Andy Winters

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Twitter – @CoachAWinters

Andy Winters is in his third season as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

Winters came to Otterbein after spending five years as the lead assistant at nearby OAC rival Capital University, including the 2016-17 season as interim head coach.

Winters stepped in to serve as interim head coach at Capital during the 2015-16 season after Damon Goodwin took a hiatus to battle leukemia. He was the youngest NCAA head basketball coach (25) at the time.  Winters spent one year at Ohio Dominican University prior to his stint at Capital. 

Andy was a four-year starter at point guard for Ohio Wesleyan University. H was a 3x All-North Coast Athletic Conference selection, a member of the NCAC All-Decade Team, broke all of OWU’s assist records, participated in the NABC All-Star Game and ended his senior season with first team All-American honors. He was also voted the Regional Player of the Year by the NABC, and D3 News after ranking top-five nationally in assists.

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What We Discuss with Andy Winters

  • Having a father who was a high school coach
  • Being around his Dad’s teams and always being in the gym
  • Learning in college that he had to put time into the game to reach his goals
  • Growing up around small college basketball and eventually getting the chance to play at D3 Ohio Wesleyan
  • The difference between the perception of a coach watching him workout versus what he thought he was doing
  • “If I was better, my team would be better.”
  • “The word tireless we talk about is what are you doing outside of what’s mandated?”
  • The difficulty of finding open gym runs for today’s college players
  • Encouraging his players to host open gyms in the summer
  • “Cultures have clarity of vision.”
  • “Everybody believes in the standard, everybody believes in the expectations and then they can articulate what those are.”
  • “We all have to figure out what we can do in our role to be better for the team.”
  • Teaching drills in practice/skill development sessions that players can use while working out on their own
  • Keeping workouts simple
  • Recruiting scholarship type players and finding the right fit
  • “The importance of development as a player and growing over your four years.”
  • For players who aren’t playing, figuring out ways to keep them motivated and seeing the big picture
  • Why his student teaching experience led him to college coaching
  • Getting his first coaching opportunity with Dan Evans at Ohio Dominican, making no money, but getting a lot of varied experiences
  • Working for Damon Goodwin at Capital and taking over the job for one year on an interim basis
  • “Players, when they know that you work hard and you’re knowledgeable about what you’re trying to do, it’s a little bit easier to coach them.”
  • Struggling with putting together a quality practice during his interim year at Capital
  • “We are pushing ourselves to get better and we are making mistakes and we’re overcoming adversity during practice.”
  • “The culture is bigger than the basketball as a head coach.”
  • “Our culture is so clear, that it’s felt.”
  • Why he tracks wins and losses in practice at Otterbein
  • Competing for the championship belt in practice
  • Delegating and growing his assistant coaches
  • Recruiting high character players that are very talented and love basketball
  • “I think you can be successful if your facilities are good and you have an administration that understands the importance of athletics.”
  • Using both the AAU and High School setting to evaluate potential recruits
  • Building a give and take relationship with high school coaches
  • Incorporating family into his program at Otterbein
  • Being a brand new father
  • “This is our family away from family. How am I helping them get to where they need to get to in life?”
  • Working on daily habits is always a challenge

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to welcome to the podcast this evening. Andy Winters, the head men’s basketball coach at Otterbein University here in the state of Ohio. Andy, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

[00:00:16] Andy Winters: Hey, thanks for having me, Mike,

[00:00:19] Mike Klinzing: Excited to have you on.  I want to get a chance to dive into all the things that you’ve been able to do in the game from your time as a player, to what you’re able to accomplish already in your young career. As a coach, let’s start by going back in time to when you were at. Tell us how you first got into the game of basketball.

[00:00:31] Andy Winters: Yeah, so my family is pretty athletic minded. My dad is a longtime high school coach. In Columbus, he’s coached at multiple high schools around the area before getting into administration. And then just actually recently retiring and having an older brother and older sister.

 they did everything, football, basketball, baseball, and track and soccer. And so I was always around it from a young age I just really enjoyed basketball. I, we have a half court in our backyard. My dad used to run some, some kids’ camps for some extra money to take us on vacations because private school teachers, they don’t make the greatest money.

So we kind of had our kids camps with my dad and I was always playing up with my brother’s team. My sister’s team are both eight and five years older than I am. So it just grew up around the game and, and ultimately fell in love with it. Just enjoyed it. It made sense to me. At a younger age I would I just happened to be around.

When my dad was coaching and going to all these different camps at different high schools and just really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun within, I think that’s the biggest thing to, to getting somebody like myself is I had fun with it first, before I figured that that’s what I want to do.

[00:01:47] Mike Klinzing: What’s your favorite memory of watching or being around your dad’s teams when you were a kid?

[00:01:51] Andy Winters: Yeah, well my brother, this is a great story and I was probably too young to remember this cause they told me.  my dad was at Bishop Watterson high school and they had a good team and they said, all right, Hey Matt, you can  run and lead the team out of the locker room and, and it’s a crowded game, packed. Well, they had another Matt on their team that was the varsity senior. And my brother comes running out and Lee, but just being around the guys and stuff, I mean, you’d have them over for film and just being around them and having relationships with those players.

And always being in the gym like always watching him and, and all those teams that he was involved with kind of throughout the years, that’s what I remember the most is just constantly in the gym and watching and having the relationships with guys.  

[00:02:44] Mike Klinzing: When did you start to realize that you had a lot more gym access than your friends?

Because obviously that’s just what you knew when you were a kid is, Hey, dad’s got the keys to the gym. We can. Anytime we want, but most kids don’t have that experience. When did that kick in for you start to realize like, Hey, I got a pretty special situation here that my dad’s coach at the high school.

[00:03:05] Andy Winters: Yeah, no, it was great. I mean, so by the time I was really getting into it, he had become a principal at a school on the east side of Columbus and that was about a 15 minute drive, but, but he got the key for me to get into Watterson, which is about five minutes from our house.

And I don’t think it was until high school that I realized how lucky I was. To have this gym access we we’d be bored and say, Hey, let’s get into the gym. Or he, he has a half-court for us in our backyard. And  it’d be middle of the winter. He’d be rebounding for us and just, just understanding after you know that this isn’t everybody’s life and then my buddies would all come over and they’d hang out because we had a half court, we could play basketball at night, you know? And that grew a bond and a relationships with a lot of my friends kind of grown up in the high school that stuck with basketball too was just what that experience at a young age having access to it. It was special and it was great.

It was a great childhood. And basketball is such a big part of it.

[00:04:00] Mike Klinzing: At what point in your schooling did you start to maybe take the game from it’s just, Hey, it’s fun to, Hey, I really want to work at this. And get better. Do you remember there was a moment where you kind of crossed that threshold or that it sort of happened gradually?

[00:04:17] Andy Winters: I just remember in eighth grade going into high school. So there’s this feeder schools that feed into Waterson as a private Catholic school and I just remember there’s a moment. My brother played a high to mini committee had yet to start that. So you kind of took a gap year.

He was helping out with our eighth grade team. I remember vividly having a conversation where he was five years older and more experienced, had already played in high school telling me that I’m not taking this very serious.  it’s more for going to the gym and goofing off with my buddies and just being good, just because I was fortunate enough to have basketball model child and a lot of guys.

But, I say really didn’t take me until going into college to figure out how serious I needed to work at it.  how much time and in what it actually meant to me. I think I was probably too comfortable with, with some of that stuff and then getting out of my comfort zone, going to college and, and making sure I proved myself was probably the best thing for me as far as learning what it actually takes to be a good player and putting in the time

[00:05:20] Mike Klinzing: Before we jump into your college experience and talk a little bit about your recruitment and then maybe how, what you went through, you’re able to then utilize now as a head coach, either with conversations with your current players or conversations with their crew.

So I would definitely want to get into that, but before we do just tell me what your favorite memory from high school playing at that time. And then when did you start to realize that, Hey, I think I’m going to have an opportunity to play beyond high school.

