As Rob Niemic sees it, basketball is basketball and athletes are athletes.
Niemic, an assistant for McHenry’s boys basketball varsity team the past six seasons, has been hired to take over as the school's girls coach after recently being approved by the District 156 school board. Niemic has taught U.S. history and other social studies classes since he came to the school in 2006.
“When I found out, I talked to the returning varsity kids and every single one of them was excited and wanted to work,” Niemic said. “It’s all about wanting to be pushed. Their reaction was very positive and made me more excited about working towards it.”
Niemic, a 2001 Crystal Lake South graduate, was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection that year, leading the area in scoring at 20 points a game. He played at NAIA Hastings (Neb.) College and has worked as an assistant coach in football and baseball, as well as basketball at McHenry.
Niemic’s first basketball coaching job with the Warriors was as girls sophomore coach in 2007.
“He’s so prepared and we’re not going to get anyone who gives more time to the game than Rob,” McHenry athletic director Barry Burmeister said. “It’s nice to have one of your own who comes in and knocks it out of the park on his interview. He’s definitely the person to take it to the next level.”
Niemic was McHenry’s boys head sophomore coach in 2008, then assisted with boys varsity head coach Tim Paddock for the last six seasons.
“I’ve worked with a lot of great coaches and taken pieces of their philosophies and put it together for what a program would look like,” Niemic said. “I love teaching as much as I love coaching. To me, coaching is teaching. I’m humbled that McHenry High School has taken me to take on this task. The first thing I said to Barry is, ‘I won’t let you down.’ He said, ‘I’m not worried about that.’ ”
Burmeister also was on the bench as an assistant with Paddock and Niemic for a few seasons, so they know one another well.
“It’s time for him to get a chance to lead,” Burmeister said. “He teaches our philosophy of leadership class and he will be a great leader. He was our choice as far as giving it a shot.”