Website – http://coachbobwalsh.com/
Email – email@example.com
Twitter – @CoachBobWalsh
Bob Walsh returned to Providence College to work for Head Coach Ed Cooley in 2019. The 2019-20 season marked his first season with the Friars overseeing the development, scouting and recruiting efforts for the men’s basketball program. It is his second stint at Providence as he served as an assistant coach for the Friars from 1998-05.
Walsh came to Head Coach Ed Cooley’s staff with significant experience. He served as a head coach at the University of Maine from 2014-18. Prior to coaching at Maine, Walsh was the head coach at Rhode Island College for nine seasons (2005-14). In his 13 years as a head coach, Walsh posted a 228-163 mark (.583), including a 137-79 record (.634) in conference play. He guided Rhode Island College to eight NCAA Tournament appearances, which included three Sweet 16s and one Elite 8.
Walsh began his career as a graduate assistant with the Iona College men’s basketball team in 1994. After working for two seasons with the Gaels, he spent one season at the University of San Diego as an assistant coach (1997-98). Walsh then was hired as an assistant coach under Friar Head Coach Tim Welsh in 1998. As an assistant at Providence, he helped guide the Friars to the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2004. He also helped mentor Friar all-time leading scorer Ryan Gomes.
He is the founder of the Dynamic Leadership Academy for young leaders and coaches. Walsh also is the host of the Dynamic Leadership Podcast on AthleticDirectorU.com
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Make sure you have pen and paper handy as you listen to this episode with Bob Walsh from Providence College.
What We Discuss with Bob Walsh
- Competing with his brother from an early age
- Playing on the New York City playgrounds
- The value of being a multi-sport athlete and the dangers of burnout in young players
- Being away from your players in the off-season as a D3 head coach: the opportunities and challenges
- Maximizing the value pickup basketball at the D3 level
- Finding the right balance in off-season workouts at the D1 level
- Why he didn’t have post season meetings at Rhode Island College
- Every coach will try to recruit over you. Any coach who tells you they’re not is lying to you. A coach is trying to get a better player at every position than they have right now. That’s their job. A player’s job is to keep their job
- Creating ownership to sustain a higher level of success
- Why the best teams and players have great perspective
- His role as a coach in helping players develop perspective
- Starting his coaching career while he was stiil in college
- Becoming a graduate assistant in Iona SID’s office and volunteering with the basketball program
- You have to love coaching. It is not easy.
- Learning that there’s a lot of different ways to be successful
- Write it down when you hear it, see it , or want to remember it
- There’s a difference between knowing it and knowing how to teach it
- Some players have a gift, they can’t explain what they do, they just do it
- Don’t be afraid to change jobs and work for different coaches so you can learn different systems and ways to run a program
- His first on the floor coaching experience at University of San Diego
- Getting an assistant job at Providence in the Big East with Tim Welsh
- Helping assistants grow in their role and develop when you are the head coach
- Developing your “who” list
- Leaving D1 Providence to take a head job at D3 Rhode Island College so he could grow and improve
- The importance of culture in building a winning program
- Learning from Cal Rugby Coach Jack Clark
- Attend other coaches’ practices whenever you get a chance
- Self-evaluation is critical to improving as a coach
- The benefit of informal conversations with players
- Why the best coaches are always adapting
- Not letting wins and losses define you
- The differences in taking over a winning program compared to a losing program and what the challenges are in each situation
- Defining your values in behavioral terms so your players understand
- Aligning your staff and expectations
- His current role at Providence with Coach Ed Cooley
- His favorite leadership books
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THANKS, BOB WALSH
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TRANSCRIPT FOR BOB WALSH – PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT, SCOUTING & RECRUITING – EPISODE 336
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host, Jason Sunkle this morning, but I am pleased to welcome from Providence College, Bob Walsh. Bob, welcome to the podcast.
Bob Walsh: [00:00:09] Mike, thanks for having me.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:11] Absolutely, excited to have you on this morning and dig into all the things you’ve been able to do in the game of basketball.
It’s going to be exciting to learn about the coaching jobs that you’ve had at the different levels of the college game. Want to start out though, by going back in time to when you were a kid, tell us a little bit about how you fell in love with the game of basketball when you were younger.
Bob Walsh: [00:00:29] Well, I have an older brother who’s a year and a half older than me.
And as far back as I can remember, we were competing in sports together against each other, you know, little league baseball, youth soccer, football, basketball. So as far back as I can remember, competing in athletics was something that we did and basketball was what we did in the winter. You know, in the fall we played soccer and in the spring we played baseball.
I grew up just North of New York city. My parents are [00:01:00] from there, ended up going to high school in New York City and, you know, New York city basketball was, was legendary and still is so basketball just became something I fell in love with. I love competing. I love the teamwork aspect. And I think a lot of it goes to the relationship I had with my brother and just what we did as kids.
Mike Klinzing: [00:01:20] I think a lot of times when you hear from people who grew up in a family with especially multiple boys, you, you hear that competitiveness come out. And the fact that you were constantly beaten up on your brother and he was beating up on you and competing against each other. I think you hear a lot of stories of success from people who had brothers that they were able to compete against from a young age.
I know you said that you played multiple sports across multiple seasons, which I would say most of the people who are our age. Probably ended up or, you know, went back and grew up that way, playing whatever sport was in season versus now I think one of the things that is always a challenge for parents and kids to navigate is how do you avoid that [00:02:00] specialization piece?
So talk to us a little bit about just how you feel like being a multi-sport athlete helped you growing up just overall as an athlete.
Bob Walsh: [00:02:09] Well, every sport teaches you different things and I love. When I’m recruiting now as, as a college coach. And when I was a head coach hearing about kids who played different sports, you know, kid played football, there’s a level of toughness.
There’s a different team aspect to play soccer, the conditioning aspect, the pace of play, right? The controlled pace, the spacing. So I think it was really, really valuable. One to Get across different spectrums of people, right? Different people playing soccer, playing basketball, playing football. You know, I play soccer in a suburban town in Westchester, and I’d go into the city and play basketball in Spanish, Harlem in the playgrounds, you know, so you’d associate with different types of [00:03:00] people through different sports, which I thought was really important.
And then, you know, there are elements to every sport. And the teamwork aspect and the competitive nature of it, you know, baseball, for example, isn’t really a try harder sport. You know, it’s hard to get up to the plate and just try harder to hit the ball. Whereas, you know, in basketball, when you’re guarding somebody, man, you can try harder and just compete harder and make yourself better.
So, Different skills, different mentality, different teamwork. I’m a huge believer in playing multiple sports growing up, because I think it just teaches you such a well rounded approach, not only to athletic competition, but to people as well.
Mike Klinzing: [00:03:42] How do we convince, I guess it’s mostly parents. How do we convince parents that, that early specialization is not the right way to go, that it is more important for kids to be playing multiple school ports, because I know you see it. I see it. That there’s a lot of pressure. And this isn’t just about yeah. The issue. This [00:04:00] is a youth sports issue where no matter what sport you’re involved in, you get to eight, nine years old and you’re pretty good at one thing and people start approaching you and saying, Hey, you should be playing in our club year round, and you should be doing this training all year round. And if you want to do this sport, you can’t be doing that one. I see it all the time. So what, how could you make an argument to a parent? Well, how could you explain it to them?
If you were sitting down and having a conversation of, Hey, you really need to have your. Eight to 14 year old playing multiple sports, and they’re not going to fall behind, which is, I think what a lot of parents feel like when they get into these situations where their kid’s pretty good at one thing, they don’t want to fall behind the other kids who they see playing year round and doing all this training and all that stuff.
What arguments can you make with parents?
Bob Walsh: [00:04:47] It’s an uphill battle for sure, because it’s, it’s a race for scholarship, right? And the scholarship has become so valuable with the way. College tuition prices have skyrocketed in the last 20 years and [00:05:00] that’s a completely different podcast, but parents see an opportunity to possibly, you know, get a scholarship for their son or daughter, which is huge and life changing for many people, to get a college education for free.
So it’s certainly an uphill battle. I would say this, I have never sat in a meeting with my staff or with a staff that I’ve been on or with coaches sitting around in the summer and heard the words, man, I’m really happy that he is only playing basketball. I’m really happy that he plays basketball games all summer long, all year round.
I hear plenty of conversations about burnout and about injuries and about. Man, this is a little too much, you know, it’s July and these kids are playing, you know, five games in two days, days for three straight weeks or whatever it is. So I just never hear the conversation where it becomes, you know, that [00:06:00] kid had a great career.
You know why? Because all he did was play basketball since he was 12. It just never plays out that way. So I think what we have to do as coaches is to continue to talk about it and celebrate it. Right. You know, if a kid is on the baseball team and he’s got a miss, an AAU event in the spring, good for you, good luck in the baseball tournament, like that’s your high school baseball team or whatever, like that team matters to you.
Like I would rather have that kid on my team. Right. Who’s not willing to sort of give up on his teammates and his other sports and, and wants to compete with his friends that he’s grown up with and this and that. So it is a challenge because of the prize at the end, you know, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow there.
So many parents think okay, free edge, but I think we have to celebrate it. I think we have to continue to talk about it and. You know, make people aware, like I would rather recruit a kid who’s [00:07:00] playing multiple sports than a kid who has only played basketball, you know, 24/7 since they were 10 years old.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:06] Yeah. I think it’s a real challenge. I think that burnout piece of it is something that we don’t always think about. And when you talk about a 10 or 11 year old and they’re playing 12 months out of the year, It gets tough. And I think one of the things that I always come back to is I wonder about kids getting their fire.
Re lit where like when you were a kid or I was a kid and it was baseball season, you were playing baseball. And then even if basketball was your favorite sport, you were playing something else. And then you couldn’t wait for basketball to come back around. You couldn’t wait for the first day of practice.
You couldn’t wait to get back with your basketball teammates and you sorta had this fire burning inside of you. And whereas if you’re playing year round, so many games and so many practices and so many training sessions, You never are away from it enough to where you miss it. And I think that that’s something too, that hurts [00:08:00] kids.
