After building a state high school basketball power at Park Tudor, Ed Schilling wasn’t looking to leave.
But the combination of working with longtime friend Steve Alford at tradition-rich UCLA was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“It’s really tough,” said Schilling, who was 87-18 in four years at Park Tudor, leading the Panthers to two Class 2A state titles and a runner-up finish. “I didn’t apply or seek it out. Steve and I have been friends for decades. But it’s tough to leave.”
Schilling, 47, coached two of the best players in the state in recent years in Yogi Ferrell, who just completed his freshman year at Indiana, and Trevon Bluiett, a senior-to-be at Park Tudor. They won Class 2A state championships together in 2011 and ’12. Park Tudor also won the program’s first Marion County tournament championship last season.
When former Alford assistant Craig Neal was hired as Alford’s replacement at New Mexico on Tuesday, a spot on the UCLA staff came open. Schilling was a head coach at Wright State from 1997-2003 and also coached under John Calipari at college stops in Massachusetts and Memphis, and in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets.
“I wasn’t really looking to get back into college coaching,” Schilling said. “I was content with what I was doing. But to be able to coach with one of my best friends and to do it at UCLA was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Schilling will officially resign his position at Park Tudor when he returns from the Final Four in Atlanta. UCLA is expected to make an official announcement on Alford’s staff soon.
“Where we go from here, I don’t know yet,” said Park Tudor athletic director Brad Lennon, who mentioned assistant coach Kyle Cox as a possible internal candidate.
Schilling was also the executive director and founder of the Zionsville-based Champions Academy, a not-for-profit basketball training facility. Schilling said Champions Academy will continue to operate under the direction of Joey Burton.
Schilling’s departure also means the Roncalli girls job is open. Schilling’s wife is April McDivitt-Schilling, who led Roncalli to a 24-4 record and a Class 4A semistate appearance this season.
Though Schilling won’t meet in person with Alford until Thursday night in Atlanta, he said it is likely that the staff will recruit the state of Indiana. One of the most highly-sought uncommitted recruits in the state is Bluiett, a 6-5 forward with offers from several BCS programs. Bluiett’s father said the family remains open to all possibilities.
“I’m sure we will (recruit Indiana),” Schilling said. “Steve (Alford) has always recruited Indiana, no matter where he’s been. UCLA has appeal nationally. When you say that name, it has automatic appeal.”
Schilling is a Lebanon native. He was a four-starter at point guard at Miami of Ohio and started his coaching career at the high school ranks at Western Boone and Logansport.