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Sessions, Newendyke forge long-time coaching complement

December 26, 2011 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

There is a comedic side to the alliance of Red Mountain boys basketball coach Greg Sessions and trusty assistant Scott Newendyke, a pair who have been together off and on (more on) as coach and player, coach and coach or teammate and teammate for better than 30 years.

Like Newendyke recalling the first time they hooked up when Sessions was his junior varsity coach at Mesa Mountain View in the 1979-80 season. Newendyke alluded to his limited playing time that year as "poor coaching" on Sessions' part.

"We didn't lose a game I played in," Newendyke said. To which Sessions responded by recalling Newendyke's minutes were in -- "garbage time" -- of victories.

There has to be some levity between people as closely allied the last 16 seasons as head coach and assistant (three years as the Mountain View girls basketball coach and the past 13 as the mentors of Red Mountain's boys basketball team). They've even played together on the same men's league team for 20 years. They -- like the teams they've coach -- believe in and are a team.

"One of us is offense-oriented (Newendyke), the other thinks defense (Sessions)," Sessions said. "One of us is more people-oriented (Newendyke), the other not so much (Sessions). Somehow in all that we reach the same conclusions."

The duo try and mind-meld twice on Tuesday as Red Mountain competes in the 5th annual Basketball Challenge at Mesa Mountain View High School. Red Mountain brings a 10-3 record to the tourney. The Mountain Lions face Bartlett High (Anchorage, Alaska) at 9 a.m. and plays again at 4 p.m. against McClymonds High (Oakland, Calif.).

Newendyke likes his role as an assistant. He has never desired to be a head coach for a variety of reasons. Working as Sessions' assistant is as close as he'd want to being top dog because of the latitude he's given.

"I got to coach with my dad first (Paul Sr. at Mesa High) and have been around other really good head coaches," Newendyke said "I know all the things they are responsible for. I like the coaching part. Not the other stuff.

"Coaching with Greg I have freedom to state my opinion and say and do things most other assistants don't have. Greg's looking more at the overall game. I'm looking at our guys. Are they making the right play.? Are they being lazy? I can make substitutions. Greg will say no to some of the things I say and think. But with him I have freedom and responsibility. I like that. There's never been a disagreement between us that lasted to the locker room."

Not only did Sessions coach Newendyke in high school, but Newendyke's sister as well when he shifted to coaching girls basketball in teh mid-1980s at Mountain View. Sessions coached Mountain View's girls to two state titles (1988 and 1998) and one runner-up (1989). The second title was with Newendyke by his side.

Coaching with a father or one another's siblings has been part of their history. Another family matter cropping up recently is coaching their own sons. Scott's oldest son, Paul Jr., played four seasons for Red Mountain (2007-2010). Currently, Sessions oldest son, Andy, is a member of  Red Mountain's varsity.

"I coached Paul (Jr.) his whole life," Newendyke said. "When he got to Red Mountain I took four years off. Greg pretty much adopted him. He took him home after games. I knew if I brought him home, I'd have something to say. Greg made all the decisions on when to take him out or put him. I stayed away from coaching him totally."

Andy Sessions is in his first season on Red Mountain's varsity and has earned  time as a reserve. In a couple more years, both coaches have younger sons in seventh grade that will be playing at the same time. That promises to be another chapter in three generations of basketball intertwined between the Sessions and Newendykes.

"I've thought about giving him a title of associate coach,"' Sessions said with grin. ..."Really, Newey and I have different means to the same end. We've been through a lot of games and holiday breaks together."