When you start talking about them playing year round and think about professional basketball and they have an off season and yeah, the guys work obviously in the summertime and stay in shape and they’re still playing and training and doing those things, but they still have downtime where they’re not playing games and competing.
And then you think about, you know, a 12 or 13 year old kid in there. They’re going at it year round and they have, you know, they go from their school season to their spring, AAU to their summer AAU. And then they’re probably in a fall league or they’re back with their high school team and manages. It just seems like it’s, it’s a lot, it’s a lot of basketball compared to what you can do.
And as you said, you learn so many things from those other sports as well.
Bob Walsh: [00:08:40] Yeah. As a division three coach, I learned the value of separation and it’s similar to what you’re talking about. I left Providence College as an assistant and took over Rhode Island Colleges division three head coach in division three.
There is no off season work, right? It’s October 15th until your season ends. There’s [00:09:00] no individual development. There’s no summer programs. There’s none of that. The kids are on their own for seven months. And at first I hated it because I love being in the gym. Like I was a workout guy in the gym all the time.
And then I really realized, first of all, I realized I couldn’t fight it. You know, there’s nothing you could do about it, but. Having separation, not only between myself and the team, right, but between the team and the sport, I think became really, really important. And it allowed us to really commit and dedicate ourselves to something that was really challenging and something that I was certainly going to hold them accountable for at a high level, their effort every single day for five months, that’s separation.
Was really, really valuable to our program and really valuable to me as a coach to see that, to understand that, you know, I, I coached against a number of coaches who would talk about how they didn’t like when they had groups of seniors, right. When they had a senior [00:10:00] laden team. And I’m like, what are you talking about?
Like, that’s what you want. Right? You want veteran guys. And they felt that by the time they were seniors, The kids were kind of burnt out. Like it just wasn’t that important to them. They were thinking about graduating. They were thinking about other stuff and they had been playing games for eight straight years, essentially.
And you know, the other element of it is what are they being taught, playing consistently all year long. Right? If you have games today, games tomorrow, another tournament next weekend. Does winning really matter, is it really that important? You’re just in the silver bracket. So what’s the difference. We’ll go try and win that and you go play again.
Two hours later, the amount of play can certainly have an impact on the way they are being shaped mentally. As well as physically, right? There’s a burnout aspect. There’s a physical aspect to it, but there’s also an element of what they’re learning when they have those games constantly. And like you said, it’s not [00:11:00] something that they consider special or that they really are willing to fight for because it’s something they’re used to week after week.
Mike Klinzing: [00:11:07] Yeah, I think that’s a great point with the system about the winning piece of it. And I can ask you too about it. I think it goes back to you compare the AAU system that kids grow up in today, versus you going into Spanish, Harlem and playing pickup basketball where. You know, if you’re on the court and you don’t win that, we’re gonna end up sitting for a long time.
And I think that each one of those games, when you’re playing pickup basketball, you just learn to value winning because winning not only represents a winning, but it also represents an opportunity for you to keep playing versus having to sit. Versus, as you just said, when you’re playing in a tournament, you lose that.
We dropped down to the silver bracket, or we dropped down to the bronze bracket or. You know, if we lose it doesn’t really matter. Cause we got another game in three hours, no matter what. And if we lose that, we got another whole tournament this weekend. And I think that when I think about my own playing career, you know, high [00:12:00] school, I played 20 regular season games and the AAU thing was just kind of starting back when I was playing.
And really there was growing up here in Cleveland. There were really two, there were kind of two AAU teams in the whole. In the whole entire city and you just, you know, you didn’t play that many games. And so every single game meant something to you. And I think that kids today, that’s not always the case.
You don’t have that competitiveness. And then the other thing that I wanted to ask you about, which I think is goes to your point about when you were coaching at division three, and the fact that you have to step away from your players and that there is no on-court activities in between seasons. And then now.
You think about where we are with division one basketball and the amount of time that the kids do spend on campus and they’re doing summer workouts and all that kind of thing. And I think about my experience playing from, I played from 1988, 1988 to 1990 too. And during our time off season, I basically kind of got handed a, you know, a three page.
Okay. Here’s your [00:13:00] workouts for the summertime. Go ahead and have at it. And then we’ll see you back. We’ll see you back in the fall. And I always felt like that a recharge battery, which is kind of what we were talking about. And then also be, it gave me an opportunity to go out and play pickup basket about which, you know, I loved.
And that, to me, something that I felt like I could get better and improve yeah. My game. And it eliminated that. Burnout, because as we know, division one, basketball is such an it’s so intense and it requires so much just mentally and physically from the players. I’m not sure that I would have, I’m not sure I would have thrived under the system of, Hey, we’re here 11 months out of the year.
So I don’t know what your thought is. Obviously you’re at the division one level now. So maybe just give us your thoughts about what you guys do to make sure that that doesn’t happen at Providence.
Bob Walsh: [00:13:48] Well, I’m a huge believer in pickup basketball. I think your point, there is a great woman, and I say this all the time, a huge part of the culture that we built in our sustained success of Rhode Island [00:14:00] College had to do with the way our guys played pickup.
Cause they had, it was six months in the preseason. They had a system in place. They pick teams every week, three teams. They played on the same teams all week. The team that lost the most games that week, they counted everyone. And every loss had to get up Monday morning and run by themselves. 7:00 AM. They had to run a time mile, whatever group loss.
So there was pride in winning and losing those games mattered. And so many of the lessons that I wanted to teach my guys, they were learning in the preseason in those pickup games. So, and not to. Slight AAU. Cause I I’m a big fan of AAU and I think it’s done great things and, but it is different, right?
You mostly play games and you play a lot of them. And a lot of it is a showcase element, the winning and losing aspect of pickup, like you said, Old school going to the park. I mean, there were, you know, there were some days where your sneakers were on the line, you know, like guys were like, Hey, [00:15:00] we’re playing for your sneakers.
You know, like you go home barefoot, if you lost. And you know, there’s 20 guys waiting. And if you lose, you have to sit two hours or you just go home. So, I’m a big boy in the pickup, basketball on how you play it. I don’t ascribe to the theory that. No. Well, it’s not that important. It’s just pick up if we’re going to do it and we’re going to do it a lot.
It matters. And you should, you can learn a ton as a team and your team can learn a ton when you’re not there. So, as far as the division one element in the off season, personally, I think it’s too much. I’ve never been a big fan of summer access, even going back to the beginning when it started, I remember having a conversation with another college coach.
And this was when I was a division three coach when the division one summer access came about and they said, well, you know, our guys, you know, they don’t really know how to make themselves better. Like they need us in the summer. They need this stuff. And I’m like, well, if they just played for you for a year, [00:16:00] Shouldn’t they know how to get better.
I mean, that’s kinda on you, isn’t it like? So I hear more and more from coaches who seem to be, think it’s a little bit too much. I think there’s a huge element to the strength and conditioning aspect of it because that’s training that most players aren’t going to get at that level elsewhere, you know, to stay in the weight room and have those eight weeks and, But I do think you have to find a balance and, you know, at, at Providence coach Cooley does a terrific job of sort of, you know, Giving ownership to the players and allowing them to get in the gym.
He’s not a guy that’s sitting there with sign up sheets or shot clubs or this and that. You know, we have a brand new facility. The kids love being in there. The coaching staff is always willing to be in there with them, but, you know, our summer. Program and our off season [00:17:00] program is really about them and what they want to work on.
And I think if they feel like they’re getting into the gym, getting to work on the stuff that they feel need to get better at, and it’s there, it makes a big difference as opposed as opposed to being told. Okay. Eight hours a week, four of them in the gym. Here’s what we’re doing. So I think it’s, once you’ve got to find, look, there’s nothing wrong with being in the gym and working hard on your game.
I think the way you go about it and the approach to it mentally is really important. And I would say we don’t need to do it 11 months. You know, I really don’t believe that. Like, and we’ve, you know, given what’s going on now and our guys, you know, almost every team went home in mid March and we’re trying to keep our guys engaged and we’re trying to stay connected, which is important.
And. You know, make sure the academic stuff is being taken care of, but then it’s also, we got to the point where it’s like, okay guys, like, you know, enjoy yourselves, like be smart, like we’ll check in with you, but you know, we’re not going to do stuff [00:18:00] three days a week just to say we did it. Like there needs to be some separation.
So I think division one coaches have to find that balance. And it’s certainly a challenge.
Mike Klinzing: [00:18:10] Yeah, I’m sure it’s a challenge to me. What I heard you say that I think is, is really key is that mental aspect. And you think about, again, that’s the grind and is maybe the wrong word, but just again, it’s a challenge, a division one season to make it through and to work hard and to have the kind of commitment that you need to have in order to be successful at that level.
And then talking about if the coaches are putting the same level of demand during those summer workouts. I just think you hear that same voice. So many times that it would be, it would be a challenge. And I know that I was very, very thankful for the breaks. And then just like we talked about with the AUCs and by the time practice came back around, I was ready and I think it probably goes for the coaches too.
I would think from a coaching standpoint that. To be [00:19:00] able to re to be able to refresh yourself mentally and say, Hey, I need to step away from player X or player Y or just our team. And I need to take a break and we all, no, what a crazy schedule demands and the amount of time and all that stuff. I think from a, from a coaches, you know, we know there’s so much out there now today about mental health, both of players and coaches, and just the stress that it puts on you and your families and all those things.
I think it’s, as you said, it’s, it’s a very. It’s a very fine line to walk in terms of it’s great to be in the gym. And obviously we want our players in the gym getting better. And yet at the same time, I think you can almost, as you said, be overkill where you’re at 11 months and that becomes, Ooh, that’s a lot.
That’s a lot of basketball for both the kids and the staff for sure. At that level of intensity where it’s not just being driven by you as the player, wanting to go out to the playground or wanting to get in the gym and work on your game. It’s, it’s still different. No matter what anyone says, if I’m a player and I [00:20:00] go to the gym by myself to work out and I’m self motivated and I’m in there and I’m doing the things that I want to be doing and I’m working to get better.
That’s still different than having a coach in there with you harping on you trying to get you to do X, Y, or Z. Even you could be doing the exact same thing. It’s just different when there’s a voice in your ear that you hear 11 months out of the year.
