Jump to content

The Blade [a DDSCB3 story]

Started By Wayne23, Feb 16, 2015 06:40 PM

  • Please log in to reply
156 replies to this topic

#1

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

(Author's note: Once again, I am doing two associations at once)
 
April 25, 1991
 
Alvin Price is the name I was born with. I was born in Nutley, New Jersey on May 1, 1968. I very quickly grew to be long and lean. I reached my full height of 6’11’, and my full weight of 195 in high school. With a body like that it’s no wonder I came to be known as “The Blade.” I looked like the world’s tallest steak knife, viewed in profile.  There was actually a second reason for my nickname. My shot cut like a knife. Given my body type I was never going to be anything other than a Small Forward, at times even a Shooting Guard. And my shot did indeed cut like a knife. 
 
1986-’87, my first year in college, was the year that introduced the three point shot to college hoops. For a time, actually, for three times, I held the record for most threes in a game. I hit 11 in my very first college games, 14, late that season, and 15 during my junior year. When I graduated from NJIT I held the Division I records for most threes in a game, a season, and a career. Still do as of this writing.
 
So how did a 23 year old with exactly one year of coaching experience, as a graduate assistant no less, get to be the head coach of a Division I team? Well that’s a story! As a matter of fact it is THIS story, since I signed all of the paperwork to make it all official just a few minutes ago.
 
As a player my strength was my shot. I was a decent passer, a terrible rebounder for my height (white boys don’t jump), and not a great defender since I am quick but not fast. I took a real interest in the game though, and my coach here at NJIT, Bart Gordon, took an interest in me. Face it, the only favorable publicity he and the program were about to get was as a result of my three point shooting. During my four years at NJIT, all under Coach Gordon, we went 17-89. Last year, my year as grad assistant, we went 2-25. So 19-114 in our last 133 games.
 
Anyway, when I graduated Coach Gordon asked me to stay on as a grad assistant and then at the end of the season Coach promoted me to third assistant when his #3 left.
 
Then things happened, as they say. Coach and his #1 and #2 assistants were arrested and indicted in, of all things, a cocaine running operation. They were caught red handed- or maybe white handed- cutting coke in Coach’s basement. I was cleared completely. Heck, nobody was more surprised than I was. With a very low budget ($125,000), very low prestige (2), a very low salary for the head coach ($80,000), a very unsuccessful program, with exactly one recognizable asset, me, A. D. “Biggie” Small decided to give me the head coaching job. I took it, realizing that I have A LOT to learn. 
 
(Author’s note: I gave myself ratings of 1 in every category except Scouting. Since that category seems to improve very slowly, I gave myself a 36; total of 40 rating points. The game gives lowest rated beginning coaches a total of 150 points. Final ratings are 75 for Offense, 80 for Scouting, 90 for each of the other three. I believe the Blade will learn, grow, and develop, eventually, into a terrific coach. He is at the top in ambition and integrity, and high in academics, average in the other categories.)
 
I hope to work hard, hire experienced coaches, probably bringing them out of retirement, picking their brains, and listening to their advice. I expect success to come slowly but I will set reasonable goals.
 
(Author’s note: House rules are in effect. These limit availability of recruits- severely until I get to Team Prestige of 21, then gradually less when I reach 40, 51, and finally no restrictions at 61- use of walk ons after year two, creation of assistant coaches- again on a graduated scale…)
 
Let’s see how this goes!



#2

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1, 1991
 
Considering who we are, how little money we have, and how little regard the hoops world has for us I thought I was able to get three decent assistants. None will ever coach at Duke, but I’ll take them.
Recruiting is next and what am I going to offer recruits? Playing time and location, I guess.  Those two things are what I have.
 
September 18, 1991
 
Okay, we’ve called everyone on our list more than once, and we’ve added quite a few; matter of fact we’re maxed out at 50, and subtracted and re-added a few times. Not a one has been willing to talk with us so far.
 
It’s time to put a schedule together. I told “Biggie” to give us as many easy games as possible. I want wins, and we’ll need to face easy teams to have any chance to get some of those. He did what he could. None of the teams in the pre-conference schedule is impressive. I’d be very happy with 5-4 against this group. Wins will give me something to sell later in the recruiting process and next year so I want some.
 
October 2, 1991
 
We’ve got four guys who can play a little. After that we’ll need to see what we can develop, and what we can do to hide our flaws. Remember, I know this team. I was here as an assistant last year when we won 2 and lost 25. My goal? Don’t finish last in the conference, and win 10 games. Possible? I don’t know, but of the three sports writers who picked the conference one had us 8th, and the other two had us 7th in this 10 team conference. We’ll see.
 
Still nothing on the recruiting front. We’re not overspending since we think we may have more luck in the spring and we don’t want to run out of money before then. Oh, and these guys we’re looking at? Not exactly headed for the NBA, any of them.
 
November 6, 1991
 
Time for our two exhibition games. This will tell us a lot. I hope it will tell us some good things, at least a few good things.
 
I need to say that of my three assistants only one has been worth much. Scouting coach Kyle Bradley, my #2, has gone above and beyond, and he really seems to know the game. He was retired, from scouting for Rutgers, when I talked him into joining us. I signed him for three years and I’m glad I did. #1 and #3 have been less than impressive. I signed them for a year each and neither will be back next year.
 
I should also say that I really like my job. Yes, I am in over my head at times but I’m learning. This is an exceedingly complex job but I do love the challenge. Of course tomorrow night will be the first time I coach a game. It will be interesting to see what that’s like.


#3

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

November 6
 
Yep, 4 players. Brown at SG, Jory at PF, and Penn at C are my players. Black worries me at PG but I don’t really have a Point Guard. Case at SF worries me more; wish I could suit up and play the 3. They tell me the guy playing the coach’s position always has a tough time. Two guys coming from the bench and really only two, Brad Barr at 1 and 2, and Cole Ayls at 3, 4, 5. We’re thin. But, thin as we are, I think we may be okay given the competition both pre-conference and within the conference. I can see us finishing in the middle of the pack. Oh, it was fantastically fun to coach a game. We were in both exhibitions all the way, winning one and losing one.
 
November 20
 
First week of play is finished.  Lost the first game in OT. How about that. The very first game I coach and it goes to OT. Won the second easy. That first win was quite a thrill.
 
So again, how in the world did I get this job to begin with?
 
Here’s what Biggie Small said:
 
“Kid, I been the A.D. here since before you were born. Sports at Jersey Tech aren’t much of a big deal. We’re never gonna have enough of a budget to compete. If we get a good coach in football or basketball he won’t stay. A bigger school will snap him up. Coach Gordon was here because we didn’t care enough to fire him even though he never won. Well, then he did something that gave us no choice. I hear he went to Atlantic City and got addicted to black jack, and he took his two top assistants with him and they got addicted too. Dunno if it’s true but that’s what I heard. When all of that went down I figured why not take a chance on you. You’re popular here because of all those three pointers you made. You seem to be a clean cut kid. Just as good you as anybody else.”
 
Not exactly a ringing endorsement but hey, I’m a Division I head basketball coach. I’ll take it. He’s right though, if I’m successful I will definitely look to move up to a better school. That’s a couple of years away, at the least though. I’ll talk more about me as a player some time down the line. 
 
Oh, and Coach Gordon? It eventually came out that this was supposed to be a one shot deal, and worth exactly one million dollars, which would have been split three ways. The coaches decided to take the risk. Bad decision, as it turned out. And the Atlantic City thing was pure myth. The whole thing was about three guys sick of being broke, going for the big score. When asked Coach Gordon said he never considered involving me in the deal. He knew I was completely the Eagle Scout type and that I would have probably turned him in. Would I have? I don't know, but I sure would NOT have joined him in the coke deal.
 
