By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
How did you decide to get into coaching?
"Growing up, my parents were missionaries, so we moved around a lot. In high school, I lived with my best friend, whose father was a high school basketball coach. Growing up in their house, I saw what (the coaching profession) was like. I saw the things that he was doing and felt like (coaching) was something that I wanted to get into."
What do you consider to be your coaching style?
"I try to be a player's coach. To me, that's the most important thing about coaching. You have to find what makes each individual player tick. How they learn best (and) how they want to use the game of basketball. But, it's about getting to know each player individually and how we can tweak that to best fit them."
Who are the coaches that have helped you in your coaching career?
"There have been a lot. I've had the chance to work for some great head coaches. Coach Pera has always been a guy that I've bounced things off of throughout my career. Should I do this? Should I not do this? Vince Alexander, the head coach at St. Leo, gave me my first college opportunity. I learned a lot from him. Paul Hewitt, who I worked for at Georgia Tech, gave me my first Division I job. I followed him to George Mason after a quick stop at Georgia Southern working for one of his assistants in Charlton Young who, once again, I learned a lot from. Most recently, Dan Earl at VMI. Going into a new job at VMI, in his first year, I took a lot from that experience. I've been blessed and fortunate to work for those great head coaches."
Are there any coaches that you have tried to model your coaching style after?
"I've tried to learn, good and bad, from everyone, so there isn't really one coach. I've tried to pick up little things, whether it's from an interview or article. I always write things down and compare to things that I've done in the past. But, there really isn't a set of coaches. I just try to take something from everyone."
Is there anything from your playing days that you have been able to bring into your coaching career?
"The biggest thing is always trying to remember what it was like on a daily basis to be a player. Sometimes, you get older and you forget. Whether they have a test coming up, things that may spill onto the court. You just have to try to remember what it's like to be in their shoes. As a player, you take all of those lessons and you try to carry it with you as a coach. "
What was it about Rice that appealed to you?
"First, it was Coach Pera. I have a lot of respect for him. I've known him since I was in eighth grade. I have a lot of respect for him, how he lives his life and how he coaches. I knew that it would be a great opportunity for me to learn, working for him.
"I was excited about the staff. I've known Coach (Mark) Linebaugh since eighth grade. Also, just Rice itself. Obviously, it's a great academic institution. I've had a chance to work at a couple of other really good academic schools and I felt like it was a good fitdue to my past experiences."
What was your relationship with Coach Pera prior to joining the staff?
"He has always been a sounding board, mentor and friend. Whether it was seeing him on the road and catching up. Sharing old stories from when I was younger, going to his open gyms and playing. As a young coach, you always try to learn from (coaches) who have been through certain things, so I would always call him if I had a big decision to make, or even if I had a little decision to make, if I felt like I need his advice. He's just always been a great friend and mentor."