A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Mike Hackett

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Mike Hackett

My biggest accomplishment in my 18 years of living would be being employed with the various publications I write for. As an aspiring journalist, the greatest gift one could give me is this. Meeting new people, and talking to them about their story; that’s what makes my life fulfilled.

Physical education teacher and Munster varsity basketball coach Mike Hackett just received his 300th win, now having a career record of 300 – 86; a 77 percent winning rate - which is the highest winning percentage in the state among active coaches.

Along with 16 years at Muster, 10 years with Merrillville and three years with Kankakee Valley, Hackett’s experience played a role in these wins.

“I was very proud, very honored and very thankful because again you don’t get to 300 wins without having a lot of really good players and a lot of really good assistant coaches,” Hackett said.

Hackett’s relationship with basketball began in high school, continued throughout college and blossomed in adulthood.

“I enjoy it. I played high school basketball, I played college basketball. And I knew my playing days were eventually [going to] come to an end, and I wanted to stay involved with the game because I just loved the game, and I loved the competition. I loved working with young players, and I love trying to put a team together to compete against other teams. It does take a lot of time, you gotta love it,” Hackett said.

As both an educator and a coach, Hackett is able to connect with students on and off the court.

“I think coaches make great teachers and I think good teachers make great coaches. To me what coaching is, is you have to be able to get the kids to understand and do the things you need them to do. I can be the smartest coach in the world, but if I can’t get my team to do the things we need to do to win, then it doesn’t matter. You have to be able to communicate and motivate and be able to teach the kids to do the things that win,” Hackett said.

While some may think a coach’s main objective is winning, Hackett’s main objective is to help players evolve into the best they can be.

“My main goal is to try to get the most out of a group of kids, to try to get them to improve as the season goes on and then at the end of the season, be able to look back and say, ‘Man we got as much out of this group as we possibly could’. That’s always a challenge and some years are more challenging than others, but it’s fun to bring a group of people together and to work hard, have a common goal and to push each other; to try to accomplish those goals,” Hackett said.

Looking back on his 29 years of coaching, Hackett recalls some of his biggest moments.

“Our first sectional tournament victory or championship was very special because we worked. It took nine years to get to that point and to finally win one. So it was very satisfying, almost relieving to finally win that. But all of those tournaments, the sectional, the regional tournament victories were all very special,” Hackett said.

While Hackett is both an educator and a coach, he is also a father. During his coaching career at Munster, Hackett was able to coach his sons Drew and Luke throughout their high school basketball careers.

“My relationship with both of my sons are very strong. I purposely didn’t really coach them growing up. I didn’t coach their AAU teams and I didn’t coach the baseball teams because I knew I was going to get my chance to coach them in high school. It was a very fulfilling, enjoyable experience. It was challenging and it added a different dynamic to just being a father-son. We had to be father-son, we had to be coach-player so there was a whole other dynamic there that we had to fit in,” Hackett said.

Hackett’s experience with coaching has given him new opportunities. Hackett coached the Indiana All-Star Team in 2011, where his team beat Kentucky twice. Hackett is currently the president of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association; however, these opportunities would not have been possible without an understanding spouse.

“Any good coach out there that’s married has to have a very understanding wife. She has to understand that she’s going to be doing a lot of the taking the kids to and from places when the kids are younger to their practices and all that type of stuff. Really if I didn’t have an understanding wife, there’s no way I could do the job that I do. My wife Vicki has been an outstanding coach’s wife. She’s allowed me to do all the things I need to do in order for my team and my program to be successful,” Hackett said.