[00:05:45] Andy Winters: Yeah.  in high school probably the best memory that we knocked,

Our team was like .500 going into the tournament. We played a really hard schedule, so we’re a division two school playing a lot of division, one area teams and the Catholic central league. At the time I had some really good teams and a couple of which made to the regional finals. We were .500 and we ended up getting to the regional finals at the Cintas center when it just opened and knocking off the number one team in the state on a game winner in the semis to get to the finals and then lost, ultimately lost that game. The next game, the third goodbye too. But just that memory of like growing up with a lot of these guys being playing youth basketball with them, traveling around different leagues and then all being on the same team they all stuck with it and, and just having those memories of beaten beat in those teams would be knocked off the number one team, this state to get to finals.

It was just special because of the moment, but it was also just all those memories that you had that flooded in from the previous time,

[00:06:46] Mike Klinzing: When did college get on your radar? When did college basketball become a goal, something you were really thinking about?

[00:06:53] Andy Winters:  I grew up watching small college basketball.  And I didn’t know the difference between divisions like I would go to all these camps. I thought Otterbein where I’m currently at the Otterbein – Capitol rival. I mean, I was going to games there because, because my dad had friends on staff that’s coached and, and I thought like, this is the coolest thing in the world.

And I don’t even know if I realized in high school what that meant. I just knew I wanted to play at the next level. Cause I didn’t know what else I’d do with myself. And so I didn’t get recruited barely at all. I mean, I got a letter from a school  and got it, got a campus visit from, from a school in the Heartland.

And then I got. Our assistant coach from Waterson at the time had played at Ohio Wesleyan and told their coach. And, and, and I think that knew about me, but told them that day, there there’s somebody that you should take a look at and they, they didn’t come and see me during my season until an all-star game.

I just knew I wanted to be somewhat close to home. Family’s important to me being, being around Columbus. I thought it was, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be around people that I knew and a lot of us than just made the best fit. So I, so I really only got recruited by two schools and.

Very fortunate now, reflecting on all this stuff. And especially when I talk to recruits currently about how lucky I was to just find the right fit without even knowing what I was looking for. And that was that was a huge part of it and coach too. And I are very close and I’m very fortunate that they reached out and trusted in me to come be a part of their program, but I wanted to play.

I just, whatever it took, I as a high west and Ohio state, I, I just, I wanted to get an opportunity to play at the next level. And I knew how good division three teams were division two teams were just by growing up around it. And I was just happy to be given an opportunity at that point.

[00:08:46] Mike Klinzing: All right. So two questions. First one is. When you say, okay, it happened to be the right fit. You kind of fell into it accidentally. Obviously the coaching staff is a part of what made it a great fit. What else about Ohio Wesleyan besides the coaching staff made it a good fit for you?

[00:09:01] Andy Winters: Yeah, I think, you know so much of it is the people in the program. A really good friend of mine, Robbie Gardener was a senior user he’s coached at multiple division two schools.

And actually he’s, he’s not doing it right now. But, but there’s really good people in the program that, that talked about how, like, if you want to be good, what it takes. And I was a freshman at the time, not really understanding and they were seniors. So, so that was very fortunate as is the people that were in the program.

They just came off a sweet 16 a couple of years prior to me getting there. And that was kind of coached to which that that was a really, really good team that you had recruited and they worked hard through some ups and downs and That, that was the first thing. The second thing was really like the style of play and the freedom to be.

You know myself as a player,  don’t get me wrong. I was not a good shooter. I was very average athletically. I had some decent vision and volume and a good IQ cause I was a coach’s son. But but then trusting and allowing me to make mistakes my freshman year and still played and do a bunch of things and have some freedom to grow and develop in the moment was, was really the thing that made me where my career ended up.

That’s really what, what probably is the biggest, significant impact on, on my playing career was going through that stuff my freshman year and getting some confidence that I can do this.

[00:10:25] Mike Klinzing: And then you mentioned earlier, It was really when you got to college that you started to look around and say, Hey, I gotta maybe take this a little bit more seriously if I want to do what I hope to do with my college career.

So what did that look like? Let’s say the summer after your freshman year, when you start thinking about, okay, how am I going to get better? How am I going to improve? What do I need to do in order to have the best possible career that I have? What does your workouts look like? What does your summer plan look like for getting better?

[00:10:55] Andy Winters: And that’s something that I talk about our guys all the time.  fast forward from that and going into my senior years when it really clicked like that. So my freshman year I started and had, we had a pretty good team.  we were, we were a little bit above .500 sophomore year, a better junior year.

We made the NCAA tournament for the first time, since they got to the sweet 16 and then senior year we hosted the NCAA tournament, won the conference championship and had to add a big senior class that was just experienced and had guys that had done it. But going back to my freshman year I thought I was working hard Mike.

Like I try to tell our guys all the time, the perception of a coach watching me workout versus what I thought I was doing it and don’t get me wrong.  I had a dad, that’s a coach. So I was in the gym and I was doing a lot of stuff. And I was working out with guys, I’ll tell you this. I was always playing whether or not I was doing the right skill work or not I’d be down at Ohio state’s campus at the cages, all grown up from middle school, high school, and even college playing against just everybody who used to show up.

And they’ve since shut that down, probably because guys would be out there till two in the morning. And then and I was always playing open gyms or finding places to play or getting our five and going over there. And I just hated losing, I think that helped that competition. But as far as.  working on my skill at that, that really didn’t click for me until going into my senior year.

I was always getting better, but it was like, all right, I have one year left in my maximizing every possible moment. Am I in the gym? Okay. I got to work out before, when did I get a workout after? And did I get some, a second workout in, in the morning?  if we, if we have an early practice or a late practice, what am I doing with my time and how good that I want to be.

And ultimately, if I was better, my team would be better. And that took me to my senior year to realize that the team goes as our, as your better players, work hard and continue to improve, but, but they really need to maximize their time and they really need to work on, it’s actually morphed into one of our core values as a coach.

Now I call it our tireless work ethic in the word tireless we talk about is what are you doing outside of what’s mandated.  What are you doing that’s making you better outside of what the coaches are asking you to do if you want to set yourself apart. And so a lot of these things that I’m talking about, it’s kind of morphed into my coaching philosophy.

And I talked to our recruits when they come in about, I say, Hey, look learn from, from my experience, like, figure it out now, going into your sophomore year, going into your freshman year, what it takes in the, in the culture of our program, I hope is pushing guys to realize that earlier, as opposed to maybe when it clicked for me going into my senior year, because I knew I had one year left.

[00:13:40] Mike Klinzing: What does the pickup basketball scene look like for your guys when you’re having conversations with them and they’re trying to improve?

Cause one of the things that I think has changed and you mentioned it getting shut down and outdoor courts, and just the things that, the things that used to be around, you’re a lot younger than me, but  when I played, basically it was, you could find games. Anywhere and everywhere, you just had to know where guys were going to be on a given day, which gym, or which playground or whatever.

And you could always find high quality pickup games. And I feel like now it’s much more difficult for kids to find that. So when you’re having conversations with your players, where are they? Where are they finding games?

[00:14:20] Andy Winters: Agreed. I talked to them about hosting games Yeah, I agree. I’m not that old, so I’m not trying to sound, but even then, like, I didn’t have a trainer.

I didn’t have somebody that worked me out. I didn’t have a skills guy. I just went and played and I went to open gyms all over Columbus. We drive 45 minutes to go find a game and bring a five. I think part of it is, if it’s in your identity and who you are, and that’s, you’re always trying to get better and love the game of basketball and you’re passionate about it you can find other guys  that want to do that.

I just think it’s less and less because there’s less opportunities. I don’t see anybody playing outside anymore. I don’t see any open gyms where anybody can come. And so we talked to our guys about okay, in the summer, why don’t you guys. Two or three open gyms a week and bring teams from division two team from Columbus and division three team from wherever division one team, bring a five and half, four, four or five teams that come play each other be the people that hosts that because in college, I think it’s hard to find open gyms.

I think it’s hard to find open gyms anywhere, but at the level that you needed to be at college, People who as you guys know, it’s less than 4% that go on to play college basketball. So finding in open gym is great, but to the level that you need it to be at and the players that you’re trying to play against.

