I hope that everyone is surviving this crazy and unprecedented weather pattern we have been dealing with lately. I know that Fairfield and a lot of the surrounding communities have been hit hard, and our staff’s thoughts are with all those who are dealing with very difficult times. We all have been personally affected and it is great to see everyone banding together to help get by!
Keeping on this note for a second, I also want to thank the Fire, EMS, and Utility workers who braved the elements the last few weeks to help rebuild. I ran into a few firemen who were showering at our athletic facilities last week during the clean up. In talking with them I learned they had been out for 3 or 4 days working around the community without seeing their families. We all owe them a huge thank you for the work they have done! We definitely wouldn’t be close to were we are now without them. Our program will be offering special nights this year at our home games for all of these workers and their families to show our appreciation!
Before the storms hit our program had the opportunity the host our first coaches clinic and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! On Sunday October 28th we hosted over 80 local youth, high school, and small college coaches at Alumni Hall. We were very lucky to be able to have three tremendous speakers that made the event special.
Our first speaker was Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril, who coached for many years at Princeton University before moving on to the NBA and helping out the Sacramento Kings. It was an absolute pleasure to sit down and watch Coach speak for an hour. His knowledge of the game is limitless and I know everyone in attendance learned a lot, including our staff and players, from having the opportunity to watch him teach.
After a great lunch from Garden Catering (little plug for one of our sponsors) Pete Gillen took the court for a talk on zone offense. I have had the honor of getting to know Coach Gillen this fall as he has come by few of our practices. He is one of the most charismatic individuals I have ever met, and his hour talk was a great mix of outstanding zone plays (which you might see the Stags running this year) and some solid comedy. In my opinion he should attend some open mic nights down in NYC. I’ve been to a few and he would definitely hold his own!
The day finished up with Mike Maker, the head coach at perennial D3 basketball power Williams College. Coach Maker has one of the best basketball minds in the country. Last year I had the privilege of being on his staff and he helped me grow as a coach and a person. His talk focused on his plethora of fundamental drills he puts his team through every day, and a sprinkle of his offensive principles. We limited Coach Maker to an hour, but I know he could have gone on for days, and no one in the gym would have told him to stop!
Overall it was a great event, and one that we hope to bring to the community every year. Coaching clinics are so valuable to coaches at every level, and to often we fail to share our thoughts and experiences with each other. I definitely grew as coach, and I know everyone left wanting to immediately get in a gym to work with their players! Thank you for everyone who came out, and a huge thank you to Coach Carril, Coach Gillen, and Coach Maker who truly made the day special!
As our first games of the year start this weekend, I hope to see everyone at as many Stag games as they can make. We definitely need and appreciate your support. We play Saturday night up in Hartford against Central Connecticut State. Sunday we travel down to Virginia for the Preseason NIT with our opening game against University of Virginia of the ACC on Monday night on ESPN3. Go Stags!