Bob Walsh: [00:20:21] No doubt about it. When I was at Rhode Island College, we never had a postseason meeting.
So the season ended now we had success and a lot of times we were in the end, you know, we were in the NCA tournament. You know, second round sweet 16 is usually spring break. Our kids would go home for spring break and then they’d come back. And inevitably, eventually, usually they’d be in the gym the Sunday night coming back from spring break playing pickup, and then they come into the office, say, coach, what are we doing?
And I would just say to them, you tell me, you know, like we never had a meeting and said, okay, you’ve had your week off the season’s over now. Here’s what we’re doing. [00:21:00] Sweetly left it up to them. And that was the. Separation part that I learned there that was really important. So it became just like what you were talking about.
It was there. So the only thing I would say, I say to them, as you guys know, if you come back out of shape and you don’t get better, you’re going to lose your job. Right. That’s you know, our program was a meritocracy. It was based on merit. What have you done for us today? So I would tell them in the fall, as soon as they got there and said, guys, Today’s the day I’m recruiting over you, right?
Any coach who tells you, they’re not is lying to you. I am trying to get a better player at every position than we have right now. That’s my job. Your job is to keep your job. So that was the mentality and that level of separation and ownership was huge as far as our culture.
Mike Klinzing: [00:21:54] I believe that. I mean, I think that when you, when you try to get and make that accountability and make [00:22:00] sure that the players understand that it’s not, Hey, they were just, you know, you started this year and we’re going to bring you back and you’re going to start again no matter what happens.
Yeah. I think you’re always looking at, as a coach, bringing in. A new player, somebody that’s going to be better. Somebody that’s going to improve. And then consequently, somebody that’s going to push your current players to continue to get better. And if you’re a player and you don’t accept that challenge, it becomes really, really difficult.
And I think that’s something that if you’re a player at that level, you have to understand that you better keep working. And it’s not just something that happens accidentally. You gotta keep putting in the time putting in the work.
Bob Walsh: [00:22:39] Yeah. At any level really right. I mean, if it’s something that’s important to you, you’ve got to take ownership of it.
You’ve got to be willing to do it. And I think the teams that create ownership have the ability to sustain a high level of success easier.
Mike Klinzing: [00:22:55] Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I agree with you a hundred percent. All right, let’s go back to [00:23:00] playing. Let’s talk a little New York City pickup basketball. And just tell me a little bit about what those experiences were like for you as a kid going in and play and pick up all.
I just love hearing those stories from the era. When I grew up in pickup basketball was clearly a lot more important, a lot more prevalent than it is today. So just talk a little bit about your experiences there.
Bob Walsh: [00:23:19] It was interesting because I grew up in Westchester County, North of the city. but my parents were from the Bronx and I went to high school in the city.
So when I got into basketball, you know, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade there, you end up, you know, playing in the city, you play tournaments in the Bronx, whether it’s CYO or AAU or whatever. So, and then I went to high school in the city and, you know, a few of my teammates. Commuted into school with me and, and, you know, so on the weekends, we’d go into the city and play, you know, we would go somewhere in the Bronx.
So we would go to, you know, a hundred and 14th street, you know, which is about [00:24:00] 30 blocks North of my high school, to find pickup games. And, and, you know, we used to, the joke would be, they would call us the Celtics, you know, that’s where we’re one of the championship teams in the mid eighties, as you know, and we were the white guys from the suburbs who played together.
And, it was an unbelievable experience, from a basketball perspective because you knew you had and to be ready to compete. And we didn’t know this at the time, but we were out of our comfort zone. Right. And it wasn’t just your buddies from your local CYO team playing together. All of a sudden you’re facing guys who.
You know, grew up in the city who you don’t know, who looked different than you, who played different than you, and it’s competitive and people are watching. So, you know, it got us out of our comfort zone, but it also, it created a sort of a competitive edge. And, and, and the great thing about pickup ball is, you know, the teamwork that [00:25:00] you have to find with.
For guys that you’ve just met or you’ve never played with, or, you know, you’ve got one of your buddies and then you pick up three, right. Who shoot free throws and you introduce yourself and then you play, but you got to figure out a way to coexist on the court and find a way to win. Are you going to be sitting for three or four games?
So, the experience was eye opening for me because I grew up, I understand it now. I grew up with white privilege, you know, I grew up upper middle class in Westchester County. And when I started going to the park to play basketball, you know, we would go to, you know, city park in new Rochelle where there was a summer league.
And we would play there with a bunch of the guys that played at, I own a college. And, you know, guys who came up from the Bronx who were high school legends and that type of thing. So it put us in an element that was really different and really educational. But also a lot of fun. It made us better basketball players and better competitors, but it also opened our eyes to a lot of [00:26:00] things.
And a lot of people that, you know, I probably wouldn’t have come across or wouldn’t have been friends with, you know, to this day, if it wasn’t for basketball.
Mike Klinzing: [00:26:08] Yeah. I think basketball does a tremendous job of opening up those connections, those lines that. Maybe wouldn’t have been open to you without the game of basketball.
I think pickup basketball, probably even more so than, eh, basketball does that as well, where you’re thinking about. Just traveling to a different neighborhood or getting in the car and going and finding this gym where, you know, there’s games. And that’s something that I did when I was a kid, is I would get in the car with a friend or whatever, just go.
And we’d say, okay, on Tuesday nights, this is the place where the best run is are on Saturday afternoon. This is the park where you need to be at, or we need to get to this gym because that’s where these guys are. We’re going to be playing. And as you said, you get exposed to just. All different cultures, you get exposed to all different races, you get exposed to all different kinds of people.
And in doing that, I think it not only makes you a [00:27:00] better basketball player, but it also gives you a perspective that just like you, I was a white kid growing up in a suburb that was primarily white, and you go, and you get an opportunity to be able to, to play and interact with people from all different backgrounds.
To me, it only just enhances your life experience and being able to at least have some. Understanding and knowledge of who people are as people. And to me, that was a great part of growing up in playing pickup basketball.
Bob Walsh: [00:27:29] Yeah. You used a great word there perspective, which I love, like when I think about the best players I’ve ever coached, that’s the word that comes up.
They have great perspective, right? They have a great approach and sort of particular attitude towards the game, you know, that they are incredibly competitive and talented and they want to win and they’re willing to put in the work, but they also get it so to speak. Right. They also understand there are going to be setbacks and they can [00:28:00] handle losing and they can handle failure and they don’t take themselves too seriously.
And when I think about, like, to me, that’s. The one overriding factor of all the best players that I’ve ever coached. You know, Ryan Golmes Donnie McGrath, you know, John went hand like guys that, that just get it and perspective comes from experiences like what you described, right? Where you end up in situations with people who are different than you, you know, and that’s so important.
Whether it’s from a basketball perspective and going and playing in a different part of town, or it’s simply sitting at a table in the cafeteria with people who don’t look like you, you know, people who maybe don’t have the same interests as you, and getting to know people who are different than you. So I love the word perspective.
And when, when people ask me. You know, what are the traits of the best players you’ve ever coached? That’s always the first thing I say, the [00:29:00] best teams I’ve ever coached have great perspective. They understand what we’re doing is important. They love it. They give everything they have, but they also get it right.
And they also understand that losing is going to happen and failure. Isn’t going to stop them and they’re going to keep competing and all that stuff. And I just think. From a personal standpoint, you can add perspective by putting yourself in so many different situations where you might not be comfortable.
And I think that’s something that is a gift that basketball gives us.
Mike Klinzing: [00:29:30] So let’s piggyback off that. How do you as a coach. Help your players to gain that kind of perspective that you’re talking about is that through your own conversations, is that through giving them opportunities to interact with people that are different from them, how do you go about helping your players to gain that type of perspective, which not only helps them as basketball players and helps your team, but also helps them just as an individual human [00:30:00] being.
How do you go about doing that as a coach?
Bob Walsh: [00:30:02] A lot of ways, certainly the conversation, right. Just pointing it out to them. Right. Hey, look around, you know, I would say to my teams at RIC or at Maine, I mean, we had kids from, from Serbia and from Canada and from Africa and from, you know, you know, Norway, Maine, I mean, so you look around, you know, in my teams at Rhode Island college, I’d say, look, we’ve got.
Cam Stewart. Who’s a white kid. Middle-class from Newport, Rhode Island, and we’ve got Bobby Bailey. Who’s a black kid from Fall River who grew up in a challenging situation and look at what we have here. So you can certainly talk about it and pointed out. I think there’s a big community service element to it.
That’s really important that teaches a guy’s perspective, you know, go. Serve at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, you know, stuff that we tried to do show them different documentaries or different film, or, you know, [00:31:00] recommend an article about, you know, about something that they would never think about reading or thinking about open their eyes to stuff.
You know, when we were at Maine, we played at Georgetown and we went to the, the new museum of African American culture and history, which is just a, you want to talk about perspective. Wow. I mean, as you can get to DC, get to that museum. And, you know, we had kids literally from all over the world, after our shoot around, we just kind of walked back to the hotel and a bunch of us went in there on the way back and, you know, The knowledge that you gain about stuff that you’ve never even thought about.
And so many kids who are 18, 19 years old, have never even really thought about. And, you know, part of it is to their credit. You know, that they have teammates it’s from Europe and teammates, from inner cities and teammates who are black and who are white and who are, and they don’t think twice about it, which is great.
but I think there’s a community service aspect. To it. [00:32:00] That is really, really important that you take them places. You ask them to give back, you get them to understand, you know, that how gifted they are, how lucky they are and how much of an impact that they have. And by the way, when you know the new pair of Jordans that you just got for free are an 11 and a half, and they’re supposed to be a 12.
It’s not the end of the world, we’ll be able to get through that. So, and, and other stuff. Who are your roommates on the road? Who do you shoot free throws together? Do you take the white kid from a suburban Florida and the black kid from the Bronx and make them free through a partner’s every day.
So they get to know each other, you know? So I think there’s a ton of stuff that you can do. I think it’s a, it’s really an educational component and we think about service and stuff like that as, okay. It’s making them better people. I think it makes them better teammates and it makes them better players because it creates.
