It was no accident that former Hauser basketball player Justin Baute would end up coaching basketball in Boone County, Iowa.
The 2007 graduate was living in that state anyway on account of his wife and high school sweetheart, the former Audrey Wilkerson, landing a residency there in internal medicine. Having already coached basketball for a time in Winchester, Ky., he knew that he wanted to continue coaching wherever he ended up.
Boone County High School became that place in 2013.
"It's a lot of stress, but you do it because you enjoy it," Baute said in a phone interview with HSJ Online. "It's a great experience to coach kids who have a passion for basketball and who share that camaraderie."
Baute, who also teaches chemistry and physics, has found success as its head varsity coach. Last season was the first time since 1994 that the Boone County Toreadors finished with a winning record, he said. Now, he wants to build on that success by making his team a contender for regional and state titles.
A team of winners. A winning mindset. It all comes as second nature to a 29-year-old who, during his own time as a player, helped the Hauser Jets to regional and state championship runs that are still being talked about today.
Baute, the son of John and Bonnie Baute, grew up in true Hoosier fashion by shooting hoops in Hope's old gymnasium. In a community where basketball means so much to so many, he developed a love for the game there that instilled in him great memories and winning habits that he dreams of instilling among youth in a far away, corn growing community not unlike the Hoosier state itself.
"I want to give kids that same positive learning experience that I had," said Baute, whose father, a former school board member, died the same year Justin and Audrey moved to Iowa. "I was never an all-star player, but I loved to compete. If I can teach these guys just a little of that, I'll be successful as a coach."
Baute said that although he doesn't get home to Hope as often as he would like, he and his wife are planning a trip just ahead of Christmas. His mother and brother still live here, he said, as does Audrey's family.