December 12, 2017 2:12 PM

Scherer brings blue collar mentality to program

Millikin University men's basketball coach Mark Scherer is in his first year of leading the Big Blue who are off to a 5-3 start. Scherer is no stranger to hard work, and he preaches to his players that being blue collar is the way to win games.

Scherer is a proven winner in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) posting 245 career wins, a conference championship and seven top two CCIW finishes before retiring as the head coach at Elmhurst College in 2013. 

In his 17 seasons guiding the Bluejays, Scherer's teams finished in the top four in the conference 10 times and made two trips to the NCAA Tournament including the school's first trip to the Sweet 16. Scherer holds the Elmhurst record for most career wins as a head coach and best career winning percentage. During his tenure, the Bluejays were ranked in the NCAA Division III Top 25 rankings 10 times including four times in the top 10. While at Elmhurst, Scherer was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Midwest Region Division III Coach of the Year.

"Millikin is a great school, and I think I am so lucky to have another chance to coach in the CCIW," Scherer said in a recent interview with the Herald & Review. "Crazy lucky to have another great opportunity."

Scherer's coaching strategy includes aspects that the Millikin men were not used to, including the idea of echoing. Any time a piece of important information, including directions, are announced, players are supposed to echo what he said in order to aid in understanding.

Mark Scherer

"Millikin is very fortunate to get a coach with Mark's experience," said Millikin Director of Athletics Dr. Craig White. "When we started the search, I wanted someone with experience, knowledge of the CCIW and the ability to recruit the state of Illinois. We had great interest in the position and through the process it became clear that Coach Scherer was the perfect fit for Millikin University."

Scherer has embraced the opportunity, though he's had to take a different recruiting strategy.

"Before, I was trying to convince kids from central Illinois to go to school up north," Scherer said. "Now, I'm trying to convince them to stay close to home to get an education and play ball."

Most recently, Scherer has served as the director of development at Illinois State University. Scherer served as director of development at Eureka College from 2013-2016 and was the Red Devils Interim director of athletics in 2013.

Before joining the Elmhurst staff in 1996, Scherer was assistant coach at Valparaiso University for four years and an assistant coach at Western Illinois University for two years. After playing professionally in the Irish Basketball Association from 1983-86, Scherer got his start in coaching as a teacher and junior varsity coach at Sullivan High School.

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