Website – https://golobos.com/sports/wbball/
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @coachferrara
Bill Ferrara is entering his fourth season as an assistant coach for The University of New Mexico women’s basketball program after spending the previous two seasons at the University of Florida.
In his two seasons at New Mexico, Ferrara has helped lead the Lobos to a 49-18 record overall. In each of those two years, the Lobos have won at least 20 games and have made an appearance in the WNIT as well.
While at Florida, Ferrara was primarily responsible for overseeing the development of guards as well as coordinating camps and clinics for the Gators.
Prior to his time at Florida, Ferrara spent two seasons at George Washington University where he was instrumental in recruiting, player development, strength and conditioning, as well as working with post players.
Ferrara also spent three seasons at Hofstra University (2011-14) and at Central Michigan (2008-11) where he helped lead both programs to outstanding success.
Ferrara, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2003 before earning a master’s degree in sport management in 2005.
Don’t miss our free Hoop Heads Pod Webinar Series on Thursday nights at 9 pm EST. If you miss a live webinar you can buy lifetime access to any of our previous webinars for $4.99 on the Hoop Heads Pod website. If you’re focused on improving your coaching and your team, we’ve got you covered! Visit hoopheadspod.com/webinars to get registered. Make sure you check out our new Hoop Heads Pod Network of shows including Thrive with Trevor Huffman , Beyond the Ball, The CoachMays.com Podcast, Player’s Court, Bleachers & Boards and our team focused NBA Podcasts: Cavalier Central, Grizz n Grind, Knuck if you Buck, The 305 Culture and Blazing the Path. We’re looking for more NBA podcasters interested in hosting their own show centered on a particular team. Shoot an email to email@example.com if you’re interested in learning more and bringing your talent to our network.
Have a pen and paper hand as you listen to this episode with Bill Ferrara, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of New Mexico.
What We Discuss with Bill Ferrara
- Growing up in Brooklyn playing on a slanted concrete driveway with a milk crate for a hoop
- Trying out for his high school team every year and getting cut each time
- Watching the Patrick Ewing / Pat Riley Knicks
- Working in the video room for Billy Donovan as a student at Florida
- Getting a graduate assistant position with the women’s program at Florida
- His dream of becoming the Knicks GM and turning the franchise around
- How Coach Shell Dailey changed his life and made him think about coaching as a profession
- Beating Candace Parker’s team on her senior night with his first scout after an assistant got sick and he had to fill in
- “Once you’re empowered by somebody, it’s amazing, what that does for a young kid and for me it really changed my life”
- Getting hired by Hall of Fame Coach Nell Fortner at Auburn
- “Getting players to listen basically is just… what do you know? And guess what? What you know is extremely controllable”
- “Give yourself two weeks and plow through some YouTube. Next thing you know, you can be an expert on anything you want.”
- Doing a season long film edit of Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns
- Always being productive in the film room
- Working with the the WNBA’s DeWanna Bonner while they were both at Auburn
- “Evaluate whoever you’re going to work with and then try to cast a vision for them of who you think they can become”
- Being in the office from 7 am to 10 pm every day when he was a young coach at Auburn burning through the film
- Taking from Paul Westhead, Mike D’Antoni, & Vance Wahlberg to build his offensive philosophy
- Why he had to learn to coach defense as his career progressed
- Proposing to his wife when he left Auburn for Central Michigan to be an assistant for Sue Guevara
- The mental leap he made between years one and two at Central by studying the best offensive minds in the game
- The uptempo fast paced style of play he helped install at Central Mihigan
- “Empower your assistant coaches and that’ll make them thrive in whatever role you give them.”
- The ability to have blunt conversations with your head coach when you are an assistant
- The best head coaches know their strengths and weaknesses and then hire to fill their gaps
- “A lot of young coaches and first time head coaches fail because they’re insecure and then they don’t trust their assistants.”
- His experience at Hoftstra and why he needed to grow and learn from new people
- The challenge of playing in front of very few fans at Hoftstra
- How he learned to build relationships and become a transformational coach while he was at Hoftstra
- The role of an assistant coach on the bench during games
- His accidental meeting with Jonathan Tsipis that led to him being hired at George Washington
- Why working or playing for Jonathan Tsipis was the best environment for high achievers
- How the quality of the staff and George Washington caused him to raise his game
- Why success starts with the people you bring into your organization
- Asking tough questions is the key to recruiting and hiring
- Why he loves to show up at a random high school practice to evaluate a player
- Seeing recruits on a normal day, because most days are going to be normal
- The number one thing he looks for in recruits is a player who is self-motivated and competitive
- Academic performance points to success in college
- Experiencing failure at the University of Florida and what he learned from the experience to make him a better a coach
- Bouncing back from being fired at Florida to landing at New Mexico
- The great fan base for women’s basketball at New Mexico
- His thoughts on engaging women’s basketball fans
- Keeping things in his head when he was a young coach and how he shifted his mentality
- Using a suggestion box, his iPhone’s note function, and Google Drive to keep all his thoughts in preparation for becoming a head coach
- The challenge of trying to be the best husband, father, and coach
- Every team and season is different and why he loves that fresh start
- Celebrating the little moments along the journey of every season
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!Become a Patron!
- We’re excited to partner with Dr. Dish, the world’s best shooting machine! Mention the Hoop Heads Podcast when you place your order and get $300 off a brand new state of the art Dr. Dish Shooting Machine!
As the first exo-performance company, ARYSE makes products that mimic and strengthen the way the body works. Human anatomy is an incredible machine; your gear shouldn’t slow it down. Your performance should never be limited.
THANKS, BILL FERRARA!
If you enjoyed this episode with Bill Ferrara, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly NBA episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRANSCRIPT FOR BILL FERRARA – UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO WOMEN’S ASSISTANT COACH – EPISODE 382
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast from the University of New Mexico, women’s basketball assistant coach, bill Ferrara, Bill, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
Bill Ferrara: [00:00:16] What’s going on guys. Glad to glad to be on today with you guys.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:19] Absolutely. We are excited to have you on be able to dig into all the things that you’ve been able to do in the game of basketball. We’ll work our way up to your current position with New Mexico, but start by going back in time to when you were a kid, tell us a little bit about how you got started in the game of basketball.
What are some of your earliest memories of the game?
Bill Ferrara: [00:00:38] man? You know, it’s a fun one. My journey is very different than I’d say most, division one coaches. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, playing CYO ball and all that kind of stuff, but playing. In a driveway and in Brooklyn you have the concrete everywhere.
Right? So we had the slanted, concrete driveway that’s going down. and then the milk [00:01:00] crate, a basketball hoop tied to my stoop top. So at an angle, Yeah. So I never developed a shot because of that, but my handles and my passing ability was highly developed because if you can dribble down a driveway at a slant, and you can pass to people in a six, probably six by 15 driveway, then you’re gonna probably be a pretty good passer.
And, so yeah, my basketball journey was interesting. One played a lot of pickup games and that sort of stuff growing up in the city, like that’s what you do, you play in the park and we moved to Florida right before I started high school. And that’s kind of where my basketball playing days came to a halt, broke my wrist, got cut from every high school team I tried out for.
And I tried out every single year. And so you want, you look at my resume, you don’t see a playing career down there because I never did play. It was third week at the university of Florida and, and basically [00:02:00] turned that into a stellar intermural basketball career. you know, and that’s basically it, as far as playing is concerned.
But that’s my earliest memories are playing in the driveway with my brothers and everybody playing in the park and all that kind of stuff. That’s where the love of the game came from. And then the New York Knicks are on TV and really good back then it’s the Ewing Knicks and the Pat Riley Knicks.
And, and so grew up watching every single game of the Knicks back then. So that’s really where the game started for me.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:29] Yeah. That’s a good time to be a New York Knicks fan. A little torture, a little tortured maybe, but certainly not as tortured as it’s been in recent history. Let’s put it that way.
Bill Ferrara: [00:02:38] Yeah, it was fun to watch a winner, man. And you know what, it’s character building, man. You watch, you’re always almost there, you think that you really have a chance every single year when you don’t cause Jordan is out there you got two three out there ripping your heart out eventually, but it was definitely an awesome time to be a basketball [00:03:00] fan in New York.
And, it was a cool time to be a basketball fan as a kid. Cause I got to watch MJ you know, go through the League.
Mike Klinzing: [00:03:06] Yeah, we can relate to that for sure. Here in Cleveland. I think he beat us multiple times and took away our opportunity to be able to win titles as well. So we feel your pain for sure.
And I think everybody in the league felt it and just. Get a chance to watch the last dance made it that was, that was so enjoyable for me to go back and just kind of relive those moments and see some of those things in the doc that were just so interesting and exciting. I wanted to ask you a question that you brought up when you talked about having an intramural team at the university of Florida.
Did you, did your intermural team have. Any creative names. You guys come up with any creative names for your team. I have the best one and I have never shared this on the podcast was not my team, but it was another team. So I’m going to let you share yours and then I’m gonna come back at you with the one that, the one that I know of,
Bill Ferrara: [00:03:54] You know, what’s sad about all of that, right?
Like my best and most fun intramural teams were [00:04:00] like our co-ed teams. And so we would always have like, okay, these two girls played on wherever D one and now they’re in grad school or something like that. And so we were able to compete in that regard with, with the lame athletes like me out there.
but, our names were just boring all the time. It was like, Whatever grad program we’re in. So I got no funny story for you here, man. It’s rough. What, what do you got for us?
Mike Klinzing: [00:04:27] All right. So this was a team that when I was at Kent State playing, we had, a graduate assistant who had played on the team at Kent and he played with a couple of other guys and some football players and the name of their intermural team was.
At will. And I always just thought that was a very subtle, but very intimidating name is to be, at will. So I always enjoyed wherever I’d be like, Hey man, how’d your team? Did. He goes, Oh man, we just want whenever we want it. [00:05:00] So that was kind of fun.
Jason Sunkle: [00:05:01] I love it. Mine was mine was Shawn Kemp’s kids. we named ourselves right.
