The coaching philosophy I have developed over the past 25 years is the direct result of the following head coaches.

Jim Larranaga, George Mason University
John Beilein, University of Michigan
Dick Bennett, Washington State University
Tom Izzo, Michigan State University
Bo Ryan, University of Wisconsin
Bill Self, University of Kansas
Dean Smith, University of North Carolina

- Be the Aggressor / Toughness
- Eliminate Fast Break Opportunities
- Get the Ball Stopped – Safety/Jammer
- Force Turnovers
- Finish the Defense / Rebound

- Transition / Score Before Defense Sets
- Lay-ups and Open Three Point Shots
- Establish an Inside Presence / Get to the Free-Throw Line
- Get Shots / Take Care of the Basketball
- Second Chance Points / Rebound

Only one of the coaches above I had the opportunity to work for. Jim Larranaga shaped my philosophy as a direct result of being in the trenches with him on a daily basis. The other five that have influenced my coaching philosophy are a result of admiring and then studying their success.

The philosophy that I have developed is that we must be the aggressor. This aggressiveness begins with defense. Whatever the defense one decides to play, there must be bothersome pressure on the basketball. In this style of defense, we all must be prepared and in position to help get the basketball stopped. Thus, we will need five men working together to stop the other team. Defense begins the moment that the other team gains possession of the basketball. The transition from offense to defense is vitally important to eliminating easy fast break opportunities by our opponent. I believe that this aggressive style of defense is actually the beginning of our offense. Once the defense is set, I believe a great deal of our success will be determined by defensive rebounding. In other words, if we do not force a turnover, we will be limiting our opponent to one shot.

Offensively, I believe that our success will be based on getting as many layups and open step-in three point shots. I believe that an inside presence must be established early in every game. This presence can be established by posting our frontcourt, posting our guards or driving the ball to the basket. In all of the above situations, we are putting tremendous pressure on the defense to defend the basket, which ultimately will lead to us getting to the free throw line early and often. Once an inside game is established, I then believe that we must take advantage of the extra point that is awarded for dialing it up from the three point line. I believe in an aggressive ball screen and roll/pop action that allows an offensive player to create a scoring opportunity for an open teammate. Offense begins the moment we gain possession of the basketball. Offensive opportunities must be explored by beating the defense down the floor. Ultimately, a good basketball team will need to be very efficient at the half court level.


The academic philosophy that I adhere to is really quite simple. In the initial evaluation process, which usually begins as early as an individual’s freshman year in high school, it is extremely important that we recruit only prospects that we are convinced will succeed as a student as well as an athlete. This does not mean that we will only recruit the typical model students
(3.0 GPA & 1100 SAT). My past experience in this area proves that there are individuals who, although they were not great students in high school, have the desire and ability to earn a college diploma.
The academic success of my program has been and always will be a very high priority. In my first year of college coaching, I received the academic responsibility of the team. With an undergraduate degree in education and a graduate degree in administration, I truly understand the importance of this area’s success in the college basketball experience.
In respect to my interest in the educational aspect of college basketball, I take a personal interest in each individual’s needs and desires in the classroom. As the head coach, I am directly involved in every individual’s progress as well as the decision making process along the way. When an individual and family commits the most important four years of their life to our basketball program, I in turn will do my part in going well beyond the call of duty to assure each individual an environment which is conducive to achieving life-long success.