So we just talked to our guys about trying to host it and figure out ways to bring guys in and attract guys. And they’ve done a really, really good job of that now in our third year of that kind of being the expectation where these open gyms are very important. And if we treat them right and we bring in great competition, this is getting us all better and it’s good for college basketball in Columbus on top of it.

[00:16:03] Mike Klinzing:  Absolutely. How much time do you spend at the end of your season having conversations with. Your players, obviously you’re talking about that open gym piece, but then there’s also the piece of, Hey, here’s the skill work that we’d like you to be working on the things that you need to do and get better.

And obviously part of that is a recruiting piece where you’re bringing in guys that hopefully are going to be the type of players that want to be in the gym, want to be improving, want to get better. And that starts with who you recruit and bring in your program, obviously. But when you’re having those conversations, are you giving them, Hey, here’s, here’s a couple of different workouts, things that you should be considering doing.

Are you giving them, Hey, these are the skills you need to work on. Kind of figure out what works for you in order to improve those. What, just one of those indices and conversations look like for you with your.

[00:16:50] Andy Winters: Yeah. Well, so with division three, we can’t have a basketball outside of our season. And so a lot of this, like, like you mentioned, is, is being internally motivated.

But I think even more so than that is we talk about the clarity of vision.  cultures have clarity of vision. Everybody believes in the standard, everybody believes in the expectations and then they can articulate what those are. And so us as a coaching staff, we need to do a great job of making sure we explain, okay, so some guys it’s like, Hey, let’s just get better at your strengths.

You’re a great shooter. Let’s just be like, let’s shoot 45, 50% from the three point line instead of 40 like that’s what you’re going to do really well. I think sometimes guys are working on their weaknesses or doing things that they can’t do, trying to develop themselves when ultimately it’s like, where are they in their career and what does the team need them to do?

Right. And if we’re all worried about moving this thing forward as a team, then we all have to figure out what we can do in our role to be better for the team. And so we talk a lot about that and then we talk to our guys, okay.  what’s a good workout, what am I working on?

And we try to also use our practice skill sessions pre-post or during practice for them to learn drills and in things that are game-like schoolwork that they can then do on their own. Because as much as we want to say, Hey, go do skill. Most guys don’t know what to do. You know? So we have to educate them.

We have to have this clarity of vision through our practice time using that as prep for all seasons stuff, so that we can say, Hey hit the Chris a drill I learned from Chris Quinlin when I was working, I got to do a skill session with them. Okay. Those guys know exactly what that is, and they can knock it out and make sure that they’re getting the most, most out of their time and being efficient, especially in the spring and summer where there’s a lot going.

[00:18:38] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. I love that. The idea that you’re not just saying, okay, here’s some drills you should do. And I got them diagrammed on a piece of paper. I’m sending them to you in a file or here’s a video. These are things that they’ve actually already done. Correct. That makes it much easier for them to then take that and understand sort of the intensity and the, the little details that you have to have in order to really improve and get better.

To me, that makes a ton of sense. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard. And he coached say specifically that, I mean, I’m sure that a lot of coaches are doing that, but I like the way that you phrased it, just to make sure that people understand that, look, you can put those drills into your skill development, part of your practices during your season, then boom.

Right. Your players already have those in their tools.  they already have their in the tool set so they can go out. And when it’s time in the summer for them to get better and work on it, they already know exactly what they, what they should be doing.

[00:19:27] Andy Winters: Yeah. And we talk about keeping it simple too.

Like you don’t have a Gun at your high school. Okay. Well like here’s all the drills that we’ve done without a Gun here here’s you can only get an outside workout cause you’re on vacation. Well, here’s, here’s the things that we work on with a hoop and a ball. So just, just figuring out different ways to keep it simple in the guys, making sure they understand and then can articulate what they’re supposed to do is it has been the best thing for our skill development.

[00:19:53] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. I can totally see that. I mean, it makes complete sense to me when I think about having a tool set of things that I could work on. I’ve said this on the podcast a bunch of times, but when I was a kid, Andy, I just did the same. I had two workouts. I had a workout. I did when I was by my, when I was by myself.

And then I had a workout that I would do if I was fortunate enough to either have somebody that wanted to shoot with me or somewhere to revamp. And that was it. I mean, my, my level of creativity, when I look back on it was like zero. So, I mean, I fired a good player though. I get, I get, I guess, I guess that’s probably true.

Going back to your point of get good at the things you’re good at, I guess, after doing the same workout for like eight years, I could probably got pretty good at it. By the time I was, by the time I was a senior in college, I was probably good at those particular skills, but it makes you wonder, like what could I have done with some of the things that we have today?

Some of the tools that are out there for people,

[00:20:42] Andy Winters: Like the apps.

[00:20:44] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. It’s kind of crazy. Just my access to a gym was very limited. I did spend a lot of time, especially when I was younger on the playgrounds, as opposed to being sure being in a gym eventually got there, but it’s just, it’s a different, it’s a different world.

Without question. One of the things that struck me that you said earlier was talking about how you didn’t really understand or recognize the different levels of college basketball. I was just kind of like, Hey, I want to play college basketball. And because you had grown, grown up around the division three division two game, that that was just sort of what you knew.

Whereas obviously a lot of kids there’s this division one mentality that if I have aspirations of playing in college, most kids don’t think about playing division three. And most kids are playing about thinking about playing division one because that’s what they see all the time. So I think one of the things that we’ve talked to a couple of division three coaches, as they’ve been recruiting players, they’ve told us that a lot of their kids that they ended up talking to have never even seen.

Division three basketball lame game. They’ve never even gone. And watching here, they are being recruited by division three programs. So how do you, as, as you’re recruiting, what are those conversations like with kids? Cause obviously the kids that you’d like to bring into your program are probably kids who maybe they have a division to offer, or maybe they’re a kid that maybe they’re a kid that could potentially play at a higher level if they found the exact right scenario.

And those are the kinds of kids that if you could get them to Otterbein, obviously that makes your program that much stronger. So just what are those conversations like when you’re recruiting, when you have a kid who’s kind of vacillating between, Hey, should I stretch myself and go to that one division two school that’s maybe given me an offer or should I go and play division three where maybe.

Be a player that is going to be able to play and start and do some of the things that maybe we all dream of being able to do as a player.

[00:22:39] Andy Winters: That’s a great question because I think that you can take it in so many different ways is some, some, some kids are they they’re scholarship chasing and that’s what they want.

They’ve made up their mind on it. But I think the majority of the want the kids we recruit and, and, and yes, we do. We go after scholarship kids all the time that, that are kind of on that border that talk about what’s best for them. And, and it’s first it’s educating them and showing them the level get getting them in, in a practice, to see game, see the level most of the guys on our team are, are coming from all state, all district, you know?

And, and so there is a very high level to begin with as you know so it’s educating them and making sure they understand it. And then I think the next thing is talking about really about development and going where you are wanted. And. You was going to develop and we can we go even deeper than not just a player, but as a person, as a student all those types of things.

But if we’re talking basketball specific, who’s going to go and going back to my experience and just reflecting on it, if  I hadn’t gone to a school that wasn’t the right fit. I tried to change our culture do some type of walk on thing I’m sitting in the bench. I’m not sure I would have grown as a player and put in the type of I hope I would have I like it because I tell our guys is, but, but like getting that chance to see some, some good things happen and whether it’s just practice or, or, or in a game. Helps you continue to develop. And, and so we talked to our guys about the importance of development as a player and growing over your four years.

And, and there’s a lot of guys who are, who are seniors at the division three levels or fifth years that have opportunities to play after if that’s what they want.  and there’s a lot of guys who go to the wrong fit, end up transferring or quitting, just because they had a bad experience. And it was maybe the wrong level or not the best choice that they could have made at the time.

And sometimes it is, I’m not trying to say one way or the other, but I just think educating recruits on the, the level of division three coming to an OAC basketball game and watching our conference and then where, where are the coaches that are really going to have a relationship with you and develop you over your next four years and make you the best person and player that you can be.