November 27
 
Next up was our first home game and we won it! Then we won our next one, at home again. Suddenly we were 3-1! How’d that happen! Well, we were rebounding extremely well, and not quite as bad with the ball as I’d feared. Clif Penn was getting 20 and 8.5, and Greg Jory 12.3 and 8.0. Tony Black was doing a decent job at PG. No way of knowing how long it would continue and remember, we were playing all cupcakes, but it was certainly fun!


#4

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

December 25
 
We finished the pre-conference schedule at 6-3. I was delighted with that. Clif Penn led us with 20.7 and 7.6, but Jory also did well. Our other three starters were adequate and the bench was barely so. We were dead even on TOs, and +4.7 on RBs. We didn’t usually get into too much foul trouble. In short, the kids were learning the things we were teaching. When grades came out we had one senior not doing too well but it looked like he would graduate. Everyone else was at 3.0 or higher. Now to see what the conference season would bring.
 
January 8, 1991
 
We split our first 4 so we were definitely competitive.
 
January 29, 1991
 
At the halfway mark we were 9-8, 3-5, tied for 7th with two other teams, but we’d lost 4 of our last 5. 
 
February 5
 
Then we got hot, 13-8, 7-5, tied for 3rd, 1 game back, with 6 to play. Our next two were with the #1 and #3 teams in the conference though. Unfortunately recruits continued to show no interest in us at all.
 
February 19
 
With 2 to play we were 15-10, 9-7, in a 2 way tie for 4th, 1 behind the 3 leaders. This far exceeded my expectations. 
 
February 26
 
We split our last two to finish the regular season 16-11, 10-8, 5th seed in the tourney but in a three way tie for third.  We would face Vermont, who we beat twice.
 
March 5
 
We beat Vermont by 15 and faced Hartford in the round of eight. We split with them in the regular season. 
 
We beat Hartford by 7 and we were in the semifinals. We had split with Albany in the regular season. We were playing our best ball of the year so confidence was high and so were expectations. We had actually developed a following on campus. Given that we’d won almost as many games this year than in the last 5 seasons combined it was not surprising that people were noticing. We never sold out a game at home but we’d averaged 883 per game, about 400 more than the previous season.
 
Albany beat us by 13 to end our season. We wound up 18-12, 10-8. I was proud of my team and more than happy with what we had accomplished. Now if we could only attract some recruits! Oh, Albany won the tourney. 
 
April 9
 
Awards: John Case got the Defensive POY award. Greg Jory and Clif Penn made 1st team. Jory and Case graduate but Penn, easily our best player, will be back. He’s a junior.
 
Our Team Prestige jumped from 2 to 5. 
 
I did not receive any job offers but then I did not expect any. I want to spend another year here anyway. After that we’ll see.
 
April 16
 
I promoted my #2, Kyle Bradley, to #1 assistant and hired two new assistants. Rob Kellogg, retired from Seton Hall will be my #2 and my recruiter. He should be a good one. Lonnie Jones is my #3. He was the bench coach at Penn State before retiring. I signed both for three years.
 
Happily, two recruits signed, #149 PG Chad Murk, and #319 SG Jam Jones.
 
April 23
 
We need both recruiting dollars and a facilities upgrade. I asked for facilities. Denied, and frankly, I’m not happy about it.
 
“Ya brought in a little revenue, kid. Bring in more next year and you’ll get what you’re looking for.”
My argument that a facilities upgrade would have helped with recruiting, which would have helped to generate revenue, fell on deaf ears.
 
Recruiting was not very successful this year. We absolutely HAVE to do better next year.
 
I ended the year with ratings of 4 for Offense, 6 for Defense, 8 for recruiting, 37 for Scouting, 5 for Player Development. Reputation is at 7. So I went up in all categories.
 
I look forward to the new season.


#5

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1, 1992
 
I guess it’s safe to say that I am the only Division I head coach still living with his parents. We’re in a house about 2 ½ miles from campus and I just don’t see any need to move. Dad is the head of maintenance here at NJIT, and his office is in a building right next to the Fleisher Athletic Center where we play and where the athletic offices are located. Mom is an R.N. at a local elementary school. 
 
I try to do as much work as possible at the office but I have a TV in my room at home and watch lots of games, even late at night, at home, taking all kinds of notes. I turn the volume way down or off so as not to wake the folks. Dad often drives me to work in the morning. As a matter of fact he does that whenever I figure I won’t need a car. I work a lot more hours than he does except when there are winter storms so I usually jog home after I’m through for the day. In really bad weather I hitch a ride from someone or simply call a taxi.
 
I’m an only child. Basketball has always been my major interest but I also enjoy reading, especially fiction, biographies and history, and I like really old black and white movies. Fitness is important. I try to run just about every day.
 
Dad was my first coach. He taught me to shoot, and a few other things that were always a part of my game.
 
We buy only the Eastern Gold report. Lots of spots to fill. We look for transfers.
 
June 26
 
We managed to land three transfers. One, Jim Greg, looks like a really good PF, one, Drew Mack, looks like he will play some SF for us. The third is a gamble. We hope he’ll develop.
 
4 scholarships to fill. Looking at 25 recruits to start. 
 
August 21
 
Still not a lot of recruits talking with us. Next time we have a coaching vacancies I’m going to spend some money on a recruiting coach. We simply must do better in this area.
 
September 18
 
We went with a pretty soft schedule again. A couple of recruits are listening.
 
October 2
 
First day of practice. Difficult to say but we may have a bit more talent than last season. We’re picked first in conference. Good or bad? 
 
We landed two recruits, Gary Turn, PG, and Mike Camby, SF. Two to go.
 
October23
 
We land a 3rd recruit, Arma Nurmi, SG. He will be close as to reaching the SAT score though.
 
November 6
 
Still seeking that fourth and final recruit. Plenty of time.
 
Exhibition games, as always, taught us a lot but one thing absolutely amazed me. Chad Muir had shown not very much in practice. In the exhibition games he hit for 30 and 27. He would have been my #8 or #9. Now he’ll start. Clif Penn lights it up inside but we already knew that. Now we have both inside and outside strength on O. D would be weak, as would ball handling, but at this level we should do really well.


#6

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

November 20
 
We started with two really close games, losing by 2 in OT, then winning by 1. It’s a tough schedule in that 8 of our first 10 are on the road.
 
All three recruits signed, which means they’ll hit the SAT. Still one to nab.
 
November 27
 
Two road wins this week. Ask expected Penn and Muir are providing the offense, and we’re owning the boards. When we take care of the ball we do really well.
 
December 4
 
We split two road games. 4-2. Both losses by 2 points, one in OT.  Looking at a few more recruits.
 
December 11
 
Only one game this week. We beat Grambling by 6 at home. Low scoring game. We did all the things we needed to do. A good win. 5-2 with 2 to play before the conference season begins.
 
December 18
 
Another one game week. A 10 point road loss. We just couldn’t make shots and we didn’t rebound, which is becoming an unexpected concern. D was fine. 
 
The staff decides to start Cole Ayls in place of Brad Barr, who hasn’t been getting it done.
 
December 25
 
We win our last pre-conference game to go 6-3 entering conf. play. Ayls didn't do a lot but the chemistry changed.
 
Grades came out and all my kids did really well. 
 
As expected Penn and Muir are our leading scorers. Tim Brown is doing a good job at PG. We need to get more from Tony Black, and we hope that Cole Ayls will help now that he’s starting.


#7

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

January 1, 1993
 
Happy New Year! 
 
We split our first 2, losing on the road, winning at home. In the loss, again, we didn’t make shots. In the win Penn had 28 and 17! I’d like to get that every game!
 