- Recruit with honesty and integrity
- Use Social Networking Appropriately
- Organization and Preparation
- Make quality evaluations
- Recruit to your needs – Identify early
- Be persistent and diligent
- Treat each situation uniquely
- Listen to their needs
- Enjoy the recruiting process
- Team recruit – Involve everyone

Recruiting begins with good organization, which begins by establishing a good working relationship with the Office of Admissions. It is extremely important to have a clear understanding of the academic standards at our institution. Identifying prospects early is very important. The earlier one can identify a prospect, the greater the chances that the student-athlete will enroll at our institution. Evaluations of the athlete’s abilities will be an on-going process. It is extremely important that we demonstrate to the prospect a genuine care for them as a person, not just another basketball player. Everyone involved in the recruiting process (faculty, administration, current players) also must show a genuine enthusiasm and interest in the prospect and present a positive image of our school and basketball program.
Establishing contacts throughout the country is extremely important and directly tied to efficient time management and cost effective recruiting. Twenty-four years at the Division I level has allowed me to build recruiting relationships throughout the Midwest and up and down the East Coast. Beyond the natural relationships that proximity has nurtured, I have experience recruiting Texas, Nevada and California, while also developing European and Australian contacts.

My initial approach to recruiting varies from that of others. I believe that my staff and I should spend more time and effort recruiting the players who are already in the program. This is not the typical recruiting process that everyone is familiar with, but rather conquering the culture of the program through player/coach relationships. The players in the program are the ones that we need to buy into our system and believe and sell these beliefs to anyone that is willing to listen. Once these internal relationships are established, the program now has a chance to be successful.

To a great extent, Social Networking is how today’s generation communicates. Understanding this and using it appropriately is extremely important. Recruits do not want us to communicate with them like their friends do, but they do want us as their future coach to be sensitive and understand their communication lines. As their coach, I would be very foolish not to take full advantage of this method of communication.

Successful recruiting of high school, prep school and junior college prospects requires great organization. This process begins by gathering information through various contacts, scouting services and sources. There is no substitute for preparation and planning during the entire recruiting process. In this day and age it is my belief that you should always have a scholarship available for a late or mid-year transfer. Recruiting student-athletes is not a science. It is extremely important to treat each situation as a unique process. There must be a clear understanding that the needs and desires of all prospects are not the same. The ability to recognize and adapt accordingly is vital to success.

In the initial stage of the recruiting process it is extremely important to perform quality evaluations, which must go beyond the obvious to include instincts, basketball IQ, character, passion, desire and mental toughness. Taking the thought process a step further, it is vitally important to value competitiveness, coach-ability, and the capacity to make multiple efforts on the same play. We want playmakers at every position and individuals who can play multiple positions. Included within these evaluations should be cross-referenced consultation with coaching friends, guidance counselors, high school and AAU coaches and any other significant individuals in the prospect’s life.

Recruiting is a matter of WE! It must be a team process that often times takes longer than we want. Even though the NCAA has rules that limit this “team recruiting” process, I still believe that it is very important for all of our staff members to be involved to some degree with each recruit. This togetherness attitude brings about great enjoyment and fun for our entire program when a prospect announces his commitment to our institution.

A very large part of successful recruiting is having an aggressive and persistent attitude. This aggressiveness and persistence must be monitored to satisfy the personality of the prospect and his family. We go about finding a way to separate our institution from the competition. This uniqueness is often the reason that final decisions are made.

It is extremely important to establish our needs and then set goals to attain exactly what it is that we want. In this goal-setting process, we determine who our “priority” prospects are and then closely monitor the recruiting progress with each individual. In addition to our “priority” list, we compile a “secondary list” of prospects. These are players who we would actively recruit in the event that a “priority” prospect was removed from consideration. A major factor in the decision-making process is determining if we would not want to face this individual as a member of an opposing team.

The ability to listen shows the prospect and his family that you have a genuine concern in their values and opinions. The ability to listen gives the prospect credit for being intelligent. If they are able to experience this feeling, then they will be much more at ease and able to speak with you more freely. The only promise that we will make in the process is that we will love your son as if he were our own and that with his degree from our university and haven been in our program, he will be extensively prepared for the next forty to fifty years of his life.

Finally, a great closure is always necessary in the recruiting process. Doing a great job recruiting an individual and finishing second is the same as losing. The approach you take will most likely be different in each situation. A key in closing the deal is that honesty and integrity have proceeded your program throughout the entire process.