Mike Klinzing: [00:05:07] There you go. You, at least you at least tried to interject some humor in there. That’s good, that’s a positive
Bill Ferrara: [00:05:11] listen, man. I would have normal, good stuff for you, but not in that regard to, in the middle of the worst stuff with the intermural stories that we’ll get at, and I’m sure you can edit all of this kind of stuff out is like we go and at one time we get, there’s a timeout and we’re down like 30 or something like that.
And we’re playing like a legitimate team with all these guys could be when you’re at the university of Florida, like all these guys are like, could start on D twos and stuff. And, and so like we’re down 30 and we call a timeout or whatever, and they’re literally like, all they wanted to talk about in the timeout was how we needed to break the press better, and all this kind of stuff.
When it’s legit, like legitimately we had no shot. Like, why are we strategizing right now? Like, you’re, you’re down 30, like 10 minutes into the game. So like, those are hilarious [00:06:00] memes.
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:00] So is that the beginning of your coaching career?
Bill Ferrara: [00:06:02] Hey, great question on that one. No, it was shortly after that I did start coaching some, we started in Gainesville, Florida, and I was a graduate assistant for the women’s team at Florida.
I worked in the video room for Billy D on the men’s side before that. And so my coaching career started with, seven and eight year olds and then seventh and eighth graders after that. And yeah. I dunno, man. I was just always busy. You know, I didn’t have your normal college career where you’re just like there and playing Madden and hanging out and going out and partying and stuff like that.
I just always had something. And so it was full-time jobs for basketball, for me as a student and as a grad student, that’s how I treated it. Everything was either an internship or a job in the video room or something like that. It was always something to set up the next thing to start my path as a coach.
And I didn’t know it was to be a path as a coach. Like at that point I was legit Mike, I was trying to be the GM of the New York Knicks [00:07:00] and that’s how it all started trying to figure out a way to resurrect my franchise, man. That’s what it was.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:10] Let’s put it this way based on the hires that they’ve had.
I’m not sure that you couldn’t have done a better job coming in there with no experience as a college sophomore.
Bill Ferrara: [00:07:18] Yeah. Tell me about it, man. We can talk for hours about the Knicks. We got better. I’m telling you right now. You don’t want me to go down a dark path.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:28] We may end up doing it at some point.
We may have to spend the last five minutes talking some Knicks basketball
Bill Ferrara: [00:07:33] Before bed? Make me angry before I go to sleep. That’d be good.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:37] There you go. We’ll get you all juiced up before you got to go and try and get some rest. So what’s the Genesis of you thinking that coaching is going to become something that is going to become your profession.
When does that start to kick in for you is at some point when you’re coaching the seven and eight year olds, the seventh and eighth graders, when you start working underneath the [00:08:00] college programs at Florida, just when does it kick in for you that, Hey, not only is this something that I like to do at this particular moment in my life, but this is something that I might want to pursue as a profession.
Bill Ferrara: [00:08:10] You know, that’s a great question. I haven’t ever had to answer that question. The actual, the moment though, was when I first became empowered by an assistant coach at the University of Florida and her name was Shell Dailey. She’s now the head of IMG Academy basketball program. And yeah. You know, it was like, I’ve been doing that thing for two years in the video room at Florida and I’ve got internships and I worked f in the NBA for the Charlotte Bobcats for a summer and basketball ops and I’m doing all this stuff and it’s like busy work though.
You know, it wasn’t coaching. It was just like doing things and always saying yes to everybody. And the answer to every question back then was no problem. And you know, for me, Shell [00:09:00] Dailey came up to me one day and she basically said like, Bill, like, I really think you could be a coach someday.
And I had never thought it before. so really just took that nudge and she was a great mentor to me. you know, and played at Texas, was the head coach at TCU. Like she and then she’s an assistant in Florida. So I, it just opened my eyes. It kinda shocked me. so at that moment it changed everything for me.
I went from, Oh yeah, I’m going to do this. And I want to work in sports and I want to be the GM of the Knicks to like, Oh, wow, this is real. Somebody believes in me for real and then all of a sudden I start getting more responsibilities and, and Carolyn Peck is head coach at the time.
And she had won a national championship and coaching the WNBA and she started giving me Scouts to work on and stuff. And one of our assistant coaches became very sick and missed a whole week of prep leading up to us playing Candace Parker’s, Tennessee teams. Okay. And I was at the time, just basically this video coordinator before we had video [00:10:00] coordinators, right.
I was a graduate assistant, but I was the video coordinator. And so it was like next man up situation. Shell had empowered me earlier in the year and I was all in now. I’m going to try to be a coach and one of the assistants got sick. I had to do the Tennessee scout and we went to Knoxville and beat Candace Parker on her senior night.
And right at that moment, I was like, Oh cool. Maybe I’m good at this and so we went to the NCAA tournament that year, turn around and you know, now you don’t have a job right now. It’s real I got to figure it out now. What’s the real next step. And. you know, basically I had just met my wife at that point.
Didn’t know it, but we had just started dating and it’s like, wow, do I really want to move and leave this and be a coach? And hi baby told you. I’ll get interrupted.
Mike Klinzing: [00:10:45] There you go. They’re good.
Bill Ferrara: [00:10:47] I can watch my basketball downstairs, baby. Yes. okay. I’ll come watch it with you. She wants to watch the Heat game.
Okay. So this is what it says. We got basically the gist of this is I just [00:11:00] met my wife in a new relationship, but I knew it was good. you know, do I leave and do all this? And I’m like, maybe I should just stay in Gainesville and just work minimum wage, doing this basketball stuff for a little bit, for as long as I can.
And I don’t know where I get it. A call on my cell phone, from Nell Fortner. And she had Olympic gold medal winning coach. Now calling me on my cell phone and offer me a job. so there just snowballs man. And once you’re empowered by somebody, it’s amazing, what that does for a young kid and for me it really changed my life.
Mike Klinzing: [00:11:33] And so for you, what was it about coaching that attracted you? Because obviously you’re in the film room and you’re going through and you’re learning offenses and defenses, and you’re dissecting that film, but it’s clearly different when you get out and you’re coaching on the floor.
So what was it about coaching initially that really you said, man, I love this. I can see myself doing this besides being empowered with confidence, [00:12:00] people that you had a lot of respect for. What was it about the actual process of coaching that you really love?
Bill Ferrara: [00:12:04] Oh, man that started at Auburn because then I get to Auburn and you know, the third assistant quits one weekend.
So now I’m interim third assistant at Auburn as a 22 year old kid. and now I’m actually allowed to be on the floor. you know, so it, it started when you get to see somebody improve. And then you get to see somebody like look to you for guidance on the court. And for me, and you guys heard at the beginning of my story for me, I was like, are these people gonna listen to me?
I mean, I’m in the SEC. You know, these are elite level athletes. We have Dewanna Bonner. Who’s now like considered one of the greatest WNBA players of all time. She is asking me to come up with some shooting drills for her, so that was when I really knew it was like, okay, they are going to listen to me because guess what?
They want to be better. So if you can help them improve, [00:13:00] man, that’s just a cool feeling to me. And so I just thought, Hey man, This is really just about the work, put in the work when it comes down to it. Once you get down on that floor, I mean, it doesn’t matter what your playing resume was. It basically is just what do you know?
And guess what, like what you know is extremely controllable. I mean, especially now, man, if you’re a young coach listening to this and you want to be a coach and you think you don’t know anything. Don’t worry, give yourself two weeks and plow through some YouTube. Next thing you know, you can be an expert on anything you want.
So, yeah, that’s what I mean for me, that’s when it started just being on the floor with a great player and Dwana, and her just basically saying here’s a blank canvas man. Like help me get better.
Mike Klinzing: [00:13:47] So at that time, how did you go about. Building your base of knowledge so that you felt confident enough to be able to talk to that level of athlete, as you just said, what did you do to go [00:14:00] about building your knowledge base and then as a result of that building your confidence?
Cause I could definitely see, I think that’s something that all coaches sometimes struggle with regardless of what level you’re coaching or who you’re coaching with. I think that if you go into it and you’re prepared. You can overcome maybe some of that self doubt, but I think no matter what level you get to, there’s always some degree of that doubt creeps in.
So how did you overcome that as a 22 year old?
Bill Ferrara: [00:14:27] I just never let it even come into my mind. I would call it irrational confidence. I mean, it’s as soon as I was. When I was there I would think it right when I’m by myself at night. Okay. you know, I would be like, man, do I belong? that kind of, that kind of thought.
Right. and then immediately, I don’t know, maybe my mom raised me this way. Right. Like, okay. Do more. Right? Just be better, say the same thing. Like when I was trying out for the high school team. Okay. Well, it’s not just like sulk [00:15:00] and not be like, okay, fricking work on your game, try out next year.
You don’t get it. Try out again. Like, I don’t know, man. A lot of going from failure to failure. So what I did was like, get there. Think about it. Yeah. Doubts there. But I just told myself to shut up and then I was on the Hoop Heads Podcast. Right? So the reason why at a young age I was getting these opportunities was because the coaches would come to the video room and every time they would come in there, it wasn’t a young guy just sitting around doing nothing.
I was watching. You know, always had a project that was just like in my head, like at the time. And I’m just thinking of some of the ones that I worked on back then. Cause I still have them. I, I did a season long edit and this is at 21 years old. Season long edit of the Mike D’Antoni Phoenix suns playbook.
Okay. For myself now, young guys are doing this, like [00:16:00] with YouTube in mind and try to be a basketball influence or whatever. Like I was doing it to try to teach myself the offense. Right. so like that’s what I did. So like with Dewanna right. So I would go in with Dewanna and shoot with her as an assistant coach.
We’d be in there rebounding for her and putting her through shooting drills and stuff. And, and I’m like, okay, well, who does she play? Like, and who does she look like to me? And who could she be in the league? And so like, I don’t know Mike, go back to the Knicks talk. Right. Like I was, I had an NBA background and was like, Dewanna,
I need to watch some Stacey augment. At two, I need to watch I need to watch some plastic man stuff I need to watch. Like, that’s just the way I was thinking. And that’s how I always have been. And so I don’t know, just kind of critically think evaluate whoever you’re going to work with and then try to cast a vision for them of who you think they can become. And all of a sudden they believe you because you’ve [00:17:00] invested time yourself. Right. They could tell, like I’m not just sitting there with the wanna and coming up with creative shooting drills and clapping and telling her she’s awesome. It was that, and then I would show her, Hey, D like here’s something that I think you would benefit from.
