Q: What was your most memorable moment during the 2007-08 season?
A: We had a lot of good moments this past season. I could probably pick a dozen or so. But, as a coach, I’d have to say training camp. I’m really big on team building and developing chemistry and it was really special for me as a coach to watch these guys develop the type of team atmosphere during the first two weeks. That particular training camp was really fun to be a part of and one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life in a positive manner.
Q. What team goals were met or surpassed in the first season?
A. Well, anytime you begin a year, you want to be a contender. Being a first-year franchise is a lot of work and really puts us behind the other established teams. As a first-year team, we had a personal goal of finishing .500 and we surpassed that with 26 wins. We made the playoffs and every basketball game we competed in – with the exception of one – we had a chance to win with three minutes to play. Secondly, I promised an uptempo style. I wanted to be in the top-three in the CBA in scoring as a team and we ended up winning the team scoring title, averaging nearly 111 points a game. Overall as a team, I thought we did a good job on the floor. It was about getting better one day at time and we did that. I’m very proud of my guys.
Q. What goals have already been set for the 2008-09 campaign?
A. As a coach, I can’t place goals on a team I don’t have assembled yet. However, I do believe with the foundation we built this past season we have a chance to be just as good or better. I think we will have the ability to go out and get some really good veteran players along with a couple of solid rookies. I can promise one thing though, we are going to work hard every possession and we’re gonna run all day, run all night and run a little longer. Nothing is going to change in terms of our style of play.
Q. Looking back at the 2007-08 season, who was the most talented player you coached against and why?
A. Talent comes in a lot of different forms. But, the whole package would probably have been Ronnie Fields from Minot. He had the ability to control the game in various ways. He was certainly a big time player with the knack to knock down big shots for his team.
Q. During the season, did you have a chance to follow NBA or college hoops?
A. As much as I could. With a 48-game schedule and the time we spent traveling, we had very little time for TV. But, I followed college basketball as much as I could both on the local level and nationally. I thought Pikeville College put a good product on the floor this past year. Coach Wells and Coach Riley did a good job of working with those guys. From all indications, it looks like they have all the makings for an excellent season in the fall. I thought Coach G over in Lexington did some things to get Kentucky moving in the right direction again. He’s an outstanding coach and I expect Kentucky to keep getting better and better in the coming years.
Q. Growing up in Floyd County, Ky., near the Pike County, Ky. line, did you ever think you would be coaching a professional basketball team in Pikeville, Ky.?
A. I never thought there would ever be a professional basketball team in Pikeville. There just wasn’t the facilities to hold it. But, with the Expo Center now in Eastern Kentucky, it’s making for a lot of new ventures possible. It also had to take people with a big vision to make this possible and that’s what Mr. Ford and Mr. Fiedler had. They saw something in Pikeville and invested a lot of money and time into this area. It wouldn’t have happened without their dedication and commitment. I’m glad Pikeville and Eastern Kentucky is getting more attention now. It’s a wonderful place with a lot of potential. If we helped make a dent in this community in a positive manner then we have already succeeded.
Q. How did the East Kentucky Expo Center – your home arena – shape up compared to the home venues of the other CBA teams?
A. As a facility itself, it’s an outstanding arena – great for minor league basketball. It was probably one of the top three arenas in the CBA this past year. As always, there are pros and cons with each arena, but strictly talking about the facility you couldn’t ask for anything better. Some people may not know this, but we’ve dubbed the Expo center the Coal Mine. Hopefully we have about 6,000 people in the Coal Mine on opening night.
Q. Did you have a player or coach you idolized growing up?
A. I was a huge Magic Johnson fan growing up. He did everything well and was the ultimate winner. I looked up to Rick Pitino when I was younger as well.
Q. What sport did you take to first?
Q. What are the three things outside of basketball that mean the most to you?
A. My Children – they are my heart and soul. My Family – I’m very thankful for the family I have and appreciate everything they do. My relationship with God. Ultimately, I hope I have served God’s Purpose.