And ultimately that’s where you’re going to be the most successful.

[00:24:59] Mike Klinzing: To go along with that, obviously as a player, when you step into a program, you’re hopeful that you’re getting again, an opportunity to play right away, but that clearly doesn’t happen for every player that you bring into your program.

So for a kid who comes to Otterbein and ends up, let’s say in their freshman year, they’re a bench player. Maybe they get a few minutes here and there, and they’re not maybe getting the role that they had hoped for when they first got there. What do those conversations look like? Because obviously there’s lots of kids who don’t play very much as a freshmen or don’t do very much as a sophomore.

And then by the time they’re a junior or senior and they’ve developed and they’ve put in the work and then they get their opportunity. But sometimes. Kids can get lost in that first year or two when they’re not playing as much as they’d like to. So what do those conversations look like for you and your staff?

When you have a kid who’s maybe not playing as much as they would like, especially an underclassmen sure. That you feel like, Hey, this kid’s going to develop. They’re going to eventually be an important part of our program. Right now, they’re not quite ready. What are those conversations?

[00:26:03] Andy Winters: So we’ll go through currently.

We have some really good freshmen that, that aren’t playing a ton of minutes right now. I’m in our third year as a, as a staff. And, and, and part of it is, is okay. And it’s the same thing we tell our team about not being results based. It’s about are we, are we perfecting our daily habits?  are we working to strive to, to our core values of competitive greatness where we have a championship approach to everything that we do did we, do we, are we selfless in what we’re trying to do?

Or this is it’s that we versed me. It’s that family forget about me. I love you F a M I L Y  that loyalty to a team. The third core value of a tireless work ethic that I kind of talked about doing outside of what’s mandatory. It might instilling those core values in myself.

And then am I taking each, each of these days that I have in figuring a way to get better and improve on my daily habits, because ultimately that’s going to come back to help you. And so, even though you’re not seeing it, or let’s say you lose a couple of games as a coach, I have to remind myself, like, what are we doing today to make our team better, same thing as a player. I didn’t get in, I’m not in the rotation. There’s a lot of things you can improve on and I think the thing we fight as coaches is freshmen being complacent and okay with their role. Not that you want them to be bad teammates, but being competitive every single day in that is really hard because  whether you’ve won a couple of games in your lineup set, and guys are kind of playing well together, Are you still as that freshmen putting in the time to set yourself up and not wasting days.

And if you are, you’re going to get your chance and when you get your chance, you’re going to be ready. But, but it’s hard. And we have constant conversations about that with our freshmen, because they’re going to be really good players. It’s just right now, there’s some one, one or two things that somebody else does better than them.

It doesn’t mean that it won’t change midway through the year or at the end of the year. So you just got to continue to improve and work on your daily habits.

[00:28:12] Mike Klinzing: I think back to what I played in as a freshman, I barely played at all by the end of the season, I was maybe getting a couple of minutes here and there, but that was definitely the longest season of my basketball career.

Without, without question you go from being a high school player, obviously you’re the best player on your team and you’re getting all the opportunities to kind of do whatever you want. And then suddenly you get to college and you’re like, whoa, this isn’t the same as it was before. And I got to figure this thing out and it’s tough.

And it’s tough when you don’t play. It’s tough to go and put in that work and do the things that  you need to do when you’re not getting there’s no carrot at the end of that stick for you. It’s just, Hey, I gotta, I gotta keep doing this. Even though my moment in the sun may not come until next year or may not come until two years from now.

And I think what you just said is critical, Andy, and that is that you got to keep having those conversations and you got to help those kids see the big picture and you got to let them know what they are contributing because all it takes is something, just a little, a little something from the coach can oftentimes just be enough to get another hour or another day or another week or another two weeks or another.

Out of a kid of like, Hey, I see you over there. I see you work. And I see you getting better at this and your opportunity, your opportunity is coming. At some point to me, that’s really so important. I think it’s something that I think coaches are probably are probably better at that today than they used to be.

Just because we’re so focused and coaches I think are much better at communicating sort of the why and the thought process behind what they do than they used to be. When you think about maybe gosh, from your dad’s era or guys that I grew up playing for it was just like, you’re going to do this because you’re going to do it.

And because I said so, and I don’t really have to share with the why. And so I think we, I think we as coaches do a much better job of that today let’s work backwards. Go back to when you’re at Ohio Wesleyan. And what are you thinking about doing for your career? Were you a guy that always knew you wanted to coach cause your dad was a coach, he loved the game or were you focused on being a player and then all of a sudden you get done and you’re like, oh man, like, what am I going to do?

Maybe I got to get into coaching so I could stay in the game

[00:30:31] Andy Winters:. Yeah. Well I think like a lot of like a lot of players in the moment, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I loved basketball. And so my, my, my family being in education. Yeah. That’s why I coach and teach. Right. Funny how I put coach before teach.

And I did my student teaching and I just wasn’t enjoyable at all. I liked the people I was around. I just, I was like what, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it while I’m young and have the opportunity to put in some hours and work hard and see, see something happen. And, and in high school is a great level too.

I wanted to coach full-time and I wanted to be around players and have relationships constantly where they’re in my office, I’m doing schoolwork, I’m watching film. Instead of getting, get an, a prep right. For, for something that I’m not that interested in teaching. And so I was doing education and I had a lot of long conversations and thankfully I was talking about my brother, he’s actually on staff.

He’s my assistant. I had a lot of calls with him cause he’s five years older and I talked about.  I was like, I dunno if I want to do this. He was teaching in high school at the time of coaching. And he was like, I can see that he’s like, listen, if I were to do it again, I probably would have tried to start in college and go that route.

And I talked to my dad about that and he kind of had the same advice. And so, so from there it was like, listen, I do I have a chance to play overseas or do something yet? Possibly. Is that ultimately what I want to do with my life?  I don’t think so. I’m a home body. I’m not sure. I probably would’ve got cut anyways, but I’m not sure I could have lasted before years, somewhere, you know?

And so, so I decided to get into coaching and it didn’t really matter what level to me at the time, I just wanted to be a part of something and coach my first year whatever that meant. I just knew that I wanted to have a part of a program helping with scouting, helping with player personnel.

I didn’t go on coffee runs. Not that, that I shouldn’t have done that, but I, I wanted to be involved in it right away. And that’s what kind of probably led me to Dominican and the division two level when I finished playing.

[00:32:39] Mike Klinzing: How did that opportunity come across your desk?

How’d you get the opportunity to get to Ohio Dominican?

[00:32:43] Andy Winters: Fortunate with that as well. So, so Dan Evans is actually now the head coach at North Georgia division two. He was going into his first year and so the previous staff that had just been replaced and It was one of those things where I was sending some emails out to do some local teams and I was having coach to where reach out.

And I met with our athletic director at the time at Ohio Wesleyan about I want to do this how can you guys help give me something, just give me an, an all volunteer. I’ll live at home. I’ll I’ll do whatever I need to do. I don’t have to get paid, you know? And, and so I sent an email.

They didn’t have a graduate assistant at the time, but Dan got back to me pretty quickly and, and he was he wasn’t from around Ohio. He’s out of state. And I think he liked having somebody from Columbus on his staff with Ohio, Dominicanbeing in Columbus. And so he hired me as a second assistant.

I got paid Oh, I can’t even remember. It was so funny. I just remember Corey Hamilton was the assistant at the time that actually came over from Capitol university as the assistant then in him buying me lunch almost every day because I couldn’t afford it. I’m still grateful. And I still pay that back.

Cause I think I never remember how important that was. But, but I got to take some classes for, for my master’s and they paid for some of those out of there fundraising, fundraising budget, but, but I got to be a second assistant. I got to be hands on and, and that’s what I wanted. I, I just wanted the opportunity to showcase my skills and what I could do and also learn and grow from, from really good coach.

[00:34:14] Mike Klinzing: What do you think you were good at right out of the gate, and then what’s something that you think you were pretty bad at that you’ve improved a lot since you started? Yeah, I think,

[00:34:21] Andy Winters: I think I was better at some of the player development skill stuff, just because of going through it and being younger.

