Prep Basketball

Cascade tabs alum Nate McMullen to lead its boys' basketball program

Nate McMullen
Nate McMullen

CEDAR RAPIDS — The obvious question for new Cascade boys’ basketball coach Nate McMullen was if he is going to have his team play a 2-3 zone defense.

The answer to that question was obvious, too.

“Yeah, there’s a pretty good shot,” McMullen said, with a laugh.

The 27-year-old was announced Wednesday as the new leader of a historically strong program. There’s no doubt he’s invested, as he played for the school, including at the state tournament in 2011, and has coached there the last four years.

He’s had two pretty good influences, starting with Hall of Famer Al Marshall, the state’s third-winningest coach all-time and a guy who literally wrote a book on the effectiveness of the 2-3. Then there’s Jacob Brindle, who led the Cougars to the Class 2A state title in 2018.

Brindle stepped down recently in order to spend more time with his family. Considering Marshall did it 47 years, McMullen is just the third boys’ basketball head coach in school history.

Crazy.

“At the beginning of last week, I got called for an interview,” he said. “Pretty nervous at the time. But once I kind of got there (mentally) and thought about it, it was like, well, I played four years of basketball here, I have coached four years. I’m pretty qualified and all that stuff ...

“There were just two big things I had to do (the interview) for. First off, Cascade High School and the basketball program, simply because of the tradition Coach Marshall and Coach Brindle have created. The thing I want to keep doing is try to continue that success as much as I can. The second part is the community of Cascade. A lot of people just live and die with basketball in Cascade. Baseball and basketball. The community of Cascade has done a lot of great things for me during my playing career and post-playing career. I’m excited to get started, get going with this.”

Cascade was 15-9 last season.

“The biggest thing I want to teach kids is work ethic, be competitive and be a better person from when you walk into the door for the first time to when you leave here,” McMullen said.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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