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Twitter – @DMihalke
Dylan Mihalke is currently a men’s basketball graduate assistant coach at Oklahoma University under Head Coach Porter Moser.
He spent the previous three seasons as a student manager for the men’s basketball team at the University of Iowa under Head Coach Fran McCaffery.
On this episode Dylan shares his insights and advice on breaking in to the college basketball coaching world.
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Take some notes as you listen to this episode with Dylan Mihalke, Men’s basketball graduate assistant coach at Oklahoma University.
What We Discuss with Dylan Mihalke
- Staying up late watching basketball on TV as a kid
- Growing up in LA as a UCLA and Clippers fan
- Why he loves Chris Paul
- His dream of being a college athlete and eventually becoming a cross country & track runner
- Injuries led to an opportunity to be a manager for his high school basketball team
- Learning the lesson of hard work
- How an LA kid ended up at the University of Iowa
- Getting an opportunity to volunteer at Iowa’s basketball camp
- His interview to become a manager at Iowa
- The members of the Iowa staff that became his mentors
- “It seems more glamorous on the outside than it is.”
- The “Car Starting” Tradition for managers at Iowa
- “You remember the wins and you remember the losses, but a lot of times it’s the lifelong relationships that you form that really make you realize how special the sport is.”
- The access to the coaches’ daily activities that he had as a manager at Iowa
- Learning to allocate and prioritize your time
- “I saw the bigger picture and I was willing to sacrifice.”
- Developing player relationships by rebounding during shooting sessions
- The Iowa buzzer beater he’ll never forget
- His email campaign to connect with programs across the country and build relationships
- The recommendation from Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey that led to his hiring at Oklahoma
- Maintaining a culture vs building a culture
- How Coach Porter Moser balances accountability and love
- Developing culture terms
- His focus on analytics and film at Oklahoma
- A “typical” day for him as a GA
- Figuring out what you’re willing to give up to an opponent
- Analytics vs the eye test
- Making sure the coaches on his staff understand what the numbers mean and how they apply to what happens out on the court
- Why the ability to connect with people is such an important skill for a head coach
- Being willing to find a college where you can be a student manager
- No task is ever too small and be willing to do everything
- “You achieve what you emphasize.”
- Focus on the job you have now, not the next one
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THANKS, DYLAN MIHALKE
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TRANSCRIPT FOR DYLAN MIHALKE – OKLAHOMA UNIVERSITY MEN’S BASKETBALL GRADUATE ASSISTANT COACH – EPISODE 574
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my cohost Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast. Dylan Mihalke graduate assistant men’s basketball coach at Oklahoma University. Dylan. Welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod. We are excited to have you on. You are at a stage in your career that a lot of the coaches in our audience are sharing with you in that you’re a young coach trying to figure out your way, build a career in the coaching profession.
So I’m hoping that we can pull out a bunch of insights from what you’ve been able to do. I want to start though, by going back in time to when you were a kid, talk to us about your first experiences in the game of basketball. What those were like, what you remember about being introduced to the game.
[00:00:48] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no, absolutely. Pleasure to be on. I think for me, I actually, none of my family played basketball. I just kind of grew up with this innate love for it. I would always watch all the games on TV when I was a kid. I’d check the box scores in the newspaper and look at all the stats from the night before and just kind of really study, not just the players, but I love the teams, the roster constructions on both the NBA and the college level.
And so, no, I always grew up just watching the game and studying it and I’d always, never do my homework and just watch basketball. And then as I was young kid, I started to play a lot through elementary and in the middle school as well. And then played a couple of years. JV basketball, but then when it was out athletics, you could say, and a lot of people are taller than me, more athletic than I was.
But I still love the game. And I think that was always the key for me was my love for the game. Always rained. Just really was in everything I did. I would always watch all the games from the night and talk to my friends about it. And, and but we look at all the stats behind it. And so that’s kind of where.
Well for the game first developed. And I can’t remember a night where I wasn’t staying up late, watching basketball, making my mom tell me to go to bed.
[00:01:58] Mike Klinzing: So let’s start here. Who’s your favorite college team growing up?
[00:02:01] Dylan Mihalke: Ooh, well, so I’m raised in Los Angeles, California, so I loved UCLA. I would always my, one of my best friends when I was in middle school and in elementary school even both of his parents were UCLA alumni.
And so he’d always have an extra ticket and his sister never would want to go. And so he’d always take me with the, take me with his parents and we’d watch. UCLA knows back in the day when they had Darren Colossian, Kevin Love Russell Westbrook, and then clay Thompson would come to town, James harden Isaiah Thomas, all the great PAC 10 players back then.
And so no, UCLA was kind of my first college team that I really grew up loving.
[00:02:39] Mike Klinzing: What about a pro team? The Lakers?
[00:02:39] Dylan Mihalke: A lakers guy? I was actually not, not really, no. I was a big clipper Stan actually, cause I just goes back to kinda my team building mindset. I love when they brought in Chris, Paul and Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, that whole lob city team.
And kind of be in the other team in LA kind of pulled at my heartstrings. So now as a Clippers guy really grown up not too much anymore because I’m more to college basketball now just time-wise. But but no, it definitely was a Clippers fan over the Lakers growing up in LA, how painful was the loss of the rockets? Oh, okay. So as a guy growing up, watching that team closely, why do you think that team was never able to get over the hump and get to. The finals. Do you think that that particular game, for whatever reason they imploded you think that broke them where they just couldn’t get over the mental hurdle? Or what do you think it was growing up watching them?
[00:03:37] Dylan Mihalke: Great question. I think, I think a lot of it was that mental hurdle. I also, I think a lot of times in basketball it’s it comes down to, who’s got the best player on the court. And as much as Chris Paul is by far my favorite NBA player of all time, a lot of situations he wasn’t.
Alpha dog, best player on the court at that time. And in that moment now they had a great team and he did a great job of setting up, setting up other guys. And they had great coaching obviously and great shooting and they had all kinds of the pieces, but they never had that one kind of alpha talent that could bring them over the hump.
Now I was so happy when he was able to get to finals last year with the sons, obviously, and then Yon has kind of took over from there. But but I think that was our main Achilles heel. And then the mental side of it was I think, a real, very real factor that played a part too.
[00:04:24] Mike Klinzing: Chris Paul piece of it is that it’s really difficult to be a six foot guy and impose your will as the number one on a team.
When you have Giannis, who’s a seven foot guy who’s unbelievably physical. You think about the LeBrons, the , the Kevin Durant’s the guys who have won. They have that physical size and those physical tools that Chris Paul obviously tremendously blessed as was speed, quickness, toughness, strength, all those things.
But when you do that at six foot versus doing it at six 11, it’s not quite the same. And I think that’s where, when your best players, six feet tall, it’s, it’s a lot tougher. Let’s put it
[00:05:09] Dylan Mihalke: that way. I completely agree with that for sure. And I think for him, especially, he had the mental side of it, but a lot of times, as you mentioned, the physical side wasn’t necessarily there for him.
[00:05:20] Mike Klinzing: So when you are finishing your career as a player, and obviously you love the game, you’re staying up late, you’re watching basketball, you’ve got lots of thoughts. You want to stay involved in it. What’s the next step for you? When you realize that your playing career is over, how do you start to envision staying involved in the game?
Do you immediately think. Hey, I’m going to get into coaching. Did you think, Hey, maybe someday I’ll be a broadcaster. Maybe I want to get into analytics. What, what was your thought process as you were no longer able to play?
[00:05:55] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no. Great question. I think for me I actually, I refereed some games, the local YMCA, I coach a team of like third and fourth graders, which was a fun experience.