I guess I haven’t talked much about my personal life. Well, I don’t have a lot of time for a personal life. I’ve never dated much. A 6’11” beanpole like me is limited in some ways in who he can ask out. I would very much like to have a family someday though.
 
As to friends, I always got along fine with the basketball crowd but never really formed any close friendships there. Actually my two closest friends are women. Katy Grace and I met in a psychology class sophomore year and became instant friends. We never dated but we do a lot of things together. Lauren Wilde often joins us. She was Katy’s friend and became mine. Katy is a history teacher at the local high school and Lauren is a biology professor at NYU.
 
The three of us went to a New Year’s eve party and had lots of fun. We don’t drink so we got out of there when things got a little rowdy. Wound up at Katy’s place watching a movie. I was home by 1:00. Big party guy, that’s me!
 
January 8
 
Another win at home, lose on the road week. We’re going to need to learn to win on the road if we hope to go anywhere. Ayls had his first really good game as a starter in the home win. Essentially, we’re taking better care of the ball than I expected, not rebounding as well, playing good D, but having trouble scoring. The staff discusses line up tweaks but we aren’t very deep so we’re limited in what we might do. 
 
January 15
 
Finally a road win- by 2 in OT, but we’ll take it; we came back from down 14. We were 2-0 this week. We’re 10-5, 4-2, tied for 2nd, 2 back of Stony Brook.
January 22
 
I thought we’d clean up this week. We played the two worst teams in the conf. We did, 2 wins and Stony Brook lost twice. We’re now in a 3 way tie for the lead.
 
January 29
 
Two tough games this week, including the rematch with Stony Brook, at our place.
 
Won both games! We’re alone in first, 14-5, 8-2.
 
Attendance has gone wild. Before I took overt crowds in the 100-200 range were normal. By the end of last season we were at almost 1,000 though we never quite hit that. Right now we’re selling out our 1,500 seat court. Biggie is loving it, and the crowd support is a real help. 
 
All three of our recruits hit our SAT score.
 
Next week we play two teams that are one back of us. We’ll need to stay focused.
 
February 5
 
We split, winning at home. 24 TOs and 35% shooting, 15% from three point range in the loss. We went to Penn and Muir all night long in the win; Black had 10 assists and 1 TO.
 
Still alone in 1st, 3 teams are 1 back.
 
Two on the road next week. Both week teams but the road is never easy.
 
February 12
 
We won both road games easily. The bad news? Chad Muir broke his hand in the second game. He’s out for the season.
 
Big adjustments. This is a disaster, Muir was our leading scorer. I guess these things happen. We’ll try to adjust. We were playing seven guys. Now we’ll play eight, which means two guys who weren’t getting many minutes will now get some. Our starters will play more minutes which, hopefully won’t leads to more injuries. We’re moving Tim Brown to SG and returning Brad Barr to the starting line up at SF. Ed Garr and Sid Hopp will pick up sub minutes, as will Jay Jones. Hopefully we can keep it together. The only good news is the break is not in his shooting hand.
 
We have a 2 game lead with 4 to play but I don’t see us going anywhere in the postseason.


#8

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

February 19
 
Great week, won 2! Brad Barr had 16 and 9 in the first. We barely hung on to beat Maine on the road but we’re two ahead with two to play. Home against New Hampshire, the worst team in the conf., so we should clinch.
 
February 26
 
And we did. Lost to Binghampton in the finale but it didn’t matter. We are 20-7, 14-4, finished 2 ahead of Stony Brook. Tourney will be here, which can’t hurt.
 
March 3
 
Two byes then Binghampton, which just beat us. They finished 4th in the regular season. We’re motivated, and the crowd will help but this is no “gimme.”
 
On the other hand… 82-59. 35 and 7 for Penn, 19 for Brown.
 
March 4
 
17-12 Albany for the title. They finished third. We won by 17 here then lost by 15 there. It would be a great tribute to this team to win without our leading scorer. We’ll give it our best.
 
Not to be, 66-77. We gave up 15 threes and that did us in.
 
Will we be invited anywhere? With an RPI of 95 I doubt it. I think if we had Muir we probably would be but that sort of thing is taken into account. The RPI will change once more before tourney selection. Nothing to do but wait and we will keep practicing. 21-8, 14-4.
March 12
 
RPI is up to 93.
 
Invited! #4 seed in the East at the CHI. We’ll play 18-10 Georgia Southern from the Sun Belt.
 
March 14
 
LOTS of excitement about being in a post season game. We’d love to win the first one!
 
77-64! 35 and 11 for Clif Penn, 15 and 11 for Cole Ayls.+9 RBs and only 12 TOs.
 
#8 seed New Mexico State, 19-11, upset the #1 seed so they’re next. #1 and #2 seeds lost in the West so this is wide open! We match up pretty well in this one so here’s hoping.
 
March 21
 
62-71 in OT. We had a shot to win at the end of regulation but it rolled out. I suppose with Muir out this was to be expected but we did very well without him all in all.
 
We finish the season 22-9. Considering everything, I’m delighted.
 
Now to wait and see if I get job offers. I don’t really expect any that will be worth considering. I’m still really new at this, I still make mistakes, too many, really, and my stock will need to get higher. No problem. I am very happy here.
 
We lose Brown, Black, Barr, and Clif Penn.
 
April 4
 
Syracuse won the title.
 
Awards: Clif Penn was POY, 1st team. Chad Muir made 2nd team. I’m sure only the injury kept him from 1st. I was shocked and thrilled to receive Coach of the Year.


#9

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

April 4 (Continued) Awards: Clif Penn was POY, 1st team. Chad Muir made 2nd team. I’m sure only the injury kept him from 1st. I was shocked and thrilled to receive Coach of the Year.
 
April 9
 
We have an offer… Southern Utah. Bigger budget (by $39,000), Team Prestige of 18 rather than our 10, 4 starters returning from a fair team, better salary…. Very tempting. I’m flying out there. Didn’t expect to leave this soon but I need to explore this. 
 
I pretty much liked what I saw and heard. This was an incredibly difficult decision. 
 
In the end my dad said, “Son, you’re ambitious. You want to rise in your chosen profession. This is a step up for you. Your mother and I will miss you and we hate that you’ll be so far away but you’d be a damned fool not to take this job.”
 
I applied. I was hired.
 
April 23
 
Trimmed the roster a bit and found we still had recruiting money so I went after a couple of guys.
Hired some assistants. I am really excited about my #1, recruiter Matt Thom, who retired as head coach at Washington two years ago, and really missed the game. SO glad to have him. Matt and I just clicked, all but instantly. I think he’ll be the mentor I wish I had had at Jersey Tech. #2 Brian Ward will scout. He was doing that as #3 with Brigham Young but wanted a promotion. Happy to give him one! #3 is Al Wills, and he’ll be my bench coach.
 
I asked for a facilities upgrade. New A. D. Michael Hunt (“Don’t call me Mike!”) said no.
 
At the end of two seasons as a head coach my record is 40-21, .656. Ratings are: Off.- 7, Def.- 11, Recruit- 26, Scout- 38, Player Dev.- 9, Reputation- 11.


#10

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1
 
Cedar City, Utah is in the middle of the desert, about 100 miles from Las Vegas and 150 from Provo. As the man said, “It ain’t the end of the world but you can see it from here!” Hot… that is the total definition of the climate. I got myself a very small apartment with central AC. I’m close enough to jog to work but I’d be crazy to do it out here. Even at dawn it’s simply way too hot. I will do my exercising at the Southern Utah athletic facilities- indoors. Not complaining, just reporting. I knew about the climate.
 
I think by year two we’ll be in position to win the Big Sky. Not this year though.
 
