Coach calls his own time-out

Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball head coach Ken Shields has had to take some time off from the game he loves.

No, he hasn’t been coaching too hard, but instead he has experienced some minor back problems which resulted in surgery on Wed., Jan. 31.

“I had a herniated disk in the lower lumber portion of my back,” Shields said. “I had five fragments embedded in my nerves and the lower left part of my back and leg.”

Shields went on to say that this sort of injury just happened and that no type of fall precipitated it. “It evolved over the years of my life,” he said.

The Norse team has performed well without their coach at the helm, as NKU has gone 3-1 in the conference during Shields’ absence. Shields gives a lot of that credit to his coaching staff.

“Dave Bezold, Pat Ryan, Kevin Listerman and Donnie McFarland are great coaches. We have worked together for many years, and they are doing a fine job coaching the team. I have no worry about our leadership,” he said.

Also, players are doing what they need to do too, according to Shields. “Our players are taking care of business. We lost a tough game against Southern Indiana. We survived against Missouri-St. Louis and beat two good teams in Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Lewis. We’re 15-5 now and we must sustain this intensity,” he said.

Shields said that his team needs to keep the intensity because the team still has to play on the road against Division II, national powerhouse Kentucky Wesleyan College. They also have six conference games left in the regular season.

“We have to keep winning so that we can do well in the GLVC Tournament. Our main goal is to be part of NCAA play,” he said.

Shields doesn’t have to worry about missing many more games so that he can get his team prepared for tournament competition.

He didn’t make the bus trip with the team for Thursday’s game against St. Joseph’s College, but Shields did travel with his family to the Indianapolis game on Saturday.

“I have been making a lot of progress. I am really itching to get back,” Shields said.