But my goal growing up was really, I really just wanted to be a college athlete. I didn’t really necessarily care what sport. I really just wanted to be a college athlete and I love sports, all sports. So I just wanted to play a sport in college. And I really found out I had a gift for running and so I kind of picked up cross country and track and field.
And I had great success with that actually. One of my conference in the mile and the two mile, I ran a 4 45 mile, which I personally thought was good and Southern California. The elite of the elite, but I thought it was good. And and so I really focused on running at that point. And then my story kind of takes an interesting turn because God really had a different plan for my life because as I was running, I was doing everything I could to try to be a college athlete in cross-country and track.
And then I just had massive injuries and I was over-training so my legs were super fatigued and I couldn’t really run any more physically. And so going into my senior year of high school, I realized that I had always loved basketball, but kind of almost diverted from that a little bit to pursue this dream of being a college athlete and a track and cross country.
And I was blessed enough that my high school coach Kevin, Kelsey, he was able to give me a shot to be kind of a manager on our varsity basketball team, my senior year of high school. And it was a great position for me because. We actually didn’t have an assistant coach and coach Kelsey was both the athletic director at the school and the varsity basketball coach.
And it was a small Christian school in San Mateo, California. And so he was Not over his head by any means, but just had a lot going on. And so he allowed me great freedom as just a manager for the team to be able to do a lot of all of our video, all of our stats. A lot of our play break down a lot of our film studies with the players, a lot of our workouts and stuff.
And so as a varsity basketball manager who was just a kid growing up, loving the game of basketball, I was able to do a diverse array of skills and a diverse array of activities with our players who were also some of my best friends. And so that senior year experience in high school was really rewarding and it was not only rewarding, but it was really fruitful in the way of, I was able to really get my first start into really being part of a team and really getting that coaching and manager and a lot of the work I do today as a graduate assistant.
I really I think back to that moment of coach Kelsey, giving me that opportunity. To be a part of his team really on short notice once my running career ended.
[00:08:38] Mike Klinzing: What was the learning curve like for you with some of those different tasks? So when you start thinking about breaking down film or keeping statistics, how long did it take you to feel comfortable with some of those tasks?
And obviously, as you said, those are things that are going to benefit you as you move forward from high school and you get to the university of Iowa, but just talk about some of the things that you learned along the way in that first year as a manager that now have played a part, or maybe there’s still things that you’re doing.
[00:09:04] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah. I think I I learned a lot of kind of technical skills you could call it obviously filming games and doing stats on the bench and helping out some of our players work out and just kind of a variety of those skill sets, but more so I really just learned the value of hard work.
And a lot of times in hard work, I thought of schoolwork. I thought of doing chores or whatever when I was a kid and then once I really figured out that, like it’s so much easier to do hard work and work harder when it’s something that you’re super passionate about. And when it’s something that you wake up every morning, excited to excited to pursue and coach Moser here, Ooh, he’s got a huge thing of we get to do this, we don’t got to do this.
And so for me, once I really realized that I get to be a manager for this team. I get to help out with our high school basketball team, college basketball team, whatever. And I really it’s fueled a passion within me and it makes it easier to work extra hard. It makes it easier to wake up at six 30 before school to do the staff from yesterday’s practice or break down the game from last night or even do stay late into a workout with some of our players.
It just makes it so much easier when you’re really passionate about something and not only passionate about something, but you really see a future. In something. And so that’s where those like I said, those skills, but also those habits, those values really were nurtured within me
[00:10:27] Mike Klinzing: That experience as a senior in high school, was that when you first started to think about coaching as a profession, or were you still thinking of it as, Hey, I love this.
I’m having fun. I’m around the team I’m around basketball, but I still may end up going into banking or something else. Where was your thought process there?
[00:10:50] Dylan Mihalke: I think that was really when I first realized that coaching can be a full-time job and coaching you can really make your life’s work in coaching.
And before I I never really assumed that for some reason, I thought even watching college and pro basketball, I didn’t think that. I didn’t realize the hours that these coaches both at Iowa, Oklahoma, and all across the country, I didn’t realize how much time they put in to prepare these Scouts, to develop these players, to recruit these student athletes.
And so in both my senior year in high school, but then also, even in my first month on the job at Iowa, that’s my first that kind of transition and seeing both at the high school level and the college level I realized that, okay, coaching basketball is a full time job, more than a full-time job.
Coaching basketball can be your life’s work, be your profession. And you can make a major impact on not only the other coaches you work with and the community at large, but even more. So the individual relationships from players and coaches and even managers and players and managers and coaches and vice versa.
[00:11:54] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. How does an LA guy get to the university of Iowa?
[00:11:58] Dylan Mihalke: You are not the first person to ask you that question. Now my uncle actually lives in Iowa city and I have a ton of family in the Midwest and Chicago suburbs area. And even in Iowa. And so I would always go out to visit my uncle and go to Iowa basketball, Iowa football games, and would always have fun and kind of see it as a weird kind of college town in the middle of nowhere.
And then actually the senior going into, or the summer going into my senior year of high school before I became a manager I emailed 25 college basketball programs. I just wanted to get in touch with. And I asked them if there was anything I could do to potentially just get involved. Once I get to college, I didn’t even know.
And this was before my senior year of high school. So I didn’t know exactly what I’d want to do, but I felt this kind of I felt this little I guess almost like punch inside me to email people and to reach out and just to see. And so I emailed a bunch of different programs and thankfully enough, the head manager at Iowa got back to me and offered me a volunteer job to work camp.
He said all I would get would be lunch in the middle of the day. And I’d have to find a place to live, which obviously it was convenient with my uncle living there. And so my summer going into my senior year of high school, I volunteered work in the summer camps there and it was the best experience of my life.
And that is actually what first kind of made me realize, okay, I can be a manager in college. And then I kind of was like, okay, I’ll probably be a manager for my high school team. And that kind of started the train. And so I actually only applied to the university of Iowa is the only school I applied for.
Applied the day the application opened and I got accepted within I think a month of my application or so. And so I was really kind of committed from there on, and it made the college application process academically much easier, but it also allowed me to apply for scholarships, allowed me to stay in touch with the basketball program.
And it allowed me to really get involve within Iowa even before I got there.
[00:13:59] Mike Klinzing: So once you get there and you’ve obviously had contact with the head manager, when do you have your first contact with coach McCaffrey and the staff? And when the, when do you get the official invite to become a student manager?
[00:14:15] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah. So to be a manager, they make you volunteer for camp. So I actually volunteered for camp two years in a row, which most people only did one year. And so I volunteered for camp. And then later in the summer, once you actually move on to campus, Bringing you in for an interview with some of the coaching staff.
And obviously that was a scary experience for a freshman in college. People are sitting at the table it was about two other managers. They had one GA there, the assistant director of operations obviously the basketball director of operations. And then I think our, our video coordinator slash director of recruiting was there as well.
So a couple of members of the staff, and that was my first, it was my first day of classes as college student. So but no, that was a fun experience. And then thankfully enough I’m super blessed that I was able to get the position and then the next week, once we start coming in for workouts and stuff, I was able to thankfully meet coach McCaffrey and the rest of the staff.
[00:15:13] Mike Klinzing: How many managers are on staff at any one time?
[00:15:15] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, so we normally at Iowa, we had seven. Which I’ve asked probably a hundred managers across the country. And that’s a lot, a lot of times towards the upper end of the, a lot of the lower mid-major programs, but for a lot of the other big 10 programs, they had 15 to 20 managers.
And so I was really blessed with that because obviously when you have only seven managers obviously it’s more work, but you also get to do more. And I always really loved that because all of us managers were in the office every day. We’re doing video, doing stats, doing player workouts, helping out with recruiting.
