scores in the 30s were not uncommon during Mike Soukup's six-year
tenure as an assistant coach at Redford Union, whose head coach, Brett
Steele, combines high-intensity defense and a deliberate,
Soukup will bring a similar defense-first philosophy to Plymouth High School's boys basketball program after being hired to replace Tom Van Wagoner in May, but he's not opposed to change -- at least on the offensive end.
"I'm definitely a defensive-oriented coach," emphasized Soukup, a 32-year-old physical education teacher at Meads Mill Middle School in Northville. "We definitely want to be good at that end of the court. That said, I'd like to play a little more up-tempo than my mentor (Steele) did.
"I'll see what I evolve into at the varsity level with my own program. A lot depends on the personnel. If we have the horses to run, then let's run up and down the floor. I've only seen them play in limited action this summer, so it's tough to gauge exactly what kind of team I have."
Soukup's resume is impressive. Following a stellar high school playing career at Redford Thurston -- where he earned All-Area honors -- he's coached at basically every pre-collegiate level possible.
"I've coached a number of players who have gone on to play in college," he said, "so I know what it takes to get to that level -- a lot of hard work and dedication to the sport.
"Getting this job has been kind of a dream-come-true type of thing. I've worked as an assistant for so long at the varsity level, so it feels good to get a chance to run my own program."
The majority of Soukup's experience has come in the Mega Conference, which includes several downriver-based teams. He's always admired the Kensington Lakes Activities Association and, before that, the Western Lakes Activities Association from afar.
"I like the league because it has similar schools with similar populations," he said. "From a selfish standpoint, it's nice because the furthest we'll have to travel within our league is nine miles. And I've never experienced playing another team in the league like Canton that's located on the same campus.
"I'm fired up and looking forward to the upcoming season."
Ed Wright can be contacted at
email@example.com or (734) 453-1980.