Glunt trying to build a tradition with Mo Valley boys

Moshannon Valley is better known for football than boys basketball, but Kris Glunt is trying to change that.

Glunt was hired to take over the Black Knight program before last season with modest results. However, it took the Knights just eight games this season to surpass last year’s four wins, and they have a 5-4 mark through the first half of the campaign.

With Mo Valley about to embark on a string of games that could determine whether or not it is able to post its first winning record in about a decade, the Mirror’s Philip Cmor caught up with Glunt.

Mirror: What’s been the key to getting off to the nice start this season?

Glunt: I think it all started last year, trying to set a foundation, get kids excited about basketball and really about the direction of the program we were going to head in. Fortunately for me, we had a couple of younger kids that were excited about basketball and have some natural ability and have really bought in. There’s been challenges. There’s no doubt about that. But I’m really pleased with the start. I think we can continue to build off of that.

Mirror: Looking at your schedule, it looks like you have the opportunity to build some momentum through the end of the month. Of course, when you are building a program, it’s always a little dangerous to not get ahead of yourself. What do you feel you have to establish in the next five or six games?

Glunt: I think we just need to come out with a sense of urgency. I think it’s just a matter of taking every game like it’s a playoff game. We have some goals that we want to meet by the end of the year. Sometimes, I think, when you are working with such a young group of kids – we have just one senior on the roster – just developing some consistency in how we approach the game and finding some continuity in terms of playing with one another. It is going to be an important stretch for us over the next couple of weeks. We need to have a strong focus and take a good approach to each game. Our number one goal for the season has been to continue to improve each day. That’s what I want to make sure we do. We talk about success is, at the end of the year, have we reached our highest level of success as a team. Whether or not that equates into a playoff run for us is yet to be seen. I think we can.

Mirror: You live in Bellefonte and you work at Penn State. How did you become the boys basketball coach at Mo Valley?

Glunt: I coached at Bellefonte, and I took a job at the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center for a short time. I heard that the job was opening up. I didn’t know anything about it other than it would be a great challenge. The program, for a three year stretch prior to arriving, was 1-63. For me, it was two things: It was a great opportunity, and it was a great challenge. I thought that seemed exciting. The difficult thing was, within days of accepting the job, I got an offer from Penn State that was hard to pass up. I knew it would be a long commute, but, if you really love something, you do your best to find some balance and try to make it work.

Mirror: Where has your love of basketball come from?

Glunt: I think, early on, it really was more a love of coaching. That came from an experience I had as a senior with Tom Gravish. He came in my senior year and really resurrected our football program. I think that set the stage for me, in that he provided such a great experience for me and my teammates, and you want to be able to do that for other kids. I still use him as a sounding board for a lot of things. I just have a great respect and admiration for what he has accomplished as a coach and really wanted to follow in those footsteps. Coach Danny Miller at Bellefonte provided me an opportunity to coach his junior high program. I really had a great opportunity to learn the game from him. My uncle is the coach at Penns Valley. He’s been a great resource, too.

Mirror: What has to occur for Mo Valley to take that next step and what is that next step?

Glunt: We’ve set our standard that we want to build our program to where we’re making the playoffs on a regular basis and we’re competing for a district championship. For us, at this point, it’s just about getting better every day. With a young group of kids, it’s important for us to keep taking steps forward.