Have you watched this freshmen from Texas named Kevin Duran? Okay. Here’s 200 of clips of a freshmen on the men’s side that she had never watched before. So that’s kind of how I went about it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:17:28] So at that point, how much film are you watching in a typical week at that point in your career?
Bill Ferrara: [00:17:35] I can’t even quantify it. so I already teased the fact that I had met my wife right around that time. Right. Well, she stayed back in Gainesville at the time. Okay. She did not move with me to Auburn, so I’m there and I’m in a relationship and I’m very serious about it. Okay. so I’m doing nothing, right?
Like I’m not like going out on the weekends or anything like that, as a young guy, like. I [00:18:00] am literally in the office. First one in, last one out and last one out meant like, whenever the hell I wanted to go home. Which was, what am I going to go home to? There wasn’t streaming services and Netflix, all that kind of stuff.
I was broke. The best thing I had going was sit there and watch every single game. Cause I had DirecTV like in the office. So, I mean, I’d be there till 10. I would DVR everything. I think I could, I would record everything I could. And then I’d get back into the office the next day at about seven. And, and that’s just how it would be on repeat every day, seven days a week.
Mike Klinzing: [00:18:37] Did you have a favorite guy or two or female player too, that you really like to break down and look at what they did out on the floor, and then pass that along to your players. Was there somebody that stood out that you really, really appreciated watching? For whatever reason, whether it was footwork technique, just the way they played the game.
Bill Ferrara: [00:18:55] It depended on the type of player. Right? So like [00:19:00] my favorite shooter to break down was JJ Redick. And this was during his Duke days. Okay. You, you would just, it didn’t take long to watch him. And, and just be in awe of how quickly he could get his shot off. How many different types of ways he could shoot post players.
It was different. You know, if, if I would, I would always try to like somehow just steal, an NBA guy. For some of our especially earlier in my career, like, okay, it wasn’t Twitter yet. Right. So they didn’t have highlights of like today they could go on right now, live during this game. And, shoot a freshmen shooter on our team could be like, Oh my God, bill, do you see Duncan Robinson?
Like. They didn’t even know who Duncan Robinson was like, or whoever at the time JJ Redick. Right. Cause there wasn’t highlights. So they had to watch the game live so I don’t know, man, it was just, everybody was different, but I just remember watching hours and hours of Kevin Durant, JJ [00:20:00] Redick I loved breaking down Shane Battier defensive stuff.
but those were, those were like, you want to take my mind back to the Auburn days and early central Michigan days. That was some of the stuff I was looking at.
Mike Klinzing: [00:20:14] What were one or two things that maybe right out of the gate that you struggled with as a coach, either from a standpoint of maybe it was an aspect of coaching that you didn’t love right away, or maybe it was something that you weren’t necessarily the best at when you first started, that you feel like you’ve gotten better at over the course of your career
Bill Ferrara: [00:20:35] Defensive teaching, when I first started, and you could ask anybody, that’s known me, my whole career, all I wanted to do was try to figure it out, score a hundred points, a game. Like,
Mike Klinzing: [00:20:50] Did you study tape of Paul Westhead.
Bill Ferrara: [00:20:52] It was Westhead. Yeah. That’s how I came up with what we ended up going with at Central Michigan, finishing fourth in the country and scoring in year two [00:21:00] at Central Michigan, using a hybrid of Westheads stuff, the seven seconds or less stuff with D’Antoni that I told you I had studied.
And then Vance Wahlberg struggle drive stuff. We basically created like a no huddle version of those three things. And, and that’s we ended up averaging 88 points a game for most of the year. you know, so like, That back then, right back then. You know that young version of myself that thought he was more than he actually was, couldn’t have taught a defense.
Like he, I couldn’t have gone into a practice. If I got a head job back then or something like early eat, regardless of the level, I wouldn’t have even been able to teach any of that stuff. So it wasn’t until years down the road where you go places and you get different responsibilities and all of that.
And then I started realizing, okay, I want to put my eye on the defensive side of the ball. So, yeah, offensive stuff was number one for me, which is ironic. Right? Cause I told you I’m a Knicks fan and Riley’s Knicks, all they cared about was the defense but I don’t know why that was [00:22:00] just where I was always on the offensive end, how could I improve a player?
how could I spread the floor and create spacing and pace so that we could score more? that’s really all my mind was on. So yeah, like I couldn’t teach defense for anything. When I was young.
Mike Klinzing: [00:22:15] What created that shift? Like what was it, what was the impetus for saying, Hey, I’ve got to get better at teaching defense.
Was it somebody that came to you with that? Was it a case where you were given more responsibility on the defensive end of the floor? What changed? That perspective for you?
Bill Ferrara: [00:22:31] I was tired of going to nit. I mean, that’s, that’s the truth and it was, it was like you, you average in the eighties and you’re exciting and you’re always answering questions about your orphans and then you’re getting bounced in the first or second round of the conference tournament because it’s grinded time on day two of a conference tournament.
Right. You know, your kids are tired, you can’t shoot it’s all, it’s just the reality of the situation. You’re going to win [00:23:00] games in the sixties and maybe low seventies, if you’re lucky, I mean, you shoot well. So I had to learn the hard way. We were really, really good at Hofstra after the Central Michigan years and, and going, we went to NIT.
But we had into tournament talent and we had two teams that should have been in the NCAA tournament. Then we were like RPI 11 for most of the year and one of my Hofstra years, but the defensive side just wasn’t there. So it wasn’t until I got to GW and I really took a step back and was humbled by the staff that we had.
I had the staff that we had, I still will contest is one of the greatest staffs in the history of women’s college basketball. Okay. And I am by far the run of the litter. Okay. On this staff, we had Jonathan Tsipis the head coach of Wisconsin’s the head coach at GW. Okay. we had Megan Duffy as our associate head coach, who’s now the head coach at Marquette. Okay. We had Diane Richardson [00:24:00] who has won multiple national championships at the high school level and now she’s the head coach of Towson and took them to the NCAA tournament for the first time in their history. And then me in addition to that, our Dobo won a national championship at Notre Dame.
Our graduate assistant is now an assistant at st. Bonaventure. Like we had a staff and I just was able to sit back and listen more than I had to talk. So then I started to realize like, okay, now I can see how we should teach defense. Maybe I should put my eyes on a defensive side.
Cause Tsip had his mind on the offensive side. So, it was fun, man. We won championships, plural. And and so, yeah, that’s, that’s when it started.
Mike Klinzing: [00:24:40] All right. I want to jump backwards for a second and just kind of go through. The saga of your different stops and just maybe how you got to each one of those places and what prompted you to go to each one?
So let’s start, let’s go back to, how do you go to Central Michigan? What does that process look like for getting you there? And then we’ll jump [00:25:00] from there to Hofstra next.
Bill Ferrara: [00:25:01] Okay. well that one was a shocking one to me. Right? So, I was one year at Auburn and in my mind as a young assistant or whatever, young video coordinator, I thought that there was like an order to things, right.
You go from being a graduate assistant to being a video coordinator, then you’d be the Dobo. Then you’d be the third assistant. Then you’d be the second. Then the associate, then you get a head coaching job. That’s what I thought back then. I didn’t know anything. You know, but after one year, one of our assistant coaches, Sue Guevara, gets the head job at Central Michigan.
Okay. And. You know, I was very close with Sue and Sue as a head coach at the uniform all time winning as head coach of the university of Michigan, then she comes to, to Auburn as an assistant, gets the job at Central. the day that she basically comes back from getting the job, I go into her office basically just to congratulate.
And also like, I was like, okay, I’m going to try to be her Dobo cause that’s the next step, right? Like I’m a video coordinator now I’m going to ask Sue if I can go and be her video or dobo. [00:26:00] So I walk into her office, I’ll say, Hey, Sue if you need a dobo, like jokingly, if you need a dobo let me know or whatever.
And, she goes out and need a Dobo mr. Bill. you’re coming with me as a coach. I’ll talk to you later. And I was like, what? so, yeah. Yeah. And here’s an odd thing, right? You want to talk about like a true, how things work. Okay. and I’ve told this story to a couple of people before, but I think it’s important for a lot of people to hear this part.
To the next day. Okay. So you get, you get offered a job from somebody that’s on your current staff. Well, I’m the video coordinator at Auburn, right. And so I need to like talk to Nell and tell her like, okay, Hey, Sue wants me to come as a coach. Like, what do you think? All that kind of stuff.
Even though in my mind, I’m like, Oh my God, I’m going to be a coach. I gotta go. and then Nell offers me an assistant job at Auburn. Okay. Like. How did that happen? [00:27:00] And but like, For me as a young assistant and all of that, like, you want to talk about the doubt and all, I don’t know if it was, I don’t know if I wasn’t ready or whatever, any of that kind of stuff.
It was more of like a loyalty to Sue. Like Sue gave me my first shot in that as a coach, like I knew that she believed in me and I was just like, You know what I’m going to go do this with Sue and this is going to be awesome. And whatever, even though I don’t even know where Michigan is, I’d never been there before any of that stuff.
So that’s how that happened, man. And there’s a lot of steps in the way there and then how that has all that stuff. Literally that day when I make the decision not to stay at Auburn and to, yep. I’m going with Sue that night. I propose to my wife. And, cause I’m like she had moved to Auburn at that point.
I’m like, there is no way I’m about to tell her she just moved from Florida to Auburn. And now,
Mike Klinzing: [00:27:54] Now you’re taking her to Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Bill Ferrara: [00:27:56] Yeah. Yeah. Without, without a proposal, [00:28:00] not a chance. So now I proposed to her, she said, yes, we moved to Michigan. And then a lot of awesome stuff happened in Mount Pleasant.
We were very lucky to make that decision.
Mike Klinzing: [00:28:11] So what was it like. Getting the first real opportunity to coach on the floor as an assistant. Just what was the adjustment like in terms of your mentality and just kind of your day to day, what you did as part of your responsibilities?
Bill Ferrara: [00:28:27] Well that first year, very different than in year two.