Mail-outs doing a bunch of other just general operation, operational duties in the office. And so that was a great experience for me because we’re able to do a lot of, a lot of stuff I do as a GA now we’re able to do as managers. And so it really prepared me for not just this job that I have right now, but also the future.
If I want to be a video coordinator or be a director of operations and continue moving up. I feel like I got a really, really great baseline and worked with a tremendous staff there at Iowa.
[00:16:19] Mike Klinzing: Was there one member of the coaching staff in particular that looked out for you that took you under their wing and kind of acted as your mentor for lack of a better way of saying, but just somebody who kind of kept an eye on you, somebody who pulled you aside said, Hey, think about this or, Hey, we need you to do a little bit of that.
Was there anybody that fit that description?
[00:16:39] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no. I mean, I’m going to give to people in particular, firstly our assistant director of operations, Kyle Denning was a walk-on at Iowa and then had been on staff there since being a walk-on. He was a GA and then moved his way up to assistant director of operations.
He was always such a great mentor for me. We’d always go to the same church on Sundays. Really had a strong, emotional connection outside of basketball. And he was always kind of that steadying force during a stressful day or on the plane, right after a loss or whatnot. He was always really consistent and such a great mentor to me.
And being a fellow kind of young staffer, young member of staff, he really helped me just in a lot of ways emotionally during college and also spiritually as well. And then secondly one of our coaches KirK Bureau played at Iowa as a walk-on back in the 1980s with coach Olson was when it was on the final 14 and 1980s, a graduate assistant at Iowa.
And then had been a bunch of stops including being the head coach at UCF before returning back to Iowa as an assistant coach. And he was just a great mentor to me in the way of always allowing me to. Talk to him and ask him questions that now I look back on and say, oh, that was a dumb question. But in the moment he really just never acted like he was too big time for me or anything.
And just really allowed me to be myself and always was a helping hand and then always reach out to me if you ever needed any special projects. I mean, I remember last year I chartered all of our box outs for every game. And so he would always allow me to do a lot of what I would consider special projects for him.
But he always did it with a smile and he would always give me a hard time and just me and coach VR really developed a close relationship and to be able to have worked with him and just his personable nature was always so great to me.
[00:18:27] Mike Klinzing: What’s the funniest or craziest thing that anybody ever asked you to do as a manager there at Iowa?
[00:18:33] Dylan Mihalke: I could probably go on for a while about this. Well, let’s see. That’s a great one. I want know. No,
[00:18:40] Mike Klinzing: I want people to know if they’re thinking about being a student manager, I want to know, I want people to know what they’re getting into.
[00:18:45] Dylan Mihalke: No, it seems more glamorous on the outside than it is. So no, that’s, that’s good.
Oh, trying to think. we had a tradition at Iowa that whatever managers didn’t go on the road trips who stayed back would always go to the parking lot where the staff and the players would park their cars and on cold nights. And as you probably know, in Iowa, there’s some January, February nights where.
windy, cold, negative, 40 blizzard, whatever. And so the managers who stayed back would have to start the coaches cars and obviously put the defroster on the seat, warmers, get that thing going and scrape the windows, all the players, cars and stuff. And so that really humbles you as, and for me, I was a freshmen manager from Los Angeles, California.
And so that was, that was definitely a rude awakening for me. But but no, it was kind of it turned out to be kind of a fun tradition. And when you, when when you go through your years in the program and you go from going on three road trips to six road trips to all the road trips, when you, when you didn’t do your last couple of years, you think back, the freshmen are like, did you guys have to do this?
And then we’re like, yeah, we did. We paid our dues. So it definitely makes. Yeah, it definitely humbles you, but also you know obviously whatever we can do to help the program, you have to have that attitude of the student manager. And when the coaches are coming back from at 2:00 AM, after overtime loss at Minnesota or whatever, and anything you can do to help the players and the coaches they, they thank you for it and they value it.
And so and that’s the whole part about being a manager is just you do a lot of work that nobody sees, but on the inside you have satisfaction because it helps the greater good of the program. What
[00:20:31] Mike Klinzing: What was the relationship like between managers and players at Iowa? How did you bond, what was your connection with the guys on the team?
[00:20:41] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no, I mean, it was honestly a terrific relationship and just a great bond between the managers and the players. We had a couple of our managers live with the players. And so they were obviously much closer cause they went home every night and saw each other. But no, in general it was really cool.
Just because a lot of times I think a lot of people on the outside see these college players as big time stars and see them just on ESPN every night. But at the end of the day as a manager, they’re just regular college students, like you are trying to figure it out and they’re going to the 8:00 AM classes with you and they’re go into study hall and they’re just.
They’re eating in the dining halls and stuff like that. And so it’s a really good relationship that it was really healthy, great relationship that the manager and the players had at Iowa. And I remember my freshman year, I lived not in the same dorm building, but it was dorm building right next door to where Joey scamp and CJ Fredrik lived, or two of my best friends to this day.
And CJ actually redshirted his first year at Iowa. And I remember him and I would always just take take the campus bus over to Carver hock, Irene on the weekends. And I’d rebound for him for a little bit and then we’d go out to lunch downtown or something. And so just those relationships and those bonds are really special.
And now looking back and seeing what a lot of those players on the teams that I’ve been a part of doing now some in the MBA summit, different schools, some still at Iowa it makes you think back to those, just the relationships. And that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned. Working in college basketball, which is obviously short-lived so far, but it’s really the relationships that make that mean the world to you when too, once you leave, I mean, you remember the wins and you remember the losses, whatever, but a lot of times it’s the relationships and the lifelong relationships that you form that really make you realize how special the sport is,
[00:22:33] Mike Klinzing: what kind of meetings and sort of behind the scenes things, were you able to see, observe, or be a part of as a manager?
Were you ever able to sit down and be a part of, let’s say like a practice planning meeting or a scout meeting, just what were you able to see as a manager, as opposed to maybe being a quote, regular member of the coaching staff?
[00:22:58] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, so as a manager at Iowa, we and I know some programs are like this and some are not like this.
But as managers. A lot involving the scouting reports a lot involving the video a lot in revolving the statistics for the coaching staff some of the analytics and just kind of that whole diverse experience as well as being in practice every day, obviously. And for me, the biggest thing I realized was just and kind of going back to the meetings that we were a part of is just being able to see the coaching staff work through the Scouts of every big 10 team and every NCAA tournament team and every non-conference team, even.
So just being a part of those practices and watching the scout team go through their plays and then watching the defense guarding our offense and then being involved in being able to watch it and on the film sessions and listen to some of the best coaches in the country break down the plays or break down the personnel.
It just really opened your eyes to. Obviously how detailed the Scouts are at this level, but also how much work the coaching staff and the managers and the video coordinators and edges, how much work everyone puts in to each scout and each game plan is just phenomenal. And so just to be a fly on the wall and a lot of those practices and a lot of those conversations, obviously working the practices and stuff, but just listening to how we’re going to guard this and how we’re gonna to beat that ball spring coverage.
And it’s really, really cool when you see something being emphasized in a practice or a new set being put in, in a walkthrough or practice. And then that being implemented in the game, it’s just a really, really cool experience that I look back on. I’m just so thankful that the coaches at Iowa were so welcoming to us managers and especially just so welcoming to allow us to be an integral part of the program there.
It’s just such a, such a blessing. And so I’m so grateful for coach McCaffrey, obviously. Helm of it, just allowing us managers to be such a, such a big part of his program and really listening to us and really allowing us to have a really big role
[00:25:05] Mike Klinzing: How long into that experience. Did it take for you to become convinced that college basketball coaching was the direction you wanted to go with your career?
