Get to know Coach Grushkin
Al Grushkin begins his fourth year as the head coach of Indiana Tech. In his previous three seasons, he has led the Warriors to a record of 67-29, bringing his career coaching record to 161-99.
This past summer, Grushkin was a featured speaker at the Oklahoma Coaches Association clinic, speaking on "Building a team defense" which has been a staple of Grushkin's teams throughout his career.
Grushkin, well known for his abilities as a defensive coach, has turned Indiana Tech into one of the top defensive teams in the country over the past three seasons. Since the start of his tenure, the Warriors have ranked 1st, 3rd, and 15th in overall defense in the NAIA.
In his first year with Indiana Tech, Grushkin completed one of the top turnarounds in the country. He led the Warriors to a 22-11 overall record, 11 more wins than the previous season, and a trip to the WHAC Tournament Championship game. The Warriors had four wins over teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25, including a win over the defending NAIA National Champions, St. Francis. In 2010, Tech spent six weeks in the NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll, ranking as high as 15th.
Grushkin followed that up with another terrific season in 2011-12, posting a 23-8 overall record while guiding the team to its first NAIA National Tournament appearance since 2008. The team continued its success during the '12-'13 season despite playing with one of the smallest lineups in the country. For most of the season, Grushkin started five guards and still posted a 20-win season, the team's third straight, and ranked in the top-10 in the country in several defensive statistical categories.
Grushkin spent two years prior to coming to Tech as an NBA scout for Marty Blake and Associates and a consultant for the Memphis Grizzlies. In addition to a six year head coaching stint at the University of Incarnate Word, Grushkin has coached at NCAA Division I programs like Arkansas State, Arkansas, and Tulsa, and spent time as an assistant or associate head coach at Idaho State and UT-San Antonio.
Grushkin also transformed ASU’s defense in two seasons with the Indians. He helped the Indians move from a 2005-06 No. 9 ranking in the Sun Belt Conference in field goal percentage defense to a No. 3 ranking. Arkansas State's opponent’s shot .420 in 2006-07, down from .450 in 2005-2006, helping them win the Sun Belt during the regular season. The Indians held 14 opponents to less than 40 percent shooting and five opponents under 35 percent. Coach Grushkin then served as co-interim head coach for the remaining four games of the 2007-2008 season.
Grushkin inherited an Incarnate Word program that was making the move from NAIA to NCAA Division II status and compiled a 94-70 record during his six-year tenure with the Cardinals. His 2001 team finished 25-4, won the Heartland Conference and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals. His 2002 squad compiled a 20-8 record and ranked as high as 20th nationally. Grushkin’s teams finished in the nation’s top 25 in scoring defense every year. During his time at Incarnate Word, Grushkin also served as the NABC Congressman for the Heartland Conference and was a member of the NCAA South Central Regional Advisory Board.
Prior to his arrival at Incarnate Word, Grushkin was an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at UT-San Antonio. During his initial year at UTSA, the Roadrunners jumped from the bottom of the Southland Conference standings to a second-place finish while the 1998 team won the Southland Conference and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. He also helped make major improvements in the team’s defense as it finished in the league’s top two in every defensive category during his stay. While at UTSA, Grushkin wrote “Defense With an Attitude”, which was published by Winning Hoops Magazine in 1998.
Grushkin also served as the associate head basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Idaho State University, helping lead the Bengals to the 1993 Big Sky title, their first in 17 years. The 1994 Idaho State team received votes in the national Top-25 polls and at one time had the nation’s 12th best record, 15th best scoring margin and seventh longest home winning streak. Five of Grushkin’s signees went on to play professionally at some level.
Before that, Grushkin was a member of the Western Illinois coaching staff as an assistant and the recruiting coordinator. Grushkin’s major responsibility was to implement the team's defense. His article entitled "Multiple Zone Offense" would go on to be published in NABC Magazine during his last season at Western. While Grushkin was at WIU, the Leathernecks had four signees that received all-conference recognition and had recruiting classes that were ranked as the Mid-Continent Conference’s best by Van Coleman’s Future Stars and the Chicago Windy City Review.
While an assistant coach at Arkansas, Grushkin was primarily responsible for scouting, academics, scheduling and conditioning, but also assisted in the Razorback's defensive game plan in victories over nationally-ranked Kansas and Ohio State. He was part of the coaching staff, under Head Coach Nolan Richardson, that put together a style of defense that was known as "40 Minutes of Hell" and he later appeared in the documentary "40 Minutes of Hell" on ESPN.
During his tenure at Tulsa as an assistant coach, the Golden Hurricane posted a 50-12 record and were a national top-10 team, won two Missouri Valley Conference championships and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Grushkin made his first collegiate stop at Georgia State, where he was an assistant coach.
Grushkin earned his bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia and his masters degree from Georgia State.
Al and his wife, Debbie, have one daughter, Michelle, and one son, Michael. Michelle is a CPA in San Antonio, Texas. Michael is a graduate assistant men's basketball coach at NCAA DII St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.
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Brandt Danals will begin his first season as an Assistant Coach for the Warriors.
"We are pleased to have Brandt join our staff," stated Head Coach Al Grushkin. "His experience as a high school head coach should benefit our players, especially in the development area. He comes to us highly recommended by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants staff and he will be an excellent addition to our staff.”
Danals, a 2010 graduate of Ashland University, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team, joins the Warrior staff after spending the last two seasons as the Head Coach at Crestview High School, just outside of Ashland, Ohio. In his two seasons as Head Coach, four of his players were recognized as All-District selections, five as All-Conference selections and 14 players were named to the Conference All-Academic team, while achieving winning seasons.
Following his playing career at Ashland, Danals spent one season as a Volunteer Assistant at Ashland University under the schools’ All-time winningest coach, Roger Lyons. Danals has worked several NBA Development League tryouts, collegiate summer camps, and organized individual workouts for a wide range of players across the Midwest.
A native of Loudonville, Ohio, Danals had a great high school career at Loudonville High School, where he was a member of back-to-back State Final Four teams. He was an All Mid-Buckeye Conference selection as a senior.
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Shusaku Isagawa enters his first season as an Assistant Coach for the Warriors.
Prior to joining the Warriors, he spent a season as a basketball operations intern with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League from 2012-2013. Before joining The Jam, Isagawa spent three seasons coaching at Santa Margarita Catholic High School under coach, Jerry DeBusk. During this time, he also coached his AAU team, JSK Basketball.
Isagawa has also worked a number of collegiate basketball camps, summer pro-leagues, and has worked individually with a wide range of players.
A California native, Isagawa graduated from Long Beach State in 2012 with a degree in Kinesiology.