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
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
WH. What is the most important thing you learned from Coach
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
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
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.