For anybody following the NCAA Tournament, Coach Bob Walsh has been a steady source of candid and intelligent comments on Twitter. In a time of year when commenters and columnists go crazy, the former Maine head coach is a welcome voice of reason.
In the little more than half hour conversation on The Upside with Adam Finkelstein, there was a lot to cover and it spanned all throughout college basketball.
His Final Year Coaching at Maine
“What I tried to do was make this year all about the players and make the locker room as positive environment as possible. It was the last year of my contract. I kind of knew where this was headed. I just wanted to be transparent and open and honest with my players.”
Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams (9:00)
After leaving Maine, Coach Walsh was invited by Virginia Tech Head Coach Buzz Williams to follow the team in the NCAA Tournament.
Cool story. Buzz Williams texted former Maine coach Bob Walsh after he heard he left Maine, and invited him down to Blacksburg this past week. Walsh with Virginia Tech here in Pittsburgh, sitting behind the bench. Buzz even paid for his flight, hotel.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 16, 2018
“Buzz Williams is the best. If there’s a better person doing what we’re doing, I don’t know who it is.”
“Everything about his program is fully invested in the person. So much of his investment is in the person and developing the kid and putting them in a scenario where they can be successful. He’s a huge believer in genuine relationship being the key to getting the most out of a kid.”
Fickle Providence Friar Fans (26:00)
There’s a small fraction of the Friar fanbase that says ‘they just lost in the first round again.” Critics of Jamie Dixon’s Pitt teams know how this story goes. Coach Walsh offered some sage advice for fans that think chasing Cooley out of town is a good idea.
Every story about the Friars has to start with “best player out for the year.” 5 straight NCAA bids. Elite culture attracting top 100 talent and developing it. Surely PC fans will never take winning for granted. Ask Pitt how that worked out. Celebrate another great year.
— Bob Walsh (@CoachBobWalsh) March 16, 2018
“High expectations and perspective aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Walsh. “Providence has tremendous fans and every coach wants high expectations. You want people who expect to win. I think you can have really high standards and also keep it in perspective. Five NCAA Tournaments in a row at Providence has never happened.”
Dan Hurley’s Amazing Coaching Job at Rhode Island (32:30)
“Danny is such a driven and intense individual. He’s attracted elite talent. He’s developed a culture of toughness.”
Besides building a program that reflects his character and values, Coach Hurley has grown as a leader himself and the way the team plays shows how that growth has manifested on the court.
“I think what he’s done is really grown personally where you can see how much he trusts his team. Those kids play with a freedom and a confidence and collective composure that comes from Danny.”
On his own future (35:30)
“I want to be the oldest living basketball coach. I love coaching. I love being in the gym. I love leadership development and coaching teams.”