[00:25:15] Dylan Mihalke: I think it was probably within the genuinely the first week of the job.
I kid you not, I remember going to the first couple of workouts in the fall, and obviously those workouts are just short hour workouts compared to the three hour practices during the season. But just seeing how the coaching staff related with the players, how they related with each other, how they were already preparing their Scouts for the year, how they.
Doing recruiting, how we had big football weekends and they were doing recruiting functions on the weekends and doing official visits and all that just made me realize how much this can be a profession of mine and how much I love this game and how much I really want to make it, my life’s work. So no, it was probably within the first week and truthfully, it was the relationships between the players and the coaches that sold me on it.
[00:26:01] Mike Klinzing: How do you balance the relationship between the responsibilities that you have as a student manager and your academic responsibilities? What were you majoring in? Was your major designed to get you to college coaching was your major designed to keep your mom and dad happy? How did you go about just balancing out obviously huge responsibilities, even if you’re just waiting around after a road trip to turn on the coach’s car, you’re doing that at the expense of sleep and getting to class and doing homework.
So how did you balance that out?
[00:26:31] Dylan Mihalke: No, that’s a great question. I think. A lot of times, I forget about that part of my college experience. And I majored in sports management and I had a minor in religious studies and I was actually blessed enough to be part of the honors college there at Iowa. And I was able to graduate in three years.
And so I was able to manage a lot. And the part that really taught me was just time management skills. And that was the biggest lesson I’ve learned. And the biggest takeaway I had was just how much you have to be able to allocate your time, how much you have to be able to prioritize. Okay, what’s due tomorrow, what’s due on Sunday at 12:00 PM.
What’s due on the next week, what is due, not until the final and just being able to balance that as something is a skill that I wasn’t great at freshman year, sophomore year, I was pretty good at. And then my last year I became really good at where you’re able to balance your time. You’re able to.
Go to class lock in during class and then walk in during practice and then realize that, okay, I, this homework due tomorrow, I have this due the next day, whatever. And so no, I’m not gonna lie. It was an extremely tough balance. I sacrifice a lot of sleep. I probably sacrificed a lot of free time with friends.
I sacrificed a lot of the other traditional quote unquote fun things that college kids do. And but in the end, that was okay with that. I had a goal in my mind in order to hopefully be a graduate assistant somewhere. And I had the goal in my mind to hopefully have that lead to job on staff somewhere and then hopefully lead to a college coaching job.
And so I kind of saw the bigger picture and I was willing to sacrifice those couple of things in my life that other people normally do in order to have a tremendous experience as a manager in order to get good grades in order to obviously he, my academics first. Also be able to develop a relationship to the players and the coaches, and do my best work for the IO program.
[00:28:25] Mike Klinzing: Great lesson there to be able to see that big picture and be able to understand that you may have to give some things up in the short term to be able to advance and get what you want to get out of your career. And obviously we’ve heard that from a lot of different coaches who have started in similar positions to you where, Hey, I’ll do just about anything.
You don’t even have to pay me. I’ll sleep on a mattress in somebody’s spare room, just so that I can get my foot in the door and be able to start my college coaching career. When you’re there as a manager. What’s one thing that you actually got to do as a manager that you love, like what aspect of being a manager, if there’s one particular task or one particular duty that you had, that you really love what stood out there and then.
Second part of the question is when you look at what some of the other coaches on staff, so a regular assistant coach, or even the head coach, or the director of ops, maybe there’s something that you didn’t get to do as a manager that you looked at kind of from afar and said, oh, I can’t wait until I get to do that.
So what did you love that you actually got to do? And then what were you looking forward to being able to do someday as you moved along in your career?
[00:29:40] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah. Wow. I really think one thing I got to do as a manager that I will honestly take with me for as long as I, as long as I live is I was really happy that we were able to do a lot of the one-on-one workouts with the players, as well as obviously with the coaching staff, but also one duty that has a manager that a lot of managers, I feel like almost see as a negative or whatnot is just rebound for the players.
I love that because you’re not, not just rebounding for someone you’re developing relationships, you’re going to the gym at midnight, with a player just to help them get better. And then when they do have success on the court and they do make that shot, that you rebounded for them for a hundred times a night before, and then they make it that one time in the game, you really get a feeling of satisfaction.
And so that’s one job duty that I always accept as a manager. I always made sure that I was around for the players whenever they needed someone to rebound for them. I was their guy. I would always be able to come to the gym no matter the hour, no matter whether I had homework due, do whatever. I would always make sure I made that a priority because I realized that you’re not just I feel like a lot of people see it as all.
I got to go rebound for this guy, or I got to do this. And for me, I really saw it as, okay. I get to help develop a relationship, develop a player, also able I’m able to continue to. Just work hard and a lot of times nobody else sees that and nobody else really realizes that. But I’m a true believer that God sees hard work and God sees people working.
And so for me, I was really just persistent with that and always made sure the players knew that they could contact me 24 7. And I really made that a priority for me. And so that was one part of the job that I was really excited I got to do, but also I realized that just the value of it. And then to your second part of your question, one thing I’m really excited for, to be able to do one day is just to scout an opponent.
And I really love the combination of film and analytics. And so for me as a coach, I’m really excited for it to be able to scout a team using using the film, breaking down their sets, breaking down what they do after timeouts on offense, defense, special teams, whatever as well as combined that with analytics.
Okay. What are they, how many, what percentage shots issued from three? what are their best line of combinations? What do they do when this guy’s in the game for SAC guys in the game, whatever I’m really excited to get into the deep scanner reports of opponents. And I love helping out our coaches here or the coaches at Iowa with their Scouts.
And so I’m really, really looking forward to doing that by myself, obviously, hopefully with the help of someone else a manager or GA and kind of reverse those roles, but I’m excited to be able to dive into that one day.
[00:32:18] Mike Klinzing: Have you put together your own scouting report, just sort of as practice.
[00:32:21] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no, I’ve really tried to, I’ve done that over the summers during, during the pandemic, I took a couple of teams that I really liked a lot of their sets they ran or I liked some of their players, you know that I noticed in the big 10. And so I break down. Four or five of their games and see what they do offensively and stuff.
So I’ve done some mock Scouts like that. And then also being a GA, you are kind of involved in every single scout so-and-so for me here at OU, I do I help out our three amazing assistant coaches and then obviously coach Moser with every scout we do. And so I do a lot of our film analytics as well as whatever the scout coach needs in regards to looking at player tendencies or what have you,
[00:33:04] Mike Klinzing: What’s your favorite Iowa basketball moment during the three years you were there?
[00:33:09] Dylan Mihalke: Great, great question. I would have to say my freshman year, it was one of my first when I first road trips and we went to rudkers and Rutgers, they were decent that year. They weren’t too crazy good. But I don’t know if but the rat former firmly called the rack. Now. I think it’s like Jersey Mike’s arena or something.
It’s an extremely tough place to play. Nobody really realized that outside of the big 10, but once you are in there and it’s like shaped, like trap the zone, the noise is crazy. They have the student section right on top of one side of it. You realize that hard to replace it is to win. Not only is it a long plane flight, it’s different time zone, whatever.
And my freshman year, like I said, it was like one of my first road trips and one of my best friends, Joe Wes’ camp, who’s now with the spurs, he you can Google the play, it’s all over YouTube and Twitter and such. But it was. One point something on the clock, might’ve been 0.8, Connor McCaffrey throws a baseball pass.
It gets tipped out. He hits fading corner three that banks in, if you Google, just Joey scamp game winner against Rutgers, it’ll pop up a billion times, but he has like a leaning bank shot and no reason to go in, but it went in and I was two feet away from him and it was just a cool moment because I rebounded so much for him.