And I could jump in with it. I could guard him, I could do a bunch of things where they’re reading, reacting to defense so just being on a cone and, and having relationships with guys as a younger coach of being able to understand and talk to them about what they could do to get better and why they’re not playing or, or this or that.

And so I felt like I was pretty good that I was not very good at understanding how practices work like the flow of practices or I just want to like, well, we got to keep grinding or do this, or do a drill for 45 minutes when practice is only an hour 40, because the girls are on after us.

Right. I was, I was just I just as young and dumb and not that I’m any smarter now, but I’m a little bit older and I just knew that there’s a lot of stuff that you have to get accomplished. And funny thing is my interim coaching you’re at Capitol I’m sure we’ll talk about that.

But that, that’s where I probably grew the most as a coach being thrown into the fire at 25 years old. And I was the youngest coach in NCAA at the time. And that, that was a, that was an experience that I think only could have prepared me for my first year at Otterbein.

[00:35:38] Mike Klinzing: All right. So let’s get there to capital after your year at Ohio Dominican.

You get an opportunity to go to Capitol and just tell us a little bit about the process of leaving Ohio Dominican and getting to getting into Capitol. Yeah.

[00:35:52] Andy Winters: So we’ll hop Dominican coming into, there was division two school. They just gone to NCAA division two, not too many years prior to us getting.

And I really struggled. And we landed a couple big time Columbus recruits that were on the border of division one division two, just like you tried to do at the division three level. And they ultimately went on to, to when, when a conference championship tournament getting an NCAA tournament after four years.

And then I came over to Capitol after, after my first year at Ohio Dominican. And I was actually the lead assistant at the time. The gentlemen took another job, actually took a high school head coaching job, and I got promoted and was very grateful. And then I got a call from Capitol that Hey, their assistant left as well.

And I just always enjoyed division three. I don’t know what it was about as a purity of basketball. It was the type of guys were recruited. I just really enjoyed it. And I thought I wanted to get back. In my first year at Capitol, we were eight and 18 as an assistant coach. And I got hired late in August and we didn’t have a great year.

And then they’ve been good when that coach currently, thankfully he’s okay now, but he had a leukemia during our second. And so we found out after our, or right before our first scrimmage, that Damon wasn’t going to be our coach for that year. And he was going to take a year off and get healthy.

And, and so they promoted me to a head coach, interim coach at 25, we had a 24 year old transfer on the team. And then we had a 22 year old transfer from Ohio Dominican on the team. And then we had a bunch of freshmen and a couple other upperclassmen that played in. Yeah, it was, it was one of those things.

You think you’re ready, but you’re really not. And ah, we get we’ll figure it out. And, and part of it was, you don’t want to mess up for Damon and for capital. And obviously it’s a strong program historically. You wanted to continue to do what’s right by then. So you, you kind of had your own coaching touch, but you wanted to carry over a lot of the stuff that you’ve been doing, because ultimately it’s not about you.

It’s about the program. And in the next year we are well, that’s what we’re going to do when Damon gets healthy. So it was a very unique year and balancing a lot of that stuff. A lot of older guys, younger guys, my first recruiting class were freshmen who ultimately went on to win the league their senior year.

So that, that was kind of cool to see at Ohio Dominican in Ohio and Capital programs that are rebuilding that, that have success after a couple of recruiting classes and sticking with it.

[00:38:18] Mike Klinzing: What did that conversation look like when Damon decides to step away? Is that a conversation between. You and him, was that a conversation between you and the athletic director?

Is that a combination of all of that? Just. What did they tell you? What were you thinking in that moment as that opportunity?

[00:38:39] Andy Winters: Yeah, so, so Damon called me and he told me, he said, I’m done. And he said I’m not, I’m not coaching this year. You’re gonna, have to take over, it was pretty emotional talking to them because you didn’t know it was the unknown of what was going to happen for him.  Basketball kind of didn’t seem as important at the time. And then the very next day I meet with the athletic director and saying, Hey, this, this is what you’re doing. You do not have a full-time assistant.  Thankfully I had another guy who was a part-time guy, Anthony Golson, who had been the head coach at previous places was there with me.

And you got a game here in a week. So I was like, all right, let me figure out what the hell I’m doing and try to prepare. And so we had team meetings and.  conversations with players about the whole transition. And I think the biggest thing that helped me with it was that I had a year prior, under my belt as the assistant, because I think players, when they, when they know that you work hard and you’re knowledgeable about what you’re trying to do, it’s a little bit easier to coach them.

 I think when they see you’re prepared and they see put in the time and they, and they know that you love them and you care for them, it’s a little bit easier to transition that. And, and that that’s thankfully what made it a smooth transition. I was a terrible coach. I apologize to those guys every time I see them, because I think we could have probably been pretty good, even though we improved on wins from the previous year and improved in every statistical category we should have because we had good players.

And I just I just wasn’t prepared in the moment, but I’ll tell you what I learned.  probably the most, I have a lot of young head coaches that call me and say, Hey, you know what, or young assistants that want to be head coaches or said you, you truly, you can prepare and have all this stuff down.

It’s so important going through that year because you’re probably not worrying about basketball as much as you think. What

[00:40:33] Mike Klinzing: Was the biggest challenge that you faced that season in terms of just stepping from the assistance role into the head coaching role? Was it the fact that you were an interim coach?

Was it just trying to put things together on the fly since you’re going to and had obviously no time to really prepare for getting it all together? What do you remember as being the biggest challenge during that, during that season? First of all, all of it?

[00:41:03] Andy Winters: We started off like seven and three and ended up 12 and 14 after we came back from Christmas break.

And I think it was, I’m adjusting as a young head coach and figuring out. I thought I was a good in games coach where I can make some adjustments, but I was not a good practice coach. I wasn’t good at changing up or keeping drills fresh or keeping competition.  we had our guys that we figured were probably the better players, but, but when they didn’t play well are you, are you allowing those other guys opportunities?

Are you, are you changing up your drills? Are you doing all those things from a basketball standpoint, that’s going to develop and help them prepare for whatever situations in a game. And I just wasn’t there. We, we did a lot of the same drills every single day and practices came a little bit monotonous and, and I think we still did skill work and I still tried to do all that.

But I just remember that being, I was really frustrated with myself when I reflected. But the funny story is, I I’ll tell you besides that our first game, I forgot I was the head coach. Like I knew I was at coach, but I didn’t know I could stand up because I hadn’t done it. So I’m sitting there and I’m looking down the bench and they, some ref made a call and I’m yelling at him, I’m sitting down and I turned around, I spent about two minutes.

I said, damn, I can stand up a little bit. So just those small things that you don’t you, that you don’t think of. And it was, it was a great experience. And I think the practice planning, I was always pretty decent with relationships. I felt pretty confident in that and meeting with players and doing all that, but it was the interim stuff.

Like you mentioned where you’re doing some of what Capital’s always done with some of the stuff that you think you should do, but, but trying to maintain that program for the next year and the following one year and how they’re going to get better each year. So, so it’s kind of a combination of both.

[00:43:01] Mike Klinzing: When you think about practice planning and you mentioned that it was something that you felt like maybe that was a weak spot during that first run there a capital. So when you get the job at Otterbein, you start thinking about how you want to put together your practices to be able to maximize the benefit for your players as individuals and obviously for your team, what does your practice planning process look like today?

[00:43:27] Andy Winters: Yeah, so I think what’s helped is, is you pull as a young coach, you’re pulling all these different things that you saw or that you liked, or somebody did that practice, but, but does it make sense for you? So being knowledgeable enough to have drills that you can do and, and things that carry over to games, but also.

Keeping stuff that, that makes sense to what you’re trying to do all offensively and defensively or, or culturally and, and I think that was having the knowledge to know what you need to work on and know your strengths, know your weakness. Being able to, to, to have a program in my first year at Otterbein, I did not know what I wanted to do.