June 26
 
Recruiting time. We need lots of guys. I took a flyer on a transfer who is WAY out of our league. He’s local though. Shocked me half to death when he committed. Looking at about 30 guys to start with. I’m guessing we’ll probably see more than 50 before it’s over. 
 
September 18
 
We’re getting some encouraging responses from recruits but no one has committed yet.
 
The schedule is set. I told A. D. Michael (“Don’t call me Mike!”) Hunt that some home challenges would be okay. Let’s see how that works out.
 
September 25
 
We get two recruits, a PG and a C.
 
October 2
 
We get another PG. And we widen the search again. I said 50 but we may wind up looking at more than 100 recruits.
First day of practice, which is always an exciting time.
 
November 6
 
Exhibition time. As always we learned. Len Hart had not been a big part of our plans. He was all but unstoppable in the exhibition games. He will start at 2. Cris Flap was okay in practice but not all that noticeable. He played well enough here to start at 4. Rich Holt is our PG, as expected, Vik Barr and Vin Wolf will share the 3 until one of them claims it. Our star is C Joe Brown. We have Lon Takk and Ed Tone will be our 7th and 8th men. We look to be stronger inside than out but I like this team.
 
December 25
 
I flew home for the holiday, just for 3 days. We had a week between games. Mom started with the it’s time to find a nice girl and settle down bit. Maybe it is, but who has the time!
 
Heading into conference play we’re 9-2, playing well. As expected Hart and Brown are leading us but Holt is doing well at the point, and the others are doing fine. I like what I’ve seen so far. RPI is 118.
 
We’ve signed three recruits and are in the hunt for a few more.
 
January 29, 1994
 
All our guys hit the SAT score.
 
February 5
 
We’re losing games we should and I believe could be winning. Still tweaking the lineup.
 
February 12
 
Big win against #21 Montana but we have three left and we need to win them all.
 
February 16
 
We beat Idaho State. Our last two are at home.


#11

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

March 4
 
Did it! We end up the regular season at 20-7, 11-5, in 4th place (tied for 3rd), RPI #75. Last place Portland State upset 5th place Eastern Washington so they’re up. We beat them by only 2 at their place earlier.
 
March 5
 
We win by 7.
 
Oh, that local kid we picked up who was way out of our league? He just declared. Oh well.
 
#21 Montana, 1st in the regular season, is up in the semis. They beat us by 3, then we beat them by 23. We can win this game but we need to play.
 
March 6
 
42-51. Couldn’t make a shot; 15 points in the 1st half. The D was great.
 
21-8, RPI 67, but that will change once more before selection. I think we should be in a tournament. We’ve done enough.
 
March 12
 
RPI is 74 on Selection Sunday.
 
NIT. #5 South and we play #4 Georgetown, 16-15 but against much stronger competition than we faced.  
 
March 14
 
67-42. We could do no wrong!
 
#8 seed East Carolina, 18-11, upset #1 Valparaiso so they’re next. We think we’re the better team but they can play.
 
March 16
 
76-85, OT. We came from 18 back to tie it with 11 seconds left in regulation then we stole the ball. Couldn’t get it inside but Len Hart,  our best outside shooter, got an open 15 footer. It rolled out at the buzzer and we lost in OT. 
 
We end up 22-9, great for the first season here, and the same record as last season. We have lots of good players coming back and a few good recruits, hopefully more on the way.
 
April 3
 
I would love to have gone to the final four but I wasn’t interested enough to pay my own way. Next year if I have to I will.
 
North Carolina won the title.
 
April 4
 
Awards: Len Hart got Freshman of the Year and 1st team along with Joe Brown.
 
April 9
 
Would I take another job? If it was the right one I would. I am NOT crazy about this desert, middle of nowhere place. I have to say I’ve been treated well. 
 
Columbia… Man! I need to think about that. Iona… In the end, tempting as it is to head back home, I decide to stay here for another year.
 
April 30
 
We signed a lot of recruits, most of which seem iffy.
 
I ask for a facilities upgrade.  I remind Michael that we filled a lot of seats so we generated a lot of income. He agrees and says yes.
 
I end the season with a three year record of 62-30, .674. Off.-11, Def.- 17, Recruit-44, Scout- 39, Player Development-14, Reputation- 16.
 
Team Prestige jumps to 24. Yes, I want to be back East, but hopefully another good season here will get me there.


#12

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1
 
We buy the regional gold and both national and international basic scouting reports.
June 25
 
We snagged two transfers. One will definitely help us. The other is a gamble.
 
June 26
 
Three scholarships. Looking at 30 kids for now.
 
September 18
 
Beefed up the schedule a bit, especially at home. Signed one, close with the other two.
 
October 2
 
We’re picked to finish 2nd, behind Weber State.
First day of practice. I like what I see.
 
November 6
 
As always the exhibition games taught us some things. We’ll play 7, but #8 and #9 wouldn’t hurt us a lot. We’ll adjust. SF is particularly up for grabs.
 
December 4
 
5-1. Wins over Texas, DePaul and Ohio State. Only loss was in OT. All 5 starters are playing well.
 
December 25
 
7-1 quickly became 7-3 when we sort of lost our focus. Then we won to close out the pre-conference season at 8-3. That’s fine but it should have been 9-2, and could have been 10-1. We have a really good starting 5 but the bench has been less than impressive.
 
10 days between games so everyone got three days for the holiday. I went home again and mom got on me about settling down again.


#13

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

January 1
 
Happy 1995
 
Great start to conference play. We beat Weber State, projected at #1, there. 29 for Len Hart, 16 and 11 for Joe Brown.
 
January 25
 
NOT happy. 12-7, 4-4 at the halfway point. We simply are not playing well. We are being outrebounded for one thing. Staff met and we’re making a lineup change. Ad Jay will start at 3. Hopefully this will shake things up.
 
January 28
 
A 78-49 win with Jay getting 12 and 8.
 
February 12
 
This is definitely an underachieving team. I am very disappointed. 15-9, 7-6, tied for 5th. We’re losing way too many games we should be winning.
 
February 21
 
17-10, 9-6. The last regular season game, at 1st place Northern Arizxona. A win gives us 3rd place, possibly 2nd. A loss could drop us a long way, there are a lot of teams bunched up.
 
63-69. We end up in a 3 way tie for 3rd, seeded 4th. That means we’ll face #1 in the semis, if we get there.
 
March 4
#5 seed Weber State in the quarter finals. We beat them twice this year but this is not an easy game. 62-65. It’s been that kind of season. This loss may well have ruined our chance to be invited to a tourney. It drops our RPI to 120. #9 seed Idaho won the tourney.
 
March 12
 
RPI is now at 121. I’m sitting by the phone but I don’t really expect a call. Didn’t get one.
 
This was my most disappointing season as a coach. At the end of the pre-conference season I thought we were on our way to a conference title. Things just fell apart after that. We never jelled as a team. 
 
Now what? If I were to get decent offer I would go but part of me wants to stay and fix this mess.
 
April 4
 
I didn’t go to the final four, probably because I didn’t have a season that would attract a lot of attention. 
 
Kentucky won the title.
 
Awards: Len Hart and Joe Brown made 2nd team.
 
April 9
 
We dropped in Team Prestige from 24 to 20.
 
No offers that it would make sense to take. Let’s fix this mess and hopefully next year we’ll move out and up.
 
April 30
 
Our recruits have now all signed. I ask for $. Shocked! I got $8,200! Good old Mike- I mean Michael Hunt.
 
I end the season with a career record of 79-42, .653. Off- 14, Def-22, Recruit-58, Scout-39, Player Development-18, Reputation-18. Hoping for a better season next year.


#14

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1
 
Starting season 5. Hopefully we can do well this year. I feel like I’ve doing this long enough now to know what I’m doing. I know I make fewer mistakes than I did early on.
 
