In 1999, Brian Lang was a member of a Cimarron-Memorial basketball team that wasn’t necessarily thought of as the team to beat with schools like Durango, Green Valley, Cheyenne and Rancho dominating Southern Nevada annually.
But thanks to a coach who insisted upon discipline and teamwork, the Spartans defied the odds, and won the state title behind Lang’s talent and leadership.
Nearly 20 years later, Lang is returning to the high school basketball sidelines for his first head coaching job, as he takes over The Meadows.
“I want to develop kids,” Lang said. “The Meadows is a big academic school, and I just want to give the kids the best development they can have. I’m taking the student athletes that they have and I’m looking to develop them into better players, and more importantly, better young men.”
After getting turned down at Clark, Lang applied at The Meadows, where he planned on becoming an associate head coach under Gary Hannig. But when Hannig’s son was accepted at Faith Lutheran, he stepped down as coach of the Mustangs and Lang was named head coach.
Lang, who played briefly at the College of Southern Nevada for George Tarkanian, then finished his college career at Dickinson State at North Dakota, got his degree in education. He went overseas and played in Germany for three years, then briefly coached in Europe before returning to Las Vegas.
He has been involved with AAU basketball programs in Southern Nevada for roughly 10 years, coaching several top players from the area.
And since he had already trained some of The Meadows players and had a prior relationship with their parents, he felt it was an automatic fit for him, while Hannig was comfortable in turning the program over to him upon stepping down. Now he’s ready to instill that same discipline and family aspect he learned from his high school coach, Hank Girardi, with the Mustangs.
“One thing that Hank never did, he never recruited kids; he coached the kids who were there,” said Lang, 35. “He coached them to be better, he developed them. He instilled values of loyalty, which is very big. A lot of people shop their kids at different schools. Back when I was going to high school, we beat Gorman all the time. Now Gorman is the powerhouse, so parents want their kids to go there. But you don’t have to go to Gorman or another high-profile school to get a Division I scholarship.”