Okay. Year one, I’m like, I knew my role. I was the young guy. We had a, we had two experienced assistants on the staff. and I was just there to basically like, Bring some energy and occasionally be a practice player. That’s what I was in year one. So there wasn’t any sort of real good stuff happening year one coming out of coming out of young Bill Ferrara.
Okay. but I wasn’t satisfied with that. Okay. So [00:29:00] I went into the same, whatever mode you talked about earlier. And I was like, okay. I don’t want to just be this guy right here that, that doesn’t really have, I have opinions, but I don’t really have a way to fix that. So I took that off season and I made the biggest jump I’ve ever made in any short amount of time mentally as a basketball coach, I studied. Unbelievably studied that stuff I was telling you about. And then after I studied the Westhead mixed with D’Antoni mixed with Walberg and we came together with the system and I proposed that to Sue and then I was like, okay, I know this, I am like an egg.
I went from being a guy that wasn’t really talking much in practice to I am running the offensive side of practices every day. you know, and I didn’t have this stuff back then, but I was, I was our offensive coordinator at 24 years old. And you know, like that was, that was [00:30:00] an interesting jump man. And, but here’s the thing.
I was confident. I knew what I was talking about and I believed in, I was talking about, and I taught it as if that was the only way to play basketball. That was how I taught our offense at central Michigan. And then obviously the numbers back it up. We, we played with unbelievable pace and we scored a ton of points and a lot of people ended up being pro players because of that kind of stuff.
But we, I’d say the number one thing was I made that jump and studied and got better. And then because of that, I had the confidence like, okay, this is how we’re going to play. And also I had a coach in Sue, that was like, Hey guys, this is how we’re going to play. Mr. Bill knows this stuff, we’re going to score a lot of points.
Let’s do it. So that’s, that’s how we did it. And so that was pretty cool as a young coach to get a chance to coach that much at that age.
Mike Klinzing: [00:30:49] Absolutely. There’s I mean, I think what you just spoke to, and you’ve mentioned it twice, I think is the fact that once you know your stuff and you’re confident that you know your stuff and you can back up the [00:31:00] fact that your stuff.
It gives you a tremendous, tremendous amount of, of coffins to go out there. And teach. And I think that anybody in any walk of life, whether you’re a coach or you’re in some other profession, when you walk into a meeting or when you walk into a conference room, when you walk into a relationship, when you’re prepared for that, you end up having a lot better success.
And when you’re not quite as prepared as you probably should be, it becomes a lot more difficult. And so I think by you. Putting in the time that you did to study the offensive side of the ball and do all those things, allowed you to walk in there and be confident. How did the players, who were there both years?
How did they react to sort of that change in, in you? How did they perceive you differently from that first year, that second year? And did it take some adjustment from that relationship between you and the players?
Bill Ferrara: [00:31:54] Interesting. I guess dynamic there was that. You know, year one when you’re [00:32:00] there, we didn’t have very much talent.
Okay. and so. And it was just like one of those situations where you always hear about like a coaching staff, you take over a job. Right. And you want to hope that you can turn over the roster as quickly as you can and bring in your players or whatever. Well, we didn’t, we did that. Okay. So at the year one to year two thing was just natural.
We didn’t like kick all these kids off or anything like that. It was just like, we had seniors, they graduated, we brought in a ton of freshmen. They were talented. And here we go. And so really it was just a mix of, there was only a handful of kids that played in your one that, That we’re going to play in year two, the rest, all the new kids and the new ones that we brought in, well, they didn’t know that first year version of me.
And so the return was just like, Whoa, this is different. This is fun. Like, we’re, we’re gonna play this way. Like, okay. So we went from playing [00:33:00] a motion, offense, like passing screen away, reverse the ball kind of offense, where we were horrible six and 23 and we weren’t scoring a lot of points to a complete 180 and no huddle pushing it up the floor makes and misses shooting quick threes.
We were second in the country and made threes so these guys the returners, like, okay, I didn’t take much to, for them to change. and then the new ones had no idea. So they just thought I was like some crazy. but yeah, that’s, that’s a good, good question. The dynamic was actually changed because the roster changed.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:33] Yeah. It’s a fun way to. Get up and down the floor and play it. I’m sure the players appreciated the opportunity to just get up and down and get the ball up in the air and play and play off offense and do all those kinds of things. And, you as a coach being able to put that in and be, as you said, but maybe it wasn’t known at the time as the offensive coordinator, but to be, be given the opportunity and to be given the role of authentic coordinator to have that responsibility placed on you as a [00:34:00] young coach.
I’m sure. Dynamically increased your ability to to just maximize who you were as a coach. And so as you look forward and you start going through, what, what did you learn about how a head coach should. Assign roles within a coaching staff. And you could maybe not even address this directly to central Michigan, but just kind of look over the totality of your career.
How, if, how do you think that a head coach what’s the best way in your mind to sort of figure out what the roles and responsibilities are going to be for assistant coaches as part of a staff.
Bill Ferrara: [00:34:38] Yeah, man. I think that the number one thing that you can do, and the best thing that you can do as a head coach is empower your assistant coaches, and that, and that’ll make them thrive in whatever role you give them.
Okay. I’ve been really, really lucky, man. Like the head coaches that I have worked for are all unbelievably [00:35:00] successful. And you can name them all. But, as from Sue, all time winning as coach at central Michigan now, and at the University of Michigan, she’s getting a coordinated after it Central, probably going to have a statue there, like went to the sweet 16 to then to Hofstra the all time winningest coach there, then to GW and Tsip went and championships Amanda Butler at Florida’s amazing.
And then now to Mike here at New Mexico. Each one of them is confident in themselves enough to empower their assistants, to do their job. And, and so I think that that’s what I’ve learned and, and the reason why I’m ready to take that jump and, and become a head coach now is I’ve learned from enough, and seen them.
You know, Hey, give somebody a responsibility and let them crush it. And then also, tell them that they’re going to crush it. And then all of a sudden, next thing you know, they’re good at it. I don’t believe in, [00:36:00] equal opportunity accountability. I do not think that you can have staffs where. Every single person has their hand in the offense.
Every single person has her hand in a defense. I think what I’ve seen work is when there is somebody that has their eyes on the offense, there was an assistant coach as her eyes on the defense. They’re their assistant coach as their eyes on whether it be rebounding or special teams or special situations, whatever you want to call it.
Because I think that when you give somebody that big of a responsibility as an assistant. You know, you’re just going to be better for it. And as the head coach, then you can trust the assistants. You know you can go to that person and be like, okay talk to me about offense. And they will be an expert at it instead of having three people or maybe five talking about the same things and everybody’s talking and they all have different perspectives.
I just think that if you empower them and then you give them responsibilities and then hold them accountable to it, like then your staff’s going to be better for it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:36:59] Have you [00:37:00] talked to your head coaches about just how, what their mentality is or how they view that ability to empower assistant coaches?
Cause I think one of the things that. We’ve had a chance to talk to people on the podcast about who have been head coaches, especially maybe in their first opportunity. If they were a young coach, being a, being a head coach that it’s sometimes difficult to do what you just described, where. If I’m probably what’s made me successful as a coach is the fact that I’m very hands on and detail oriented.
And just thinking about the story of your story and just all the time that you spent studying film and improving your craft and doing all that stuff. And that’s what most successful coaches ended up doing. And so we’ve heard from a lot of coaches that, Hey, my first experience. I wanted to micromanage everything.
I wanted to micromanage my offense, my defense, my assistant coaches, all that. So I’m just curious if you’ve ever had a conversation with one of your head coaches or multiple head coaches about, I don’t want to say the difficulty, but just [00:38:00] the, the mentality that it takes to be able to release some of that responsibility to the assistance, even to the players, rather than micromanaging everything.
Bill Ferrara: [00:38:09] Yeah, I actually, I think one of my strengths is that I can have blunt conversations with my bosses. so, and it’s made me better because of it. So, I mean, I’ve literally talked to each and every one of them about this. you know, in different ways and I’ll say this, everybody’s got different perspectives on it.
I think everyone’s different. If you want to be a micromanager and that’s gonna help you be the most successful as a head coach, then do it. I’m just, I’m just saying what I’ve seen work. and what I’ve seen, not work the best. And you asked me the question of like, what would maybe in the future, like, what do you think would, how would you handle it and all of this, and what’s the best way to do it after all these stops, that’s the best way to do it?
In my opinion, I think that the best ones, are self-aware they know what they, they know their gaps, they know their strengths, and then they, they [00:39:00] hire to their gaps. And so like the best thing I had an amazing with Amanda Butler. And if you haven’t had her on your pod yet, you need to, she’s amazing.
Listen, bill, I’m going to give you underneath out of bounds. Cause I hate underneath, out of bounds. I don’t want to coach it basically. That’s why she gave me like car bonds. Like here’s, you know what you call the underneath out of bounds plays. You put them in whatever, but she’s like, but I love doing player development.
And especially guard development. So she’s like, you’re going to coach the guards, but I’m a coach I’m with you. And like that’s the only head coach has ever said that to me. And it was interesting to me to hear that, but it’s true. And she’s like, listen, I gotta, I gotta have some stuff.
Mike Klinzing: [00:39:45] right.
Bill Ferrara: [00:39:46] And so she loved it. She would work out the players as if she was an assistant. And I know that not a lot of head coaches do that. so I don’t know. I think that was good perspective. And I’ve talked to all of them about it in different ways. Mike is [00:40:00] by far, you want to talk about spectrums, a micromanager versus Non micromanager freelance, then Mike is on a 10. if a micromanager is a one. And he does a great job of hiring to his gaps. And so he always put the staff together. This is Mike Bradbury, head coach at university of New Mexico, he listens to everybody, always asks for opinions.
It’s a very Steve car-like, philosophy where it’s like, eh, anybody can say something in a meeting and you know, what, if you’re, if what you say makes sense, I’m gonna go with it. And you gotta be really, really secure. And I think what you’re describing with the, some of the first year head coaches, a lot of people aren’t secure with themselves and a lot of people aren’t self-aware and so that’s what happens to us. And that’s why I think a lot of young coaches and first time head coaches fail because they’re insecure and then they don’t trust their assistants. And then they, next thing you know, you have an environment on a [00:41:00] staff that’s toxic.