Perspective that allows them to [00:33:00] really understand what it is. They’re what, what it is that they’re doing and why it’s important to them.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:05] That’s something that you understood from the beginning of your coaching career, or is that something that has evolved in your thinking over time?
Bob Walsh: [00:33:16] No, no, absolutely not.
At the beginning of my coaching career, it’s something, to be honest, I’ve learned from my players. and I started to learn it. I really started to think about it became a head coach in 2005 at Rhode Island college. And I had, you know, Rhode Island College is a state school that’s affordable and has a ton of first generation college students.
So the mix of kids that we had was just fantastic on the team, but. I started to think about it. Then when, you know, some of these kids, I mean, some of these kids that I coached had kids, right? They had kids themselves, they had a young daughter or young son. [00:34:00] Many of them came from really challenging backgrounds.
And sure, I came from a background where I was going to go to college and my parents could afford to pay for it. And I was lucky and I didn’t realize it growing up how lucky I was, but going to college wasn’t a thing for me, it was just expected. And I had to realize that so many of these kids, man college just showing up every day was a challenge for them.
And a lot of them were doing it because they had a chance to play basketball because they had a chance to be a teammate. So I learned it when I became a head coach at Rhode Island College. And my teams had this resilience that I don’t think came from me. It just came from their experiences.
And certainly we had a lot of talent, but I remember games. I mean, I can tell you about specific games when we were really good. And we lost to Amherst, who was a number one team in the country in February. It was a huge game. And [00:35:00] it was a chance for us to make our mark as an elite team that year and a chance to, to win a national championship.
And they beat us pretty good. I was down. I mean, I was like, man, what are we you gonna do? And the next day the kids came back to practice and they were like, coach, we’re good. Like, we’re fine. Like, we’ll see them in the sweet 16. Don’t worry about it. And I’m like, okay, no, we are 18 and four.
I mean, I guess it’s not the end of the world. Like we are pretty good. We’re ranked 11th in the country. And so I learned. Kind of that perspective that might or has had, and then I fought back two guys. I had coached like Ryan Gomes and Donnie McGrath and John Lenahan and the way they handled winning and losing the way they handled everything that came with being an elite athlete and somebody who, you know, all three of those guys played professionally for over 10 years.
That’s where I learned it. So that’s where I kind of realized, like, when I looked [00:36:00] at my teams and my players who were really good, like look at the way they’re approaching it. So, it’s something I learned when I became a head coach. It’s certainly not something I knew when I first got into coaching.
Mike Klinzing: [00:36:13] So let’s talk about first getting into coaching.
At what point in your life did you realize that coaching was where you wanted to end up or where something that you wanted to pursue?
Bob Walsh: [00:36:21] I think it was when the Yankees drafted Derek Jeter to be their shortstop. And I realized I wasn’t going to be there shortstop. So it was when I was in high school, I played three sports.
I was a decent athlete, but you know, a division three player at best in whatever sport I might choose to pursue. And I wanted to be, I knew I wanted to stay in the gym. I wanted to be involved in athletics and I was a freshman in high school. I went to a camp and Kevin Pigott, who’s a long time Catholic high school coach at Fordham Prep in New York and a great guy.
And a [00:37:00] guy we used to play pick up within the summers was my coach. And this was New York City, like in its heyday, like Kenny Anderson, Red Autrey, Jamal Mashburn. so like high level, high level basketball. And I was, you know, at this camp with city kids and. You know, trying to become a player, in my evaluation said you will make a great coach.
Okay. I guess he, I guess he’s telling me something. so, I sat down with, the athletic director at Iona College. When I was a junior. I knew I wasn’t, I could maybe play division three basketball, but I knew I wanted to stay in the gym and coach. And the athletic director at Iona College was a guy named Rich Petratoni who was actually a manager at Iona under Jim Valvano and then went on to be a, an assistant coach for Pat Kennedy forever. And was the I the, a D that I own at the age of 29 and became a great friend and a mentor to me and both [00:38:00] my parents had graduated from Iona. And so my dad had suggested why don’t you go see Rich and talk to him about coaching?
And so I was a junior in high school. And I set up an appointment to go see him in his office. And he said, do me a favor. He said, can you bring me a coffee with a milk, with milk sugars? And I said, sure. So I thought he was like, busting my chops. So he was a guy who, you know, break your stones every now and then.
So I said to my mom, I said, Rich asked me to bring him a cup of coffee. She’s like, well, you better, you better bring him a cup of coffee. So I showed up in his office with a cup of coffee and I walked in and I put it on his desk and he said, is that my coffee? I said, yeah. He said, two sugars. I said, yep,two sugars.
He said, do you want to be a coach? And I said, yeah, I do. And he said, well, that’s what you’re going to be doing for your first five years. And you’re probably not going to get paid to do. And that was kind of my intro into coaching, which was, you know, it’s going to be a grind and you better be sure you, you want to do it.
And if you love it, you’ll have a [00:39:00] chance to be successful at it. So. I went to a division three school. I went to Hamilton College because I wanted to try and keep playing, but I also knew I could be involved in the program there. They had a JV program at Hamilton and, I ended up playing for two years and then was able to start coaching.
yeah, my junior year I was, I helped out as an assistant coach with the JV team at Hamilton when I was a junior in college. And that’s kind of kinda how I got started. When I got out of school, I went back to Iona and Richie Petratoni helped me out and I was, I was a grad assistant for the SID, actually not in basketball, but I knew I wanted to coach.
And he said, look, we have these GA spots. I got a grad assistant work for the SID doing statistics, going to baseball games, keeping score. And he said, you know, when you’re done with your, your 20 hours there, you can. You know, go over to the basketball office and tell them you want help. And that’s exactly what I did.
And [00:40:00] that is when Jerry, she was the coach that I own it. And his son, Tim was his assistant. And that year that I got out, Tim took over for Jerry as the head coach and had some success. And I was sort of the extra guy helping out, you know, you would have called me the director of operations or assistant video coordinator at that point because they didn’t really have titles for that, but I was just helping out.
Learning what I could make in my way, and that’s how I got into it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:40:27] So when you think back to that time, what were some of the things that you learned in those first couple of years with Iona that you still take away today, that you still apply to your situations as a coach today? What were some of those early lessons that you learn?
Maybe some things that were surprising to you when you first got into coaching,
Bob Walsh: [00:40:47] You have to love it. Like, you really have to love it. It’s not something to do just because, Hey, you want to be in the gym and it seems like it’s going to be easy, but like, if you’re going to be good at it, you [00:41:00] have to really, really spend a lot of time on it and you have to love it.
And you have to be willing to do stuff that is outside of your purview, so to speak, you know, there’s no, there’s really no job description. Right? You do whatever needs to be done to help the program, to help the coaching staff, to help the team, to help the players. So, you know, if you are above, I mean, I remember one of the worst feelings I ever had in coaching was, you know, Thanksgiving day and leaving my family because I had to go over and, you know, open up the gym and make sure that he was on and sweep the floor so we can have practice and I’m driving and I’m like, man, this is.
You do that stuff. I would say the other thing is there’s really no, there’s no secret formula to it. You know, there’s no like, wow, this is how you act as a coach, or this is what you do to be successful. I remember fortunately getting into the big [00:42:00] East as an assistant three years later when I was 26 years old, when Tim got the Providence job and.
You know, I had this image of St. John’s from growing up in Syracuse and all these teams that we would play about, you know, that was such an elite level. And man, there must be some amazing formula that Jim Bay I’m has that, you know, and then you get into the middle of it and you realize, wow, there’s no nothing.
There’s nothing magical to it. It is pretty simple. You know, and not to say, it’s, it’s not advanced or it’s not, you know, I mean, you know, those are the highest levels college coaches there are, but, there’s nothing magical about it, right? It is, you know, getting the right players, getting the right mix of players, making them better.
However you can do that, putting them in position to be successful, and getting them to work as a unit. And there are a ton of different ways to do that. And when you were young, Assistant or, or, you know, [00:43:00] grad assistant, whatever it is, if your eyes are wide open, you’re going to see so many different ways of, of doing things that are going to make it better.
And I would say the last thing is, it’s just, it’s an incredible opportunity to learn, right? Like I, you know, I was helping out in the Maac and I didn’t really have a role at I own. And it was like, all right, well, let me. Let me take some Manhattan tapes home and just watch him, you know? And then when coach says, did anybody play zone?
I say, well, yeah, Niagara played him zone what’d they do well, they went, you know, they went one, three, one, and they were X. The bigs are what, you know. So there’s such an incredible amount of knowledge that you can gain if you want to pay attention and submit yourself to it. Whether it’s watching SIM, whether it’s being in the gym, watching other coaches, work players out.
Talking to the players. It’s just, you, you can fill an encyclopedia basketball knowledge when you’re in those positions. [00:44:00] So the opportunity to learn and get better is immense. If you’re willing to take advantage of it
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:06] How did you keep track then of the things that you were learning at that time, did you keep a notebook?
Did you have a computer file? What did you do to. Sort of keep that, keep track of all those things that you learned. Did you have a system or was it just more, you were putting it in your head?
Bob Walsh: [00:44:22] No. Right. Write everything down. I’m a guy that has, you know, like I work best when I wake up in the morning and I have a list of eight things that I need to do.
And it’s like, okay, watch, you know, Butler tape. And I can cross that off, you know, go check classes and I can cross that off. So write everything down. keep. You know, I have folders it’s kind of old school, but notes, you know, set plays, stuff that, you know, like literally written down on paper. Some of it’s on the back of a, you know, an AAU tournament schedule where somebody talked about a press breaker and you know, or something from hoop group elite camp [00:45:00] where I’ve got a, you know, a zone offense written down.
So write everything down, you know, somebody that. I I’ve, I’ve gotten close to, thankfully is buzz Williams and, you know, buzz, he sends me a, sends a gift every year and it’s a journal essentially. You know, he sends me a bound journal, with his get better logo on it. And I just, I have pages and pages of stuff, probably, you know, stuff that I’ve forgotten.
