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Brian Stanchak

04 Mar

Where it all Began

Lamont Smith returned to his alma mater on April 1st, 2015 as the University of San Diego’s new Head Men’s Basketball Coach. A former team captain, it was a dream of his to return home and lead the Toreros’ program. Prior to arriving back at San Diego, Smith worked for two seasons as the Associate Head Coach at the University of New Mexico. As a coach, he was very familiar with the WCC, having spent a total of seven seasons as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s. Smith’s background also includes serving as an Assistant Coach in the Pac-12 under at Washington and Arizona State.
How does it feel to be back at your alma mater?
I'm tremendously humbled and honored to be back here. Several things have changed since I had last been here, but I think the one thing that has remained the same is the feel you get from the people here. That's what drew me to this University as an 18-year-old and now that I'm back here at age 40, there’s still great people here. That's something to be said about such a fine institution.
Take us through the emotion and the process up until you got the call from San Diego that you were going to be offered the Head Coaching position there?
Typically, there is no rhyme or reason for getting involved in a Head Coaching search, but it happened here very quickly. There was not a whole lot of time to sit around and wonder what direction the University would go in. I had always dreamt of coming back here and getting this place back on the map for basketball.
The processed happened quick. I had a phone interview and I was on campus for an interview a week later. About 24 to 36 hours after my on-campus interview, I was offered the job. The next day, I'm on a flight back to San Diego for a press conference. The day after that, I'm back in New Mexico getting my stuff before heading back to San Diego the next day to begin work here. I was tremendously excited and very eager to get going. 
How would you assess your season so far?
We are rebuilding mode. I think the thing that has remained consistent with this team is we have good kids. They are trying to do everything we ask them to do. There's nights that they look a lot better than other nights. I think for them, they've stuck with us and allowed us to coach them, which is very important. They haven't quit. Sometimes when you're 18 to 22 years old and you don't have the success you want to have, it's very easy to walk out the door or stop doing things that you need to do. Our guys haven't done that. They've remained fighting and competing. That's all I can ask. I tell them all the time, I don't care right now about the score, but I do care about our energy and effort. Our energy and effort is important to our program. 
When you're building a home, it's so important that you get the foundation right. You can't go back two or three years from now and have cracks in your foundation. For us, we've been very hard on these young men to let them understand that this is the way we want you to do things. I tell our Seniors that I feel bad for them because they’re going to come back four or five years from now and say I wish this was us, but they were able to help us achieve success for the future teams. They just weren't able to reap the benefits in the win-loss column. It's a process and "process" is a word we have used a lot. We still have a long way to go, but I think they understand what the process is.
I am also very respectful to the guys who came before me. For me, yes we are trying to change the culture here, but that is no knock on Billy. I am changing culture in the sense of establishing the way I want to do things with our program. 
You’ve worked for some tremendous Head Coaches, how did they prepare you to one day lead your own program?
I've been really blessed to work with a wide variety of guys. The number one thing that has been universal with all of them is they allowed me to do several things within their program. That could range from scheduling, recruiting, traveling, X's and O's, defense, offense. I think when you allow someone to do that, you don't put them in a box to just be a recruiter or X and O guy. When you allow them to be versatile and have their hands in a lot of aspects of the program, it prepares them for this step. Throughout my journey as an Assistant Coach, I was blessed to have guys who allowed me to do a lot of things. 
What advice do you have for an Assistant Coach who desires to become a Head Coach?
One, you need to start preparing now to be a Head Coach. When you present ideas to your Head Coach, think about presenting the idea with the why and how as if you were the boss. 
The other big piece is you need to start thinking about who you want to work with you if you got certain jobs. That’s a huge piece of the success of a Head Coach. I am blessed here to have a really good coaching staff. Guys I trust and want to go to war with. I often say, if you’re working for someone, you better approach it in the terms of you’re working for their family. 

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Brian Stanchak

Brian D. Stanchak is the Founder of The BDS Agency, LLC. The BDS Agency exclusively advises, markets, and represents college basketball coaches. Prior to founding The BDS Agency, Brian spent four years as a collegiate Director of Athletics and 10 years as an assistant basketball coach at the NCAA Division I level, coaching at Seton Hall University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from California University of PA in 2013 master’s degree in sport management studies, intercollegiate athletic administration and Seton Hall University in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, sport management.


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