Chris Sheldon has it good, and the Western Reserve coach knows it.
And it is also why Sheldon knows it is a two-way street that has helped him become the all-time wins leader for career coaching victories at Western Reserve in less than seven full seasons.
"I have to give credit to our administration and my parents," Sheldon said. "I am a very demanding coach and sometimes I can be very hard on the kids.
"We live in a society where many schools have situations where they make coaching a job much harder than it already is. But I have been blessed to have a very supportive administration and players that are committed to our system. It's been a key ingredient to having the success we've had here in seven years and it is the reason I continue and love to coach at Western Reserve."
In passing former 'Rider coach Tom Robson, who won 116 games from 1976-87, Sheldon has helped put together the best stretch of winning basketball in school history this decade. Entering Friday's season-finale at Mapleton, the Roughriders are 117-37 under Sheldon with four Firelands Conference championships, five Division III sectional titles and two district runner-ups.
But Sheldon is quick to point out that stretch has also included some names that will live on for quite sometime in Western Reserve history.
There were names like Shawn Shriver, the school's all-time leading scorer, 1,000-point scorer Todd Fannin, Danny Wright, Ben Winkler, Brad Pickens, Seth Todd and John Pickett to name a few more who were all-FC players during their tenures.
"Winning that many games in seven years first and foremost starts with talent," Sheldon said. "And it has helped to have nice scorers through the years, but we've also had kids that have bought what we are selling them. We've had kids who accept the coaching and the assignments given to them and most importantly of all, we've had the kind of success here because of the kid's ability to buy into and play halfcourt defense. It is the hardest thing to get kids to do. Nobody wants to do it."
Joining Sheldon in his success at Western has been assistant coaches Tim Wiesenberger and Ryan Falknor. Wiesenberger has been there for all seven years with Sheldon, while Falknor, also the school's athletic director, has been on board for six years.
"Another key ingredient to our success," Sheldon said of his coaching staff. "And that goes all the way down to the middle school level. What's ironic is Tom Robson is a guy that is still very active and supportive in our community. His sons have been helping me coach at the middle school and now his grandkids are also coming through the system.
"He is a man I have great respect for and I'm proud to be associated with his name and past success."
This season, the Roughriders have had a 'down' season by recent standards of the past six years, but Friday night a win would mean another winning season and a second-place finish in the FC despite returning just three letterwinners from a 20-2 team a year ago, including one player who played in just eight games a year ago due to a leg injury.
A win would also match Sheldon's regular season total of 11 during his first year at the school in 2002-03, then the program went on to have 15 wins or more in the regular season for the past six years.
"We knew coming in to this year it would be the most challenging year to date," Sheldon said. "We had only three kids back and two of them were mainly role players with spot minutes and really it was the first team I'd have to coach that truly lacked size and a low post game and we didn't have a leader either through example or vocally.
"So to say we have a chance to finish in second place and above .500 is a nice accomplishment, but it is below our expectations. We are the team we resemble, which is a perimeter-oriented team that lacks size and experience and that is a formula for inconsistent play.
"We haven't found ways to score consistently in the paint or from our defense and tend to settle much more for jump shots. High school players just don't shoot it well enough or consistent enough to carry their teams to a great deal of success with perimeter shots so all of those factors put us right about where we are and probably where we should be."
That doesn't mean Sheldon won't take evident progress into next season, however.
"I've witnessed some nice growth from individual players and us as a team," he said. "We still have a long ways to go as players if we want to get back to the standard of Western basketball that was set over the previous six years. That all starts with toughness and defense, things we are still trying to endorse and become as players and a team.
"We keep talking about trying to go into March playing our best basketball and we've have had two good weeks of practice and a lot of positives from our win against New London, so this is another critical week of growth for this group leading into next week."