Like offensively defensively, looking back on it. I thought I did just because of what I’ve done in the past or as a player or what I’ve researched. But, but when you kind of see it and it’s not working to what you thought it would be being able to change and, and have the vision for not that year, but maybe for two or three years down the road.

And, and we, we’ve kind of completely changed what we were doing since our first year. And that involves even in a, to our practices. I mean, the biggest thing was with Otterbein is I want our practices to be game like. Like I want them to be competition. I want to have the intensity and making sure that we’re going an hour and a half to two hours, about as hard as we can.

And we are pushing ourselves to get better and we are making mistakes and we’re overcoming adversity during practice. And, and that’s my biggest thing about that. Practices is, are we, are we at the intensity that it deserves in every single day or is our daily habits matching that? And then depending on I’ve, I’ve kind of got into the flow of practice where, where now it’s you’re doing your schoolwork or your starter drills, but, but do they have meaning and do they translate to what you’re doing instead of maybe doing a drill that, that, that has no translation into to your offense or defense, or even just a cultural drill.

I mean, what’s the purpose behind it? Why are we wasting time? And I think that’s, that’s been the biggest thing is that intensity and then having purpose in what we’re doing.

[00:45:34] Mike Klinzing: How do you make sure that you’re getting that competitiveness, that intensity from day-to-day obviously it’s something that you build over time and it becomes an expectation.

But when you think about trying to get kids to compete, and we talked a little earlier about a freshman who maybe isn’t getting the amount of playing time that they’d like to have, but. That’s the kid that might be guarding one of your starters for 45 minutes during practice and has to push that kid to get better.

So how do you make sure and maintain that competitive environment? Is there anything specifically, do you like, do you, do you chart wins and losses? Do you have there, there’s a quote unquote punishment, there’s a 10 push. Everybody hates to lose just what are some things that you do to just keep the intensity amped up?

[00:46:21] Andy Winters: Yeah, so multiple things. So first we talk we have a team meeting before we started, we talk about culture and Buzz Williams is that takes a day. Now when he was at Virginia Tech, I was fortunate enough to work in and talk to him a lot about culture. And, and his biggest thing was the culture is bigger than the basketball as a head coach.

And so when we talked to our guys and I mentioned daily habits and our core values, but we talk about that our culture is so clear, that it’s felt. And then that other people describe it to you as the player, after they see you put did they talk about you guys, your work ethic?

Did they talk about yourself as an issue? How hard you competed or your preparation, you know were they able to explain it because if they weren’t, then it wasn’t felt, and so that’s the first thing is making sure we understand that. And that goes to your point, like, so currently we’re five and one, and our freshmen they’re, they’re not getting some of them, aren’t getting a ton of playing time, but how valuable it is and what they do every single day to make those starters ready.

And so those relationships and those conversations need to be had, but also that all also wins and loss board. We do that every single day, we track wins losses, and then we give a Weekly practice winner and whoever has the best wins loss percentage. And we moved teams and we make it competitive and we go one source twos a lot.

We go different groups and mix up starters and, and rotation guys. And even shooting drills even sprints, maybe we say, all right, Hey, you can get a point of winning a loss. If your team wins. Pregame shoot around stuff. Everything that we do is, is competitive. The guys have taken it even further and they actually track their wins and losses on their own on the whiteboard for, for opening up.

And so they, they want to show that like, Hey, I’m playing. Cause I’m always wondering, I have a better one laws perspective and then they want to be that weekly player of the week during the season that gets to hold a belt and we have this kids WWE or whatever it’s called now where, and they get to post on Twitter.

They get to have it on social media and say that they were, they were the best this week from a wins loss percentage. So I think tracking that stuff constantly has helped us. We we’ve just started that in the last year with COVID we got to do a lot of research on how we can improve as a coaches task or our culture can improve.

And that’s been something that’s great for us and having a staff of Matt winners, my assistant agent Dixon, coach, his time at Capitol who’s now over with me, he’s 27 and in a great young age or young assistant coach, you know having guys on staff, but not having a ton of them, their energies is contagious and how can we elevate others as coaches, as players?  all of that stuff goes into that intensity of a practice because that’s how games need to be. So to answer your question, long-winded I apologize all of that.

[00:49:17] Mike Klinzing: No, it makes a ton of sense. I think one of the things that is always interesting to me is how coaches go about tracking statistics, wins and losses, whether they’re charting, shooting, and just how much the players take to it.

If the coach continues to be intentional about it, I know it’s something that you have to make sure that it can’t be something that you do for a week here and there it’s gotta be something that becomes embedded in your program and the kids obviously see it. And then you throw the championship belt in there.

And boom. Now think you got something as silly as that may sound. It’s always one of those things that I think the older you get, the more you forget that it really is those silly, what we might consider stupid things. Players and kids love and then almost kill themselves for, I know when I was in high school, I never played for this coach.

He was the JV coach and I never played JV basketball, but he was, he would give an orange juice to any kid who took a charge in a game. And so kids would literally kill themselves, trying to take a charge to get an orange. I mean, to get an orange juice. And when you say that, it sounds ridiculous, but I could still remember conversations of kids that when I was a sophomore playing on the varsity and my buddies that were still playing on the JV team, just literally being like, man, I got four orange juices yesterday.

I should’ve seen all these charges I took and you’re like, God, this is so stupid, but, but it works. And those are the kinds of things that if you can find. If you can find the right thing for a particular group of kids, man, you can really get something. You can really get something going for sure.

[00:50:57] Andy Winters: To your point is it’s also what you emphasize.

I think it’s when, when I was a younger coach for anybody who’s listening, that’s younger. I tried to do everything or track everything or do all of this stuff. And it came so much where it’s, it’s almost impossible to continue to do that throughout the entire year. So it was simplifying that and saying, okay, what’s really important to us.

And ultimately it was the winning and losing, right that the competitive greatness to always be your best to have a championship approach and okay.  getting up, getting a mark on the board and in that effort and energy and everything that I worked for produce the correct result. And if I continue to do that every single day good results of.

[00:51:37] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. You talked a little bit about the energy that your staff brings to the table, and obviously they’re helping you. I’m sure. Chart all this stuff and get it organized and make sure they know who’s getting the belt. But as a head, as a head coach, how do you think about delegating responsibilities to your staff?

I know we’ve talked to a lot of coaches at all levels. And one of the things that they always say is that early in my career, I wasn’t very good at delegating. I wanted to do everything myself because I had a standard and I sort of selfishly thought nobody else can do it to my standards. So I tried to do everything and I just never empowered my assistants.

So how. Do you think about that in terms of working with your staff and making sure that they have responsibilities and then it takes things off your plate and ultimately improves the program. Just how do you go about your process of delegating to your staff?

[00:52:32] Andy Winters: Well, that, I mean, that’s pretty much, my story is what you explained.

So when I was at interim head coach we, we had a part-time assistant and I was trying to do the Scouts in the price point and the recruiting and the kids on campus. Man, I literally didn’t have enough time and I was actually getting my MBA at the time. So I’d be in class doing the scout professors talking because I just didn’t have enough time.

And I told myself whenever, if I get the opportunity to become a head coach, again, I need to delegate because everybody will be better from it, you know? And, and you do you have that thing, like, okay, this is finally your program. I have.  do it this way or that way. But part of that is making sure you have a staff that you can communicate with and that you can be vulnerable around and saying, Hey look like this is not a strength of mine, but I think you’re really good at this.

Why don’t you take this and why don’t we meet on it quite a bit?  whether it’s  film sessions, whether it’s player development or, or if it’s recruiting or scouting. And, and so part of my job is making sure our assistants are prepared for when they be committed code and having those opportunities.

And I think my interim head coaching year thankfully. Fast-tracked me going into my first year as an actual head coach with Otterbein of delegating and understanding what I do well, what I don’t do well, or even if I thought I did it well, he may do it.  and, and giving them the reps and the trust and then players now having relationships because they get to go to a coach.

Who’s got a different perspective and they’re not always hearing my voice from here in multiple voices. And these assistants are getting different ways to touch them and talk to them and communicate on, on something that we’ve talked about in practice. I think that is the, the most important thing as a young coach is being able to delegate and understanding, you know what, what’s not that it’s less important, but what, what do they do better?  What do you do better?

