Interview With Rich Zvosec

Rich Zvosec

Interview Conducted 10/15/2008

Photo/M. Al-Kassim

Photo/M. Al-Kassim

Rich Zvosec was called into the UMKC Athletic Director’s office on March 13, 2007. He was fired. On his birthday.

ZVOSEC: “As I look back, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. It gives me a great story.”

“I leave with the highest winning percentage in UMKC history, If he had brought me back, I probably would have screwed that up.”

“It also gave me the opportunity to really go into some areas that I probably wouldn’t have done.”

Zvosec, who compiled an 84-91 record in his six seasons at UMKC has now branched into many other fields.

His firing coincided with the creation of the Big Ten Network, where he became an analyst for games. For the 2008-09 season, he will provide color commentary for Big 12 basketball games on the ESPN family of networks.

He also works a motivational speaker, and one of his talks can be found on his official website: Coach Z: Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie Your Way to Success.

He has also gotten into the acting industry, appearing in an episode of Friday Night Lights, several independent films, and Formosa Betrayed, which is currently in post-production.

ZVOSEC: “The irony is I always play the chief of the Secret Service, or an FBI agent, or a detective. It’s always been something of an authoritative figure.”

Zvosec intends to act in more films.

ZVOSEC: “I’ve got an agent in Los Angeles who has got me some auditions and we’ll see what happens.”

Zvosec has also written a book entitled Birds, Dogs, and Kangaroos: Life on the Backstreets of College Basketball which will hit stores in late October.

The title of the first chapter? “Happy Birthday, You’re Fired.” Continue reading


Interview With Scott Drew

Scott Drew

Interview Conducted 10/7/2008

The son of legendary Valparaiso Head Coach Homer Drew, Scott Drew is developing his own legend at Baylor University in Waco, Tex.

When he accepted the Baylor Men’s Basketball Head Coaching job in 2003, he inherited one of the largest rebuilding projects in NCAA athletic history. Just five years later, he led the team to the NCAA Tournament.

The sport of basketball runs deep in the Drew family.

Homer Drew has won 593 games in a 31-year coaching career at Bethel College, Indiana University-South Bend, and most notably, Valparaiso.

Both of Drew’s younger siblings were basketball talents. Bryce played six seasons in the NBA and is remembered by basketball fans for his game-winning three pointer for #13 seed Valparaiso in the opening round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. Drew’s sister Dana was a two-time MAC player of the year for the University of Toledo.

Drew only played basketball through his sophomore year in high school because he chose to focus his efforts on tennis in hopes of receiving a college scholarship, which did not pan out.

He still stayed close to basketball in high school. He worked his father’s basketball camps at Valparaiso. He also coached both Bryce and Dana’s teams in what were called “State Games” in Indiana, a precursor to what AAU basketball is today. Continue reading

Interview With Dr. Oliver Eslinger

Dr. Oliver Eslinger

Interview Conducted 10/6/2008

Photo/Stanley Hu

Photo/Stanley Hu

The California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) Men’s Basketball program has not won a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game in 23 seasons.

In September 2008, the school hired a doctor to remedy the situation – Oliver Eslinger.

Eslinger, who was previously an assistant basketball coach for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineers, brings a wealth of knowledge in both basketball and sports psychology.

He was a starting guard at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. and possesses a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University with a specialization in sports psychology.

He was a co-founder of Top Game Sports Consulting in 2003 and has worked with athletes and teams as a sports and performance consultant. He served as a consultant to the 2003 United States Women’s World FIFA Cup Soccer Team.

For a student body with some of the greatest young minds in sciences and engineering and faculty rife with Nobel Prize winners and world-renowned researchers, Eslinger has already realized that members of the Cal Tech community are equally interested in the Men’s Basketball program. Continue reading

Interview With Terry Holland

Terry Holland

Interview Conducted Via E-Mail 10/6/2008

ECU Sports

ECU Sports

Terry Holland, East Carolina University’s Athletic Director and Executive Director to Chancellor Steve Ballard, continues his “Midas Touch” for college athletic programs he has played for, coached, and served as Athletic Director.

He began his basketball player at Davidson College, leading them to a #10 NCAA ranking in 1963-64 as a senior captain under Lefty Driesell.

Once Driesell left to take the Maryland job, Holland became the Head Coach of the Wildcats at just 27 years old.

Holland won 92 games in five years. He received Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors three times. Continue reading

Interview With Phil Martelli

Phil Martelli

Interview Conducted 9/30/2008

US Presswire/Christopher Pasatieri

US Presswire - Christopher Pasatieri

For a lifelong Philadelphian, Saint Joseph’s University head coach Phil Martelli has a dream job at his dream school – and for the 2008-09 season – will get to coach all of his home games at his dream gym.

While Saint Joseph’s athletic complex is under extensive renovation and will be called the Michael J. Hagan Arena upon completion, Martelli and his Hawks will call the Palestra, known as the Cathedral of College Basketball, their home for the 2008-09 season.

Penn Libraries

The Palestra @ 1927/ Penn Libraries

Martelli has fond memories of the Palestra, located on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus, as a youth.

MARTELLI: “I lived in Philadelphia in the city limits. Instead of getting a babysitter, our parents would put us on public transportation when we were 9 and 10 years old. We would go down there every Friday night and Saturday night to see a Penn league game or a city series game. In a lot of ways, it took the place of professional sports for a lot of young people.”

“Back then, we might not have been able to afford a ticket to the Phillies or the Eagles or the Warriors at the time, but we knew we could get into the Palestra.” Continue reading

Thanks y’all!

#4 Blog of the Day

#4 Blog of the Day

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that this site would explode in unique visits so quickly in a little more than two weeks.

I would really like to thank the folks who have agreed to chat with me and the SIDs who have facilitated a couple of the interviews.

Last, and definitely not least, I must thank all of you who have visited that have made this site a great success.

Bookmark us, keeping coming back, and tell your friends, family, message boards related to the teams whose coaches and alums I interview, and anyone else with opposable thumbs about the Basketball Interview Challenge.

If you have any questions, suggestions for interviews, or anything else, please contact me at the e-mail address found here.

Leave comments too on the posts if you so desire. I moderate comments so no one speaks pejoratively about those folks who are kind enough to interview, but I’m interested in feedback. Your e-mail address is not available to the public, but if you want to link your name to your website, you can.

I don’t use your e-mail address for mailing lists, spam, etc., so don’t feel a need to worry about that.

We have some pretty big names in basketball lined up in the next couple weeks, especially as coaches finally end their busy recruiting schedules and will have a little more time before practices start, so keep checking back.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

© 2008

Interview With Rollie Massimino

Rollie Massimino

Interview Conducted 9/24/2008

AP Photo/Steve Mitchell

AP Photo/Steve Mitchell

It has now been 23 years since the Villanova Wildcats made an improbable run as a #8 seed to win the 1984-85 NCAA tournament.

Led by Head Coach Rollie Massimino, the Wildcats defeated defending National Champion Georgetown 66-64, in a game regarded by most sports fans as one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history.

Though Villanova played Georgetown very competitively in their two regular season matchups, losing by scores of 52-50 and 57-50, the Wildcats came into the game as double-digit underdogs.

MASSIMINO: “No one thought we had a chance.”

“I explained to our players that you’re good enough to play in the finals and win it.”

“So I told them to go up to their rooms and reflect that we’re going to play the game to win and not to lose.” Continue reading