Boys Basketball

Greg Leib’s Greatest Hits: Some of Leib’s top quotes over the years

In my 30 years as a sportswriter at the Belleville News-Democrat, the most quotable coach has easily been Althoff High basketball coach Greg Leib.

Part comedian, part historian and part entertainer, Leib lights up a tape recorder like no one else. Here are some of his greatest hits pulled directly from the News-Democrat story archives:

On current Althoff senior Rick Edwards after the sectional championship win:

“Rick’s one of those kids who, if he ever gets in those ‘Survivor’ series, he’s going to win the thing. You drop him out with a pair of swim trunks and a pocket knife in Alaska and he’s wearing a bear suit the next week. He made plays and was relentless.”

On an early Belleville West run that put the Crusaders in a tough spot:

“We had an opportunity to throw the dirt on the grave or leave it open so the zombies could get you later. That’s what happened to us. We were the walking dead out there in the second half. We didn’t put them down.”

After a tough loss to Cahokia on Valentine’s Day:

“How fitting for stinking Valentine’s Day and (we) get our hearts broke out here. Doggone made-up holiday and it goes and crushes my guys.”

On comparing an opposing star guard to the title character in the horror movie “Halloween”:

“He’s the Michael Myers of guards — he has no conscience out there.”

On a tough shooting night in Centralia:

“It was either us, or their custodial crew works like NASCAR guys changing those rims at half. They could be out there with those air jacks, I don’t know.”

On a turnover-filled loss to Mascoutah:

“We’re trying to get a Baskin-Robbins sponsorship, but we only got 30 turnovers instead of 31, so they didn’t want us.”

On watching his brother Phil Leib’s team at the state tournament, recalling the time he played for their hometown of Flora at state:

“Phil had a lot better showing than when I was up here. We made the dunk highlight film for the next 20 years for the IHSA (Illinois High School Association). I had my shot blocked twice all year and Lowell Hamilton blocked it three times in the first half.”

Leib when asked about the reality TV series “Survivor: The Australian Outback”:

“It’s ridiculous. Go camping with my dad. That’s a real Survivor show. There’s no spinning a wheel to eat gross stuff. That’s just part of the natural cuisine for him.”

And Leib in Surivor-mode again:

“Try coaching at Althoff for a year. That ought to be a Survivor show. You’d get voted off by the kids.”

After a win over fellow Catholic school Mater Dei:

“I tell you what, it was a great atmosphere ... bragging rights at the bishop’s table for our principal.”

On his team’s free-throw shooting troubles:

“That’s why we don’t do a fundraiser shooting free throws, it would probably take us two months to make 50 bucks.”

On adding more assistants to his coaching staff:

“I’ve got more assistants than Phil Jackson, but we all work pretty well together. With all the jobs that we have available I’ve got to get some stimulus money for this operation.”

On why he keeps coaching:

“You’ve still got the thrill of a boy, a ball and a dream. As long as that’s there for me, I’m still at it.”

After playing a game without two injured starters:

“I’m trying to get out of that cornfield on `Hee-Haw’ where they are spitting on each other worrying about bad luck.”

On playing a sectional championship game against city rival Belleville West in Carbondale:

“I don’t want their Chamber of Commerce to file a lawsuit against us for taking that big money away. We get to play in an interesting gym and in a sectional final. So if it means driving to the bottom of the state of Illinois, I’ll do it.”

On a team without a lot of returning starters:

“We lost more people than the opening scene of ‘Saving Private Ryan.’”

On a night where three Althoff players missed a game because of the flu:

“We’re still searching for that monkey from the movie ‘Outbreak.’ I think it’s running around our locker room. But as long as we don’t look like Andersonville Prison inmates in the Civil War, we’ll be OK.”

On Althoff’s never-say-die attitude:

“These guys, some of them may have had some ancestors at the Alamo. They just won’t surrender. Regardless of what’s going on, they won’t quit.”

Leib after a series of narrow defeats:

“The Lord puts you to the anvil every once in a while, and I’m tired of laying on that thing. I’ve got to get a break here every once in a while. If these kids keep believing, we have a great opportunity to be successful.”

On a tough shooting night at the Mater Dei Holiday Tournament:

“If we shoot the ball like we did in the first half at Six Flags, we don’t walk away with any trophies or souvenirs for our girlfriends.”

On a night where Althoff was on a winning streak and then hit a bunch of free throws:

“You guys said we were streaking into this thing, and we looked like Frank the Tank from that movie `Old School’ streaking tonight in that fourth quarter.”

In a season preview story coming off a 10-16 campaign the year before:

“You see 10-16, and you’d figure they’d be after me like the end of a Frankenstein movie.”

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