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Q&A: BRIAN GREGORY

 

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Preseason Q&A with Dayton Flyers New Head Coach Brian Gregory
by William Hans


Recently I had the privilege and honor of conducting my first official interview as your friendly neighborhood Flyers reporter.  I was able to send a few questions to Coach Gregory via e-mail, and he was gracious enough to get back to me with these answers, and I thank him for that.


WH. How long have you been coaching?
BG. I have been an assistant. Coach for 13 total years, this will be my first year as a Head Coach.

WH. Where else have you coached?
BG. I started as a Graduate Assistant at Michigan State University, than became the restricted earnings coach at Michigan State University, coached 1 year at Toledo (with former Michigan State assistant Stan Joplin), 2 years at Northwestern University under Kevin O'Neill (now the head coach for the Toronto Raptors), and the last 4 back at Michigan State under Tom Izzo.

WH. What were your duties as Assistant Head Coach under Coach Izzo and what is the difference between Assistant Head Coach and any other assistant coach?
BG. I was fortunate enough to work for Tom Izzo as his Associate Head Coach.  I was given greater responsibilities in terms of the overall program not just in the basketball realm but also in terms of the alumni relations and some of the various duties that a head coach would actually perform. Having the opportunity to be an Associate Head Coach was a tremendous aid in preparing me for my first head-coaching job. 

WH. What is the most important thing you learned from Coach Izzo?
BG. The most important thing that I learned from Coach Izzo is that player development should be a big factor in your program.  It's important to recruit high quality players who are also high character kids.  They also need to have a desire to improve and get better as both a player and a person.  As the players progress and develop your program will continue to grow and thrive.

WH. Now as a longtime fan of the Flyers, I have to ask what you bring to the table that will help our team get away from being lumped in with mid-major teams.
BG. At this point I do not consider UD and the basketball program or any of the programs in the A-10 as a mid-major program. I believe we have the facilities, the fan support, players, and the passion within our community for our program that puts us at the high major level.

WH. It's been a long time since Dayton won an NCAA Tournament game.  Does this year's edition have what it takes to change that?
BG. Obviously I believe that one of our goals in this program is to perform well in post-season tournaments and that include the A-10 tournament and the NCAA tournament as well.  I think one of the things that can begin to separate our program is success during the month of March.  I'm obviously hoping that this year's team, with three senior starters, is ready to meet the challenge of understanding how successful they were last year but also having a little hunger that they can do more. Hopefully they will be able to accomplish that this year.

WH. I like what you've done with getting Pepperdine and Wyoming to schedule return games but why is it that there aren't any "Marquee" tams willing to come to the arena this season?  I know the real reason, but what answers have you been getting?
BG. When it comes to scheduling games obviously, I think what you have to perform is to get teams like a Wyoming, a Pepperedine, a Cincinnati, those type of teams that have name recognition to our fans to come to UD arena.  At this point right now you have to set up a home and home series, meaning that we would play at their arena first and then they would come back.  We've been able to have teams like a St. Louis, which is coming in this year, Cincinnati, which will be returning a game next year, coming to the arena.  And I'm hoping to continue that and bring in high quality teams into our arena, not only to challenge our team and our program but also because I think the fans deserve it.

WH. Monty Scott looked good in the Red and Blue game.  What kind of contribution do you think you'll get from him?
BG. I think Monty has a tremendous upside, the thing that coaches have to be aware and obviously the fans and supporters watching the program also keep in mind that he went one full year without playing competitive basketball and with that it's difficult for freshmen to make an impact in normal situations, and obviously this isn't a normal situation.  Our job is to get the rust off Monty as soon as possible.  I think he's working extremely hard to do that and I expect some very good things from him, I think he does a lot of different things very well and I still think his best basketball is ahead of him.

WH. Flyer Fans have a pretty good idea of most of the starting lineup.  Any chance you'll let us know who the 5th starter will be?
BG. Obviously at this point we're starting Monty Scott at that fifth spot.  But everyday we challenge our guys that no position is set.  The one thing that we truly believe as a staff is that the players determine playing time and it's how they perform every day.

WH. Another good thing you've done is get the former Flyers involved.  Why is that important to you?
BG. I think the success of this program and the many positives that come with this program are due to tradition.  And this tradition is what the former flyer players have established, created, and firmly embedded in this community.  The teams that have been successful in the past and the type of players in terms of not just how they performed on the court but what type of people they are is one mark that separates our program from so many others around the country.  It's very important to me that our current players understand that there is a rich tradition here and the more we can incorporate our former players into our program and get our guys to realize that this is a tradition rich program, the better I think our future will be.

WH. What are the Flyer Faithful in store for this season?
BG. Obviously, we're challenging our guys everyday to not be satisfied with their accomplishments of the past but to set some new standards that it will be up to them to day in and day out live up to.  It's obviously always beneficial to the program when the players are setting the standards and not necessarily the coaches.  I believe that with three senior starters and with the leadership that they can bring to this program that they will rise up and meet that challenge.

 

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