But whether it’s a quote that you hear, whether it’s an article on leadership that you like, it’s a set player and an offense or anything like that. Yeah, write it down and keep it close to you and go through it every now and then, because when you do get a chance to be a head coach, you’re not going to be able to just take all that stuff out of your head and say, Hey, here’s what I want to do.
So, I think that’s a great way to go about it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:48] Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s amazing. The number of coaches that we’ve been able to talk to on the podcast that have. Some type of system. And I think what amazes me, and this is something that I look back on me [00:46:00] as a coach when I was younger and had gotten done playing.
And, you know, I’ve had conversations with several guys that played with me or played in my era that were young coaches and kind of thought, well, I was a really good player and that’s going to make me a really good coach. And I look back on that time when I was a young coach and I didn’t do some of the things that you just described about writing stuff down or trying to seek out mentors.
And I just think about. How different I could have been as a coach in water, honestly, probably what, not maybe bad as the wrong word, but how I was as good of a coach as I could have been. Had I done. Yeah. Some of those things that you just described had I taken notes that I paid more attention to things, but.
At that time. I think my ego was in the way and just saying, Hey, I was really good player and that’s going to make me a really good coach. And obviously we know that there’s not necessarily a correlation between your level of play and the level of coaching two totally different, totally, totally different things.
But it’s amazing to me, it’s amazing to me, the number of coaches that right from the very beginning, when they’re [00:47:00] 18, 19 years old, half, I’m going to use that word. That you used earlier perspective that have the perspective to understand that, Hey, eventually if coaching is my life’s calling, if it’s really what I want to do, I got to start putting together that information so that when I get to my next position, or as you said, as eventually as I get to being a head coach, I now have this.
Body of work that I can go back and look at it and say, Hey, how did coach X handle that when this came up and how did I go about putting this culture in place? And how do I, what was that out of bounds? Play that I remember from eight years ago that might apply to this particular team or this situation.
And as you said, trying to pull that out of your head is impossible. And by going back and writing it down is incredibly helpful. And I’m just amazed by the number of guys that did it from a very young age. Sounds like you were kind of that same way.
Bob Walsh: [00:47:46] Yeah. And then there’s a difference between. Knowing it and knowing how to teach it.
And I think, you know, I always think of Barry Bonds had a quote. You said, don’t ask me about hitting. I have a gift that I can’t explain, [00:48:00] you know, and he has so much natural ability. And I remember coaching, you know, two guys, I coached it at Providence together. Ryan Gomez and Herb Hill, who both got drafted, played in the NBA.
Herb Hill was a young post player. Ryan was an experienced all American and working those guys out. And everything we did came naturally to Ryan and Herb. You know, I remember specifically in a workout herb saying, well, you know, when he cuts you off, like, what do you do to spin back? What are you? And Ryan was just like, yeah, I don’t know her.
Like he cuts me off. So I just go this way. And because it was, it was natural to him and that’s which those are the players we’re looking for. Right. But no matter how good you are. As a player and Ryan goes, one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached, but to be able to translate it to a way to teach it is really important.
And I don’t know how you’re going to do that. If you don’t really put deep thought into it, if you don’t [00:49:00] think about it, if you don’t write down, what’s important to you and then, you know, be able to translate in a way where we’re, you’ll look at it. Okay. You know, why was Ryan GOME so good at. Spinning back to his left when they cut them off in the post.
Well, okay. Let me look at what he did with his feet. And so now I can explain it to her in a way that makes sense to her because it doesn’t come as natural to him. So, I think when you’re studying the game, you have to think about. How you are going to teach it and not just whether or not you know it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:32] That’s so true.
There’s a difference between, okay, I can execute the skill and I can teach the skill. And that’s something that I think as a young coach that you don’t always think about. And the other thing that I always go back to again, thinking about my own coaching career is when I was starting out as a young coach.
One of the things that I always go back to is. I played for the same high school coach through my entire high school career. I [00:50:00] played for one college coach, my entire college career. And then I got a JV basketball coaching job the year after I got done playing and I had played for only two guys. And so my entire coaching repertoire of drills of ideas of thoughts came from.
From two guys. And because I didn’t necessarily go out and seek out other people or opportunities to go watch, practice, or go work at this camp or that camp and take notes about this drill or that drill. Basically everything I did came from the experiences that I had had as a player. And again, I think about some of the coaches that we’ve been able to have on here that have had a tremendous amount of success.
They talk about going and working in camps when they were 18, 19 years old, still in college, or when they were young coaches and they were on the summer circuit and they went to 10 different weeks of camp at different college campuses and tried to learn from people. And I think if there’s a lesson out there for somebody who’s trying to break into the [00:51:00] coaching profession as a young coach, it’s one, make sure you expose yourself to as many different people as you can, and try to learn from them.
And then to your point, Put a system together where you can take notes where you can make observations about how does this player do this? How does this coach do this? And then you compile all that. And then when you do get an opportunity, whether it’s as an assistant or eventually as a head coach, now you have those things at your fingertips and that’s gonna make it easier for you to have the kind of success that you want to have in your career.
Bob Walsh: [00:51:29] Yeah, it’s an, it’s an interesting point. And I, another thing I would add to that is don’t be afraid to move. You know, we have a system which is. Kind of odd, right? We don’t really train college basketball coaches in any particular way. You hope to get on somewhere as an assistant, where you get an opportunity, then you basically look at what your boss does and what you do as a program.
And you decide like, or dislike, and then maybe you get an opportunity somewhere else and [00:52:00] you do the same thing and somehow whatever your system is. And I agree. I really think you need to be intentional about it as a system, as an assistant, to have a system of collecting and keeping your information.
But, so if you, if you end up, you know, with one guy for 10 years, I mean, one of the reasons I became a division three head coach, I was with Tim Welsh for 10 years, you know, and I loved it and I had a ton of responsibility, but we were, it was the same approach. Right. And I was like, okay, how much am I growing?
So as a young assistant, Don’t be afraid to move. You know, if you can spend a couple of years with one guy, you get an opportunity with another guy, even if it’s a similar level or another level down, if it’s an area where, you know, you’re going to learn and have a chance to grow when you’re young, you know, that’s only going to help you if you do get a chance to be a head coach down the road,
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:49] Let’s talk about you’re an East coast guy. You spent one season out at University of San Diego. How does that come to pass?
Bob Walsh: [00:52:56] Kyle Smith, who is the head coach at Washington State, [00:53:00] So Kyle Smith and I went to college together and, while we were never actually officially roommates at Hamilton College, we basically lived together.
He was two years ahead of me. so, my first two years he was a junior and senior and, you know, we were really tight and he wanted to get into coaching and we started, you know, Work in camps and that kind of stuff. And he would give me advice and I would work camp in the summer, like you were talking about.
And Kyle went out to work for Brad Holland as basically a graduate assistant, but basically just put himself into graduate school and said, look, can I come help out at the university of San Diego? For a couple of years. And then when I got out of college, I went out to work their team camp. So they ran team camp for two years, two, two weeks, rather in the summer.
And Kyle said, yeah, why don’t you come out and work? And I basically hung out with him and got to know Brad and some of the coaches on the West coast. And then, it was my third year at Iona. So I was going into my fourth year and I own it. [00:54:00] And, but I was still kind of the extra guy, living at home.
Not making a lot of money. I’d already gotten my graduate degree and it was in September and Joe who’s in the MBA. Joe had taken the job as the third assistant at San Diego that spring, and then got a job in the video room with the spurs in September. So they were looking for an assistant coach in September.
And Kyle mentioned me to Brad. You said, you know, what about Bob and I had been, I’d been out there that summer to work camp and got to know Brad and Brad said, yeah, I really liked Bob. Would he be interested in, you know, I was bartending on a Sunday night in New York trying to make a little extra money so I could keep doing what I was doing.
And. Brad called me. And by that Thursday, I was moving out to San Diego. So I was, that was my, you know, on the floor coaching gig. And that was the old restricted earnings days where, you know, you had a designated third assistant who [00:55:00] could only made a certain amount of money, but, yeah, so I spent a year with Kyle Smith with Marty Wilson, who became the head coach at Pepperdine, myself and, Lamont Smith was actually our senior captain on that team who ended up becoming the head coach there at San Diego and working for Brad Holland. So it was, is a terrific experience. I got out there and late September and by early April coach Wells should had success. They went to the NCAA tournament at Iona. He was asked to come back to I’m sorry. He got the Providence job. And he asked me to come back. So I was basically out there for about eight months total, but that was my first coaching experience. And it was terrific.
It was a great, great first experience to get on the floor and coach, and I learned a ton.
Mike Klinzing: [00:55:46] What’s maybe one thing that you remember from that time that you learned that you took away from that experience at San Diego,
Bob Walsh: [00:55:52] That’s an easy one. Our defensive system. the way we guarded as a team, it was a system that had come from [00:56:00] a legendary high school coach, whose name was Royce URI from Arizona who had been on spreads staff.
He was the guy that actually Joe Prunty had replaced and. It was the first time I had been sort of exposed to a defined defensive system. And I’ve always said this the most important basketball elements of my success when I became a head coach was having a defined defensive system. And I learned that at the University of San Diego, our teams at Rick were really good, but the reason we were.
You know, at, at, at such an elite level year after year is because we were the best defensive team in the league. So, so my recommendation for any young coach, regardless of what the system is, I don’t care if you want to play zone. If you want to press, if you want to play one 31, we defined our defensive system.
Guys knew where they were supposed to be. There was no gray [00:57:00] area. There were no decisions to be made. that to me was the most important basketball aspect that I brought to being a head coach. And I actually learned that system at the university of San Diego under Brad hall.
Mike Klinzing: [00:57:12] All right. So you come back to the East coast and you’re in the Big East and I’m sure that’s a big step for you in your career, where you look back on that. And you’re like, wow, that was a tremendous opportunity. So what was it like to step into that role? What was your, what was your early, what was your role there at Providence in your first year or two as an assistant?