My freshman year. He was one of my best friends. He was one of the best people on the team. I really got to know him on a deep, personal level and just to see him have success like that was really cool. And obviously that was a great experience for one of my first road trips as a student manager.
[00:34:39] Mike Klinzing: There’s nothing, there’s nothing better than a buzzer beater. There is nothing better in a basketball game, no matter what happens. It doesn’t matter what led up to it. When that ball goes in the basket and the buzzer goes off when your team has one, there, there is no more exciting play. I don’t care if you’re talking about third graders or NBA players, it’s it’s by far the best play in the game of basketball.
All right. So you wrap up at the university of Iowa and now it’s time for you to get out into the quote unquote, real world. So what’s the process look like for you? You mentioned earlier that as you’re heading into your senior year of high school, you’re writing to 25 schools looking for opportunities as a student manager.
So now you get done at Iowa. What’s your process for beginning to look for that first real opportunity to join a coaching staff? What does that look like?
[00:35:32] Dylan Mihalke: I mean, great question. I’m going to take you back even further because. For me going into my last year at Iowa, it was obviously during COVID going into my lot, my last year was the obviously last year.
And so when I was back home during the pandemic, I really wanted to prepare myself for the best future. And so I made it a priority to email a just almost darn near every division, one video coordinator or director of operations, some assistant coaches, if, email on the website.
And I really made it a priority to email them, just to ask, to do an informational interview, just wanting to get their perspective on the industry and get their perspective on coaching. Get some lessons for a young person like me wanting to be a graduate assistant because I knew that would be the next step for me.
And I emailed countless, countless, countless numbers of people. I would set it to where the night before I would have automatic emails. In the morning. So it would be first thing in their inbox in the Eastern time zone. I was so, so into it, that hand wrote thousands of letters. And so that really during the pandemic, obviously I had extra time to do that, which was amazing.
And I was able to get on the phone with a bunch of people and write down all my notes, my takeaways, and in a lot of areas, get their phone numbers or getting how to be how to get in contact with them to become a graduate assistant after the next year. And so that was really a big key for me because I was able to make those early relationships.
And so at the end of my last year at Iowa, I wasn’t doing that and then saying, oh, I want to be a graduate assistant in three months. I was able to say, okay, we talked back last year, we’ve developed a relationship throughout this year. And then now it’s a much easier conversation starter to be saying, Hey I’m looking for a graduate assistant opportunity.
Would you have any open availability for the next year? And so that was a big key for me was just starting early and doing my work early, similar to what I did during high school. And just I realized that worked during high school, getting into my manager position at Iowa. And then I realized that hopefully that would work again.
And thankfully by the grace of God, it did. And so for me, you know through that whole last year at Iowa, I was doing I wouldn’t say even say networking. I was just trying to build relationships. I was trying to get to know people, get to know the industry, get to know how you even get it grad assistant job.
and I didn’t realize this, but there are so few of these graduate assistant positions, which is why I’m so blessed and which is why I feel so lucky to be in the position I am. Because I realize how hard it is. And so no doing my work early was in hindsight, such a great, such a great decision and really helped propel me to building relationships and really ultimately propelled me to this position.
[00:38:24] Mike Klinzing: What was the relationship that allowed this opportunity to come your way?
[00:38:28] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, so I mentioned him earlier in the podcast, but curse Sphera actually coached with Lon Kruger in, at the university of Florida during the early 1990s, when coach Kruger was there and I talked to coach spear all about just becoming a graduate assistant and what programs would be great.
And his first mentioned was to go to coach Kruger. And he said you’d love coach Kruger, his style, his faith, his family, his values and all that. And so. Originally got in contact with will Saxon, who was the former video coordinator here at Oklahoma with coach Kruger. He’s now at UNLV with coach Kruger, son, Kevin Krueger and had been talking to him all through last year was all starting to the director of operations here, Mike Shepherd who coached bureau back at Iowa, new as well from Florida and was just talking to them all throughout this year.
And then when coach Kruger retired, I was I was really scared. I was anxious. I was like, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I built this whole relationship with the previous staff. I’d had a great connection through coach Spira, who I love with coach Kruger. And I was really, I kind of a crux in by my road.
I was like, I thought this was a plan for me. I was. Getting my heart set on. Ooh. Cause I knew they would new, they potentially have a graduate assistant position open. And then thankfully enough with coach Moser and the coaching change happening will, was able to pass on my name to Clayton Custer.
Who’s now the current video coordinator and director of player development here at Oklahoma. And thankfully enough I was able to get in contact with him and begin forming a relationship with him and really trying to display my value to him. I would send him some example work I did at Iowa, sent him a lot of what value I can bring to Oklahoma.
And then really the kicker. And I’m just so grateful for coach McCaffrey for for accepting me and for being able to develop a relationship to me where I was able to go into his office and say, Hey coach, I’m looking to Oklahoma for a graduate assistant job. Would you be willing to reach out to coach moser?
On my behalf and just putting a low recommendation for me and coach McCaffrey goes, I love Porter. I’ll do, I’ll do that. My man was super excited for me. And so him being able to reach out to coach Moser just in a short text and say whatever he said, I don’t even know what he said, but being able, just to reach out to coach Moser.
Yeah. I mean, I guess it turned out to be something good. But for him to be able to reach out to coach Moser on my behalf is a Testament to just him being able to develop a relationship with just a student manager. And I’m just so grateful for coach McCaffrey. Cause he accepted me with open arms.
He invited me to his house on Thanksgiving my freshman year when I had no place to go and we had to stay in town cause we had a game inviting me over for Christmas for always involved me and took me really under, under his wing as a son. And so I’m super grateful for coach McCaffrey and ultimately I really the reason I’m here at OU a lot of it towards him.
[00:41:29] Mike Klinzing: Did you have to go through an interview process?
[00:41:30] Dylan Mihalke: Less of an interview process then for Iowa? Just cause I did a lot of phone calls with Clinton Custer and so he really got to know me. And then obviously we’ll Saxon from the previous staff was able to put in a good word for me as well.
And then coach McCaffrey, being able to talk to coach Moser was a big part of it as well.
[00:41:51] Mike Klinzing: What was different or what’s been different about the two programs? Is there something that stands out in terms of approach? Just the way that they handle things with the staff, with the players? What’s the big what’s what’s a difference that you noticed?
[00:42:06] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no great question. I think it’s funny because a lot of it is very similar with regards to the general operations the golf outings, the football weekends, the travel itineraries. A lot of that is very similar, which is again, why I’m super blessed. I was able to get the experience.
I did an Iowa one big difference is the staff here. And the assistant coaches specifically are much younger than our staff at Iowa. I, I think we were, I don’t know this for a fact, so don’t quote me on, but I think we were pretty much the only staff in the country where all three of our assistants had been division one head coaches at a time.
And so it was a much older staff. They’re a much kind of different vibe. And here we have three amazing younger assistants who are just tremendous with the players and who bring a lot of just very vibrant energy every day to the office. And so that’s one major difference I’ve learned and also just generally.
And this is probably true in a lot of programs, but coach Moser and our staff being the first year here. It’s a lot different in workouts in the summer, it’s a lot different in practices, even in the fall is just, you’re we have this slogan here that we’re creating our culture and what I would coach McCaffrey.
He had been there for nine, 10 years at that point. And so his culture was already in place, but here we really have to coach Moser is big on culture and big on emphasizing the values and the standards that our guys and our staff has every day. And so that’s one big difference is just going from being a part of a program that had so much consistency with the staff and here were all new from nine of our players being new to all of our assistant coaches, coach Moser, a lot of our support staff and stuff like that.