And, and if you don’t think that the, the rest of the staff can feel that, and then the players can don’t feel that then you’re crazy.
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:09] Yeah. There’s no doubt that there’s a trickle down effect that if you don’t get that from the head coach, That everybody feels that pressure. And I mean, I’ve been on that from more from a coaching or from a, from a playing side of it.
And the coaching side, I was very fortunate when I coached in high school, I was a part of the same staff. We had the same guy group of guys who were together for like 12 or 13 years, a very unique situation at the high school level to be able to have that kind of thing. But it was just one of those situations where just as you described.
Head coach trusted the assistants, assistants, trusted the head coach, and everybody kind of knew what their role was. And. As a result of that, you ended up having a positive feeling across the staff, and then that positive feeling was transferred down to the players as well. And when you can get that, I think that’s when you do have success.
And like you said, when you’re a young coach, if you [00:42:00] don’t have that sense of self-awareness, it can put you in a difficult spot. And it’s amazing the number of coaches that said that I’ve become way more successful by. Releasing some of those responsibilities, some of the things that I felt like I had to do when I let those go and let my assistants take over those responsibilities.
And I, and I talked to them about what those responsibilities were that I wanted them to take over. And even when I passed along some of the responsibility too, My captains or the players on the team and took those things off my plate. That’s when I really started to develop my program and have success.
And I think that basically what the stories that you’ve told tonight have echoed that sentiment, that in order for you to really have success, you have to empower the people that you’ve had enough confidence in to hire the first one.
Bill Ferrara: [00:42:48] No doubt about that, man. That’s good stuff.
Mike Klinzing: [00:42:52] That’s fine. So let’s talk about the transition.
how do you go from Central to Hofstra? What’s the story there?
Bill Ferrara: [00:42:58] You know, it was, it was [00:43:00] time for me to, to make a change. I needed to grow in different ways. And you know, this was a weird one, but I always applying to, I wasn’t applying at a certain level, you don’t really apply anymore to jobs.
Right? It’s like you, you see a job opening at the division one level. You have your boss call or you have a mentor call or whatever. Right. So Sue called a couple places for me. And I interviewed at a couple places and basically at the final four, I interviewed with Penn state and Hoftsra and thought I was going to get both of them.
Basically. I was like, yep. I’m about to be a Big 10 assistant. Here we go. 25 years old. did not get it. And, was, was like shocked and devastated for a minute about that. but I had already made my mind up that what it’s time for me to move on and officer came and offered me and it’s back home in New York and really would have been like, awesome.
We didn’t have kids at the time, awesome place to [00:44:00] live and it would be similar responsibilities. So it was like she was coming in. You know, she needed a change offensively. She was coming in and saying like, Hey, why don’t you come here and help me change the offense. We need to score some more points and all that.
So, so that’s why I did it. I was essentially it wasn’t a move for money or anything like that. It was basically just like, A new experience, an opportunity to work with with other people and see the way people do it differently. And then obviously get to be back home in New York. And, and so that’s why we ultimately made the move to, to Hofstra.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:33] What’d you learn in the time that you were there? What’s something that you took away from that, that you’ve carried with you since.
Bill Ferrara: [00:44:38] Man. I think one of the coolest things that, that you, that you learn from a spot like that, where you have so many different types of people, right? It’s New York, nobody comes to your games.
Okay. They don’t care. They got so much stuff to do, right? So you’re playing in front of nobody all the time. Couldn’t be more different than what I’m coaching in front of now in New Mexico where we [00:45:00] average 5,000 a game listen it’s so you gotta realize it’s about the players. They are playing for each other.
There was literally like 15 people at our games sometimes, and it was just like their parents. and I just had forgotten that at a certain point. Like I was like still in that mode where it was like, Oh man, I need to, we need to be so good at this so that we can score this amount of points that we can win.
So that blah, blah, blah, like, it was almost like a math problem to me. Well, what would it taught me after year one? We were really good. I think we won like 19 games. I was just more about the X’s and O’s, and I was about the players at that point. And it was a rude awakening for me at year one.
and then unbelievable. I started building relationships with every single player and it was, it made me a transformative coach instead of a transactional one. So that’s, that’s the thing I took from Hofstra was it, it changed the way that I’ve viewed coaching period.
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:55] And so how would you then start to approach things differently?
So day to day, What did that look [00:46:00] like when you started to become transformational and you started to say, Hey, I’ve got to have a bigger impact on these kids that are in front of me, besides just helping them to score more points and becoming fourth in the country and offense, I really want to be able to build a relationship and impact them.
Long-term what did you do differently day to day as a coach to build those relationships, to allow you to have the kind of impact that you now are realizing that you wanted to have.
Bill Ferrara: [00:46:26] I started talking with them instead of talking to them. I mean, I think that was the number one thing. I was asking more questions and I was that I really genuinely wanted to get answers, about and w you know, because as a young coach, like, and if you’re a male coaching, women’s basketball, sometimes it’s, it’s just like, You know the questions at first maybe were like, Hey, you want to come in and work out and you want to do that?
You know, it was always like a transaction. It was always like, you want to come do this so that we can get you better so that we can be better so that you [00:47:00] know what I’m saying? So like, it was for me, the question started to ask about their family, talk to them more about who they are as a person, what they’re thinking about, what they’re doing what do they think about what we’re doing?
You know, ask them for input. It was a major change and a necessary one. Cause I think for me at that time it was like, Oh, wow, okay. So now we had legitimate relationships. So now I can coach them a little bit differently during the games too.
Mike Klinzing: [00:47:29] When you say, if you coach them differently in the game, do you mean that you could maybe push them a little bit harder?
Cause they knew where you were coming from as opposed to before it was just this guy standing in front of him who seemed more distant. It was just this authority figure.
Bill Ferrara: [00:47:44] I think it, I wasn’t, I would still view it at that point as a young assistant though. Right. So I don’t even think they viewed me as an authority figure.
It was just, I would always push them. Right. And try to push them the results I changed. That’s all the changed. You know, my I was still [00:48:00] coaching the same way I coached during the games. Right. And that all of a sudden in the middle of the game going to ask and how they’re feeling it’s going to be, hold on one second.
Give me a sec.
What happens, man? You got
Mike Klinzing: [00:48:27] it’s all good, man.
Bill Ferrara: [00:48:31] The four year olds a yellow that’s the problem.
Mike Klinzing: [00:48:33] Yeah. Hey, we all got to, they all got their pro they all got their own personalities. I know that better than the better than anybody. So,
Bill Ferrara: [00:48:40] Yeah.
Mike Klinzing: [00:48:43] Yeah. You got her in trouble, man.
Bill Ferrara: [00:48:46] It’s all your fault. It’s me. Okay. That was transactional, right? I was, I was trying to, I literally told her that I would, that I would basically be able to, I would basically be able to, let her stay up a little bit.
If she let me do this interview. [00:49:00] okay, here we go. So back on our tangent here, that I was basically talking about in-game and how those conversations changed. The conversations didn’t change. The results changed because they trusted me more and maybe they, they liked me more or whatever. So maybe I was trying to push them the same way.
It was just, they heard me this time. Right. And I think that, I think that that was really good for me to see as a young coach and, helped me move from to the next stop.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:28] All right. Let me ask you this in game as an assistant coach. Talk to me a little bit about what your role has been on the bench during games at your various stops.
Has it always been similar? Have you been responsible for different things? Just talk to me about what you’re doing. During the game on the bench, what’s some of your responsibilities are as an assistant coach.
Bill Ferrara: [00:49:54] Obviously each stop is different based on your, your head coach and what they need from you.
[00:50:00] Okay. So. I had my eyes on the offensive end for most of my career. So I was keeping track of offensive efficiency. I was keeping track of our play calls. I was literally keep live keeping track of points per possession for each play call or, and for us running a no huddle uptempo system. you know, you’re not really.
You don’t really have play calls, but you have like initial actions and entries. Right. That’s what I was tracking. So if we started our attack with a simple downstream, rip, well that I wanted to see how, how often we’re scoring off of that and how much we were scoring off of that.
So for me, that’s the stuff I’ve been tracking most of my career, live on the bench. you know, when we got, when I got to, Well, I got to GW, essentially. It was, more of a different role on that.
Mike Klinzing: [00:50:50] Let’s transition again. And just talk to us a little bit about going from. Hofstra to GW to work with coach Tsipis.
Bill Ferrara: [00:50:59] really, the [00:51:00] coolest thing that has happened to me in my career was a chance meeting, with him.
we were at Boo Williams recruiting and I had known. That he was going to have an opening on his staff or that he had an opening on his staff, but I was happy at Hofstra. We were in New York, my wife was working in the city. Like we love living there. We just had our first child. and it wasn’t like I was looking to move.
Okay. But I had a really great accidental meeting with him. Like the one of these, basically the only way to describe it as a collision, we sat next to each other at BU and a pack gym. Striking up conversation, just about basketball kind of stuff. I had totally forgotten that, that Sue had introduced the two of us and basically like, kind of said to Tsip, like, Hey, you need to help mentor this kid someday.
Like, he’s really good. This is my young guy when Tsip was at Notre Dame. you know, so we just started talking about stuff and sip just asked me a simple question, which was basically, you [00:52:00] know, what was it like coaching against Elena Delle Donne. And I didn’t know what the question was about.
It was kind of a weird question, but really he was trying to get. A lot out of me at that point, we were just I had known that his best player was Jonquell Jones, who is now, obviously in the WNBA for the Connecticut Sun and I’m superstar. but he was asking me that question when Jonquell in mind and, and so we talked about Della Donne, and I just happened to say like, man, yeah, I would do this for JJ.
If I were you you need to look at this, that Delaware’s doing okay. All of this kind of stuff. And, and then I started talking about working with Dewanna Bonner and how, like, I thought that that D and JJ were very similar and all this kind of stuff and a couple of days later, he called me.
you know, and, so that’s just how that worked man. Like, it was, there’s a chance meeting. I wasn’t trying to get a job or anything like that. And honestly, like, I think he interviewed like 200 [00:53:00] people and you guys interviewed Tsip so he’s long-winded and very detail oriented. So his interview process is like no other, I mean, it is a full vetting every night.