Bob Walsh: [00:57:36] It was unbelievable. Obviously I grew up on the Big East. I mean, I grew up going to Madison Square Garden and Syracuse, St. John’s in New York City. So the Big East was literally the Mecca of college basketball to me. So to be a Big East assistant and to coach in the Carrier Dome and to coach in Madison Square Garden was unbelievable and still is to be honest at this point. [00:58:00] But so that was back when the roles were defined a little bit only two assistant coaches were on the road recruiting at the division one level. So my position wasn’t a recruiting position. So, you know, my responsibility and I give coach Welsh a ton of credit.
He gave me a ton of responsibility and let me run with it, but when I first got there and after a couple of years, they changed the rules. So I was able to get on the road, but you know, it was really that. Two recruiting assistants had to spend a majority of their time on the road recruiting doing that.
So, I was the individual workout guy. I ran camp. I did most of, if not all of the scouting reports, for opponents watched a ton of film, I just basically wanted to be right next to coach Welsh. I remember choosing the office right outside of his office because I wanted to be next to him if he needed anything, whatever it took to help him, you know, get the job [00:59:00] done.
So I became the guy that was in the gym a lot with the players, which I loved because you’ll learn a ton there. I was doing a lot of scouting. So I watched a ton of film, which I also loved. I mean, during the season, it was basically, you know, see what players needed to get in the gym who needed to get shots up.
And then watch film, you know, to get ready for the next game. So it was really basketball centric. And then, you know, there were administrative responsibilities as well. academics kind of became my saying, so making sure the guys were going to class and going to study hall and on top of their academics and camp in the summer was a big part of it as well. So I was really fortunate to be given a lot of responsibility, by Coach Welsh and I was 26 years old coaching in the big East, I’ll always be grateful for that.
Mike Klinzing: [00:59:47] So I’m guessing then that, that experience where you were given lots of different responsibilities shaped you as a head coach, when you started thinking about how do I impact [01:00:00] my assistants and help them grow?
In their careers, because clearly as a head coach, one of your responsibilities not only is to your players, but also to your assistants to help them in reaching whatever career goals they might have. And you don’t want to lose great guys, but you also want to make sure that you’re helping your assistants to grow, which is something that I’ve heard you talk about here.
A couple of times at each one of your stops, how you grew and learned at each one of your different positions. So just talk maybe about a little bit, your. Responsibilities as a head coach to your assistants to help them to be able to grow. And how your experience as an assistant yourself impacted you as a head coach and how you dealt with your assistants?
Bob Walsh: [01:00:39] It had a huge impact, when I was an assistant, because I realized that I was lucky, I didn’t play for Dean Smith. I didn’t play for Coach K. I didn’t have this background as an elite high school, college player, anything like that. You know, I got on with a guy who brought me on board, who got to the big East and they gave me a ton of responsibility, taught me how to [01:01:00] do it, but then let me go and do it.
So truthfully, I think it’s something that head coaches need to pay more attention to. I get disappointed because I talked to a lot of assistant coaches about trying to get a head job and how they can go about it. And they’re concerned. With their head coach finding out because they don’t think their head coach is going to be on board with it, or they don’t think they’re going to be happy if they leave.
And that, that disappoints me quite honestly, because I think anybody who gets a chance to be a head coach has gotten there on the shoulders of plenty of other people. And your assistant coaches’ career goal is not to work for you. So I think it’s a really important responsibility. I think it’s an element that you have to be intentional about.
You know, we, one of the things we did when I was at Maine was, you know, I always talked to my assistants about having a who list, [01:02:00] right. Have a, a list of eight to 12 people, almost like a board of directors that are the people that. No you well, that are in a position to help you. You know, it may be like for me, Richie Petratoni who was at Iona was one of those guys, you know, Tim Welsh, he’s one of those guys now, who I work for, obviously Ed Cooley, right?
It comes time to advance in your career. It’s going to be the cool that, you know, that know you, that help you get those jobs. It’s not going to be your knowledge of the position. So. we always on my staff had, an hour. I called them who Fridays, and I would tell my staff, you spend one hour a week and we would do it every Friday morning, cultivating your Hulu.
So basically send a couple emails, send a handwritten note, send a copy of an article, stay connected to the people on your list. First, you have to come up with the list, right. And cultivate those relationships. But. You don’t want to get to the point where [01:03:00] it’s April or may and a job opens, or you might have a chance to be a head coach and you say, okay, now what?
Like, and you don’t know what to do and you have to, then now you’re calling somebody that you haven’t spoken to in a year. And you’re saying, Hey, I was wondering if you could help me. And I remember probably 2004 at Providence College, and there was an athletic director. That I knew. there’s Tim Murray at Marist College.
And he had reached out, cause he, his position was opening at Marist and he had reached out to a friend to say he wanted to talk to me, you know, towards the end of the season. And I was like, wow. I mean, it was, it was flattering. Like, okay, now I’m thinking about being a head coach, but then I was like, okay, what have I done?
Like, how am I prepared for this? Like now it’s like a scrambled to prepare and Ady wants to talk to me about being his head coach. And I don’t know what to do. So, I think it’s really, really important that head coaches train [01:04:00] their assistants to be great coaches, but also allow them the space and almost like we required it.
You know, I was at the university of Maine with a great staff. I mean, a terrific staff. I knew none of them wanted to be assistance at the university of Maine for the rest of their career. So I would constantly remind them, you know, what are you doing to cultivate that hula is to make sure that. you know, when you have an opportunity, the right people are going to be able to help you.
so yeah, I, I learned that when I was with coach Welsh and, and understood kind of how lucky that I was, and I think it’s something we all have to pay forward as, as experienced coaches in the business.
Mike Klinzing: [01:04:38] All right. So let’s take that to apply it to your own career. You’re at Providence, and then an opportunity comes for you to get a head coaching job at Rhode Island College and not only are you transitioning from being an assistant coach to a head coach, but you’re also transitioning from the division one level to the division three level. So talk a little [01:05:00] bit about those two, I don’t know if adjustments is the right word, but those two transitions in your career, what they were like.
Bob Walsh: [01:05:06] I wanted to get better and I wasn’t getting better at the rate that I wanted to. And that was nothing against Providence or Coach Welsh, it was just I had been, there 10 or 11 straight years working with him and the opportunity to be a head coach was a mile down the road, literally a mile down the road.
So, I thought I would get better at a higher level. if I was, You know, had a chance to run my own program. the transition I knew going in, I mean, I had played division three and gone to a division three school. And so mentally I was prepared for, look, I’m not going to ask for anything. I’m not gonna get for anything, get anything, you know, I’m going from the Big East to the Little East, which is literally the league Rhode Island college is in.
So, you know, I was mentally ready for what that entailed. I was never. you know, big on the bells and the whistles. [01:06:00] So, you know, kind of a, a lack of entitlement and our, you know, sort of our program created at Rick became entitled to nothing. You know, it became a part of our core. So, I was prepared in that aspect.
The part of being a head coach that challenged me the most that I wasn’t prepared for was, well there, there were two things. One is you’re always on. Right. Your kids are literally reading your body language from the moment you walk in the gym. There is no. Well, hold on, let me ask coach about that.
Yeah. And I’ll find out some coach and we’ll figure that they are getting cues from you as soon as they see you. I mean, I literally had kids and exited interviews tell me that they would judge the mood I was going to be in that day, based on what color. Pull over. I was wearing the gray pull over. I mean, I mean, seriously stuff.
I never thought about that. the pressure is always there. You are always the head coach, so you can’t ever walk into the gym on prepared, right? It’s okay to say, I don’t [01:07:00] know. I mean, and you say that a lot, you don’t always have to have an answer, but you are always on as the head coach. The second thing is.
I like, like we talked about, I mean, I had folders of set plays and offense and defense, and this is what we’re going to run. I realized my first year that 75% of what I talked to my team about whether it was in practice, in the huddles, in the office, you know, over the summer 75% of what we talked about was about leadership.
Was about approach was about mentality and it was not about basketball X’s and O’s, you know, in huddles with four minutes to go, you know, wherever it was close games practice, I found myself constantly talking to our guys about mental approach and mental toughness and mentality, as opposed to. The importance of where you set a screen and how you cut off that screen and where you throw the ball.
[01:08:00] So not that that stuff isn’t as important, but that stuff, the mental stuff and the leadership stuff was so much more important to us developing the right culture and being successful than I ever thought it would be. So that would be something I would gear young coaches towards is. You know, your leadership approach, mentality, accountability of the culture that you’re going to build.
That’s really where sustained success comes from. You know, if you have great baseline out of bounds plays terrific, but you’re not going to spend as much time on that as you think you are.
Mike Klinzing: [01:08:38] So as you start to come to the realization that, that leadership, that character piece, that’s more how you’re spending more time on that than you ever would’ve thought.
How did you then go about learning more about that? Where did you go to say, I got to figure this stuff [01:09:00] out so that I can have the biggest impact on my players as individuals. And then conversely, that’s going to obviously have a positive impact on your team. So once you realized that was the case, where did you go to start to really dive into learning as much as you could about leadership?
Bob Walsh: [01:09:15] Our athletic director at Providence College who is still there, but was also there at the time.
Bob Driscoll. One of his close friends is a guy by the name of Jack Clark who’s the rugby coach at Cal. And he’s won probably at this point 35 national championships in rugby. Bob invited him to speak to us as coaches at Providence college, and he is the best leader slash a team builder that I’ve ever heard talk on on the subject.
So. That had a profound impact on me, and, stuff like that. Right. Getting reading as much as possible, going to visit as many other coaches [01:10:00] as possible. You know, one thing about division three was you started a little bit later. Right. So I could go watch division one practices, taking notes on how coaches talk to their players on how players talk to their coaches.
What type of communication relationship is there? I think other practices is a great way to do it. Obviously you can, and also read a lot. I think there are a lot of resources out there on it. I was lucky because when I got a chance to connect with Jack Clark, And hear his leadership approach.
It really started my wheels turning on it. I also think you have to self evaluate really, really honestly, you have to be willing to see exactly who you are and what type of approach fits you. If you were, you know, a really intense guy, then you’re going to be an intense guy and practice, you know, when you have to understand the best way to communicate that way.