And so that’s kind of one major difference that I’ve noticed. And I honestly love it. It’s amazing being in on the ground floor of a program and it’s really, really cool being able to see how Coach Moser build this program up.
[00:44:00] Mike Klinzing: What are some of the things that you see culture wise that coach Moser’s doing to instill those values that you’ve talked about on a day-to-day basis? What are some things you see?
[00:44:10] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, I think one thing that coach Moser really has a great ability in is just to balance accountability and love, and he’s got a big he makes a big emphasis that he likes to hold our players countable because he loves them because he cares for them because he wants the best for them.
And he’s a truth teller. He’ll tell it like it is whether that’s good or bad. And I think our guys really appreciate that because they don’t want a coach. I’ll just say, everything’s great when everything’s not a grid and they don’t want to coach us as everything’s terrible when everything’s great.
And so coach Moser is big on the truth and big on establishing that with. And that’s a really, really strong character trait of him. And I think we also have a culture wall downstairs in our film room and it’s got a bunch of little, you know coach Moser actually took it from coach Magera.
So when he worked with him at St. Louis but it’s got a bunch of kind of two or three or four word phrases that our guys can automatically know what it means on a basketball court. So close to the body, body of body in when the first three steps, all these short little slogans are just really catchy to be honest.
And our guy see them every day and they are able to get them in the game. And that’s something we really glorify in our film sessions and the practices, and then walkthroughs or whatever we’re doing, we really glorify those those culture terms, we call them getting into the game.
[00:45:30] Mike Klinzing: I think those terms and having that shared language is something that we’ve heard from a lot of coaches is so important in terms of their communication. Just in terms of allowing players to understand what’s expected of them. But also when you think about being able to say something quickly, so maybe the first time you have to give a detailed explanation of what that phrase means.
And then after that, you can just use the phrase. And so it cuts down on those long-winded speeches, which all of us coaches like to do, but yet really very valuable for players because as we all know, they tune us out after five or 10 seconds. So if you can just learn to speak in those sound soundbites, that’s, there’s, there’s tremendous value in being able to condense a complex idea or a complex concept down into those simple ideas, whether that’s something on the floor or whether that’s something culture-wise, we’ve heard a lot of coaches talk about doing just that and being able to incorporate that into your program.
I can see where that adds to the growth. When you think about your own role, What you did as a student manager at Iowa, versus what you’re doing now at Oklahoma. Just give people an idea of what are some of the added responsibilities that you’ve taken on as you’ve taken this first step in your career?
[00:46:46] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no, I think obviously the main kind of noticeable difference I would say is just the time spent being a graduate assistant you’re in the office every day and then you have class late at night. And obviously as an undergrad student manager, you’re taking more classes and you’re more involved academically and on campus.
And I was involved in a bunch of other campus groups and campus ministry. I was involved in the honors college I mentioned. And so being a GA, you you you’re in the office from seven to nine, 10:00 PM or whatever, depending on your classes. And so obviously the time spent in the offices kind of the first noticeable difference, but you’re also I’m blessed enough as a GA coach Moser has us in every coaching meeting, every game planning, meeting, every scouting meeting.
And so we’re really leaned on there. And me specifically, our other two GA’s were former players. And so they do a lot of the player development and a lot of the workouts that the assistant coaches and kind of that realm. And then I’m leaned on heavily for all of our analytics, as well as all of our film needs, whether that’s recruiting, whether that’s getting opponent game film or recording games or whatever I’m lean on heavily for that.
And so a lot of the. really are I’m blessed that they allow me to be in on those scouting and game planning meetings and able to have a voice and know what X player shoots off the dribble versus catching shoot versus garden catching shoe versus unguarded catching shoe.
What their finishing percentage at the rim is, what percent they get offensive rebounds, and just really being able to help out there with the analytics is one role that I’ve really dove deep into and one role that I really love and can really really feel like I add value to the coaching staff. And that’s the ultimate goal is just how can I add value every single day?
And that’s one really great way during the season that I’m able to add value is just being able to provide the coaches with a lot of great information with regards to that. And like I said, I’m blessed enough that they allow me to do that and they allow me in every meeting and they allow me to help out in that.
[00:48:52] Mike Klinzing: What does a typical day look like for you? Let’s and I know there probably isn’t any such thing as a typical day. Well, let’s just say it’s the day before a whole game kind of run us through the itinerary of what your schedule might look like on a day before a game?
[00:49:08] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no. One of our players Mo Gibson, he works out every single morning at 6:30 AM.
And so I’m here at 6:15 AM to rebound for him and help him work out on his own time. And he voluntarily comes in early in the morning to get his work done early, so he can do school and rest up before practice. And so I’m in here early with him with a cup of coffee, most likely. And once he finishes up obviously I’ll come back to the office and start to work on.
Really the opponent scout. And by that time I’ll have all the analytics that we run finished. So I’ll be working on whether that’s going back through and clipping practice up from the yesterday and going through the practice stats of yesterday or just doing more independent analytics projects, whether that’s shot charts or lineup stats, or finishing up any other opponent scouting stuff.
And then normally we’ll meet as a staff later in the morning and go over game planning. And so helping out with that and being there, if they need any Nandy film needs, but also need any player, tendencies or player analytic needs. And then small break for lunch and then we’ll normally play in practice.
And then we practice everyday at two and we’ll go through practice when, want me to watch film obviously before practice. And so I’ll help prepare the film that is. any specialty edits that we need, whether that’s showing a team’s offensive, rebound, showing a teams, fast break points, showing a teams off-ball cutting.
And so breaking down those individual film edits that we show our guys and then obviously practice and my main role during practices, I film and code every single practice. And so I’ll be filming. And then once the play ends, I’ll clip that up for the coaches to watch. And then repeat, repeat, repeat.
And then once practice is done, I’ll make sure I am able to put practice on every single coach has computers so they can watch, I upload practice the huddle for the players to watch if they want to go back on their own time and watch practice which a lot of them do. And then after that, we’ll maybe meet a little bit more as a staff just to go over what we wanted to do during the game tomorrow or how we want to approach a shoot around or whatnot.
And then normally. Go to class, go to class after that, or realize that I’m still a student and do my homework or whatnot. And then that’s a typical, typical day in the life. And then that night I’ll probably work on the next opponent and just continue to stay ready, stay ahead, obviously as well. So you don’t have very much to do is what you’re saying.
Nope. Nothing to do, not much at all. And we also, we have to do we make these we go to FedEx and print out these big scouting sheets with all the stats, with all the obviously what’s on the scouting report as well as pictures and all that information, height, weight, whatever for our guys.
And so I’ll make that on there. And then I have to go to FedEx in the morning and put in the order and then go back during lunch and actually pick up the. the 24 by 36 printer sheets. And so that will be a big part of it as well, just to make sure we have all that ready to be able to show the guys in the, before practice
[00:52:14] Mike Klinzing: From an analytics standpoint, without giving away any proprietary secrets, what are one or two things that either you personally, or your staff, what are some things that you spend a lot of time looking at from an analytic standpoint that you feel impacts winning?
[00:52:34] Dylan Mihalke: Great question. I think one thing that we really we really focus on as a staff is just and this is probably especially defensively, but it you’ll arrange your offensively as well. It’s just you’re always having to give up something, you can’t take away everything. And so a lot of our staff meetings revolve around, okay, what are we willing to give up?
Are we willing to give up open threes to non shooters? Are we willing to give them. Maybe extra free throws for the opponents are willing to give up defensive rebounds. Are we willing to give up turnovers? Are we willing to give up offensive rebound? So we have a better transition defense. And so analytically speaking, a lot of it revolves around that and knowing, okay, if the teams are really good, fast break team, for example, we played Arkansas this last weekend and they are elite in transition.