One hour on the phone with him asking, answering questions, watching the NBA playoffs with him, like while he’s watching them in DC, I’m watching in New York at the time and eventually ends up with a job offer and that was instantly accepted. and, so that’s how that, that ended up being.
And a man was at an unbelievable decision by us.
Mike Klinzing: [00:53:33] All right. So what does that look like for the, the two seasons that you’re there? What did, what did you learn? What was, what was the experience like? What made it so special?
Bill Ferrara: [00:53:42] Every single thing. I could do a whole pod on that, on those two years, man.
We, first and foremost, I had the opportunity to coach. The best post combination in the country, in Cairo, Washington and Jonquell Jones, and both of them average, a double, double Jonquell [00:54:00] was unbelievable and ended up being a top first round pick in the WNBA, so got to coach unbelievable players.
We won. I can count on, on both my hands, how many games we lost, in those two years, like we just won all the time. We just won everything. And the culture that he built, the players that we had on those championship teams were unbelievable. The staff I’ve already talked about them was unbelievable.
We just, everything was clicking. Literally every single thing was clicking. He had created the perfect environment for winning and. Basically, did you know what he had always done? He took the Notre Dame system and brought it to GW. And, it just so happened that we struck gold with some talent. And you mix that together with the staff that we had and you’re cutting down a lot of nets.
And that’s what we did. I got a lot of net pieces hanging.
[00:55:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:55:01] So what does that look like from a culture standpoint? Like what are some things that. He does that you guys did while you were there that translate into a winning basketball program. Obviously talent plays a huge part in that, but you also have to set up the environment to allow that talent to flourish.
So what does that look like? What does he do? What did you guys do while you were there? That made it such a special environment that allowed you guys to get all those
Bill Ferrara: [00:55:26] Tsip sets high standard from the very first, second, you walk in the door, your very first interaction with him. I don’t want to say it’s going to be criticized, but you, you feel like you’re being evaluated and, and I’ll tell you, it is the perfect environment for high achievers.
And he really did an unbelievable job of accumulating high achievers, and every single person that he brought in. And that’s where his, [00:56:00] you know, I joked about the interview process. There’s a reason why he does that. You can’t be weak and worked for Tsip or play for Tsip because it’s just not going to work.
I’m not saying like he’s a grind or anything like that. I’m saying he holds everyone accountable and it sets a standard hold you to a standard, communicates the standard and then makes you want mix. Every single person in the organization want to improve because you don’t want to let him down.
It was the perfect timing for me in my career where I was, is just young enough to still really feel like I need to prove something. And also like I needed to, I needed to see like, okay, am I as good as Megan Duffy? Who’s one of the best assistant coaches in the country and all that kind of stuff.
Can I hang with the Diane Richardson? Like that was for me, that’s what it was about. I was like, damn, like everyone’s [00:57:00] better than me. Like literally, that was my first thought. I was like, okay. Time to raise your level, dude. And, and I sure did. And, I think he would attest to that. And everybody on our staff would attest to the fact that we all raised our levels.
And that’s why we were champions multiple times.
Mike Klinzing: [00:57:18] Yeah. There’s no doubt that being in an environment where everybody. Is pushing everyone else and pushing everyone else in a positive way where it’s not a cutthroat, I’m better than you, but it’s a collegial everybody’s trying to get better and pushing one another because we’re also successful because I know that you can, you can sometimes get into environments that have, like, I would bet it’s probably a fine line where if the leader pushes or nudges things in one.
Slight different way that you could end up with this sort of cutthroat mentality where people are trying to achieve what they’re almost trying to do it at the expense of the person next to them, as opposed to what you’re describing, which is great people who want to have tremendous [00:58:00] success, but they also want to see the success of other people.
And I would think as a coach, that a lot of times that’s something that not only do you have to work onto it and still with your staff, but just thinking about. Player to player relationships and how that works. Especially when you start talking about trying to have success at the highest level, you better have players who are a competitive and push each other.
And yet at the same time, when it comes time for everybody to go out on the floor and put on the uniform that everybody’s pushing in the same direction. So how do you, how do you achieve that? Is there, is there something. I know there’s no secret sauce, but what do you think is the key to be able to achieve the pushing of one another, without it becoming cutthroat
Bill Ferrara: [00:58:43] Man, hiring and bringing the right people into your organization, that’s where it starts and ends.
And he did that. He brought, he brought a, every single person that was a part of those GW years for sip. and [00:59:00] with sip, We all had the same mindset. If you just look at the roster and you look at the resumes of the roster and I challenge anybody, let’s. Anybody that’s listening to this podcast, a fun little wormhole to go down, go to the GW championship teams on
Okay. With the Jonquell Jones teams, look at every single players, high school resume or whatever, resume at the place they were before this. Okay. It was state champions. It was, we had a flag football champion and Heisman winter from Florida on our team. We just had winners. Like everyone you got Megan Duffy who won at every level, played in the WNBA..
But as a coach everywhere, she’d been Diane Richardson’s winning national championships. And at the high school level at Riverdale Baptist, but also then literally like starting successful businesses and running successful business or their whole life every single person down the line, the roster, the staff, it was, it was a perfect melting pot of. [01:00:00] success. So that’s where I would say it’s all about who you allow in the room and nobody better. So far that I’ve worked with at picking the right people. Then, then that guy up there, that’s now up in Madison.
Mike Klinzing: [01:00:14] All right. So let me ask you this. You’ve obviously been on the interviewee side of the process and you’ve had to answer questions from coaches who are looking to hire you.
What have you learned about that process that were you to ever get the opportunity to be a head coach? What have you learned about the interview process that you think would allow you to find. The same type of people that you’re describing here that have that winner’s mentality that are going to bring that desire to push one another, to be there.
Bill Ferrara: [01:00:47] I think you have to ask more questions than you’re comfortable asking. I mean, that’s what I’ve learned in. And I can just I do get to hire people, right? I’m a, I’m the lead recruiter at the [01:01:00] university of New Mexico. So I’m a gatekeeper and a lot of senses for who gets allowed in our room.
Right? well, I’ve made a lot of mistakes at every stop doing that. And most of the time when I’ve made a recruiting mistake, it is because I have not asked the right amount of questions or the right questions or the tough questions to the right people. So I think that that’s what I’ve learned for when I do get my opportunity to become a head coach when it’s hiring, whether it’s hiring a staff or allowing players to join our family, it’s going to be, I got to ask more people.
More tough questions to make sure that we get it right. And, and I, you gotta, everything matters with that kind of stuff, man, when you bring them on the on-campus interview, you can tell if the vibe’s not right, we interviewed somebody. Who’s a [01:02:00] terrific coach. When we were at GW, we interviewed Megan Duffy left.
Okay. So she left to go to the University of Michigan. So we’re interviewing coaches there and me and Diane R. Richardson are basically like. Hmm, we better get this. Right. Cause we got something special here. So we just watched and observed and we could tell if the vibe wasn’t right in the interview, because, and the reason why was because we were honed in and locked in on making sure that we got it right.
And I think so many times when people are hiring or in recruiting, they just, they don’t make sure that they get it right, because they just want to get somebody. Well, I think it’s the same thing. When people hire people, sometimes you just, Oh man, you want to get someone? Cause somebody told you to get someone and you don’t do your homework or you’re not paying attention.
And man, did we get it right? When Duff left, we hired Melissa, Melissa Dunn and she’s unbelievable. And but we could have got it wrong. Had we [01:03:00] not been paying attention to the vibes of the on-campus interviews?
Mike Klinzing: [01:03:04]All right. So let’s take it to the recruiting piece of it. When you’re going out, you’re recruiting for the university of New Mexico.
What are some things that you’re looking for? I mean, let’s go beyond, obviously there’s a certain level of talent that you have to have in order to be able to play at that level. So let’s kind of put that aside in terms of the basketball, but what are some of the intangible things that you look for in a player and where do you go?
To find out what those intangible things are about the player. I’m sure you, you get some of it from watching them play. I’m sure you get some of it from talking to people who are around them, but what kind of questions do you ask? Who do you go to and what are you looking for when you watch the player play beyond just their physical tools and their basketball skills
Bill Ferrara: [01:03:47] Let me just lead with this right now in the age of COVID right. My goodness. Is this a harder question to answer than I normally would be? like currently I’m evaluating [01:04:00] players only on video tape, on bad streaming video, on highlight tapes that their dad makes
It is a challenge, man. but I’ll say this,my favorite thing to do is to go and watch a kid practice with their high school, not go to an open gym where the coaches have, or the high school coaches organized it and texted every coach they know, and then there’s 15 coaches watching, but to just plan it in my schedule, figure out when it works for me to go to a practice, whether it be Hey, we’re off on Wednesday, I’m flying to Los Angeles.
I’m going to go watch this kid practice when no one else is watching. Because if, if that kid is not, you can tell a lot about watching a high school player practice because you know, I’ll say this, you rarely get it wrong. If you watch how they interact with all of their high school teammates on a [01:05:00] day where no other college coaches are there.
And it’s just a normal day. Because guess what? Most of the time when they’re with you, it’s just a normal day. And so those are the days that matter. I’ve had a lot of success with evaluating players by just going to a Saturday morning practice or a random practice and watching them more success doing that.
And I find out more about a player doing that and talking to every single coach assistant coach. The athletic trainer, everybody about them. the random high school Dean that goes up to me and introduce himself to me at the game or whatever it is. I find those practices have been unbelievably valuable because you can find out what they’re going to be like when it’s tough for you.
Mike Klinzing: [01:05:48] What kind of questions do you ask those assistant coaches, the Dean, the principal, a teacher, when you get an opportunity to do that, what kinds of things are you looking to find out when you have those conversations with those people?
[01:06:00] Bill Ferrara: [01:06:00] Ultimately, what am I getting to is I want to know if, if they’re self-motivated. I think self-motivated players, end up having the most successful careers.
If I need to text a kid every day to try to get them to come in and work out and put an extra work. Yeah. I can help her get better. But. You know, I don’t really know what her ceiling’s going to be. The ones that I know have had the best careers, I’ve been very fortunate to coach a lot of pros and a lot of all time greats or at each school that I’ve been at, those ones were just self motivated. So that’s what I want to know first and foremost. I think if you’re self motivated, then you’re going to compete. Harder every day. I want to know how competitive they are. That’s the stuff I’m asking, like does she play any other sports? You know, that’s a good one for me. Has she ever played any other sports, especially like one little clue that they dropped sometimes like a crumb that they’ll drop is, [01:07:00] is like, Oh yeah, no, she used to play soccer, man.
