April  27, 2019, There was a Twitter thread between Brain McCormick Broward College “Junior College “  Head Women’s Basketball Coach & Levelle Moton  North Carolina Central University Head men’s basketball coach and myself.  Questioning why NCAA Division I ADs & presidents will not hire successful Junior College, NAIA  head coaches on the NCAA Division I level without being an assistant on the NCAA Divisions. I had the opportunity to ask this question during the 2019 Head Coaching Training by The BDS Agency. I posted this question first to the Search Firm Panel. The matter was referred to throughout the conference!  I interpreted the answer by the search firms & athletic director within the panels. Yes NCAA Division I  athletic directors will hire coaches on the NCAA  from any level High School, Junior College, NAIA. The committee (s)  stated they believe there are great coaches on every level, but coaches need to network and build relationships the notes from the search firm, athletic director, and athletic administrators ,and head coaches will better prepare one for an opportunity to gain an assignment to become an NCAA D1 Head Coach!

Brain Morris
Cell 816-605-5262-
Founder Bespoke by BMO & Former Senior Associate AD @ UNKC
“Projecting A Postive Brand”
The Halo Effect – Albert Mehrabian Rule(s) * Must look up his research

  1. Custom Suits
  2. What Do You Want? Brand to be it!
  3. Donor Meetings, Dress Appropriately, know who are the power players & Donors
  4. Network with Assistant, Associate Athletic Directors they will be the people making the hiring decisions in the future
  5. Find ways to expand your network outside of basketball coaches, Basketball Coaches don’t hire Head Coaches Athletic Directors Do!
  6. Use current school logo on your resume make sure pictures are not fuzzy
  7. Life Hacks – Thompson TEE – Sweat Prevention -CoachesTees

Search Firm Panel

  • Moderated by Jamy Bechler – Leadership Coach & Author of The Leadership Playbook
  • Gene DeFilippo- Managing Director – Turnkey Search
  • Daniel Parker – Vice President & Managing Director, Sports @ Parker Executive Search 
  • FYI go to ATL and be added to the search firm list –
  1. Do your homework -Preparation – Be very knowledge of the institution
  2.  Philosophy books don’t get you hired – They Can be too big/thick
  3. Know extensive details on WHO will be in the interview room
  4. Have details of your budget, scheduling knows very specific to the program you are coming into.
  5.  You must be a good fit for the institution – This will have nothing to do with you not being a great coach but You must be a good fit for the college!
  6. Don’t Memorize but be knowledgeable of your answer
  8. As assistants ask for MOCK interviews with your current AD through the year
  •  Your vision for the program must be specifically tailored toward the institution you are interviewing for.
  • List recruiting program locally  and nationwide
  •  What assistant coaches you are bringing in on your staff
  • Who are you going to hire?
  • Why are you going to hire them?
  • Do you retain any of the old staff?
  • Be able to name 2-4 people for each position.
  •  Academic Plan you have for the program APR MATTERS?
  • How will you address the mental health of your players?
  • Say a lot in a short period of time !!! Treat the AD/President as they have ADHD clear & concise 
  • Questions you DO NOT ASK
  • Do not ask about salary for yourself and Staff  until you have been offered the job
  • MOU Memorandum of Understanding you must sign this before being a finalist
  • Compare salary and program Budget to the rest of the league
  • Ask questions specific to the program
  • Ask questions particular to the interviewers in the room ask the interviewers what their expectations and needs from their next head coach! 
  1. Practice interviewing from ZOOM and SKYPE – Have internet, background, etc. prepared one hour or more before the interview there should be no interruptions





 > interviews commonly happen over the phone, Skype, zoom, etc.

 > make sure your WiFi is good to go

 > have proper lighting

 film yourself & practice these interviews

  1. Articulate to the president & AD I want this Position !!!
  2.  3 Stages – Skype Interview – Airport Interview – Campus Interview
  3. Invest in relationships. Start on your current campus/community.

 > Athletic department staff

 > Marketing

> Housing

> Facilities

 > UPD

 > Compliance

 > Training Staff

> Strength & Conditioning

 > Deans, VP, President

 > Donors, Fans, Community

Division I Director of Athletics Panel

*Moderated by Jamy Bechler – Leadership Coach & Author of The Leadership Playbook

