BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Daytona Beach native and former Mainland High School basketball standout Joe Giddens is the new boys basketball coach at Mainland.
Giddens leaves the boys program at Spruce Creek in Port Orange.
“It’s all about timing. Spruce Creek has really been good to me. They helped me grow as a coached.
I was there for about 16 years. When I first got the job there, I still knew that I always wanted to be at Mainland,” said.
“When the opportunity came, I just had to take it. If, I didn’t’ take the job someone else would have and I may have never gotten the chance again.’’
Giddens led the Spruce Creek Hawks to an 18-7 record this past season.
He will take over the Buccaneers program from Landis McCoy, who stepped down last month.
Giddens is ready for the challenges ahead.
“I don’t take anything away from Landis who did a great job. I have to change the mindset of the kids. I’ve got to let them know what it’s like to work hard and what it’s like to win a championship at Mainland. They must buy into what I am teaching, which is often difficult for kids with a coaching change,” Giddens told the Daytona Times.
Getting the community behind the team is critical for Giddens.
He said, “I want to get the community involved to support the team in anyway. I want our team volunteering and helping in the community. If they call, we will be there. I want the business community involved too. At Creek, there is a lot of community support and Mainland can be the same way.”
Giddens graduated from Mainland in 1996. He was a standout in both football and basketball.
He played on two basketball state championship teams (1995 and 1996) and four Final Four squads.
“I think that all helps me as a coach. I think the kids can see pictures of those teams and be inspired,” he remarked. “Also, the kids in the neighborhood have seen the success that I had at Spruce Creek. I’m coming in hungry and knowing what needs to be done. I will be demanding and tough from the beginning.”
In high school, Giddens won a one state title with NBA star Vince Carter (1995) and two with Arena Football star T.T. Toliver (1995 and 1996). Giddens keeps in touch with those old teammates.
“I talk with many of them on the regular, including T.T., Vince and even those before me like Mike Polite and those after me like Tony Bobbit and Tim Pickett. All those played pro ball at some level. I train with them. They give me good advice. They told me to get it back how it was and show the kids work ethic that we had both on and off the court,” Giddens noted.
More than football
Returning the Buccaneers to basketball glory isn’t the only goal.
“We want the glory back. People always call Mainland a football school, but we are actually good at both. I am just going to come in and teach what I know and try to help the kids step their game up to the next level. We also want to make the boys into good men,” expressed Giddens.
Being a product of Daytona’s inner city helps Giddens relate to kids in a different way.
He explained, “I think that helps. Being a Mainland kid I know what it’s like. Also, being from the area I know what it’s like for these kids. I’ve worked with kids in this area at Spruce Creek, but not as many as I will at Mainland. Now I can be in the community more and more hands-on. I can go to the gyms where they play and let them see my face more. I’ll be in the same neighborhood as them.”
‘A lot of fun’
Coaching his new team against his old team will be different.
“It will be different! It will be a lot of emotions. That’s where I started coaching. I coached the other team. I think at the end of the day it will be a lot of fun. I left Spruce Creek in good standing,” Giddens stated.
Giddens achievements include:
•96-38 record with four playoff appearances in five seasons as Spruce Creek girls’ basketball coach.
•160-58 record with four playoff appearances in eight seasons as Spruce Creek boys’ basketball coach.
•Bethune-Cookman College (now University) graduate.
•Played football and basketball at Bethune-Cookman.
•Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
•Played arena football with the Toronto Phantoms of the Arena Football League; Daytona Beach Hawgs of the NIFL and Daytona Thunder of the AIFL and WIFL.