Cummings takes over North Central boys basketball program
FARMERSBURG — When Scott Pherson left North Central High School to take a new job as head strength and conditioning football coach at Columbus East High School, that meant the Thunderbirds would have a third boys basketball coach in three years.
Earlier this summer, the Northeast School Corp. hired Jacob Cummings as the new coach at NCHS.
“It has been a couple of years since I had coached here at North Central,” said Cummings, a 1999 graduate of Terre Haute North. “My wife Lyndsey was the volleyball coach here for a while, but stepped down because of us having very young kids.
“But after thinking about it and talking it over with my wife Lyndsey, I decided to take it.”
Jacob was hired on July 11 and he had his first workout with his team on July 13.
“We went as much as we could in July before football got into full swing,” he said. “Our skills camp took place a couple of weeks later.
“It was on short notice and much later in the summer than I would have wanted, but I was very happy with the instruction, the learning, and the overall turnout.”
He added he teamed up with Joey Davidson, the girls coach at NCHS, to have a boys and girls camp and plan to coordinate more events together in the future.
“Certainly any coach would prefer to have a full summer to work out players,” said Cummings. “But attendance was great and the time we've had together was productive.”
Cummings went to Oakland City University on a basketball scholarship, graduating with a degree in English Education in 2003.
He then graduated from OCU with a master’s degree in 2004.
“My first teaching job was at Mt. Carmel, Illinois,” he said. “I did that for one year before accepting a position at North Central in 2005.
“I have been here ever since. I now teach all English 10 classes, speech, creative writing and sociology.”
While at North Central, Cummings was the boys basketball varsity assistant under Ryan Kamman from 2005 to 2012.
The Thunderbirds won two sectionals and a regional title during that span.
Cummings also was the varsity volleyball coach at NCHS from 2006 to 2012. During his seven years as volleyball coach, he won one sectional championship.
Back in August 2010, Jacob and Lyndsey, who were then newlyweds, faced each other as rival coaches as Jacob coached North Central and Lyndsey, who is now a guidance counselor at NCHS, was just starting as coach at Shakamak. Jacob and the Ladybirds won, but did he?
“That has been several years ago,” he said. “But I still have a copy of the story you wrote about us.
“It was a very unusual situation. It’s not a position that any new husband wants to be in or hopes for.”
After stepping down from volleyball five years ago, Jacob was the varsity girls coach at Northview High School for three years and last year was a varsity assistant on the Northview boys team that won the sectional.
“I have a lot of experience as a head coach and assistant in volleyball and boys and girls basketball,” said Cummings, who along with Lyndsey have a daughter Kennedy, 4, and son Cooper, who will turn age 3 next month. “I am happy about having the opportunity to coach at North Central again.”
The T-birds have fallen on hard times. The boys program has only had one winning season since Jacob was on Kamman’s staff when NC won the sectional and regional in 2010.
They were 0-24 last year and 4-20 in 2015-16.
“We’ll need to get very serious about defending at a high level, playing as a unit on offense and protecting the ball in general,” said Cummings. “Those might be common concerns for any team, but for a team seeking a winning identity, it will be critical.
“Every player that finished last season has the opportunity to come back. All I have seen so far from those returning players is competitiveness and the desire to learn and keep getting better.”