So. [01:11:00] that’s kind of how I went about it. The other thing, the greatest resource we have as coaches is our players. So the more I talk to my players, the better I become as a coach. So I would just one of the great things about starting at a division three state school where, you know, nobody really cared in the big picture.
You know, I would walk out of that gym at night and be like, Hey, that didn’t work. Wow. Yeah. Luckily there was no blog about it and there was no reporter there. And I could talk to one of my players and say, Hey, you know, when we did this, what were you doing? You know, like coach, man, the way you came across, we thought you were a lot a and I’m like, wow, I didn’t realize that’s how it happened.
So. My players were a great resource for my leadership approach as well.
Mike Klinzing: [01:11:47] Yeah. I would think that as a head coach, being able to have those conversations with your players, To me would be something that so important. I think about success that I had [01:12:00] when I was coaching is when you really are able to build those relationships with players.
And then you can get that type of honest feedback. I mean, I think that’s something that I don’t want to say it’s completely changed, but you go back maybe to the time when you and I were coming up in the game of basketball. And you think about what the, the stereotype maybe was, have a head coach that was kind of this.
Fire and brimstone, you do it my way or the highway and the idea of a head coach. Yeah. Any sport having the conversation that you just described with their players of, Hey, this thing that I tried and it didn’t work, and now I’m going to go to the players and say, well, why do you think it didn’t work? Or what were you guys thinking?
I’m not sure that that conversation was one that. Took place very often back in, let’s say the, you know, the late seventies, eighties into the early nineties. And I think now coaching has shifted in that way where there’s [01:13:00] so much more value placed on that relationship between coach and player. And not only does that help the interpersonal dynamics, but it also just helps both sides to better understand one another so they can help to.
Meet the needs of each other and to help the team to improve. Would you agree that that has changed over time?
Bob Walsh: [01:13:20] Yeah, and that’s it right there. What you just said. I think we’ve, we’ve always recognized the importance of those sort of conversations from a relationship standpoint, like a connection.
I don’t know that we’ve recognized them as well as we should from a value added. Knowledge standpoint, like what can we learn from our players? And, you know, it’s the old loud Zhou quote, you know, to lead people, walk beside them. You know, I don’t think the top down model of leadership is the most effective.
Okay. I’m the head coach. Here are the assistants. We’re going to tell you what to [01:14:00] do and I want you to go do it because I’m telling you to do it right. I just don’t think, I mean, there’s value in that, but I don’t think it’s most effective. So. I’ve always said it. And again, I learned this when I became a head coach, I learned the most about my team.
When I talk to my players, it’s not from watching tape. It’s not from talking to my assistants. It’s not from calling other coaches and saying, Hey, here’s, what’s going on. I talk to my players. So I think we’re starting to recognize more the value added from an informational standpoint, from a knowledge standpoint.
I mean, some of them. Your players are tremendous resources for what’s going on. I mean, I, you know, one of my former point guards, who’s, he’s now an assistant at Brown and he was an assistant for me at Maine. His name is Anton gray and he’s the smartest player I’ve ever coached. And I would ask him, you know, I told him what’s going on and he’d come over and be like, yeah, coach will, you know, blah, blah, blah, Jake, Jake needs a shot, man.
He’s down. He’s not getting the ball what’s wrong. He would see stuff that I didn’t [01:15:00] see. And I think as a coach, as a leader, Man, you’re going to be so much better. If you recognize that, you know, there there’s a ton of value in what your players see and what they say.
Mike Klinzing: [01:15:09] It seems intuitive. And yet I think back and again, granted, my playing career is 30 years ago, but I don’t honestly ever remember having one of those conversations with any coach I ever had, except maybe my dad, when he was coaching as coach me in the summertime, maybe I had that conversation with him, but I don’t remember in high school or in college ever having a conversation with a coach where they came to me and said, Hey, is this working or is this working for you or what could we do differently?
I just don’t remember ever having that conversation then as my coaching career evolved, certainly I have had those kinds of conversations. And then through the podcast, it’s amazing. The number of coaches that have sort of had this transformation, where if they’re. Similar in age to you and I that early in their career.
They’re like, we [01:16:00] just did it the way we did it. And that was it. And now you see so many people just like yourself, that you evolve over time and you have these conversations where it’s not just, well, this is the way I think it’s going to happen and I’m going to do it the way I want to do it. It’s more of a collaboration between players and coach, which when you think about it, Both sides want the same thing.
We both sides want to have success. Both sides want to win. It would only seem to be of benefit to everybody if you are having those conversations and getting on the same page so that everybody’s rowing that boat in the same direction.
Bob Walsh: [01:16:35] Well, and the world has changed, right? There’s so much more access to information and we communicate completely differently.
Right? I mean, you’ve almost got to communicate now in soundbites and. You know, the players have access to immediate information all the time. So they expect to understand why, right. They expect to be told, why are we doing this? And you’re right. [01:17:00] It’s, it’s an interesting one to think about. I’m thinking about coaches I’ve played for.
There were a couple that were like that. I consider special ones where I was like, yeah, that was kind of an outlier. Like my JV coach in high school, he used to come over to me and say, Hey, what are you seeing out there? You know? And, and, but when I think back of that, you know, 30 years ago, most of the coaches that I played for, it just wasn’t the way our kids are used to communicating in a different way than you and I did.
So we’re the ones that have to adapt.
Mike Klinzing: [01:17:28] Absolutely. I think that’s a key point is the best coaches adapt and they adapt to the way the game has changed and they adapt to way the way that their players have changed over time. And I think if you’re not adapting as a coach and you’re not learning and you’re not growing, which kind of goes to our whole entire conversation, then you’re not going to have, you’re not going to be successful very long if you’re not.
Adapting and growing because we know that the game itself is dynamic and clearly people continue to change the way they interact with each other continues to change. And as a [01:18:00] coach, you’ve got to be prepared for that change. Let’s move on to your time at the university of Maine. Talk about how that opportunity came to you.
Bob Walsh: [01:18:10] What we had a lot of success at Rhode Island college, and it was interesting. I, I think the main job was my 10th division one interviews. So I was. It was kind of a joke, you know, it’s like I have one more, I get a free set of steak knives, you know, like I was the successful division three coach who, you know, a lot of people wanted to interview, but nobody was willing to hire.
so, I got the opportunity at Maine in 2014. Yeah. It was late. And actually the athletic director, who’s no longer there. he. Told me afterwards. Cause I didn’t know him, you know, it’s interesting. You, you think, you know, connections, this and that. And I was actually on the phone. It was probably middle of April and I was talking [01:19:00] with Pete SAML, a great writer and he, and I knew each other from our biggie stays when he was at Syracuse and I was at Providence and he, we were talking about a division one assistant who had gone to the, the power five level.
And was making a ton of money. And he said to me, he said, Bob, would you ever consider doing that? Like go back and be an assistant? And I said, Peter, you know, I said, I can’t, I can’t get those jobs. Right. Those power five assistant jobs, they pay a ton of money. You know, they want gunslingers who were bringing in recruits, you know, in their back pocket.
Like, you know, and I just said off the cuff, I said, I got a better chance of getting the main job than I do of getting an assistant job at say, Boston college or wherever. And he said to me is the main job open. And I said, it is, and he said, I went to high school with the associate ID there. Do you want me to call her?
And I said, really, you know, and that, and, and I mean, I had sent in my stuff and he had a connection there and he called her and he said, yeah, we’ve heard Bob’s name. And, [01:20:00] you know, went through the interview process after I was offered the job and accepted it. I asked the athletic director, I said, how did you like discover.
You know who I was like, how did you know me? Like, where did I come from to you? And he said, I Googled best division three basketball coaches. He said, cause I knew we had a division three job. It was a division one opportunity, but it was essentially a division three job. It was going to take that type of mentality.
So, you know, I got that opportunity. it was a terrific one for me. You know, I was able to, I was really proud of what we were able to established there. And obviously from a wins and losses perspective, we weren’t able to move the needle, but establishing a culture and changing the culture up there.
And the way we recruited, obviously before, you know, the majority of our, of the talent that we had ended up leaving and going to a higher level, and I couldn’t really blame them for doing it. you know, we’re able to build something pretty special to me up there in the four years, as far as the [01:21:00] culture, especially given the fact that we weren’t having a lot of success.
Mike Klinzing: [01:21:03] How do you build a culture? When you go into a program that hasn’t had the type of success that they want to have, and you’re looking at that from a head coaching perspective, what’s one or two things that you look at and you say, These are non negotiables. These are things that I have to establish if I’m going to build the kind of culture that I want to build.
Bob Walsh: [01:21:25] Interesting question, because I would say one of them is don’t show up with non-negotiables. I just think you’ve got to listen more than you speak, to start developing a culture, especially at a place where they haven’t had success and, and. You know, my two head coaching positions are interesting at Rhode Island college.
We took over the best team in the league. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had the best team at the Lea in the league my first year. And we finished third while I was figuring out what I was doing. You know, I, I mean, we certainly had the worst team in the league when I took over. [01:22:00] And the challenge is different because they are not having success while you are going about telling them that things are going to change.
And that makes it harder. I think spending so, so listening more than you present, like learning and understanding, your kids are going to pay so much more attention to what you say to them off the court and how you connect with them off the court as people than they are when you’re telling them, You know, this is what we’re going to do.
Basketball wise. Cause the basketball stuff, when you are struggling is going to be really hard. you know, the second thing for me is just completely, process-based like, don’t talk about results. don’t let them define you. And truthfully, we did a great job of that at Rhode Island College as well. and it was on the other side, we were having tremendous results, but.
wins and losses never defined us. [01:23:00] So, everything it made was about the way we competed, and it was about what we did every day and a standard that we set for ourselves. And it had nothing to do with, you know, the score or stuff that we couldn’t control. And I would say, you know, the compete level and being entirely process-based, are probably the two most important aspects of it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:23:24] You say process-based, are you putting together goals for lack of a better term of things that you’re looking for that are not wins and losses? Are there statistics? Are there just measurements? How are you going about conveying that to the players? That the process is important? What does that actually look like in practice?