Looked at transfers but not much there.
 
June 26
 
5 scholarships to give.
September 18
 
We’re chasing recruits and feel we’re close with a couple.
 
Another year when we’re on the roads a lot, 8 of 11 pre-conference games. A couple of challenges but generally a fairly soft schedule because challenges on the road don’t often work out well.
 
October 2
 
We have two PGs committed.
 
First day of practice. Hope springs eternal…
 
October 9
 
We get a big guy and decide to hold off until November, after the numbers change for the last time. We’ll offer our last two then.
 
November 6
 
After the exhibitions and the lineup remains very unsettled. Eight getting significant minutes and only Flint at C and Hart at SG seem set. Everything else is wide open.
 
December 11
 
Some lineup tweaks. We’re at 5-3. So far we’re taking really good care of the ball but we should be rebounding better.
 
December 25
 
6-5 going to conference. Again, 8 of 11 were on the road and 2 were against ranked teams. I think, or at least hope, we’re ready to take the conference.
 
Still tweaking the lineup. Grades were excellent.
 
We had another long holiday break and I got home. Mom’s still on my case. Frankly, I haven’t met anyone at all in Utah. I just don’t see Jersey and Utah making any kind of a match.  Hopefully next stop will be better. I don’t want to get too much older before starting a family.
 
January 24
 
12-7, 6-2 at the halfway point. Alone in 1st, but 3 teams one back, 5 more 2 back. We’re playing well and I’m still making lineup adjustments. Flint, Hart and Wild are leading us.
 
February 7
 
8-4 then Len Hart went down for 10 days. Uh oh.
 
We finish the regular season at 16-11, 10-6, RPI #71, 3rd seed but in a 3 way tie for 1st. We need to get to the title game to keep playing. I would love to win this thing.
 
March 3
 
#11 seed Weber State won in an upset. We play them in the round of 8. Split with them in the regular season. 70-63. 9 TOs (+9), and some great ball movement late.
 
March 4
 
#10 seed Portland State, 11-18, won in another upset. We won by 9 in the regular season. 62-50. 8 TOs (+8), +5 RB. Balanced scoring, 10 guys scored.
 
March 5
 
#1 seed, 16-13 Montana State for the title. Beat them by 7 at our place early on. If we play well we can win this thing. 52-64. We played well for about 28 minutes and then it all fell apart. +6 TOs, -7 RBs. 4-18 on threes, 33.9% overall.
 
We should have done enough to get an invitation somewhere. Time to wait and see. RPI is at 55.
 
March 12
 
Not invited to the NCAA but I didn’t expect to be. NIT, #8 seed West. We play #1 seed Purdue, 16-13. Tough 1st round match up but if we win it we could have some fun. 
 
March 14
 
66-56! 8 TOs, 42 RBs. As well as we’ve played all year.
 
March 16
 
#4 seed, 16-14 Texas. A big name in hoops but they didn’t have that great a season. Again, if we play I think we’ll be okay. 56-57. I want to scream. I may have done that a time or two. They led all the way but hung in, tied it a couple of times. With 3.3 seconds left Scot Wild banged a three to put us up 56-54 and it looked like a win. They called time, threw a pass to half court, and threw up a 48 footer. It went in off the glass as the horn sounded. We did a lot things right tonight and I was very proud of my guys. We should have moved on. That’s life, I guess.
 
March 20
 
I decide to go to the final four. I’ve never been to one. I figure I’ll meet lots of the “right” people, at the very least. It’s Denver, which isn’t that far, and I make decent money and don’t spend any of it so why not. And yes, I am looking for a job. If the right one comes along I’m outta this place. It simply is not a good match for me. But again Michael Hunt and everyone really, has treated me well.
 
April 4
 
The atmosphere was incredible. It really was exciting to be here. I met LOTS of A.D.s and coaches, some of whom were living legends to me. I also got a few feelers regarding coaching jobs. Let’s see what happens. Oh, North Carolina beat Indiana by 10 for the title.
 
Awards: Len Hart and Ike Green made 1st team, Ty Flint and Scot Wild 2nd. All four will be back. Maybe I should rethink leaving. I got the shock of my life when I was named Coach of the Year.
 
April 9
 
Central Florida, major conference. No. There’s no way I can get the program competitive in that conference. I visited, talked to the people and it was clear they won’t make the commitment to do what they would need to do. 
Richmond in the Atlantic 10. Visited. Hm. I asked for 48 hours. There’s a lot to like but I do hate the heat. If I go I’d be in the heat for at least 2-3 more years. If I stay here maybe one more. Hm…Staying here.
 
April 30
 
I asked for more budget money. Got $8,600.
 
At the end of my 5th season my record is 98-55, .641. Off- 17, Def- 27, Recruit- 72, Scout- 40, Player Development- 22, Reputation- 20. I look forward to a great season!


#15

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1
 
I have a good feeling about this season. 
 
June 12
 
We grabbed a really good looking SF from the transfer pool. 4 stars.
 
June 26
3 scholarships. We need guards.
 
September 18
 
We beefed up the schedule. I think this team can handle it. 
 
October 2
 
All three recruits committed. 2 PGs and a C.
 
First day of practice. I like what I see!
 
November 6
 
Exhibition games led to some answers but lots of questions. I’ll be giving 10 guys minutes, watching, and tweaking the lineup.
 
January 1, 1997
 
8-3 for the pre-conference season against very good competition. Only one bad loss, the other two were close. I’ll be surprised if we lose more than 1 or 2 in conference. We’re good and we’re deep.
 
Yes, I went home for XMas and got the usual speech about settling down.
 
Oh, the home season is sold out- every seat.


#16

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

January 26
 
7-1 at the halfway point. Won the first 7 then lost badly on the road. Just didn’t play well. 1 up on 2 teams and everyone else is out of it.
 
February 19
 
One left to play, on the road. We’re 20-6, 12-3, tied with Weber State for 1st, 1 up on Eastern Washington (They play each other at E. Wash. in their last game.). It hasn’t been as easy as expected. RPI has been #8-15 for weeks but we’ve never been ranked. Weber State has been throughout.
 
February 25
 
We won ours. Weber State won by 2 so we’re the #1 seed, they’re the #2. I WANT this tournament title.
 
March 4
 
Idaho State in the quarters. 56-40.
 
All the favorites won so it’s #4 seed Sacramento State while Eastern Washington and Weber State beat each other’s brains out (I hope).
 
March 5
 
77-60. It will be #16 Weber State, 26-5, for the title. We’re wearing the whites, for whatever that’s worth. We beat them by 2 there, then 7 at our place, for whatever that’s worth. Our RPI is #10. Still never been ranked. It isn’t that it means anything really, but on the other hand it would be HUGE for the program. A win here would get that ranking. On paper there isn’t much to separate the two teams. But their starting SF is down with an injury. If he plays it won’t be much, and likely won’t be very effectively.
 
March 6
 
67-70. Damn! TOs- even. RBs- -1, Threes- 7 each. They got one more free throw and one more 2 pointer. They also scored the last 6 points. We missed two shots, and missed the front of two 1 and 1 opportunities in the last minute or so. In other words we gave it away. Pretty quiet locker room.
 
So we’re 23-7, 13-3 heading for Selection Sunday. RPI 10 for now but that will change once more. 
March 12
 
RPI #13. Here goes! Not in the East. Not in the Midwest. Not in the South. #11 West. I am furious. #11! We play 20-9 LSU. Very tough match up. 
 
March 17
 
Game day. I was pretty vocal about how we were screwed by the committee. I really want an upset here to vindicate us.
 
65-51. We kicked BUTT! We exploded out of the gate, scored the first 9 and never looked back. Got it to 22 at one point. +30 RBs.
Best feeling I’ve ever had as a coach.
 
