Sometimes, it still feels a bit surreal to me.
I have continuously told people my entire career that my ultimate goal would be to coach basketball on a beach.
If I could accomplish that, I’d be set.
Well, it’s 2023, and here we are.
I can’t even begin to express my excitement for this incredible opportunity.
After spending over twenty years in various coaching roles across all levels, I could not be more grateful to have landed here at LBSU for my first official head coaching job.
I’ve made a lot of stops along this journey, and each and every one of those has prepared me for this very moment.
Whether we’re talking about my first coaching position at South Florida or my most recent one at Oklahoma — one thing has always remained true.
I’ve always been my authentic self and continued to pour my passion for this game into the student-athletes I serve.
After all, they are why I do what I do.
The relationships that I have developed and the impact I am allowed to make on young lives are why I continue to pace the sidelines year after year.
I couldn’t be more honored to continue this important work here at Long Beach State, surrounded by the rich tradition and winning history that this program stands for.
In my blood
As I reflect on how I got here, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have this position if it wasn’t for an amazing group of people who supported me along the way.
This starts with my family.
After all, I was basically born with a basketball in my hands.
Growing up on the plains of Indiana, your choices were fairly limited.
You were either farming or playing basketball.
And farming wasn’t really my thing, so coming from an athletic family, basketball it was.
My dad was a collegiate basketball player and then a high school coach, while my mom was mostly involved on the volleyball team in her prime.
She never had the opportunity to compete on the basketball court, so she was going to make sure that I took full advantage of mine.
They both have always pushed me to be the best I can be, no matter what.
I’d spend day after day in the gym with my dad as he coached and would get up shots, learn the fundamentals of this amazing sport, and basically do everything except sit in the assigned area that my dad had directed me to.
If you know anything about me, though, you know that’s just my style.
I like to go against the grain and create my own path along this journey.
It’s just how I operate.
So, in all of those years of high school ball, playing point guard at the collegiate level, and continuously hearing how good of a coach I would make one day – I wasn’t at all interested in doing what others thought I should do.
I’ve always wanted to write my own story.
A new path
And throughout my career, even as a player, I feel like I have done just that.
After high school, I had the opportunity to play college basketball at Arkansas – a community hundreds of miles from my home state of Indiana, but a program in which I had the chance to contribute immediately.
An opportunity to make an impact is all that I have ever wanted, no matter where this journey has led.
I remember those early college days and being humbled by no longer being the best athlete on the court.
Everyone was good.
It took me some time to figure it all out and learn exactly how to navigate this new level of competition.
I never quit, though, and in fact, throughout the course of my collegiate career, I never missed a single contest.
I played in every game and learned more about this sport than I could have ever dreamed of.
As a point guard, you’re the floor director. You are calling plays, getting people into positions, and seeing the game through a different lens.
It further fueled my passion for the sport, and after getting drafted by the Detroit Shock in 2002 and a short stint working for Adidas designing sneakers, I missed being that floor general.
And there was no doubt that sitting behind a desk from nine to five was just not who I was.
I needed a change and to do what I was meant to do all along — coach young athletes to reach their full potential in basketball and life.
This was my destiny, and it was time that I walked into it.
Since the day I decided to become a coach, the blessings have not stopped flowing and my gratitude for them grows more every day. Coaching has afforded me opportunities that I never dreamed possible.
I have traveled the world and worked with some of the best, sitting at their feet and soaking in all they had to offer. From budgeting to recruiting and even equipment, they taught me all aspects of the game, while encouraging me to never lose my passion.
I’m proud to say that working with student-athletes is what I enjoy most.
I have the chance in this profession to share with them the same game that has opened countless doors for me. I get to make an impact on their lives, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
However, I cannot do it alone. This team here in Long Beach is our team.
Not my team.
I want the community to feel our presence and to know that our goals are bigger than basketball. We want to pay homage to all of those who have come before us and have shaped this program into what it is today, while also encouraging the next generation to join our ranks.
We are the team for the people. The sky’s the limit if we all dream together.
Come dream with us.