They on average, almost 17 points per game and transition they’re elite defensive, rebounding, and they’re leading transition. What does that mean for us? We probably shouldn’t send more than two guys to the glass. So we should probably get back in transition when we probably should not go for offensive rebounds.
And so just kind of those little subtle subtle tidbits that a lot of people you try to think, oh, we can be good at everything. A lot of teams are really good at everything to be honest, but there’s always a trade-off. And so that’s one thing that we talk a lot about, and we use a lot of analytics to showcase that analytical, we also use a lot of the lineup stats.
what player combinations are better? What front court combination works, what front core combination doesn’t work well which one will work offensively, which one’s a little worse offensively, but better defensively. And so we’ll look at all that. And then we’ll also really look at shock quality and not just offensively, but more defensively.
Are we willing to give up off the dribble jumpers to one guy, because he’s a really poor off the dribble jump shooter, but catching Judy’s deadly. So what do we have to do? We gotta make him put it on the deck. We gotta make him dribble into a shot. We gotta make him settle for a mid range jumper.
So just kinda. Subtle things we really use on an everyday basis. And it also will play a factor in how we guard ball screens will play a factor in how we guard certain actions that the opponent might run. It also might impact some of the things we run offensively. And so I know it’s a really long-winded answer, but just kind of all those from team player, lineup obviously overall stats as well.
We’ll look at everything.
[00:55:01] Mike Klinzing: It’s amazing. The amount of data that is available to be crunched. And today in today’s in today’s basketball world, it really is incredible. Even if you go back and you’re obviously much, much younger than me, but we go back to even 15 or 20 years ago when none of this stuff was available and just how different it was preparing and understanding what was going on on the floor.
I’m curious with a staff today. And I don’t know if this is something that you’ve seen or not seen, but has there ever been a case that you’ve witnessed where some analytics or some statistics are presented to the coaching staff or there’s something that they’re looking at and it’s maybe not agreeing with their quote I test or they’re go with their gut is telling them versus what the analytics are saying to them.
And there’s been sort of a disagreement between, Hey, this is what the analytics are saying, but I don’t know that I fully trust that because this is what I’m seeing with my eyes. Have you been privy to any conversations along those lines?
[00:56:11] Dylan Mihalke: Yes. I would say to some extent, for sure. A lot of times that probably will happen later in the year.
Just due to the fact that once we begin to deeper into conference play and teams have played 20, 25, 30 games. A lot of times it’s just frankly hard to, for the scout coach to go back and watch all 30 games or all 25 games. And so but obviously the analytics go back to the start of the year.
And so that’s where you kind of have to trust it and you have to realize, okay, maybe in the 10 games I’ve watched, he hasn’t made one catch and shoot chop. But before that, he was making 10 out of 10 catching shootouts. And so his percentage might be decent, but he hasn’t made a lot recently, but you have to trust the the retroactive, I guess, or the previous games that you, might’ve not watched with your own eye.
And so I think that’s a big one. But no, there’s been a lot of instances like that. And a lot of times the eye test is always. You know what you directly see. But a lot of times you have to trust the analytics. Cause a lot of times the analytics have no bias, the analytics obviously go through all the games.
The analytics obviously have every situation down pat. And so quite frankly, the analytics are a lot smarter than the human brain. And so you might remember 59 out of 60 plays. Well, the numbers remember all 60 plays. And so no, a lot of times you have to trust it. And a lot of times too that’s on me because I have to be able to develop a rapport with the coaching staff, to where they trust me enough to be able to realize that I’m not lying to them when I say this and I’m not lying to them when I say the analytics say this.
And so a lot of times that’s part of it. And then quite frankly, a big thing I’ve noticed is just and I think one skill that I’m trying to develop every day. How can I present all the analytics, all the numbers, all the stats in the most easy to understand way for the coaching staff and I think that’s one thing that you can show them some fancy document with all these numbers on it, and the graphics might be cool and it might be all color coded and whatever, but if the coaches can’t interpret it and they don’t know what it means, then it’s kind of useless.
And so that’s one thing I’ve really noticed is you can build some fancy template and you can have all this, but if the coaches don’t know what everything means in practicality on the basketball court, then it’s all useless. And so it might look cool to you or to Twitter or whatever. But but that’s one thing I really pride myself on is being able to explain it in a logical and coherent way that the coaches can not only understand, but also implement a new game plan to help us win games.
[00:58:45] Mike Klinzing: How much analytics do you share? The players directly. So are there things that individually that you’re seeing trends maybe with a player statistics that you can share with them to point out either something they’re doing well or something they need to improve on? Is that something that you share with them?
Is that something that you share with the coaching staff and the coaching staff passes that along to them? Or just, what does that process look like?
[00:59:08] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no, I it’s something it’s both the coaches are more than comfortable with me sharing over them. And I have in many cases, but also I’ll tell the coaches scout some stats from our team and then they’ll share it with them.
So I would say it’s a balance of both. with regards to the amount I think it’s got it. You have to really know the player on a personal basis to be able to do it where if you just go in and saying, well, the analytics show, you’re a bad mid-range shooters, so you should stop shooting mid range, then that doesn’t come across the right way.
Gets in the player’s head in a bad way to where they’re now overthinking and that’s the last thing you want. And so I think it just depends on the rapport you have with the player and a lot of it as well as just what what is something that if you see in practice for the last six months, since June, that this players are really, really good at the rim finisher and maybe through we played 10 games, maybe through 10 games, his percentage is just decent.
you should probably trust the six months of prior data that you’ve seen during every single practice and every single workout, you know? And so I think there’s the right balance to it. And then like I’ve said, a bunch of times it comes down to that personal relationship and whether they trust you, whether you trust them, not overthinking, you’re just trying to give them mere information.
And kind of finding that balance is really.
[01:00:27] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, the analytics world is it’s fascinating to me because there’s just so much data that’s available volt from a team standpoint and individual standpoint. And then you start factoring in what you’re looking at with opponents and all these types of things.
And as you said, I’m sure that the key for any coaching staff is to be able to pull out of the numbers. Things that they can understand, things that are meaningful, things that impact winning, because you can throw a bunch of numbers at whoever you want. And even though they may be the right numbers, if somebody is not willing to hear that, or somebody is not willing to understand it, or somebody doesn’t present it in the right way that just having the numbers doesn’t do any good.
It’s what you ultimately end up doing with the numb doing with the numbers that I hear you saying, which makes complete sense to me. When you think about the two head coaches that you’ve had the privilege to work for so far in coach McCaffrey and coach Moser, when you think about what makes. Good head coach.
What makes a successful head coach? Can you point to one or two characteristics that those two guys have shown in the time that you’ve been with them that you think have been the keys to their success? Are there things that you can point to that you’re like, boy, they’re really good at this and this is what helps them to lead them to success?
[01:01:49] Dylan Mihalke: Well I can probably think of a thousand things. I mean, I think, I think obviously they’re both super intelligent when it comes to on the core basketball, schematics game planning, building a program recruiting player development player being able to identify good players were scrape players and being able to recruit and bring the right ones in the program.
that that all goes without saying they’re both two, the most successful head coaches in the entire country. So that goes out saying, but I think the one thing that makes them beyond even great coaches, but just great leaders in general is just their ability to connect with people.
Not just their best player, not just their assistant coaches, not just their director of ops, but everyone I one thing that made coach McCaffery so special is he treated us managers the same way. He treated Luca Garza the same way he treated all of his assistant coaches. And obviously there’s a different relationship between player, coach, player manager coach, coach player manager, whatever.