March 19
 
Weber State is gone so we’re the last conference team playing. Of course it’s #3 seed Kentucky, 23-10, ranked #10. From what I see they’re better outside we’re better inside. I think we have a shot at this. 
 
51-67. Their guards are terrific. Scot Wild held his own but our other two were over matched. No disgrace in losing to a better team.
 
This was my best season ever, easily. Very proud of my guys.
 
April 4
 
I went to the Final Four again. Had even more interesting and more pointed conversations. I’m hoping for some interesting job offers.
Arizona by 1 over the Tar Heels for the title. Great game.
 
Awards: Ike Green Defensive Player of the Year, and 1st team along with Cory Glow. 
 
April 9
 
LOTS of offers. None fantastic but several that need a follow up. Washington State? No. Wright State? Visiting. UAB? Visiting. Bowling Green? No. Canisius? No. Georgia Southern? Visiting. 
 
Going to Wright State, Dayton, Ohio. Horizon League. Not all that far from home. I really wanted out, despite the success. The climate was all wrong for me and nice as they were, I had nothing in common with the people. I have no doubt there will be a lot of rebuilding to do, but that’s fine. I’m young. I have time.
 
After 6 years as a head coach my numbers are: 122-62, .659. Off- 20, Def- 32, Recruit- 86, Scout- 40, Player Development- 26, Reputation 24, Team Prestige- 27.
 
Lots to do!


#17

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1
 
A new beginning. I did all of the things I needed to do, an apartment, furniture, finding my way around, etc. On the job I quickly became extremely friendly with my #1, Bud Sneed. Bud was 66, and he’d been around the game his entire life. He never acted like he knew everything, but what a fount of knowledge, and what a terrific guy.
 
We bought the national Gold scouting report.
 
June 26
 
5 scholarships. Losing 4 bigs and a PG. We’re looking at lots of guys. 
 
July 25
 
Bud gets the recruits to talk with him. He has a boatload of charm. That can’t hurt!
 
September 18
 
Bud Sneed continues to impress me. We find time to chat every day and I am learning a lot from him. We haven’t signed any recruits yet but we are close to some who are better than I thought we’d have a real chance with. Again, thanks to Bud.
We went with a mixed schedule, some easy games, some challenges. I want to see what I have here.
 
October 2
 
We have a couple of good recruits signed, a big and a PG, and we seem to be closing in on some others.
 
First day of practice at my new school. Starting 5 looks good but we are THIN. I’ll play 7, but unless things change #6 and #7 won’t help us. Still, weeks of practice and those two exhibitions will show us a lot. Hopefully some of it is good!
 
October 16
 
Picked first in the conference. Gulp. 
 
November 13
 
Lots of questions. Frankly, we didn’t look all that good in the exhibitions. I like Cris Byde at the Point and Dave Dell at Center very much. After that it’s 8 guys fighting for time. Sometimes that works out after you take some early lumps. I’ve been around long enough not to panic.
 
Okay, I met somebody. Went to a place called Thai Garden just off campus for lunch. Huge buffet style place. I’d been there before. Great food, all kinds. Every kind of Asian and middle eastern food, all excellent.  The waitress was Asian and stunning. I have no clue about how to flirt or try to have a conversation with someone I’m interested in but she recognized me and started the conversation. Turns out her family owns the place and she’s a first year grad student here at Wright State, in physics. That’s way beyond me, but she’s a basketball fanatic. The team was pretty mediocre during her four years, 2 games above .500. That makes her pretty dedicated.
 
I got there for lunch at about 1:30 so the place wasn't too crowded (but it's always busy) and we had the chance to talk quite a bit. Whatever I did she kept coming back to Wright State Raiders hoops. She knew all of the players, their strengths and weaknesses- she actually taught me a couple of things. She KNOWS the game. Turns out she has an older brother who played at Ohio State a few years ago. He had a cup of coffee with the Bulls but now he teaches high school biology and coaches the school team, over near Columbus. Anyway, about an hour and a half later, after I’d met her parents, it was time to go back to work. I was shy and uncomfortable about it but I HAD to ask her if I could see her.
 
“Of course! I’d love to! I was hoping you’d ask!”
 
D*mn! It doesn’t get any better than that. Anyway, that was early October; we’d only had one or two practices at that point. I guess that’s why (I HOPE that’s why!) she knew more than I did about my team. As the practices went by I could see that she was spot on with just about everything. We’ve been dating since then, October 7, to be precise. 
 
It has moved quickly. We see each other just about every day. She stops into my office when she is on campus and finds the time. 
 
Let me tell you about her (People have learned to run away when I say those words.). Mai’s family is Thai.  
 
So they came from Thailand in 1978 when Mai is 3 years old. Why they settled in Dayton is a long story; I'll save it for another time. Oh, Mai. She’s 4’11”, weighs maybe 90 pounds. So we make an interesting looking couple. You may remember that I’m 6’11”. 
 
Basketball is a big part of our relationship but that’s not all there is to it. She is, as well as being a genius in physics (undergrad was a totally free ride on scholarship, as is grad school), a voracious reader, as am I. We love to discuss books. She is a runner so we run together in the early morning. She’s a better runner than I am so she gets ahead then circles back from time to time. We both like the same kind of movies and we both love to eat out, eating foods from all over the world when we can get them which isn’t all that easy here. She cooks too, really well, and all sorts of things from all over Asia and the Middle East.
 
Her family has accepted me but they are very conservative. It’s okay when we go out but we are expected to be home early, and to spend time with them. They would not be happy if she were to visit me at my apartment. Whatever it takes.
 
Okay, I could go on forever but I’ll tell it over time. We had one exhibition game at home, She was there and she had lots to tell me after the game when we got together.
 
“Rash was tired at the end of the second half. You should have rested him- Byde too. That’s why they missed shots late. Oh, and you needed to switch back to man when their SG started hitting. You did, but not quickly enough. The pick and roll was working and you went away from it. Krib needs more minutes; Fray too. Your assistants do not tell you these things?”
 
And on and on. She was right about all of it. Some of it I knew, some I didn’t but she gave more detailed, accurate analysis than any of my guys except Bud did, and she was about at his level. At times he joins us in hoops conversations. I mostly listen and take mental notes. Mai will sit in the coach’s seats- I get two and could get more, and yes, they are very good seats! She usually comes with her younger brother, Dani. More about him later.
 
So here we are, ready to start the season. I sure did like my new “assistant coach!”


#18

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

November 14
 
We started with a home game vs. Rice. On paper this could be a close game but I had no clue how my guys would be. There were about 5,500 fans so the place was half full. Not a lot of people shared Mai’s enthusiasm for the team. Average attendance last year was 3,875. Curiosity factor got the rest out, I’m guessing.
 
81-55. Talk about exceeding my expectations! 8 TOS, +4 RBs. SG Brad Rash hit for 20 and C Dave Dell had 18 and 4. 8 asists, 2 TOs for PG Cris Byde. The other starters played well and the two guys who I plan to bring in from the bench (We played everyone in this rout) did well enough.
 
Mai was thrilled. Couldn’t stop talking after the game. She mentioned a couple of my mistakes, but only a couple.
 
Unfortunately we now hit the road for 4 of 5 and 7 of 9. Awful.
 
We started at Gonzaga, ranked #17, and that’s what we lost by, 17.
 
November 28
 
Finally got home yesterday. 2-2. We played Nebraska today. Beat them to go 3-2. Nebraska is a decent team playing in a great conference. This is a very good win for the program. I have no illusions. With all of the road games we will be lucky to finish the pre-conference season at .500, but we need to win when we can. 
 
