Former Toledo coach, Milan standout Stan Joplin to be honored in return to hometown
Stan Joplin is looking forward to Saturday’s Springfield (Ohio) boys basketball game at Milan for three reasons.
He’ll get to reconnect with friends and family in his hometown.
He’ll get to see his number 43 raised into the rafters.
And he’ll finally get to see his nephew suit up for the Big Reds.
Joplin, the former Milan standout and University of Toledo player and coach, is in his second season coaching Springfield. Saturday, he’ll get the first opportunity to coach a game against his old high school team when Springfield visits Milan for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
“It’s where I grew up and it has a special place in my heart,” Joplin said. “They treated me so well there, I’m very much looking forward to the game Saturday and the festivities.
“I’m very honored that they want to do something like this for me.”
Joplin played at Milan from 1972-75, scoring 1,501 points in 85 games and earning two All-State selections. His teams won a pair of SEC titles and a district title.
He went on to play at Toledo, where he later coached from 1996-2008, earning Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2007. Before joining Toledo, Joplin spent six seasons as an assistant at Michigan State under Jud Heathcoate and Tom Izzo.
That career was launched in the gym at Milan, with help from then-Milan assistant principal Bill Barnes, who mentored Joplin -- bringing him to Pistons games, helping him through the recruiting process and eventually helping him land at Toledo.
“I owe a lot to Mr. Barnes and the people at Milan,” Joplin said. “They always gave me an opportunity to come to the gym and open the gym up for me and play. It was great.”
Once Saturday’s game tips off, Joplin will be particularly interested in one player from the Milan roster: his nephew, senior forward C.J. Turnage.
Joplin’s current job doesn’t allow him to watch his nephew play during the season, but Turnage, a fourth-year varsity player and Class A All-Area first-team selection last year, has made yearly visits to Joplin’s house that double as a vacation and a basketball clinic.
“He comes down every summer,” Joplin said. “He came down this summer by himself. I got him into some gyms with my other nephews and try to work with him.
Turnage recently committed to play basketball at Saginaw Valley State next year, following his uncle’s footsteps into college basketball.
“If I was still coaching, he’s the type of kid that I would love to have at Toledo,” Joplin said.