For the fifth time in seven seasons, Lakewood Park will have a new boys basketball coach come next season.
Tim Voss will take over the program for 2021-22 and while he doesn’t have a big name outside of the Lakewood Park family locally, he is already a big part of the school.
“I am thankful to Bobby Childs and the administration at Lakewood Park for their trust and support in my hiring as the boys head basketball coach. It is humbling to be offered this position and I look forward to the challenges ahead,” Voss said.
Voss served as the junior varsity coach at Lakewood Park under Wayne Brooks during the 2017-18 season, staying on staff for just one year but taking a teaching position at the school the following school year. At Lakewood Park, Voss mixes up a lot teaching duties although his focus is in physical education. He also teaches landscape design & install, intro to business and health at the school.
“My passion had never stopped for coaching. I had a desire in that specific area but god has really opened a door for this year. A lot of things just became clearer and clearer that it was the right thing,” Voss said. “We knew the position might be coming open so spent a month or two just praying about it, talked to my wife about it, the ups and downs. We put a lot of thought into. I don’t usually like to just jump on things…it was the right timing.”
Voss follows up Steve Oberlin, who led the program for the better part of three seasons. Lakewood Park went 26-42 over that time, but Oberlin took a leave of absence during the 2020-21 season and did not return. The program also lost their leading scorer to a midseason transfer to a prep school.
What Oberlin did start though was some consistency. Before Oberlin, the Panthers had three different coaches in three seasons. Wayne Brooks spent one year at the helm a year after Rod Wilmont had led Lakewood Park to a Sectional title. the year prior to Wilmont’s arrival, Chad Hibbard was finishing up a three year campaign of his own as the head coach.
The Panthers have not had a coach last longer than three seasons since Don Davis spent eight years running the team from 2003-2011 with each of their last five coaches staying no longer than Oberlin’s three year run.
“My desire is absolutely to be there long term. Just being in your passion areas and giftings is very important,” Voss said. “Building the relationships with the students over the past three years has been powerful, so hopefully that carries over into our basketball program.”
Voss played college basketball at Taylor University in Upland and high school basketball the King’s Academy near Gas City. Voss went on to be the head basketball coach there after college where he was for eight years. During that time he also served as the school’s Athletic Director for nearly four years. After meeting his wife, Voss moved into the Fort Wayne area where he got the junior varsity coaching job at Lakewood Park.
Paul Patterson, the former longtime coach at Taylor, was Voss’ coach at the school. His coaching tutelage meant a lot to what Voss has tried to build in past roles and will bring to the table for the Panthers.
“Coming out of high school, that was my desire to get into coaching. And I wanted to play for him specifically so I walked on. I had some scholarship offers from different schools but I wanted to go to Taylor specifically for Paul Patterson,” Voss said. “I learned a lot from him…I stem a lot of my coaching experience from what he has taught me and applied that throughout the years.”
Voss says that Patterson kind of laid the blueprint for how he wants to run the program at Lakewood Park. But he looks to a lot of coaching role models that he doesn’t even know personally, including John Wooden. He hopes that the path to success that he will be able to lay down for the younger kids in fifth and sixth grade will permeate all of the way through their high school years.
Feeling like relationship building is one of his strengths, Voss knows that the feeder program being so internal will only help Lakewood Park grow again. He notes Blackhawk Christian and their ability to grow from the younger grades up but also as a teacher in the school, Voss knows that he gets to be around the kids all day and it will help the relationships and mentality grow through daily life. He knows that it puts him at a great advantage being around the students to encourage them and build consistency.
“I am huge on mental toughness, but also just focusing on the little details. I feel like if we can do the little details well: dedication, work ethic, mental toughness, mindset, it is going to take care of itself with the winning side of the basketball program,” Voss said.
The Panthers will graduate a good chunk of their 2020-21 team that went through some adversity along the way. But they will return senior-to-be Carter Harman, who was the leading scorer on the roster at the end of the season. Cameron Hindle, who will be a junior next season, also is set to return after being a major part of the lineup this season. Lakewood Park saw contributions from five underclassmen in the season ending loss to eventual Sectional champion Fremont this past March to wrap up their 7-15 season.
As he has yet to get to experience the team first hand as a coach, Voss doesn’t want to talk too much about the ins and outs of his players just yet. He does note the something special he has seen in Harman since his eighth grade year when Voss was the JV coach, reminding him a bit of himself with his attack mindset and not taking good shots but great shots. While Harman will be looked at to be a leader, Voss is looking forward to seeing how everyone continues to develop around him.
Voss also knows that there is a lot to build towards with a hectic schedule that, last season, included two SAC teams, NECC champion Central Noble, Sectional champion Churubusco and two state finalists in Leo and Blackhawk Christian. He hopes that by the time games tip off this November, he has started to establish some of the lifestyle of Lakewood Park under his leadership.
“Culture is everything. Its been hard to see the turnover…but I am very thankful for this opportunity. I have a deep desire to put in the hard work and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead of us but I definitely want to be here for the long run,” Voss said. “To embrace the challenge, to see it as a way to grow and develop. That is such a mindset thing that we really want to instill in our culture.”