Geneseo men's basketball head coach Steve Minton has seen the college game played from every angle and at all levels, but he and his family have found their niche here at Geneseo.
Minton said coaching was his goal after the influence his high school coach had on him during his playing days in Oxford, Ohio. After lettering in basketball and baseball, which he still considers a "huge passion" in his life, Minton began his stay at Heidelberg University while earning his bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in history. Two seasons into his college basketball career Minton broke his femur, forcing him to the sidelines earlier than he had expected.
In retrospect, Minton said he now can see the silver lining of his career-ending injury. Although he was no longer making plays on the court, he said, "I stayed with it, and became more of a student of the game." Minton said he believes he benefited from "being involved in coaching earlier than most." His work even caught the attention of his future employer, an assistant coach of a regular Heidelberg opponent who earned a head-coaching job the year Minton graduated.
Upon earning his degree in 1986, Minton said he fully expected to enter the professional world like most college graduates, settling for a job at the high school level. He was pleasantly surprised, however, when he was offered the assistant coaching job at Tiffin University in Ohio. From there Minton jumped around as an assistant coach, experiencing the game of college play at various levels. He said he enjoyed stints at Division I Miami University of Ohio, Division II in Armstrong State in Georgia and spent time at Albion College of Michigan.
Despite all of these varied experiences, Minton said he wanted to get back to his comfort zone in Division III, home to what he called the "true student-athlete." As it turned out, Hiram College, a Division III program in Ohio, was in need of a head coach, and Minton got the job, coaching there for four years.
After meeting with success at Hiram, Minton began his decade-long career at Geneseo. He set the bar high in his very first season as head coach of the Knights, posting a 21-8 record en route to J.P. Morgan and ECAC tournament championships. His squad won their secondECAC tournament championship in 2004 with a 20-9 record. In the 95-year history of Geneseo men's basketball there have been seven 20-win seasons, and two have them came with Minton as the helmsman.
Minton gave himself a pretty lofty job description; he said as a coach he wants to "provide opportunities where each team member can grow as athletes, students, and as a person." Developing personal relationships with the players has helped him to meet this goal, as have team trips, which he said help to instill "civility and real-world experience."
At Geneseo, however, Minton said the student body here makes his job a little easier because they tend to have a "strong foundation both academically and socially." The athletic department of Geneseo also helps Minton a great deal, as he said they enjoy an "encouraging and supporting environment," especially when it comes to rooting for his favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds. Minton said he and three of his colleagues make up a surprising fan base for the team here in Upstate New York.
If coaching a college basketball team isn't enough proof, the Minton family surely gives testament to how deep his athletic roots run. Minton and his wife Dana, a former college athlete herself, live in Conesus with their two young children, 9-year-old Audrey and 11-year-old Maddux. While his son does play basketball, Minton said it is baseball that really interests him, possibly because his first name is borrowed from the great pitcher Greg Maddux. Most of all, Minton said he enjoys that his career allows his children to accompany him at the occasional practice.
Another part of his job that Minton said he loves is that during basketball season, when the Knights are in town, the Minton family can be found in the stands of Kuhl Gymnasium, cheering on the team.