When you’re trying to put that type of culture in place.
Bob Walsh: [01:23:50] It’s a great, it’s a great question. So I don’t think it’s goals and I don’t know that it’s measurements, obviously. I think the more you can measure what you do, [01:24:00] right? It’s certainly the information helps you, whether it’s how fast you run sprints or the beep test or, or whatever.
But I think it is defining your values clearly and defining them in behavioral terms. So if our number one value was our compete level, It wasn’t just blowing the whistle and yelling at guys to compete harder. It was, you know, when somebody goes running in from half court, when a shot goes up from the corner in transition and flies in there to keep, you know, a rebound alive and taps it to one of their teammates who gets a layup out of it, you, you celebrate that.
You recognize it when the ball’s on the floor and the, you know, the guy on the white team dives on the floor first and knocks it to his teammate. You know, first on the floor, that’s being a great competitor, right. You know, turning the ball over, you know, and then getting a back, tap on the way back in transition to knock the ball out of bounds, to save a layup.
So to me, it’s what your values are. What’s [01:25:00] important to you defining them clearly and then defining them as behavior. So it’s not just, Hey, we have to be tougher. It is. Fellows. This is what toughness looks like, blow the whistle stop. You see the way he got hit by three people, but he still went in there and got the rebound that’s toughness.
That’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re celebrating. That’s who we are. And I, and I think you connected to character development, you know, you connected to who you are going to be moving forward, not just simply, Hey, you know, we’re trying to beat Stonybrook. All right.
Mike Klinzing: [01:25:34] So that’s obviously something that you’re communicating to your players. I’m assuming that you’re communicating that same thing to your staff, and then you clearly have to go about every single day in practice being very intentional around that idea of stopping and recognizing those behaviors that you’ve already identified as. This is a characteristic, or this is a behavior that we want to [01:26:00] see that exemplifies toughness.
Or this is one that exemplifies effort, or this is one that exemplifies what it is. It means to be a great teammate. I think those are things that are clearly, clearly important. There also things that I know I’ve seen both on teams that I’ve played on teams that I’ve coached, where if you’re not intentional about identifying those things, They can easily slip past you.
So just talk a little bit about how important it was for you to make sure that both you and your staff continue to recognize those things over time.
Bob Walsh: [01:26:33] Crucial, of course, you know, your staff has to be aligned. I mean, they have to understand exactly what the approach is going to be. And they’re 100% on board with it.
you know, it’s not like you have to stop practice every 10 seconds. Right? You can do it on film. It’s part of the flow of practice. You know, Hey Andrew, keeping that rebound a lot. That’s toughness. That’s what I’m talking about. Great job. Right. You know, balls on the, on the ground and nobody [01:27:00] dives on it.
You know, the whistle blows hold up, you know, we’re the first on the floor for loose balls. So, you have to define it for yourself beforehand, right? You, you, you have to talk about it as staff, you know, this is the stuff that we need to recognize. you can find different ways to do it, you know, showing, showing it on film.
So it’s not a. It happens within the flow of practice, but you really have to know what is important to you. And you have to make sure you explain it clearly to your, to your team. And it’s absolutely has to be intentional culture. You are going to have a culture, right? Your culture is going to have, if you don’t pay attention to it, it will become whatever it is.
Your guys. You know, lean towards it, whatever makes them comfortable, whatever, maybe is the easy way out. So, certainly you have to discuss it as a staff. You have to discuss it as a team. You have to get your players to recognize the behaviors and to celebrate them as [01:28:00] well. so that, you know, it becomes you, your values that you define as behaviors.
Become things that you’re willing to fight for, right. That your team is, is literally willing to fight for because they’re that important to you?
Mike Klinzing: [01:28:14] Absolutely. All right. We’re coming up close to an hour and a half here, Bob. So I want to go and just talk briefly about your position now at Providence. Tell us your title.
Tell us a little bit about what it is your role is day to day at Providence college in your current position.
Bob Walsh: [01:28:29] To be truthful. I don’t think I can tell you my title. There’s so much to it. It’s you know, we, the, for Seinfeld fans from, from back in our day, we say assistant to the traveling secretary.
Mike Klinzing: [01:28:45] That’s awesome. A Little George Costanza.
Bob Walsh: [01:28:46] There you go. So it’s kind of the joke. yeah, I mean, I’m, it’s an associate or assistant director of player development and recruiting coordinator and essentially. I talked with coach Cooley about, you know, [01:29:00] he was interested in having a head coach on staff, you know, and having somebody that could sort of help him from 30,000 feet.
So to speak, you see big picture of the program. and, you know, my job is to help Coach Cooley and our assistant coaches do their job. So it involves a lot of the leadership stuff that we’re talking about and directly with Coach Cooley, chopping up film for the assistants when they’re doing scouting.
When we were preparing for opponents chopping up practice film, which I love, like I love being back to watching practice everyday, watching it on film. Breaking it down and then giving it to an assistant, you know, so you can sit down with the point guard so he can sit down with the post players. you know, there’s an administrative aspect to it as well.
You know, it’s off the court relationships with the players, which I like now, when you’re not one of the guys on the floor, working them out, you miss that element of developing a relationship there where they see you getting, you know, the [01:30:00] sweat equity. So. there’s a lot of leadership development off the floor connecting with them guys because I have to do that to be able to, to help them, you know, to be able to establish that relationship.
So, it’s been a terrific experience for me, you know, I certainly, I will. My goal is to be a head coach doing it. I love running a program. I love building team. you know, similar to what we talked about. You know, coach Cooley has such a different approach than I’ve had as a coach. And he’s brilliant at it that, the way we were able to bounce ideas off each other as a staff makes me a lot better.
You know, I was, I was an assistant at Providence for seven years, and then I was a head coach for the next 13. Right. So. you know, after that’s 20 years where I was basically learning for lack of a better term from one guy, and then I don’t want to say doing it myself, you’re learning a ton as a head coach, but you’re not [01:31:00] getting different approaches.
Right? So the approach that ed is has, has built the success at Providence and the leadership of the school. It’s a great learning experience for me. And hopefully I’ve been able to contribute as well.
Mike Klinzing: [01:31:14] All right. Last question. We’ve talked a lot about leadership. Give us one. If you could only recommend one leadership book that you’ve read.
What’s your favorite leadership book? What’s the one that you go back to over and over again. That’s helped you the most over the course of your career.
Bob Walsh: [01:31:30] That is a tremendous question. I would say, and I’m going to, I’m going to cop out a little bit here because I don’t know that I can pick one. And I don’t know that it’s necessarily there.
They’re all, you would consider a leadership books, but I’m going to give you three books, the culture code, which is Daniel Coyle, which is what I’ve read, you know, in the last three or four years, he also wrote the talent code. He studied, you know, successful [01:32:00] cultures, including the San Antonio Spurs and, and what built those cultures.
and then I’m going to go further back. 11 rings. Phil Jackson, a phenomenal book, his approach to leadership team, building elite athletes, and then sum it up by Pat summit, which obviously so capsulates her entire leadership approach. So. Those are three that I’m constantly referring back to. And that I absolutely loved, and it has resonated in there.
Like every couple of years, it’s like, you know what? I need to read that again.
Mike Klinzing: [01:32:35] It’s so true. There’s nothing better than a great book that touches you the first time you read it. And then, you know, it’s a good book when you continuously go back to it, you feel like I have to reread that book again, just to remind myself of all the great things that were a part of it.
And I think we all have those books that stand out to us. And so that’s why I wanted to ask that of you.
Bob Walsh: [01:32:56] What’s yours. Can, can you give that to me? What’s [01:33:00] yours?
Mike Klinzing: [01:33:00] Absolutely. so I have a couple that I like to go back to. the one that I’m really on right now is called Willpower Doesn’t work. And it’s written by Benjamin Hardy.
And it’s more of a, I want to say like a self help, a motivational type book, but it just talks about how to organize your life in such a way that you set yourself up for success, as opposed to constantly fighting against your environment and fighting against all these things that can line up in your way.
It’s a way to. Plan out your life in order to be able to make it as frictionless as you possibly can. And it’s a pretty, it’s a pretty simple read and it’s a book that you can read fairly quickly. And yet every time I read it and I think it’s, I think I’ve read it now three or four times. And every time I read it, I pick up [01:34:00] something new, some little habit that I’m like, Oh, I want to add that to my.
To my daily routine. So that’s a book that I go back to. And then there’s another one that I really like. It’s by Warren Berger. And it’s called A More Beautiful Question. And it just talks about how, if you frame your life and the things that you’re doing through asking questions that just by learning how to ask the right questions, you can find out so much.
In your life, whether that’s from talking to people or just the conversations that you have with your own head, if you know how to ask the right questions, you tend to get the right answers. And so those are two that. I’ve read probably the first time I read them was within the last, I would say two years.
And like I said, I’ve gone back and read willpower, doesn’t work three or four times and a more beautiful question. I’ve read at least twice. And I refer back to it just as I’m thinking about different things in my life. So those are two that are ones that I’ve gone back to that I [01:35:00] really liked that I think are valuable out there for anybody who’s listening.
Bob Walsh: [01:35:03] Great. Those are two that are on my list. Now I haven’t read it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:35:07] Yeah. Put those on, put those on the list there. Very good. All right, Bob, before we get out of here, I want to give you a chance to share your contact information. Let people know how they can find out more about you and what you’re doing. And then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
Bob Walsh: [01:35:19] Yeah, appreciate it. I’m on Twitter at CoachBobWalsh. I have a website coach, BobWalsh.com and email address, which is out there. Bwalsh23@live.com and certainly love hearing feedback from coaches all over the country, all over the world. So look forward to connecting.
Mike Klinzing: [01:35:39] Absolutely. Bob cannot thank you enough for spending an hour and a half or so with us this morning, it’s been a pleasure to get a chance to learn more about you learn more about your career.
Give you an opportunity to share some of the great things that you’ve been able to do in the game that can benefit coaches who are just starting their career or in the middle of their career, and want to learn from guys who have had success, like you’ve been able to have. So [01:36:00] thank you. And to everyone out there, we will catch you on our next episode.