Gale brought unique style to Stuarts Draft basketball

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STUARTS DRAFT, Va. -- After 14 years as head coach of Stuarts Draft boys basketball, Mike Gale is moving on to a new role in high school athletics.

After 14 years as head coach of Stuarts Draft boys basketball, Mike Gale is moving on to a role in high school athletics.

Gale is stepping away from Draft to become the athletic director at Rockbridge County High School.

During his time at Draft, he installed a unique and entertaining style of play on the basketball court. For the last nine years the Cougars have played their version of the "Grinnell System", based on the way Grinnell College, a NCAA Division III program in Iowa, plays. The system involves shooting a lot of three-pointers, full court pressure on defense, and frequent five-player substitutions.

Gale says the program struggled at times when the system was first installed but over the last few years Stuarts Draft developed into a consistent and competitive team in the Valley while playing high-scoring games that routinely saw the Cougars or their opponents scoring 100+ points in a game. Stuarts Draft had a breakthrough performance during the 2019-2020 season when the program made its first-ever state tournament appearance.

"The key to it was the players," said Gale. "The players bought in. The players had to play their tails off every night. The kids bought in and that is a tribute to them."

Gale continued: "They had fun, they had freedom. There wasn't a whole lot I could do in a game. I was like, it's your show. You have the freedom to do what you know and if you make a mistake, so what? We are going to have 100 possessions (per game) so just move on from that."

Gale says he will be stepping away from the game of basketball at this time and focusing on overseeing the entire athletic department at Rockbridge County High School.