[00:54:25] Mike Klinzing: That’s something that it takes a lot of sort of self knowledge to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, because obviously we all tend to know what our strengths are and probably overestimate those. And we probably tend to underestimate the things maybe that we’re not good at.

And so that ability to self-reflect, I think. When I think about myself as a coach, I try to think about what are things that I do well, what are the things that I don’t do well, and it’s hard. It’s hard to sit down and go through and have those conversations in your head and figure out, Hey, this is an area that I’m pretty good at.

And Hey, maybe this is an area that we might be better off having somebody else take over in that particular spot. And that’s not easy to do, obviously anybody who has success, we all have an ego to some degree. Sure. Andy, as the head coach, ultimately, we know that it’s your name, that’s attached to the record and your name that’s attached to the program, right?

So it’s different from being an assistant, being an assistant and then scooting over that 18 inches on the bench makes a huge difference in terms of just how your, what your outlook is and how much responsibility you take for what that program is all about. And so being able to self-reflect to me as a really, really important skill for any coach, when you think about your program at Otterbein, and when you think about what allows a program specifically at the division three level to be successful, what is it beyond the basketball let’s say, in terms of the school, the facilities, the support, what are things that when you’re looking at, what makes your job and your program have an opportunity to be successful?

What are some things outside of basketball that you look for that you think are important to be able to have a successful division three basketball program?

[00:56:28] Andy Winters: Yeah, I think so much of it at our level is finding the kids that. Or the recruits that that would fit your school depending on what your school does and where they are and what they do well for, for Otterbein, we’re fortunate to be in Westerville, Ohio, which is 15 minutes outside of Columbus so we have so many internship, job opportunities.

We have alumni that stayed around the area that want to give back and help. And, and so, so we’re very fortunate from that standpoint of our location. And so we’re, we’re able to attract certain kids that are looking for that that, that right or wrong, depending on what they want to do with their life.

Otterbein is attractive to them. I think. With that is, is being able to know who you are as a, as a school and in what your university does well. And so attracting kids academically socially getting the right kids, recruiting high character players for that are, that are very talented and then love basketball is all part of it.

But, but as a division three institution, I think you can be successful.  if your facilities are good and you have an administration that understands the importance of athletics and the balance, but ultimately if you just really focus on what your school does well, and then finding those recruits, that would be a great fit, I think is the most important thing.

I think you can win if you do that probably at most places. And I believe that wholeheartedly,

[00:57:59] Mike Klinzing: Let’s talk a little bit about the recruiting piece of it. When you go through the process of recruiting an individual player. Maybe take us back to the very beginning when you’re starting to sit down and put together your list of potential players that you may want to start recruiting.

What does the process look like right from that beginning of how do you identify players? And then once you identify who it is that you may want to go out and recruit, how often do you go see him play? Are you watching them with their high school team, with their AAU team? What’s the balance between those two?

Just take us through your entire recruiting process from start to finish identification, to get that kid on campus as a member of your team.

[00:58:41] Andy Winters: Yeah, so recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. So you, so you, that that needs to be a priority from the get-go. And, and so when I got the job we talked about, we called them our own kgs, our kind of guys, the guys that would fit kind of what we were talking about.

Otterbein would fit our program philosophy would fit our culture. And so what we did is Ohio has really, really good basketball. You don’t have to go very far to go as  Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati day in, I mean, there’s some really, really good players. And so we talk about protecting our backyard in Columbus because we feel like if, if we if we’re looking at kids, what we do first is we evaluate, so we start to get names and numbers and okay, what are we looking for in this class?

You know? And ultimately, I think most divisions., I don’t know. I think you can be specific as far as positions or stuff, but, but you’re always going to get the best available if somebody’s better than somebody you have currently, right? Like you’re, you’re, you’re always trying to get those borderline scholarship kids.

And we talked to, to our team about how important competition is in practice and you want those guys here because everybody’s going to grow and get better from it. So the, the first thing we do is we, we call them, our kind of guys, and we go through one, are they talented from a basketball to be on that list.

Okay. If they are, it goes to another category and that category goes first thing, If they’re high character. Okay. How talented are they? Number two. Are they very talented? Are they a, B we have different rankings for them. And then do they love basketball? Number three? And if they love basketball, they’re willing to kind of what we talked about earlier, the internally motivated they’re willing to watch film they’re that tireless work ethic, core value we talked about, do stuff outside of what’s mandatory and just be gym rats.

And if they have all three of those and it’s our job to make sure that they’re they’re fitting our program. And so from a, from a recruiting standpoint we, we need to evaluate early. I think that’s important is, is, is establishing relationships and contacts with high school coaches, AAU coaches evaluating players that, that we think can fit us in, in knowing everybody.

I one thing when I was at Ohio, Dominican, Dan Evans, who was the head coach at the time we talked a lot about you should know everybody on a team and everybody in the roster. And at the time I was like, geez, how many guys is that buddy? Right? You need to know everybody and be able to evaluate early and have guys that some people haven’t seen or, or just outwork them because you’ve seen them at practices and gone and done more evaluations.

And that develops trust, I think. And then ultimately Do, what do we value as a staff?  We value toughness in, like I said, character and in production, I think some of those things of like, how competitive are they, if their team’s losing, but they’re playing well. Like, are they happy?

That’s one thing we always talk about how is their body language? Are they are they because they played well on their team loss, they come out and they’re like, oh, coach, great to see you. Right? Like, there’s, there’s a part of that that needs to be team first. And so I think. At the difference at the high school levels that you kind of get who you get at the college level.

We need to be able to have a plan in a clarity of vision of the type of kids we want to get that are high character talented, to love basketball, and they find those guys in Ohio and protect Ohio and Otterbein. I don’t know how much you know about our history. I mean we’ve had multiple final fours and national championship in 2002 over the last comp last OAC school to have a national championship in a really, really, you know good conference.

It’s usually top four or five in the country every single year. And so we feel like Otterbein has got a lot to offer. And so that’s gotta be a fit both ways. And if it is. We don’t need to mass recruit. We don’t need to send out a big net and just hope we get anybody, let’s go be specific.

Let’s have a scholarship mindset or we’re going after certain specific kids that really fit us. And what we’re trying to do to make us better.

[01:03:01] Mike Klinzing: Once you identify those specific kids that you’re looking for and you go out and you see them and you watch them play, how do you balance watching them play with their high school team?

Versus watching them play with their team. Do you value one of those situations more than the other? Are you looking for different things when you see them in those different environments, just as you’re recruiting and you’re looking at a player, how do you evaluate them both as a high school player and then in their AAU environment?

[01:03:30] Andy Winters: I think there are both very important from multiple different levels. One there’s different coaching, different coaching styles, maybe a kid does some stuff really well in a U because he’s allowed to do certain things, but in high school, he’s maybe more limited in what he’s supposed to do or his role.

I think AAU’s great for seeing maybe the player, their game as a whole, when high school might be more specific to the competition or competitive greatness core value that we talk about of, of doing whatever they need to do for their high school to win.

While still talent is still important, but do they have that natural ability in AAU?  and then can we develop them with some of our players skill stuff and then high school, we we’re really looking for production. Yes. But also they’re playing for their school, playing with their buddies and having that competition to really want to win do whatever they need to win at that level.

And that’s when we go to Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, we’re out recruiting. And in my, my wife I’m sure is super happy because we’re three weeks into our first child. So that’s always been pretty fun time in this, up with recruiting and all that.  but, but we’re out three times, three, four times a week catching games, practices.

I think what a lot of schools do at our level and you have to but, but during those times it’s like, if we haven’t done our homework, we feel like maybe prior to that we’re behind because we’re, we’re, we’re missing on some of the kids where we should be developing relationships by that point.

[01:05:08] Mike Klinzing: How do you build the relationships? Forget about with the players, but obviously if you build those relationships with high school coaches and AAU coaches, and you can get that honest conversation and dialogue going back and forth with those people. It gives you a leg up on being able to identify players who may be a good fit for your program.

