For four decades, Rusty Segler-coached basketball teams broke every huddle with everyone saying, “all for one and one for all.”
Family on and off the court meant everything to the former A&M Consolidated boys basketball coach who died of a heart attack Friday in College Station, the result of a long battle with cancer. Sons Tres and Kyle and wife Debbie and the rest of the immediate family take solace in knowing the work of 63-year-old Rusty Segler will live on.
“If I said [all for one and one for all] to a guy from 1992 or 2010, they’d both know I was talking about my dad,” Tres Segler said. “That’s the cool thing, too. He kind of created this fraternity.”
Rusty Segler coached at Consol from 1997-2010, going 251-173 and leading the Tigers to the Class 5A playoffs nine times. He left Consol to coach Little Elm, where he went 181-104 in nine seasons. Segler came to Consol after leading Concordia Lutheran to seven NAIA appearances. Before that, he coached at Liberty Hill and was the only high school coach to beat Shaquille O’Neal’s San Antonio Cole teams.
Players from Rusty Segler’s teams called Friday to offer their condolences to the family.
“Just the things they said ... like, he made them into men,” Tres Segler said. “They wouldn’t have kids today. They wouldn’t have jobs today if [not for Rusty].”
Rusty Segler had a knack for getting the most out of every player.
“Even though he saw the person you were, the player you were, he also had that the ability to see where he knew he could take you and he knew he could push you there,” Tres Segler said. “And his gift I think — now that I’ve had time to reflect on it and that I’ve been a coach myself — was he could cover that gap. He could actually get us where he knew we could go, and that’s a gift very few coaches have. Some people use intimidation or anger or fear to motivate people, but my dad had that vision to be able to know this is a kid’s ceiling and if we just do these things, we can get him there.”
Rusty Segler took as much satisfaction in the team’s least gifted player hitting a bucket as the super star scoring 30 points.
“We’ve seen that today. The phone is ringing off the hook,” Tres Segler said. “He’s coached for generations, over 40 years, 15-16 players every year. You do the math. What we’ve got to see is it’s basically one big family.”
Rusty Segler coached Alex Caruso while at Consol. Caruso went on to play for Texas A&M and currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. While at Little Elm, Segler coached the Denver Nuggets’ 2020 first-round pick R.J. Hampton.
“I love you so much Coach,” Hampton tweeted. “I was Batman you were Robin, or were you Batman and I was Robin? Who knows, we’ll decide on that one day. I’ll miss you until I see you again. Forever and Ever. All for One and One for all.”
Rusty Segler, a son of a lifelong basketball coach, had an obvious passion for what he did. It was always was evident on the sidelines, whether he showed the energy coaching his players or arguing an official’s call. He was into the game and he loved every aspect.
“So said to hear this,” tweeted former Eagle sports writer Tim Schnettler. “Coach Segler was one of my favorites when I covered Consolidated athletics. The Segler family is one of the best and Debbie, Kyle and Tres are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Former Bryan boys basketball coach John Reese, who had many epic crosstown battles with Segler’s Tigers, said the first thing that comes to mind about Rusty Segler is “dear friend.”
“But right after that comes ‘fierce competitor,’” Reese said. “He’s a guy who you knew his team was going to be well coached. They were going to fight you tooth and nail. There’d be no give-up in them, and they were going to compete for 32 minutes. That’s exactly the way he was. He was a competitor who was always prepared. Once you got between the lines, it was all business. It was about the game. It was about winning.”
Reese said you couldn’t meet a nicer guy than Rusty Segler after the buzzer sounded.
“He would do anything for you,” Reese said.
Reese, who is the girls basketball coach at Fort Worth Boswell, talked to Rusty Segler after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma following the 2016-17 season.
“I knew he had some heart issues,” Reese said. “I had open heart [surgery], so I even discussed that with him. We definitely competed between the lines, but off the court we were good friends.”
Rusty Segler was such a good role model as a coach, his sons — who both played at Consol — followed in his footsteps.
Tres Segler started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Texas before serving as the head men’s basketball coach at Eastern New Mexico for five seasons. Kyle Segler played football at Sam Houston State and was an assistant at his alma mater for eight seasons before spending the last two as Marshall’s tight ends and co-special teams coach.
Tres Segler said their father was adamant about not forcing his sons into coaching.
“He wanted to let us find that out by ourselves,” Tres Segler said. “That’s why he was a great parent, but that probably made us want to do it even more, because he gave us the freedom to be who we wanted to be.”
When the Segler boys decided to get into coaching, it came with a condition.
“One of things that he kind of mentored us in was like, ‘Man, you have to look at this as a long game,’” Tres said. “You’re going to be in these guys’ lives until they have wives, sons and daughters. You have to be willing to do it like that. It made me and my brother want to pursue it.”