Troy Dannen – Director of Athletics @ Tulane University

Chris King – Director of Athletics @ Robert Morris University

Chrissi Rawak – Director of Athletics @ University of Delaware

Interview Process

  •  Be able to speak/articulate your philosophy
  • Be prepared to use examples
  • Give outcomes of samples, and if they are adverse outcomes what lessons you learned
  • AD will hire a company or have an employee of the athlete department to do research on your social media accounts and financial/banks auditors.
  • The AD speak with previous students-athletes whom you have coached
  • 16 Sports 1 team be a team player within your athlete department support all the sports programs
  • On interview know details about the president and every sports team know all  the coaches names and specifics about their program
  • Do not give your portfolio  to the administration staff until the end of the interview
  • Know the history of the college athlete program
  • Never turn down an interview from an AD sometimes the AD does not have plans to hire you NOW but interviewing you for the future !!!
  • If you are an Assistant  Coach that’s interviewing for the Head Coaching position, the AD needs to know who you are hiring as your assistant, especially in areas you are weak in !!!   Who and Why & each staff duties?
  • After a lousy season, Build a plan and sell it to your AD !!! If it works or not sell the program!!!!
  • If you are a coach looking for a head coaching opportunity always seek you alma mater college
  • Do not have anyone call the AD/President unless they have a relationship with the AD(s) hate this !!!!

Division I Administrator Panel

Lauren Ashman – Senior Associate AD/SWA @ Bowling Green State University

China Jude – Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA @ University of Wyoming (moderator)

Tiffany Tucker – Senior Associate AD/SWA @ University of North Carolina-Wilmington

  • Continue to go to the clinic to meet search firms and Athletic administrators  
  • You must choose a program that’s a good fit for you and vice versa for the college
  • It’s not about your qualification
  • Win/Loss, APR, Area of philosophy
  • During  the  interview posture is KEY, use hands gesture but not too much
  • Don’t bring RINGS
  • Don’t speak negatively about past employers “Classless” Just stated Philosophy Differences
  • Asure resume is clean aligned and organized
  • If ask a question you do not know it’s OK to pause
  • Know who you are speaking to know specifics
  • Speak on your philosophy provided examples outcomes and lesson learn .Give  examples of how you lead as a head coach. How you grow the teams APR.

Devin Crosby – Director of Athletics @ Lynn University

“The Fundamentals of CARE”

Think about that 1 student-athlete you hate to be around or have to deal with that was Mr. Crosby thanks to his AD when he was a student-athlete at Slippery Rock college Track & field team that changed his life

  • Connect with people
  • 1.            Care is who we are the by-product is winning !!
  • 2.            Adapted values of your institution understand what’s essential to your institution
  • Before the interview go online watch video of the president and athletic director press conferences and list what’s important to them
  • 3.            Rest – Have something you can go to revive you from the stressful job
  • 4.            Every interaction with anyone is an interview!

Stephanie White

Head Women Basketball Coach at Vanderbilt Unversity

“A WNBA perspective to College Game. ‘

  1. What’s vital for me as a player?
  2. 2-way Communication between player and coaches
  3. College Coaches don’t be pigeon hold in roles as assistant coaches

To HC:

 *don’t pigeon hole your AC into static roles. Continue to develop them. The best compliment you can get is that they become a HC.

To AC:

* don’t allow yourself to get pigeon holed into a static role. Get involved with as much as you can.

  • Tell Head Coach and Staff  what you think – start arguments  to fight for what you believe in
  • College level feelings are hurt easy compared to pros
  • Must always communicate & Respect on any level
  • Mental Health on the college level is an area you must be prepared for Hi(s) & Lo(s)
  • Pro level we can put in 6 sets in a day College level it may take weeks to implement 1 set
  • Pro(s) Figure out how to keep their job !!!!! Example, a player, may just be a hype man come in practice with energy and encouragement
  • Basketball IQ Huge differences Pros vs. College
  • We must teach life lesson in college vs. Pros
  • “ If you don’t invest in little things we can’t be great in the big things “
  • Must be willing to change and adapted !!!
  • Pros Scouts look for tough athletes that pay attention to details
  • Pros Draft players with a strong character they know they can be coached up
  • Pros Draft players that fit in the system and players that can be developed
  • Pros Scouts want athletes who willing to do intangibles
  • Pros Scouts watch players on the bench how you encourage teammates how you receive coaching.

Lance White

Head Women Basketball Coach

University of Pittsburg

“Staff Hiring & Dynamics in year One “

  1. Coaching = Teaching -Teach fundamental players will get better
  2. Recruiting  =  Relationships – communication is key to any relationship
  3. As a Head Coach hire experts in the field- that’s smarter than your self
  4. As a head Coach Hire Hard Workers that are willing to work hard
  5. Trust and Loyalty ARE NOT YES People

Head Coaches, assistant it’s common to argue and debate on issues, but once the item has been approving by the head coach staff must buy in the decision and sellout all out in the staff agreement !!! Buy IN !!!  

Assistant coaches must work for Head Coach, that’s a good fit for your personality lifestyle and family.

  • As a head coach, everyone, you hire, you must be willing to fire.