Was she good at soccer? Okay, well, now I want to talk to that soccer coach, like and I want to, and that what she was like as a soccer player so that’s the kind of stuff I basically, if they’re self-motivated and how much of a competitor they are, the rest of the stuff, there’s obviously some red flag type of stuff.
I want to know what kind of student they are most of the time, if they end up being a lazy student or a bad student, they do not work out at the college level. I don’t care if you’re Harvard, GW or New Mexico, no matter what level of, of academic school you are if they don’t care about school.
That to me, that tells me a lot about them. you know, and, and if they don’t respect their teachers, they don’t respect that tells me a lot about them. So you need to know the negative stuff too, but I. At the core I want to get down to do they compete and are they self-motivated?
Mike Klinzing: [01:07:57] Yeah, that self-motivation piece I think is so, [01:08:00] is so huge.
And we’ve talked with other coaches about that at all levels. I think it’s so important because especially when you talk about the transition from high school to college basketball, and we all know that there’s. A big leap, a and the level of play be in the requirements in terms of hard work and what’s expected.
And there’s always an adjustment for players going from high school to college. And if you are someone who doesn’t love the game and are self motivated to get better and improve, then it’s very, very easy for, I think, college basketball to quickly become a job or have that feeling of drudgery. If. You don’t love the game.
And so I can see where that would be a hugely important point that you would want to try to find out about players before you bring them on campus and then bring them into your culture and make sure that you have. As you said before, whether it’s your staff or it’s your players having the right people in place solves a lot of problems before they even exist.
When you have the right people on the ship, then it’s a [01:09:00] lot easier to get them to do the things that you want them to do so that you can have the success that you want to have. All right. Let’s talk about how you get to New Mexico. We’ll talk a little bit about that and, just give us an idea of how you got out to New Mexico.
After sip lefting went to Wisconsin. And then we’ll talk a little bit about where we think your future lies.
Bill Ferrara: [01:09:19] Well, there’s a stop that we’re, that we’re missing here. I left to go to the University of New Mexico to go to the University of Florida my own mind. Gotcha. Okay. And he, he can talk for hours about this.
By far, the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. And some people would think it’s the easiest, right? I doubled my salary, you’re going back to your Alma mater, I’m going closer to home to Florida. I’m going to the sec like that. A lot of people would say that’s a no brainer.
I was straight up balling in his office when I had made the decision. I knew what I was [01:10:00] leaving. I knew we had a special culture there. I knew we had a special staff. I knew we were about to win more championships in the years to come. you know, and so maybe that you moved to Florida and and ultimately it was amazing for me you’re back home at your Alma mater and you are in the top 25 and you’re in the NCAA tournament. And, it was my dream job, man. I, if anybody at any stage ever asked me what’s your dream job, University of Florida assistant coach. Like I could have stayed there for forever. And but like most dreams, man. eventually you wake up.
And after year two, we had a really disappointing year, started the year ranked in the top 15 in the country and, and then had a, a major transfer in the middle of the season. And we got fired after, after a year or two. And that was the first time in my career. And you guys have heard about all of it so far tonight that I really experienced [01:11:00] failure.
Every single stop was, it seemed like another step in the ladder and I was climbing and climbing and climbing. And here I was at a proverbial mountain top that I could’ve stayed on forever. but it wasn’t meant to be. And so New Mexico, how did this happen? This is an emotional part of my journey, man.
Like at that point after the Florida, things didn’t work out, I li I really, really was thinking about hanging it up and not coaching anymore. because. Quite frankly, I was heartbroken and you know, it took a village of people and I really believe this, and everybody should have a village around them, that they trust and that they can have allow, people will say tough things to you, right?
Like part of your village is that, I had people tell me you are not acting like your get up right now. You’re stupid. You’re going to get a job. You’re going to do that. This is what you’re going to do. You’re [01:12:00] supposed to coach, you’re supposed to do this. Like, you are great at this, do this, do this, you know?
And, and so ended up at New Mexico because again, here’s another big 10 flop, thought I was going to the University of Michigan. Didn’t get that job. Basically tell everybody I’m retiring. One of my people in my village is Kevin McGuff the head coach at Ohio State. He tells me and he’s the best.
Like he’s just blunt. He goes, all right, Bill. Here’s what you’re going to do. Mike Bradbury from the University of New Mexico is going to call you. He’s going to offer you the job. You’re going to take it. You’re going to move out there. You’re going to be great for him. He’s going to be great for you.
And you’re going to win a lot of games and there you go. That’s where I was like, what did you just say to me? New Mexico and literally five minutes later, Mike calls me does again, he’s like, Hey, Bill. yeah, this is Mike Bradbury head coach, University of New Mexico.
you know, I [01:13:00] just talked to Kevin, been talking about you for a little bit. job pays this, he, which thing coming. I mean, it was hilarious, the complete opposite of the Tsipis experience. I can’t even tell you how I was feeling. And I was like, what? Like, okay, this all, I got to talk to my wife about this, like all this kind of stuff.
So how we got there is a bizarre journey in bouncing back from a major failure. But man, has it been an awesome ride so far out here in the mountains. And, I gotta tell you, it’s like really the thrill of my career coaching in front of all of these people. Like we have the most unbelievable fan base.
We average 5,000 fans a game. Sometimes we get 10, like it is it’s wild to me. and I got goosebumps telling you this right now. Like, I wish that every single college women’s basketball player could experience what our players get to experience. [01:14:00] They have an actual fan base like it, and they don’t take it for granted.
Like, dude, we, we were. We lost in the elite eight and we lost, and it was a home game in front of 10,000 people. And they gave us a standing ovation for what seemed like 30 minutes as we walked off the floor. Like that doesn’t happen. So this has been one of those things like I’m supposed to be here.
I’m supposed to experience this. It is a. I, I there’s a lot of great things and we can talk, get more in detail about specific New Mexico stuff. But man, Oh man, I wish every coach that listens to your pod would get to experience coaching in front of fans like this. And I get, I wish that every women’s basketball player actually got the plan from fans like that.
Mike Klinzing: [01:14:54] I have two questions first. I’m going just briefly asked, did your wife know what she was signing up for when she [01:15:00] said yes
Bill Ferrara: [01:14:59] Yeah. Oh, hell no. you talking about? Like at the beginning, right? Like you’re talking about the very first thing. No, no, no, no, no chance. Okay. And here’s a side note story.
She loves to tell this story too. So we’re, we’re at a game. we are engaged at this point. Okay. We’re not married yet engaged. we’re back home for Christmas and we’re at a Gator men’s basketball game. And. You know, obviously, like I worked for the men’s team a while back. So the coaching staff left me tickets, right?
Me and Courtney tickets behind the bench. And we’re sitting right next to Christine Donovan, Billy Donovan’s wife. And. Courtney is talking to Christine for whatever. I don’t know, a little bit in the game at some point. And, and I hear Courtney say to Christine should I, what do you think?
Should I do it well, any advice for a future coach’s wife is basically what she says. And, Christine Donovan says, don’t do it. I’ve never met her. Thanks. Thanks a lot. I’ll never forget that. so no, she did not. She’s a trooper spent a [01:16:00] lot of stops, a lot of we, but the thing is like basketball’s allowed us to see the world we’ve traveled.
We’ve been to Europe. We’ve been all over the place. She’s come on trips with us too. Like our kids are very cultured and, yeah, we were, trust me. We’re very fortunate that I get paid to do this. Like that stuff is just hilarious to me. I love what I do. I never work anywhere. This is what I do.
I don’t, I don’t feel like it’s work ever. and yet I still get paid to do it. So, we’re very grateful.
Mike Klinzing: [01:16:30] Yeah, that’s very cool. All right. I want to ask you about the fan piece of it, because I think that’s interesting. We’ve talked to a couple coaches that coach on the men’s side of division three level.
And several of them had either had experience as players, or they had maybe coached in high school and they talked about how one of the things that sometimes they found to be a challenge was they’re like we can coach a game and just like you said there might be 35 people in the stands watching our games, the players, parents, and maybe a random professor or [01:17:00] somebody that wandered into the gym accidentally.
And I think that you, you think about what sometimes. You know, generates a drives, excitement and coaches and players, and you know, obviously the fans and the environment, certainly add to add to that. And so I can especially tell, just, I mean, I can hear the passion in your voice for. Those fans and the fact that you get to be in that environment.
And you’ve also clearly had an opportunity to coach where that wasn’t the case. So if you think about just, if you think about the environment, how, how did you, and maybe you didn’t realize that the environment. You know, what was lacking when, when you were in an environment that didn’t have those fans, but, but what do you do maybe as a coach to overcome the fact that you’re, you’re not playing in front of, in front of big crowds.
Is there anything that you could do? Is that something that you ever talk about as a staff or you talk about with the players? You know, how can we get more? How can we get more fans in the stands? Or is that [01:18:00] something that you just kind of just you don’t even address it? ,
Bill Ferrara: [01:18:01] That’s a hard question because where do you want to put your energy to?
and, and it’s like, and as somebody that aspires, obviously to be a head coach very soon, I do think about this a lot. And I, I think that. Community engagement and legitimate community engagement where you are, the team is actually a part of the community and they want to be a part of your team that drives attendance.
And then that. And then in turn that helps drive winning. But there is a, there is a threshold where eventually you got to put your energy into, things that will directly affect your winning as well. so, we play in front of no fans. Every time we go on the road, man in the mountain West.
And to answer your question on that kind of stuff, like the, create your own energy comment that you hear from a lot of coaches, like. I think it’s no [01:19:00] different, you play in front of fans or you don’t, you, you should be the most enthusiastic team in the country. That’s a goal. All of ours here at New Mexico, like we’re gonna celebrate like crazy whenever we make a big play, whether we got 8,000 people in the Pit going nuts behind us, or if there’s 250 people booing the crap out of us in Las Cruces, like it’s not going to matter because that’s the culture that we want to have. One that we want to have a culture that travels, so that’s huge for us.
