What are you looking for in a new head men's basketball coach?
First and foremost we are looking for the best fit for the long term benefit and development of our men's basketball program. That takes into consideration a coach's knowledge of the game and the ability to be an effective teacher and communicator. Our coach must have solid East Coast recruiting ties and a proven track record of being able to recruit a high caliber of player. We will talk with existing head coaches, former head coaches, current college and pro assistants. Being able to build a coaching staff is a very important element towards building a winning program.
Specifically when you talk style of play, I would like to see someone who values a tough minded, physical style of basketball, intense defense, solid fundamentals, and up tempo offense that is fun to watch. Win or lose going forward teams need to remember the Tigers the morning after we play them. That will breed an attitude amongst our team and our fans. There is nothing like watching student-athletes who give their all, dive for loose balls, and play with great emotion. The type of coach that we will bring to Towson will value these traits, along with others. This will all come to the surface when we interview candidates over the run of the process. There are things that you know going in are 100 percent essential and then there are other traits that will become apparent when the right person is in the room with you. I cannot over communicate the need for a true fit for this position.
What is the timeline to have a new coach in place?
Ideally, we would have our new coach and his staff in place soon after the Final Four is complete in Houston, sometime during the first week in April or thereabout. A lot of this depends on when the coaches we want to talk to are finished with their seasons. The spring recruiting period begins around the middle of the month following a dead period immediately after the Final Four. By meeting this timeline, we set ourselves up to be able to fill out our roster spots with some recruits in the spring signing period.
What are your selling points that you will use when talking to coaches about the position?
I believe that we have one of the best jobs in mid-major basketball when you look at the facts. We have a great city to live in, a great recruiting area to draw talent from, and an outstanding University for our prospective student-athletes to get a first-class education. Probably the most exciting attribute is that starting in two years Towson will have the best basketball arena in the CAA as well as a new dedicated practice facility. Off the court we are making improvements such as improved academic support, a dedicated basketball strength and conditioning coach and sports medicine professional, plus enhancements in housing assignments for our basketball program and the best meal plans to enhance their physical development. We will also be looking to upgrade the competitive schedule to include some additional television appearances for the program and will be working with Under Armour to maximize our basketball brand, nationally and internationally. We are very fortunate to have some enhanced support coming in from a variety of areas and that will be a booster rocket behind Tiger Basketball. We're going to be successful here at Towson because there is simply no other outcome that is acceptable.
Who will be running the program during your search for a new head coach?
I have asked Assistant Coach Phil Cohen and Director of Basketball Operations Kerry Kinard to stay on during this interim period. Phil was the director of basketball operations last year before becoming an assistant coach. Kerry joined the staff this past October following stops with the Utah Jazz and Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA. They will conduct off-season workouts, help monitor academic performance while Assistant A.D. for Sports Performance James Shipp will oversee the weight room workouts and the rehabilitation of any lingering seasonal injuries.
Are you using a committee to assist you in the process of selecting the new head coach?
I will be speaking with a lot of different people over the course of the search who will share knowledge and counsel on the various candidates that we will visit with. There will be no formal search committee. Once I have a candidate that I am comfortable with, I will forward that name to the President for final approval.
When will you update fans on the progress of the search?
This interview will be the only time during the process that I will be communicating with the Tiger Nation until we have a press conference and welcome in our new coach. Over the last 22 years, I have been a part of a lot of coaching searches, some more high profile than others. One thing that I have learned is that you really can impair the process by conducting business through the media, intentionally or otherwise. We have a plan on how to find a new head men's basketball coach for Towson University and we will go out and bring back the best coach to lead us to the top of the CAA and beyond. Once we have a coach, we'll call a press conference and will have that for you live on www.TowsonTigers.com. Once something is decided, we will not let time pass before we share that with our fans and alumni. The more secure the process can operate the better quality of people who will be involved.