When Cascade High School began searching for a new boys’ varsity basketball coach to replace Jacob Brindle, who stepped down after the 2019-20 season, the administration only needed to look to the end of the bench to find a replacement seasoned in the ways of Cougar basketball.
Nate McMullen, who has been part of the CHS coaching staff since 2017, is taking the whistle for the first time in his career as a varsity coach.
McMullen played for Al Marshall at the varsity level for three years, including qualifying for the state tournament in 2011, his senior season. He takes over a program that finished with a record of 15-9 last year.
Watching a very successful run by Brindle, including a state championship, McMullen is not a big fan of making changes simply for the sake of change.
“We will be similar for sure,” said McMullen. “The biggest thing offensively is getting kids in space and letting them play freely. There are millions of different sets on social media, so some of those may change, but primary offenses will stay the same. Players need to continue to read defenses and take what they are given.”
It’s often been said that offense sells tickets but defense wins championships and coaching a CHS basketball team, it should come as no surprise what the Cougars will show on the defensive end.
“How can you not think 2-3 zone defense when you think Cascade — it has been a blueprint of our defense and it will continue to be that way,” McMullen said. “The kids need to communicate together and play as a team. That is when we will be successful, when all five on the floor, plus kids on the bench, understand that basketball is a team game and we are all in this together.”
After attending Kirkwood Community College and transferring to Clarke University, McMullen graduated in 2016 with a major in elementary education. He currently teaches at Jefferson Middle School in Dubuque.
“My coaching career started in 2017 when coach Brindle reached out to me and asked if I would like to be on the coaching staff as an assistant,” McMullen explained. “Right away I accepted and knew I wanted to be a coach. For four years I have been in the program as a coach from the JV to freshmen teams, and now a big jump to being the head coach. I am excited for this opportunity and ready to get started.”
McMullen said the biggest part of his coaching philosophy is teaching work ethic and competitiveness to kids. He is excited about his new role and invites the Cascade community to join in the excitement.
“Cougar fans should know that the support from a great community is awesome to see. These kids love seeing that support, and moving forward the kids will have fun playing the game of basketball and being respected in a professional manner.”