath situation.”
Huckabay didn’t win against Lipan, but the team was competitive and started believing in itself and finished second in district play.
Outmanned in both of their first two playoff games, the Indians downed Baird 56-37 before delivering one of the postseason’s best games in stopping a 25-2, Richland Springs team, by a 75-68 score.
“Coach Riddle will be a huge asset to our coaching staff,” athletic director Gerald Perry said. “Seth comes from a strong program as a player from Lipan. He has assistant coaching experience, and in his first year as a head coach had immediate success in turning a program around.”
Of course, Riddle would like to repeat his immediate success in Mineral Wells.
“I’m realistic about this,” Riddle said. “I want to get in here and meet with the kids and see what we have to work with talent-wise.”
Riddle isn’t walking in blind and has a good bit of information about the Rams players. Mineral Wells and Huckabay were in the same summer league for basketball.
What does it take to play for Riddle?
“Hard word, dedication and showing up every day with a positive attitude,” Riddle answered.
When it comes to attitude, Riddle turns toward Michael Jordan, who he considers to be the best basketball of all time for inspiration.
“Because he had a winning attitude,” Riddle said. “He was out there to win basketball games, and he worked as hard as it took.”
Riddle’s wife, Zayle, teaches in the Mineral Wells ISD and the couple has two daughters, Vivian (3) and Scarlett (16 months).
“Seth brings energy and a strong passion for basketball. Our athletes deserve great coaching, stability, and we looked hard at those factors,” Perry said. “Seth lives here and will get to start working with our basketball players next week during our summer skills training.”