So how do you make sure that you build the relationship first and then keep the relationship going with those high school and AAU coach?

[01:05:36] Andy Winters: Yeah, thankfully for me growing up in Columbus, I know a ton of them that, that was, I think what was so fortunate. If you look at where I’ve been coaching, I played at Ohio Wesleyan, which is 30 minutes outside of Columbus.

I went to a high school in Columbus, Ohio Dominican, Capital, and Otterbein are all in Columbus. I don’t know how that’s possible that worked out that way, but I’m very fortunate from just a relationship. I know a lot of these coaches from that. So those were pretty easy transitions. And then it’s about building trust and them coming to practices and them seeing what we do invite a few coaches, high school coaches to practices and having those relationships where, where they trust, what we’re doing.

That if they send us a kid we’re doing stuff the right way. And then constantly keeping that open communication,  seeing a kid and it might not be their kid giving us a heads up about something and taking care of them. I had a coaching clinic for high school coaches who came to our shootout.

We had like 80 some teams that are shootout over the summer. And I invited them back to come and I did a clinic on an open table discussion. I did a quick presentation on what we do, but then about Hey, how can we all get better? Let’s bring some table some, some ideas to the table and have some discussions.

And I think that’s important as well in those relationships is providing value for them instead of always asking them what they need or what you need from them as a way, what do you guys need?

[01:07:04] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, that’s a great way to approach it. I think that sometimes in any part, in any walk of life, we sometimes get caught up.

We have a lot of time for the people that we think could do something for us. Exactly what we don’t always have a lot of time for the people that we don’t think can do something for us. And it’s very easy to get caught up in that. And I think that’s a great way to approach it in that, Hey, if it’s a two way street, you’re much more likely to be able to develop the kind of relationship that’s going to serve both people and help both people to have a better situation, whatever that may be in terms of recruiting, it could be in terms of just improving as a coach, whatever it might be.

You mentioned a second ago that you are now a new father, so you are not quite yet at the level where you can understand quite how you’re going to incorporate your son into your program, but just talk a little bit about the balance between your life as. Husband, how important it is to have a supportive spouse with all the time commitment that you have as a coach.

And just how you think about that piece of it, basketball and family. Obviously you grew up in a basketball family, your dad was a coach. So you had some experience from the kid end of it. How are you thinking about it?

[01:08:18] Andy Winters: Thinking about it as a husband and now as a parent, what do I think that going through it currently, it’s like, How can I be the best at all of those that’s possible?

You know? I think it’s so important to, like this, isn’t a job to me, it’s a lifestyle, what I’m doing I tell our guys that, like, I, I hope they get to the point where they love what they’re doing so much. It’s not a job. And that’s what I challenged them to do. And, and these players are ultimately part of our family and my wife, and we live 10 minutes away.

My wife’s over here all the time, doing yoga for him. Cause she takes them. They’re always happy to see her cause they don’t be sure maybe some sprints are there, but how can we incorporate family? Not my dad comes over and watches practice sometimes and sits up there and gets to know them.

What, with the time commitment as a coach in any, and you know this, I mean, You have to, you have to have a balance, but you have to be able to do both. You have to be able to incorporate your family and Otterbein into one. And like we had, we had a kid over for Thanksgiving, you do see different family situation and, and he came over and I, and I think more coaches do that stuff.

I just think if, if you’re a. Doing things the right way. You’re about relationships or about development, no matter how good your kid is playing in that moment or not is if you’re doing stuff the right way and right by the kids, then you can have this, this big family this, this circus, if you want to call it that, that all is in the same tent, moving forward together and having a good relationship.

And I tell our guys how fortunate I am to have these type of kids around in our program that my son’s going to get to look up to. I mean, they got me choked up talking to him. Honestly, I drove from the hospital to case Western the next day after my son was born. And that was a mistake. I think my AD even yelled at me about me doing it and I wasn’t ready to coach.

I probably really lost them. The game I wasn’t prepared in case kicked our butt, but long story short I think the guy came back from that and the guys had bought a, a mini basket.  and I’m sure some other parents were involved in and gave me a card. And it was just like moments like that, that make basketballs that was so intense all the time.

It’s always about driving to get better is that that, that meant so much to me, from those guys. And I’m so fortunate to have max, our son, that’s going to be able to look up to those guys when their program and then as they graduate and continue to come back. And then the next group of guys that come in and it’s just special.

And it’s why you coach, I mean, it truly is their results are important. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s, it’s. Growing and developing. And now as a parent I talked to the recruits parents about what I want for their kids. This is our family away from family. How am I helping them get to where they need to get to in life?

How am I making them a better man, father, husband, whatever it is ultimately over the next 40 years of their career that they’re working on or their family career, whatever it is, how, how am I doing my job? And basketball is very important. We use that as a tool to get us there. But ultimately if you don’t enjoy the process and this family atmosphere I don’t know how you coach, because that’s what’s really important.

[01:11:39] Mike Klinzing: And the best part is Max is going to have gym access just like you did when you were a kid.

[01:11:46] Andy Winters: Yeah!

[01:11:48] Mike Klinzing: That’s good stuff. All right. I want to wrap up with one final question two parter. Give me the biggest challenge as you look ahead over the next year or two. And you think about where you are right now, where you want to get to. What’s the biggest challenge that you have laying in front of you.

And then number two, When you get up in the morning and get out of bed and you think about what you get to do every day. What brings you the most joy about being the head men’s basketball coach at Otterbein? So your biggest challenge or biggest joy…

[01:12:12] Andy Winters: I say the biggest challenge for us is continuing to work on our daily habits every single day, as corny as that sounds. I do. I think recruiting and all that stuff, when you work hard, everything is going, gonna work out. But, but sometimes if you, if you get lazy on a day, if you, if you say, okay, well we’re doing well this year or we’re not doing well.

We got to pick it up. You always need to work at the same level and the same effort and intensity that you have, whether you’re winning or losing. I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge is, is maintaining those daily habits for our program, for our players, for our recruits, for our staff.

And then the results will ultimately follow. I would say what gets me up in the morning is it’s really seeing our guys, I got. I love coming to the office and I love getting my film sessions done and doing all that stuff and then get getting them in a skill session or talking to them about how their day’s going or seeing the growth in a kid who like we talked about, that was a freshmen or, or when I took over some of these guys who are seniors now were sophomores in third development they weren’t, one of our guys technically have a recruit, but we had to re-recruit them into our program, seeing their development over three years and, and how, how they are as a basketball player, but also as a person, that’s what gets me the most joy is seeing the growth and development.

And then knowing that, Hey, here’s another class that we get to do that too. And make them as good as people, students and players that we

[01:13:47] Mike Klinzing: Andy, it’s well said. I think when you think about the opportunity to use basketball as a tool, to be able to have an impact. The players that you come in contact with, that’s really what it’s all about.

And I think that’s the theme that kind of ran through everything you said tonight. It’s just your passion for the game of basketball. And then being able to pass that along and have an impact on the players that you get to work with on a daily basis. It’s critical before we get out. Andy, I want to give you a chance to share how can people reach out to you?

How can they find out more about you and your programs? You want to share a website, social media, email, whatever you feel comfortable. And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

[01:14:27] Andy Winters: Yeah. Well, Mike, I’ll tell you this. I it’s funny. When, when I was young, I was always trying to talk to coaches and Hey, what can I improve on?

What can I do this? They always gave me their cell phone and how grateful I was. So, so my cell phone, (614) 579-1373. Call or text me. You’re welcome to any practice. Guys could stop by. We can talk or, or, or however I can do to help any, any coaches, young, old high school, college whatever I can do to help you can also follow me on Twitter.

I’m @coachawinters. And then my email is

[01:15:04] Mike Klinzing: Andy, cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule, especially with a newborn son and a wife with a newborn son, and all really appreciate you carving out some time. You’re scheduled to jump out with us and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know you, learn more about your program at Otterbein and to everyone out there who’s part of our audience. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.  Thanks!