"Big Dance" Interviews: Boston University head coach Patrick Chambers

March 14th, 2011

Earlier Sunday CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with Boston University head coach Patrick Chambers, who led the Terriers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002 with a 56-54 win over Stony Brook in the America East title game. Boston University avoided the first round in Dayton but they did not avoid the 16-line as they will face Kansas on Friday in Tulsa.  

Jon Teitel: You played at Philadelphia U., where you broke the school record for career assists and later served as an assistant under coach Herb Magee (who has the most wins of any coach in NCAA history). What makes Coach Magee such a great coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him?

Patrick Chambers: To be honest, I was more of a volunteer who helped out with recruiting than a full-time assistant. Playing for Herb and being around him forever taught me that he is a relationship guy. He is like a second father to me. He is also great at getting the most out of his players, which is what coaches are supposed to do.

JT: You were an assistant to Villanova coach Jay Wright when the Wildcats went to the 2009 Final Four. What kind of emotions will you feel if you end up playing Villanova, and how will the experience of getting to a Final Four help you as a coach in this year's tournament?

PC: Working under Jay really prepared me to coach in a conference tournament title game on our own campus with so much pressure. Jay always kept a cool head in intense situations. I will never forget a game we played against Providence. We made a key turnover late in the game, but Jay just clapped his hands and told the players to maintain their attitude. When our BU team won last week, I was proud that we never panicked. We have already played at Villanova back in November and my emotions were very high, so I am glad to have gotten that done already! I do not think we will meet Villanova in the tournament but Jay is my mentor and I recruited a lot of his players. The Final Four has a lot of pressure and media distractions, so the key is to bring your team closer together.

JT: 2009 America East Rookie of the Year Jake O'Brien has been out since New Year's Eve after suffering a left foot injury against UMass. How big a loss was he to your team, and how have you been able to succeed without him?

PC: Jake was such a key contributor for us as a double-double machine. He was a captain of a young team with a lot of newcomers, so his loss definitely hurt us as we struggled early on in conference play. He might not have been a vocal leader, but he led by playing hard.

JT: John Holland began his career by being named 2008 America East Rookie of the Year, and he is finishing his career in the NCAA Tournament after making the game-winning free throws with 2.4 seconds left to beat Stony Brook in the America East title game. How proud are you of everything that John has accomplished throughout his career?

PC: I have only been involved with John the past two years, and I was fortunate to keep him from leaving after the coaching change. He does all the little things we ask him to do that do not show up in the box score. He is also very humble, and has helped our program a lot.

JT: I know you are not a fortune-teller, but what seed do you think you will get and what kind of team do you think you would match up well against?

PC: I am just so excited to be in the tournament that I do not care what seed we get. This will really help out the future of our program. As a low seed it is hard to match up with the high seeds, so we just want to play hard and represent our school and our conference.