July 19, 2012
1. Can you detail your coaching path to Long Beach State?
I've been in coaching over 10 years and have been fortunate to work with some very good coaches along the way that have had great influences on me as a young coach. I started out at the junior college level in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference where I worked for six years at two different schools, and then transitioned into the Division I level at Boise State (2 years) and now here at Long Beach State.
2. Beyond winning a championship, what are your goals for the upcoming season?
Looking back on last year, I know the returning guys in our program would tell you they are not satisfied. We want to continue to raise the bar both on the floor (Big West championship and winning an NCAA tournament game) and in the classroom.
3. Who is an exciting new player we will see on you team next season?
I am excited about our incoming transfers, as well as our new freshman we welcome into the program. I think our staff has done a really good job finding a good combination of transfers who have played a high level and been through the wars of Divison I basketball, as well as incoming freshman who will add depth to our program and continue the success of 49er basketball down the road.
4. What is your thoughts on the upcoming non-conference schedule this year?
Again, Coach Monson's motto is play the best in November and December and develop a confidence and mental toughness that helps you win in Big West Play, which obviously has worked going 29-3 over the last two years. I think it's great we get to travel locally and face two Pac 12 teams on the road who will obviously be much improved in USC and UCLA, and then you get a shot at Arizona in a hostile environment. There aren't many days off as you then get a Final Four team from last year on the road in Ohio State and a Syracuse team that returns three starters from an NCAA team. It should be exciting and fun to watch, but a lot of less travel for our guys compared to last season.
5. How important are the summer months to the development of your team?
I think obviously when you lose four starters and guys who were great leaders for your program - it is important to start early and develop a chemistry and culture that carries through the summer and into the fall when workouts and practice start. The summer has given our returning players opportunites to take on new roles and set the expectations for our approach everyday, something Cas, Larry, and the outgoing seniors did very well throughout there time here.
6. If someone asked you for a recommendation where to eat in the Long Beach area, where would you send them and what would you tell them to order?
It's no secret Long Beach has great food. You can't go wrong with all the options on 2nd street, the pike, etc...but being a steak guy- you have to try Kelley's in Naples. Best Filet Mignon and steaks in the area with unbelievable side dishes, live music and a great atmosphere!
7. Outside of coaching and sports, what are your hobbies?
Reading and Traveling.
8. If you had a weekend off during the season and you weren't allowed to work, what would you do with the free time?
36 holes of golf somewhere here in the Long Beach area.
9. What vacation spot has been your favorite to visit?
Ocho Rios, Jamaica - great resorts, beaches, and weather!
10. Dodgers or Angels, and why? Lakers or Clippers, and why?
I know you gave me choices but being a loyal Chicago guy and a die hard Bulls and Cubs fan it is hard to go the other direction. I have really enjoyed watching the Angels so far this season espically with former Dirtbag Jared Weaver on the hill and one of the most exciting players in baseball Mike Trout really playing well - and of course am anxious to see how the Steve Nash experiement is going to work out with the Lakers this winter.
11. Excluding your team, what "49er Moment" from the 2011-12 season was your favorite?
I loved seeing Mauricio and his women play on a national stage in the Elite 8 for women's soccer.
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