A Q&A with men’s basketball coach Kyle Green

Story by Ryan Laughlin

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Coach Kyle Green will begin coaching the men’s basketball team this season. After signing on to coach in mid-2011, Green will bring his coaching philosophies into play in just a few weeks. Who is coach Green, anyway? We sat down to find out.

Ryan Laughlin: Why did you choose UW-Eau Claire?

Coach Kyle Green: Well, it has an excellent basketball  tradition, it’s a great school and when you mix those together with the fact that I have a young family, it’s a great place to raise a family. We thought it would be a great fit for a career move — a great place to live and a fun place to work.

 

RL: What are the other places you have coached?

CG: I was the head coach of Western State College (Col.) and at Louis University (Ill.).

 

RL: What are you most excited about, and what are you most worried about this upcoming season?

CG: Well, I am most excited about the chance to work with some new kids and the opportunity to be the head coach, giving them my philosophy. At the same time, it always worries a coach. It’s a new style, a change in mentality and (wondering) how the players will adjust — the overall goal is to make sure they have a quality experience and make sure they grow not just as players but as men. Take care of business off the court, academically — all of that’s important. So you make sure the philosophy of how you do that gets meshed in right away and have it happen sooner than later.

RL: You talk about philosophy and mentality. Can you explain what you’re teaching and what your philosophies are?

CG: Well, philosophy basketball-wise? We want to play a very aggressive style of basketball. So, fast-paced, run the ball down the floor and be a little aggressive with it. Look for our first opportunity to score — defense we play man-to-man.

What we talk about is we always want to be a tough team both physically and mentally. I think we can — we have a fairly mature team with lots of experience, so they know what they’re getting into. As a new coach, it’s nice for me to have them — they know the league better than I do. I’m going to rely on them a lot for that.

 

RL: You said in terms of mentality, not only growing as a basketball player, but as a man — what do you mean by that?

CG: Well, I think there are a lot of life lessons you can learn from basketball and being part of a team. (Everyone on the team) relies on  you, trusts you, and it’s important that you hold up your end of the deal. That means going to class, making smart decisions off the court, representing not only the program but also your teammates and yourself in the right way. These are all things that in the future, when they go look for jobs, that their employers will expect of them. And when they have a family, that’s what their spouse and kids will expect from them. Those things are the lessons you can learn as a part of a team or an athletic group like this — we talk about that and stress that a lot.

 

RL: How about goals for the season? The team went 9-16 last year, so is this considered a rebuilding year — what do you think?

CG: Well as a coach you never say it’s a rebuilding year because I don’t want to put any limitations on what they can do. We certainly lost a significant part of our offense with the graduation of two guys and the transfer of another. But the guys who are back are certainly hungry, eager … so I don’t put any limitations. I think that we can beat anyone on the schedule — but I also know if we don’t do all the things we’re talking about, we could lose to anyone on the schedule.

So at no time do we talk about numerical goals. To be honest our simple goal is to improve every day. I know that cliché for all coaches to say, but it’s really the point: if we do that, we’ll have had a lot of success, and that will translate to wins.

RL: As far as improving every day, what will the challenges be to obtain that?

CG: The newness of everything and the speed ­— as a coach, you want things to happen quickly and everything is new. So I have to be patient and they have to be patient with me and we’re kind of growing together. And that’s the biggest challenge — how are we going to come together as a team and mesh? I think one of the things we’ll spend time working on (is) team chemistry. Make sure that we all trust each other, understand each other and know where we’re coming from so that we can have that success off the court, which translates to on the court.


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