And it goes back to the people that you allow in, right? So you got to recruit people that. You know, are passionate. You got to recruit people that get excited for others and want to be a part of something great. And all that kind of stuff. you know, and I think if you have those people, then they’ll connect better with the community as well.
And then you can do those things that you’re asking. How much do you focus on getting fans in the stands and all that? Well, like for example, yesterday our team went and literally with mass on went and delivered, [01:20:00] you know, signs for people’s yards. Like we are New Mexico science for all our season ticket holders.
And that’s a little thing, but man, Oh man did that. Our fans faces light up because they don’t know if they’re going to get a chance to see our team play in person this year. so that’s just some of the ways that we do it and. I dunno, it’s something I do believe in engaging the community, but I do think that it’s one of those things where man, if you have a team that’s fun to be around, they’re going to want to be a part of that.
Mike Klinzing: [01:20:28] Yeah. That’s I think that’s good stuff. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that when you have that type of team comradery that generates excitement that you’re gonna, you’re gonna attract more or you’re gonna attract more fans. You’re gonna get more people to. To be involved in it. I wanted to ask you just kind of, as we’ve gone through this whole journey of your career as an assistant coach, and at various times who kind of talked about and hinted at your desire to at some point take over your own program.
So I wanted to ask you what it is that you’ve done over the course of [01:21:00] your assistant coaching career when it comes to preparing to be a head coach. And do you put together, do you have a. A file folder. Do you have computer files? Do you have a three ring binder? Do you have, how have you gone about kind of taking the things that you’ve learned along the way and compiling them so that when you do eventually get an opportunity to be a head coach that you’re prepared, just talk a little bit about your preparation.
That of course you’re focused on what you’re doing in the moment, but you’re also. Looking at there’s the potential to have an opportunity to be a head coach, maybe at some point in your career. So how have you gone about preparing for that over the course of your various staffs?
Bill Ferrara: [01:21:44] That’s grown. Okay. And changed over the years as I’ve acquired more knowledge on how to organize my thoughts. I’m a really, everyone that’s ever worked with me will be able to tell you if they came on the pod, [01:22:00] like, Oh my God, what is going on in that guy’s mind, like he has so many thoughts and they’re sometimes brilliant sometimes ridiculous, like, but he never writes anything down.
Like, especially early in my career, like that used to drive people crazy. Like when we were putting together the attack and the offensive stuff, like. I wouldn’t have anything written down. Like it was literally all in my head. and like, I don’t know. I barely could probably write it down. It was just, I knew it.
Okay. well that’s changed for me. And a lot of people have challenged me in that regard. And like I said working with really good people. And that that make you realize, Oh crap, you’re not as good as you think you are. watching Megan Duffy, apply for head coaching jobs and interview for head coaching jobs helped me tremendously because I realized how freaking unprepared I was for that opportunity at that point.
And so I got three things for you that I think can help have helped me. Okay. one. I stole this from Greg Popovich. I literally have a suggestion box on my desk [01:23:00] and you could call it a thought box, suggestion, box, whatever it is, everybody in our program. And I’ve had this since GW knows where it is, what it is.
and I have a stack of index cards next to it. Sometimes it’s a suggestion box for myself. If something comes to my mind that I like for the future, how I would do something, I drill that. I like something. It could be random, all those random thoughts I’m talking about. those, those little bursts, I will write it down on the index card.
I’ll put it in the suggestion box for me. And I review that. Suggestion box, at the end of every month. Okay. So I’m coming up on a review of that suggestion box here probably tomorrow. Huh? and then but also anybody can throw suggestions in that box too. So I stole that from pop and I love it.
And it’s like one of my favorite times of the year. So when I get to review them them every month and then review every suggestion over the course of the year, the second thing I became addicted to on my iPhone, is the notes function. Yeah. And I have a running note on my iPhone that literally says head coaching [01:24:00] thoughts, and I have organized that note to the 1 million degree. And I have every single aspect of my future program. on a note in my phone. How we’re going to guard underneath, out of bounds. How are suggestions on, maybe quick hitters for if we do have a low post player, like literally every possible thing as a head coach, how would I handle community occasion with staff?
What are some good examples of staff meetings is the coolest note that I ever did. And I started doing that because I watched Diane Richardson at GW. Take notes in every single meeting she ever was, and they were very detailed notes. So I started just doing it on my phone. and then the third thing is I do have a Google drive that I manage with all of my, information.
So I’ve been fortunate enough to interview for some head jobs already, and get to the table and get to on-campus interviews and all that. And when you do that, it forces you to prepare your thoughts and organize your thoughts. So, yeah. I’ve put those all in Google drives and organize my thoughts [01:25:00] from my notes, from the suggestion box from interview questions that I didn’t see coming.
and I put those in a Google drive so that I can review that and add to that whenever I need to. So that’s, that’s how I’m actively preparing for when my time comes and when I do get that opportunity.
Mike Klinzing: [01:25:17] Yeah, I can see how that over the course of time, that your philosophy and just your preparation, which shifts because clearly early in your career, you’re not really, even, you’re not really even thinking about that.
Being a possibility, just trying to get your career off the ground and get started. And then as you move forward and you get an opportunity to work for great head coaches and work with. Quality assistant coaches. You start to think that maybe that becomes a reality. And now you begin to prepare and do the things that you just described in order to help you to get those opportunities were coming up.
We blew past an hour and a half. So I want to kind of wrap this up by asking you a couple more questions here. And this is kind of a two-parter that, I’ve kind of been using to, to end the episodes over the past [01:26:00] couple of weeks. And that is. What’s your biggest challenge as you look moving forward, and you can take that as a short-term challenge for next season at the university of Mexico, or just, if you look out further in your career, what’s your biggest challenge.
And then number two, what’s your biggest joy when you wake up in the morning and you’re going into the office to get an opportunity to work, and clearly we can sort of eliminate. Covert as take that out of, you can take that out of the equation and instead focus on just what it would be in normal circumstances.
What’s your biggest joy about coaching college basketball?
Bill Ferrara: [01:26:35] My biggest challenge, is, is a constant one. And it’s trying to maintain a balance of being a dad, a husband, and a coach all at the same time while trying to be the best ever at each one. Right? Like . And so it’s very, very interesting.
And with [01:27:00] just the way we would handle any challenge with our team or how to address challenges with our players, like you really got to evaluate it and know yourself and also like listen, I talked about with the difference in conversations I started having with our players at Hofstra, like.
Man, I gotta, I got to listen to my wife more. I gotta listen to my kids when they’re asking me to do things with them at certain times. And because next thing you know, they’re going to be older. Like your kids, man. And, and I don’t want them to have any regrets about certain things that I’ve done or the time that I’ve spent doing other things.
And I could have been riding bikes with my daughters or doing something with my family. So I’m very cognizant of that challenge and it’s constantly okay. Every day, I’m making sure that I win that challenge. And, on the side, the joy the question and my [01:28:00] biggest joy, From coaching, it comes from the journey of every single season is different.
Every team is different. you know, no, no season is the same, even if you have a bunch of returners. So like I just get, unbelievable joy of the journey of a season from beginning to end. And regardless of it’s a winning season or losing season, like there’s just so many little moments that I love to celebrate.
Yeah. The wins are amazing and they’re so fun, but dude, so is the travel. And so is the practice and the prep and the preseason and you know, and the hilarious jokes during pregame meals. And I don’t know, I just love every bit of it. So the journey is what I get the most joy from in coaching.
Mike Klinzing: [01:28:51] Very cool. I think that’s a great answer. And I think it speaks to just everything that we’ve been able to talk about tonight and clear clearly your passion [01:29:00] for the game and for coaching has come through loud and clear from the very first opportunity you have to. Sit in the film room while you’re still in college and just dissect hours and hours of film up until your current stop at New Mexico and the opportunity that I’m sure you’re going to get eventually to be able to take over your own program and become a head coach and take all the things that you’ve learned from the mentors that you’ve been fortunate enough to have in the game.
I think the journey is really, again, we always talk about appreciating the process and we try to get players to appreciate the process and, and fall in love with the process. And that’s come across loud and clear from you tonight. Before we get out bill, I want to give you a chance to share with people how they can reach out.
To you share your social media handles. How can we follow more of the university of New Mexico women’s basketball and, just give us an idea of where people can get in touch with you if they want to just call you up or talk to you about things.
Bill Ferrara: [01:29:55] . Yes. And this’ll be easy. Okay. I’m very open with this stuff, so, I’ll give [01:30:00] everybody my cell phone number reach out to me, man.
This is how I became better as a coach. I always back then. Yeah. People didn’t have cell phones at first. So you couldn’t do this kind of stuff, but I want you to call me or text me or whatever. It’s. My number is 352-317-2636 and I love talking with anybody that wants to be better or has any questions, are you hearing anything on here that you liked that you want to want to talk more about with me?
you know, Twitter I’m @coachferrara, and, same thing on Instagram. I’m very active on both platforms. and then as far as New Mexico is concerned, it’s @UNMLoboWBB is the best way to follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We’re going to be a fun team this year for you guys to watch.
And I hope that that we get to play a full season so you can watch us play deep into March man.
Mike Klinzing: [01:30:56] Absolutely. I think we’re all hoping for that. And I guess it still remains to [01:31:00] be seen, but I think everybody’s crossing their fingers and hoping that when once college basketball gets up and rolling, that we can keep it going and everybody stays safe and we’re able to play out the entire season.
And I know that everybody out there who’s a basketball fan is rooting for that all the way from. The youth players who are in second and third grade all the way up through the, it looks like the NBA is going to pull it off and the WMB is going to pull it off. So kudos to those leagues. And hopefully college basketball is going to be able to do the same this season.
We’re all very, very hopeful for that. Bill cannot thank you enough for spending an hour and a half hour and 45 minutes, whatever we ended up doing tonight, it was an absolute pleasure to get a chance to know you, to talk to you, to learn about. Your journey and all the great things that you’ve done in your career to this point.
And it’s going to be a pleasure to watch you move forward in your career, continue to grow and see the things that you’re going to do, not just now and not just this season, but on, into the future. So thank you for that. We really appreciate it. And to everyone out there, thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.