After bouncing back and forth between assistant coaching positions in Iowa and Texas, Mark Rague was looking for an opportunity to take over his own program.
Colfax-Mingo co-Athletic Director Zach Tomas hopes Rague found the perfect fit as Tigerhawk boys’ basketball coach.
Tomas and Colfax-Mingo made things official with Rague recently, and the Charles City graduate becomes the third head coach in program history.
“We were attracted to the size of the school and the location,” Rague said. “I know the program has been successful the last few years. We hope to build through the lower levels and continue that success.”
Tomas said Rague’s passion for the game came out during the interview process.
“He’s looking for that opportunity. We are excited, and we think he’s a good fit,” Tomas said.
Rague’s first season as head coach won’t be easy. He has to replace four senior starters from last year’s 15-6 squad. But he’s hit the ground running, according to Tomas.
“He’s a gym rat. He came into town Saturday and he’s already had three open gyms,” Tomas said.
Rague, whose family includes three children in grades seventh, ninth and 10th, grew up in Charles City and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa. After college, he and his wife moved to Austin, Texas, where he taught fifth grade and was an assistant basketball coach for five years.
After that, Rague was a stay-at-home father for seven years.
His family returned to Iowa for his next job. Rague spent four years at North Polk where he coached seventh grade basketball.
Before taking the Colfax-Mingo boys’ basketball position, Rague and his family went back to Texas, where he coached youth sports and spent another year as an assistant varsity basketball coach.
“I am maybe a little more enthusiastic than some others because my route was a little less traditional than normal,” Rague said. “I was offered two head coaching positions in Texas, but they just weren’t good fits. They both required hour commutes, and I didn’t want to miss my children’s events.”
Rague’s first order of business at Colfax-Mingo is to recruit a few of the older players who weren’t out for basketball last year.
Returning starter Brady Berkey also is recruiting those same players, according to Rague.
“Any time you lose four of your five starters, it’s going to be a tough road to start with,” Tomas said. “He’ll have his own way of doing things. That will take some time, too. There are some challenges to the job.
“He’ll have to build it back up after losing quite a few seniors.”
Rague wants to keep the game as simple as possible. His team will push the ball when they can on the offensive end of the floor, and he wants the players to be aggressive on the defensive end.
“My emphasis is to have all five players on the court handle the ball to the point where they can make a good decision,” said Rague, who is volunteering his time as a C-M football coach this fall. “I want to push the ball up the floor quickly and avoid playing against set defenses as much as possible.
“Defensively, I want them to be very aggressive. I want a team to have to shoot over the top of us. I am not a big shot block guy. I don’t mind blocking shots but I don’t want them to get out of position. If we can speed them up and force bad decisions, we’ll do that, too.”