As expected Dell and Byde are leading us but we’re getting more than I expected from Mark Sand at PF. Brad Rash at SG is also playing well. After that there isn’t much.
 
“You are terrible with the ball! 19 turnovers average. That is embarrassing!”
 
“Yes, Mai, I know.”
 
“Aren’t you working on it?”
 
“Every practice.”
 
We went on about that for a while. It is definitely our biggest problem. Mai had some ideas. Two of them were definitely worth trying in practice. 
 
I really hate the road. Being away from Mai is awful. I know it’s too soon to feel this strongly but I do. 3 of the next 4 are on the road.
 
December 25
 
We wound up the pre-conference season 5-6. Lost one by 2, another in OT. Considering 7 of the 11 were on the road I guess I’ll take. Half of the rest are at home.
 
I saw Mai when I could but it wasn’t often enough. It would be a little better now, less road time
.
We were incredibly comfortable with each other. At this early stage I can’t imagine this is the norm. Okay, we were “in love” but we also liked each other. It’s not the same thing, as I was learning. 
 
One of the most attractive things about Mai is her energy. She is constantly in motion, doing things, always doing them right, and doing them quickly and seemingly effortlessly. And she seems able to do absolutely anything. 
 
One of the funniest stories happened fairly early on, maybe early in November. I asked her birthday.
 
“May 1, 1975.”
 
I laughed.
 
“Why is this funny?”
 
“My birthday is May 1, 1968.”
 
She refused to believe me. Eventually I showed her my driver’s license. Then she laughed as hard as I had. 
 
XMas wasn’t a huge deal. For one thing we haven’t known each other long enough. For another, Mai and her family are Buddhist. They celebrate everything, every major religion’s happy days, every nation’s happy days. It’s a great philosophy. I am not even a tiny bit religious but Buddhism seems slightly less insane than lots of other religions. Of course they believe in reincarnation and all that, but whatever. When I marry this girl (Yeah, I know, but…) she can make our kids Buddhist, as long as they have choices about it. I didn’t when I was a kid which is probably why I’m down on religion. Well, there’s also the fact that the whole god thing makes no sense to me.
 
Mai has heard all of this. She sort of pats me on the head and ignores my nonsense. She’s good at that. She does it with my political philosophy too, even though she generally agrees with me in that area. I guess it’s my intensity that turns her off. None of that matters though. It’s about us. It’s about our absolute fascination  with each other. I genuinely want to hear whatever she has to say. I genuinely want to know what makes her happy and what makes her happy, not as a game or as a way to control but rather as a way to make her happy. It is clear she feels the same way about me.
 
Oh, XMas. She made it clear that it was to be a SMALL celebration with only simple gifts. I got her a Wright State team shirt- no, not one you buy at the university shop, one that I got from the athletic department. One that was exactly the same as my guys wear. The smallest size we carry is miles too big for her but she doesn’t care. She says she’ll use it as a nightgown in warm weather. Having said that she wore it the rest of the night. I also got her some books that I thought she would like. I also bought little team related things for Dani, and team sweatshirts for her mom and dad.
 
Oh, her name. Then I’ll stop, promise. Thais normally have very long last names. Hers has 16 letters. Her first name has nine. Mai is an abbreviation. 
 
Same with Dani. I worked hard to correctly pronounce the family name so I could call her parents Mr. and Mrs. Her dad insisted I call him “Joe,” his “American name.” His wife was "Li." They said the only words I needed to know were “Sawasdee krab.” The second “s” is silent. That is the greeting males use in Thailand. Women say, “Sawasdee kha.” This is accompanied by clasping the hands in a prayer like position and bowing. I do and say that whenever I meet Joe and Li, and Dani too since they want him to keep his Thai heritage.
 
Mai was still “assisting” me with coaching. The TOs were making her crazier than they were making me- 17.5 per game. Not much was helping. I began to think we should chase a second guard. We still had two recruits signed, offers out to three others. One of the signees was a guard but none of our transfers were, and we weren’t currently offering to any other guards. I discussed it with Bud. We decided to take a very close look and to consider withdrawing an offer and giving it to a good looking PG if we had one who showed interest.
 
Grades came out and everyone made dean’s list except for one senior and he was at 2.7.
I was looking forward to seeing how we would do in conference play which was coming right up.


#19

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

January 1, 1998
 
Happy new year! It was. We won our first two and I got home in time to ring in the new year with Mai.
 
“It’s going to be a very special year for us, Mai.”
 
“Sh. Take your time. Just enjoy our time together. No hurry. All in good time.”
 
I was planning to propose at some point in this new year. Maybe at the end of the season.
 
I should have reported on my conversation with mom. In late November I called to tell her I’d met someone. There was a long silence when I go to the “she’s Thai” part. Mom recovered though, saying she didn’t know much about people from there and would do some homework. By the end of the conversation she seemed ready to accept. Mom is no bigot, it was just a surprise. She’ll be fine. I was hoping the folks would come down during the holiday season since this year’s schedule didn’t make a visit home possible. It didn’t happen. Hopeful I can get them here for a few days at some point. I have no doubt they will love Mai as much as I do.
 
January 24
 
12-7, 7-1 at the halfway point of conference play.  A 2 game lead. TOs down to 15.8. Still not good but moving in the right direction. In truth we have two good players and two fairly good players. After that it’s improvise, scramble and trust to luck. But that seems to be enough in the Horizon conference, at least so far.
 
January 29
 
Everyone hit the SAT score but then it’s only 860.
 
February 7
 
Our 4 month anniversary. Mai doesn’t like me to make a big deal of these things but I do make a little deal out of them. We just are so comfortable with each other. She does come to my apartment now and then. We watch a lot of rented movies. She’ll crawl into my lap to watch and she’s so tiny it’s like having a cat in my lap. I call her my little kitten sometimes. She likes that.
 
She is very busy. The life of a doc student is always insanely busy, and she helps out at the restaurant. With my crazy schedule it’s difficult for us to spend a lot of time together but we manage to steal as much as we can. Often she’s doing school work and I’m doing coaching stuff, but at least we’re together. She, usually with Dani, comes to all the home games and there’s always a lengthy “coaching session” after a game. The Wright State community has figured out that we’re together. All in all they seem supportive.
 
We’re 16-7, 11-1, RPI #42, 3 game lead with 4 to play. TOs down to 15.3. So far, leaving Mai aside for a moment (which is impossible), this has been a very good move.
 
March 5
 
We won the conference by 2. 18-9, 13-3, RPI #33. The tournament is here. We play #5 seed Oakland in the round of 4 after getting two byes.
 
80-59. 30, 8, 4 for Byde. We didn’t do much wrong tonight.
 
March 6
 
UIC for the title. They beat us by 8 at their place last week. We didn’t play very well that night. I think we’re the better team and here’s our chance to prove it. We’re going to the NCAA tourney either way but a win would help with the seed.
 
69-59 and a title in my first year! Byde was in foul trouble all night long. He only played 18 minutes. Somehow we overcame that. The rest of the starters really stepped up. 
 
I think Mai was more excited than I was. 
 
“I can’t believe it! We always win half our games, finish in the middle. 20-9 and we win! It’s wonderful. You’re wonderful, Blade.”
 
Then she kissed me. Oh, she always calls me Blade, which I think is very cool. Love that woman! But you knew that.
 
Now we wait. The team will get together to watch the Selection Sunday show to see where we go and how high. Mai and Dani will join us since families and guests are welcome.
 
March 12
 
RPI #29 so we’re hopeful. Everyone is here waiting for the show to start. Mai is jumping out of her skin with excitement, holding my hand then just needing to get up and pace around.
 
