February 20, 2019
Snow Valley Basketball Schools: A Learning Environment for Coaches
This is part one of a four-part series on the history of Snow Valley Basketball Camps written by Pete Van Mullem. For the full part one of the four-part article series, follow the link http://www.pheamerica.org/2018/snow-valley-a-learning-environment-for-coaches-part-1/.
It all started for Herb Livsey, founder of the Snow Valley Basketball Schools, while coaching at Camp Graylag, a traditional boys summer camp in New Hampshire. In 1952 Bob Cousy, Hall of Famer and NBA legend partnered with the Graylag Camp and established a focus on basketball. In the 1950’s, camps focused solely on basketball were far and few in between, so Cousy’s basketball camp was very popular around the country for young boys in the summer. In the summers of 1956-1957, at the age of 19, Livsey joined on as a coach and worked with legends such as Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Sharman, both Hall of Famers. When asked about his experience, Livsey said “Here I was, a 19-year old kid and I was on that staff and Bob gave me 16-year old kids and he watched over my shoulder, so I would be okay…I carried Bill Sharman’s bags from his car to his cabin and we were friends the rest of our lives…Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman were my early influences. Bob with the camp and Bill with the coaching and fundamental play and being a solid player.” Lively coached for two summers before moving out west to finish his graduate degree at the University of Nevada Reno.
Livesy’s experience coaching at the Cousy’s Basketball Camp set the stage for his future. He found his passion early on and remembered his time fondly. After his time in Reno, he married and moved to California t to complete his graduate work and start coaching at the high school level. Still remembering his summers coaching at basketball camp, he jumped at the chance to own 25% of a camp in the San Bernardino Mountains. After just one year he bought out the other owners, creating the Snow Valley Basketball School in 1961, located at the Snow Valley Ski Resort in Running Springs, CA.
He designed his camp to be a full day of basketball and a truly life altering experience. Starting early in the morning, campers wake, eat breakfast, and head to the gym where they are greeted by coaches ready to start. The first morning session would set the tone for the rest of the day and that mentality would guide the campers into the late hours of the night. Snow Valley’s Philosophy is to teach fundamental skills of the game while challenging individuals and getting them out of their old routines. Campers are divided into teams, but minimal time is set aside for games, instead the reward of the day are games verse their peers.
In addition to the Snow Valley Basketball Schools Livsey held a variety of basketball coaching positions between 1977 to 1997. After retiring from coaching he became a scout for the Portland Trailblazers from 1998-2004, Atlanta Hawks (2004-2008), and then the Denver Nuggets in 2008 to present. In 1994, Livsey was inducted into the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in 1998 into the California Community College Hall of Fame. His passion for teaching has built the Snow Valley Basketball Schools into what they are today.
Players, coaches, and parents interested in Snow Valley Basketball Schools can visit https://www.snowvalleybasketball.com/ or call 1-800-645-3226.
About US Sports Camps
US Sports Camps (USSC), headquartered in San Rafael, California, is America's largest sports camp network and the licensed operator of Nike Sports Camps. The company has offered summer camps since 1975 with the same mission that defines it today: to shape a lifelong enjoyment of athletics through high quality sports education and skill enhancement.