But he didn’t compromise treating anyone. He make anyone feel inferior. He didn’t make anyone feel superior. He treated everyone with equality and everyone with with fairness and decency. And that really is something that. Really pulling my heart strings and something that I really appreciated from being a manager there.
I came in expecting to be the lowest of the totem pole, not even involved with the program, but just kind of part-time manager. And then I, once I got into it, I realized I, okay, I’m full-time okay. coach McCaffrey really respects me. He really values me. He really nurtured our relationship.
And so that’s one thing that made him special. And coach Moser is the exact same way. he treats us GA’s everyone with equality, everyone with fairness and with kindness. And so I think just being even beyond all the basketball exited and other stuff just being able to treat everyone Treat everyone equal and treat everyone fair and obviously at different relationships with different players and different people on staff, but just the ability to connect with everyone on a personal basis.
It really makes you work harder. quite frankly, if coach McCaffrey treated me if you treated me like, oh, whatever, just a random manager, I probably wouldn’t have worked as hard as I did for him but he was able to treat me with such respect and such love and the same with coach Moser, that it makes you want to work harder for them and makes you want to do your very best for them makes you want to stay up late for them.
Because you just know that they really appreciate you on a one-on-one on a personal level.
[01:04:23] Mike Klinzing: I think that speaks to what you talked about earlier, just in your own life and your own journey of building those relationships with people in all walks of life, with all the different coaches that you reached out to when you knew that you were going to be looking for a job.
And obviously as a head coach, when you build relationships with your staff, your players, with your managers, and then you not only have that, but you also have the greater university community at large to be able to sell your program. And those relationships are such a huge part of what’s ends. What ends up being ultimately your own success, where you are right now in your career.
I want you to give us a piece of advice that you might have for someone let’s say you’re talking to a senior in high school is interested in following the same path that you have. I know we’ve basically talked about in detail, some of the things that maybe you’re going to share right now, but just if you had one or two pieces of advice for somebody who is in high school right now wants to get into college coaching, what would you recommend to them?
What are some things that you might suggest that they do to help get them on the right path?
[01:05:31] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah. I think this is almost me talking to my younger self and kind of thinking back what I would want to hear from someone in my position. I think one thing I would really harp onto them is just really being willing to go anywhere for college.
I think a lot of times, if you you really want to get into coaching and you really want to be a manager, but you go to one school that maybe you have your heart set on one college that maybe they only have maybe the only hiring one manager a year maybe. So I would just really encourage them to, and not make their whole college decision about, oh, where I can be, where can I be a manager?
But I would really encourage them to make that a factor in their decision. If they really want to make this, their life’s work, then really pick a college where you’ve contacted the director of ops. And maybe you already have a relationship and you might have a good chance to be a manager, maybe. Someone early and say, Hey, I really want to do this in college.
is this a spot that I could be a manager is a spot I could try out to? What do you think my chances would be? So that’s one piece of advice I would give. And again, my college decision, I didn’t have any guarantee that I’d be a manager at Iowa. All I had was a prior existing relationship with a couple of people on staff and the head manager.
And I said my prayers and I committed Iowa. But I think a lot of times you have to go out on the limb and you have to take a chance. And so I would, that would be one piece of advice I would give them is just not to pigeonhole them and a college or university that might not have a basketball program with a lot of manager.
Maybe they have one manager or whatever. So I have one piece of advice. And then just, secondly, I’d really tell them just to really have a mindset in this. I’m trying to remind myself of this every single day I live. no task is ever too big, no task ever is too small and just be really being willing to do anything.
And I know that sounds really cliche and a lot of managers say that, but to be actually do it is a whole different animal. And so that’s an approach I had every single day and it’s a constant reminder to myself. Even as a GA, even when I’m a coach one day just to remind yourself that I, no task is too small, no task is too big.
And just being willing to take out the trash, being willing to wipe up or being willing to rebound at midnight, being willing to stay up till 2:00 AM, cutting film, whatever that is being willing to really make those sacrifices for what you want. And ultimately, coach Moser has got a great expression where he always says you achieve what you emphasize.
And if you emphasize your coaching career, if you emphasize your really your passion and basketball, then you’ll achieve it. If you emphasize. partying going out on weekends, hanging with friends, then you might not achieve what you ultimately hope for in college coaching and that’s fine, but you really achieve what you emphasize.
And during my years in college, I really emphasized my manager experience. I really emphasized building relationships. I really emphasized being really getting good at all the video stuff. I really emphasized being there for the players and I really, I thank God that I achieved it, but a lot of it comes through hard work and a lot of it comes through what you placed an emphasis on.
And so that’d be my biggest advice is just, if you really want to make this useful this year, if you want to make this, your life’s work and you want to get in the industry and hopefully get a grad assistance bot one day, then you need to emphasize it during your undergrad career, which a lot of people don’t do and that’s fine and that’s fine, but they might not get to where they ultimately want to because they didn’t emphasize it well said.
[01:09:01] Mike Klinzing: All right, I want to wrap it up. One final question. And I want you to look ahead five years from now, 10 years from now, somewhere down the road, where do you see yourself ending up? I’m not asking you to pick out your specific school and what you’re going to do, but just sort of, what is you, what do you envision as your career path and then what are some steps that you maybe feel like you need to take in order to get there?
[01:09:24] Dylan Mihalke: Yeah, no great question. I think my dream ultimately is to be a head coach one day. I think for me in the short term I really want to focus on putting myself in the best position to be a video coordinator or a director of scouting, analytics, whatever whatever that title might be.
Just really bone up on my skill sets in those areas and put myself in a position to where next year, once I get my masters and I graduate from grad school, I’m able to whether that’s here at OU Iowa, wherever that I’m in a good enough position. obviously relationship wise with people around the country, but also technically wise where I’m capable of doing the job.
I really want to put myself in that best position to do that. and then hopefully go from there to being an assistant coach somewhere and working with the head coach that I really believe in working with a head coach that I have a great relationship with. And being with a head coach that I really trust to be able to build something to where hopefully you just continue to build whatever program you’re at and one other piece of advice that I give myself every day, but I would also give to any young person who wants to get into college coaching and just working within college basketball.
It’s just the focus at the job they’re at now, whether that’s me back at Iowa or me at Ohio today, just if you focus on the present and you focus on the job you have, then the future will take care of itself and the. wherever you’re going to be adding two years, three years, whatever, that’ll all take care of itself.
If you don’t focus on the present and you’re always looking towards the future, then you’re going to look down and realize that you didn’t have the record. You wanted to, to be able to make that next step. You didn’t do. you create the relationships where you’re at now to be able to make that next step.
And so that’s one thing I keep reminding myself as just to be in the present focus on this year at Oklahoma and make this the best year at Oklahoma and then the future will take care of itself. And our staff here at Oklahoma helped me in the future because I put such good work in, in the present.
And so that’s something that I really continue to just harp on and continue to remind myself every day is to be where my feet are and really bloom where I’m planted,
[01:11:32] Mike Klinzing: As you’ve said, that is much easier said than done. For sure. There is no question about that. I will say that you have had the opportunity to work for.
Two extremely successful head coaches. And I’m sure that the lessons that you’ve been absorbing over this beginning part of your career are going to eventually pay off and lead you to the things that you want to get to. We cannot. Thank you, Dylan enough for taking the time out of your schedule, adding to your typical day of basketball or keeping you up late and making you a part of the boar, thankful that you took the time to join us.
I think there was a lot of great insight that you shared, especially for young coaches who are part of our audience. I think there’s a lot of valuable lessons that they can take away from what you shared. So again, thank you and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.