Here we go! Not in the East. Not in the South. Not in the Midwest. #12 West. We play #5 seed, #18 ranked New Mexico, 22-8. I thought we’d be a #9 or a #10 but it is what it is. We’re just excited to be going.
 
Joe gave me permission to fly Mai and Dani out to Portland, Oregon for the game. I was a little surprised that he agreed but I guess he knew that Mai would have gone crazy if she hadn’t been able to go. 
 
When I told Joe I would be happy to pay all expenses he said, “Alvin (He doesn’t call me Blade), I have much money. Own best restaurant in Bangkok. Brother take care of it. I go home every month to check everything and bring lots of money back here. I pay.”
 
That’s another long story. I may tell it some time.
 
March 17
 
UIC and Green Bay both lost in the NIT and the CHI so we’re the last team playing from our conference. This is a game where we have a shot. We need to bang it inside all night long. They aren’t strong or big inside. They’re good outside though. If the game is played inside we should win but if it’s played outside they probably will.
Hell of a game. 16 lead changes, 6 ties. We were never more than 8 points apart. Cris Byde was our good news and our bad news, 33 points, 10 TOs. Dave Dell owned the inside. Finally, 45 seconds left we’re down 2. They double Byde but he gets it to Dell who jams it. Tie game. Mark Sand steals a pass, gets it ahead to Byde for an easy lay up and we’re up 2 with 36 left. They come down, have trouble getting a good look but eventually get it to their SG who hits a 15 footer. Tie game, 14 left.  Byde brings it down, throws it away. They come down the floor, get it to the SG again. He gets open off a double screen, hits a 12 footer with 2.5 left. Brad Rash takes a 22 footer that misses off the front rim and we lose 60-62.
 
Tough loss. Mai was devastated, probably took it worse than anyone else.
 
We were +8 on the boards but -11 with 19 TOs. That hurt us all year and it was the difference tonight.
 
It was a quiet flight back home but I’ll take this for my first season here.
 
April 4
 
I went to the final four again. It simply was a good idea. Hopefully beginning next year I would be taking Mai with me.
#5 ranked Kentucky won the title.
 
Awards: Dave Dell was POY and 1st team along with Cris Byde. Mark Sand made 2nd team.
April 9
 
Not interested in job offers. I’m not about to leave Mai.
 
April 30
 
We signed 3 PFs and 2 PGs. I ask for budget dollars. I get $10,000. I’ll take it.
My numbers: 142-73, .660. Off- 23, Def- 37, Recruit- 90, Scout- 41, Player Development- 30, Reputation 27. Team Prestige jumped to 33. 
I proposed to Mai last night.
 
“Too soon. I’m not ready yet, Blade.”
 
“You’re saying no?”
 
“I’m saying ask me again after we know each other at least a year and maybe I say yes.”
 
Okay, not what I wanted but reason to hope. I’ll ask again in October.


#20

Wayne23
  • Wayne23
  • Hall of Famer
  • Members
  • 715 posts
  • 4 thanks
    GM Since: March 2014
14
Good

May 1
 
A new season. We hope to dominate the conference again this year, and perhaps begin to get noticed nationally.
 
June 12
 
We got two transfers. One is a solid PF. The other, an SF, is a gamble.
June 26
 
Summer is no less busy for Mai and me. She is working on her doctoral program, mostly gathering info at this point, but busy. And of course she’s working in the family restaurant. Dani is being trained to take over the business after college. He is the only one of the three children who is interested but he is very interested.
 
For me there are never enough hours to do all of the things involved in being a head coach. Still, Mai and I manage to spend a lot of time together. Sometimes we’re each working on our own thing but at least we’re together. I spend most evenings at her parents’ house, with Mai. Sometimes I don’t get there until fairly late but both Mai and I are nighthawks, and we have been known to work until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. Joe and Li leave us alone in the living room. They come in now and then, and Joe likes me and wants to talk with me. I like him, too. He is incredibly intelligent and well informed and he is a terrifically nice man. I always enjoy our chats.
 
Bud Sneed continues to be a fantastic mentor. He is amazing- tremendous knowledge in just about every area of coaching but he never acts as if he knows it all. He is a kind, patient teacher and every day he makes me a better coach.
 
Only two scholarships to fill. We need guards. Looking at a dozen kids for now.
August 28
 
School starts tomorrow. My kids have all been on campus for a few days. 
 
September 18
 
We feel like we’re closing in on two guards.
 
The schedule is stronger than last year’s. 
 
I’m waiting for the year with Mai to be completed so I can propose again. We’re together as often as possible and we belong together, no doubt in my mind.
 
October 2
 
I really liked what I saw in practice today. Everyone is in shape and everyone worked hard.
 
October 8
 
One year and one day with Mai. I proposed again tonight.
 
“You need to ask my father.”
 
“What?”
“You need to ask my father.”
 
“You didn’t say that last time I asked.”
 
“I was not ready to marry you then.”
 
“Does that mean you are now?”
 
“You need to ask my father.” She smiled a little when she said that.
 
“You are messing with my head, little kitten.”
 
She smiled again, a big smile.
 
“My father is very traditional about some things. Ask him.”
 
“Okay, but he’d better say yes.”
 
“He will.”
 
That was what I was waiting for. Joe was waiting in the next room so I went in and asked him.
 
“I am honored to say yes, Alvin. We are so happy that you will join our family.”
 
“You have made me very happy, Joe. I love your daughter very much.”
 
“I know this, Alvin. You will please call me ‘Papa Joe’ now, and my wife ‘Mama Li.’”
 
“Yes, Papa Joe, I am happy to do that. Do I need to ask you when we will be allowed to marry?”
 
“I think it would be wonderful if you marry on May 1. Since that is the birthday for both of you it seems like a lucky day for your wedding.”
 
“That’s fine.”
 
“Oh, I have bought the house next door (Joe lived in the house next to the restaurant. He was talking about the house next to his. This was a combined business and residential area.). You and Mai will live there so you can be close to us.”
 
“That is very generous, Papa Joe. Thank you. You do realize that we will only be here for a short time?”
 
“I did not know. Why is this, Alvin?”
 
“I am ambitious, Papa Joe. I wish to rise to the top of my profession. In order to do this I must move to where opportunity will bring me. We will very likely move two or three times until I am at a very good university that will support my efforts to make the best basketball program possible.”
 
“Wright State cannot do this?”
 
“No. It is a good place for me now but already I am outgrowing it. I will stay here until Mai finishes her Ph. D., and then if the opportunity is there we will move.”
 
“I understand. Is there a chance that you will end up near here?”
 
“I hope to coach in the Northeast or the Midwest- UConn, Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, so hopefully not too far away.”
 
“I understand. How many years will all of this take?”
 
"That's difficult to say. Certainly no less than six to eight, possibly as long as twelve or even fifteen."
 
"You are young, you have time."
 
"Yes."
 
"Perhaps when you arrive at your destination mama Li and I will go there and open another restaurant."
 
"I would like that very much."
 
Papa Joe then called mama Li, Mai, and Dani in and we had a celebration. Obviously they had expected all of this to happen this evening because the celebration had clearly been planned, and food prepared.
 
When Mai and I were finally alone together I let her know how happy I was.
 
“Me too, Blade. I very much want to be your wife. I want to work though. My work is important to me.”
 
“Of course. I would never prevent that.”
 
We discussed children, and all sorts of other things.
 
I have never been happier.
 
November 6
 
Lots of planning. Mai and mama Li are getting the house ready. Sure, it will be six months before we move in but there is a lot they want to do. I help a little now and then but I think I’m mostly in the way unless they have a specific task for me. 
 
Exhibition games, as always, taught me a lot about my team. We made some changes in the rotation. As usual some spots are up for grabs, particularly SG.
 
Ready or not the season is here! I think we’re ready.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users