As a head coach, 90% of your day is managing people.

  • As an assistant, don’t bring everything to your head coach handle it as an assistant.

Felisha Legette-Jack

Head Women’s basketball coach

University at Buffalo

“failing, sitting in it, and Getting back in line “

Words Matter = Believe Players become bigger than head coach leadership

  1. Never Compromise Integrity
  2.  Never Close off “Self “ Always listen to to the job opportunity 
  3. Own your failure
  4. Do more than your share
  5. Have a vision
  6. Always be able to go back where you left to keep a good relationship with past employers *
  7. Make it about the student-athlete
  8. Servant Leadership
  9. Change/adapted with the times
  10. Family- Whomever career takes off we will  support that career must have the  ability to adjust and adapt-Marriage & Family compromising
  11. * Don’t be afraid to walk away if the assignment is not aligned with your conviction and integrity

Yolett McCuin-McPhee – Head Women’s Basketball Coach @ University of Mississippi “Transitioning as Head Coach From the Mid-Major to Power 5 Level”

  • Resilient & Grit – Believe in yourself!  – without this, you are always helping someone else build their dreams !!!
  • Be ready when your number is called
  • Be very Knowledgeable – No need to be Passionate without knowledge but knowledge and passion = Greatness
  • Be aggressive towards seeking assignments as an assistant or head coach
  • “ Work at Networking “ Network is important always find  1-2 power players and build a relationship with them over the years
  • If single parents or any other family matters you must inform your future employer, so you will know they be willing to make accommodations for your family prepared to take the L (lost) for your family if the assignment does not fit you and your family lifestyle.

Jamion Christian – Head Men’s Basketball Coach @ George Washington

University “The First 30 Days”

  • ” Never lose empathy for your players always have tough conversations with your players & parents if you need to dismiss the student-athlete, or the student-athlete will see less significate playing time
  • Take time to teach your assistant
  • Want something in your program a specific way? Create a system/Culture that YOU teach consistently
  • Standards are high for HIGH Character – Coach Christian let his best player All Conferences, but  Now EVERYONE knows the Standard
  • Choose a great staff that’s a great fit You shouldn’t have to fire staff if you do your due process in  the hiring stages
  • Don’t assume everyone can win
  • Create a system You elevate your team

60 Days

  • Interview every player in Offseason Preseason, PostSeason
  • Talk to the Athletic Trainer, Academic Support Team, Sports Information director all support staff about players
  • Change perspective in the first  thirty days
  • Each week concept top five donors 1st year and a half you do not ask for anything but build relationships but always follow back up
  • Meet with players and ask  questions when you first arrive on campus
  • Always remember love is accountability
  • To create an authentic culture it starts with the coaching staff to players all the way to the Mangers
  • When hiring staff hire the operation staff first and coaches last
  • End of the 60 days address everything on the list must be addressed
  • Never hire anyone you don’t know recommended not to hire anyone I haven’t known for three years. You want to see how they response to the Highs and Lows in life watch the lows !!!
  • The best recruiters are your players  

Amy Williams – Head Women’s Basketball Coach @ University of Nebraska “Leading a Change in Culture”

  • Failures – The Gold standard of culture looks different to every coach & every team
  • Define Differential – Educators understand this term for their students
  • Culture is dynamic & every changing it’s just like a marriage you have to work every day at it Sticking to your expectations especially when your best players are is trying to short cut
  • Setting intervals from different backgrounds and walks of life to agree to buy in and commit to the same values

Good practices to Establish your culture

  • Put amazing people around you
  • Be adaptive no tier Staff
  • Consult your athlete give oversight
  • Clearly defines the values & Behaviors that match the teams top goals articulate & be respective & emphasize it !!!
  • Be willing to adjust but maintain authority

Shauna Green – Head Women’s Basketball Coach @ University of Dayton “Building Strong Relationships for Support from the President Down”

  • Work!!!
  • Develop Relationships
  • Cultivate relationships with Athletic Directors, Presidents, and Administrators
  • Scheduling and Recruiting is critical for the success of your program
  • You will learn so much from failure and adversity
  • Build a relationship with everyone on campus from housing and janitors
  • How you treat anyone how you treat everyone relationships are build from bottom up
  • If I’m not confident in myself &  resilient, how can I lead a team?
  • Improve your relationship with the player with TRUST * always be honest. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship! you have to make time to make relationships with players-staff – let them have ownership this is OUR program – be intentional on being on the same page
  • Staff empowers your staff makes them feel like it’s OUR program!
  • Two weeks have a group meeting with assistant coaches, academic support team, athletic trainer, strength and condition coach all support staff we all meet together
  • Attack jobs like you attack recruits !!!!
  • Be big time where you are!!!