Kevin McNamara

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Twitter – @MacBasketballUA

Kevin McNamara is the Girls’ Basketball Head Coach at Trinity High School in Cleveland, Ohio.  He has led the Lady Trojans to 106 wins during his 7 seasons at Trinity.  Kevin is also the Director of MAC Basketball, an AAU Club based in Cleveland.  Over 150 girls have gone on to play at the college level after competing for MAC Basketball. Kevin has been selected to coach in All American camps for both Under Armour and Adidas. After starting 20 years ago with just girls’ teams, this recently completed AAU season saw MaC Basketball field over 50 boys and girls teams.

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Grab your notebook and pen as you listen to this episode with Kevin McNamara, Grirls’ Basketball Head Coach at Trinity High School and the Director of MAC Basketball. 

What We Discuss with Kevin McNamara

  • How coaching his daughter got him started in AAU Basketball
  • Raising money for charity through Mac Basketball
  • Have the worst player on the team have the same experience as the best player on the team
  • Helping kids and families with the cost of AAU Basketball
  • To be great, you have to do something great
  • “Never confuse confidence with cockiness”
  • The story of how he quit drinking
  • Why he values the relationships he’s built with his players more than anything
  • “My job as a coach is to love my players. My players’ job is to love each other.”
  • His path to coaching high school girls’ basketball
  • The amount of time he spends throughout the year and a closer look at his basketball calendar
  • Why he believes girls should spend more time on speed/strength and less time with their basketball trainer
  • Practice planning
  • How he built Mac Basketball with great coaches that he can trust
  • Making sure every player feels like they got their money’s worth playing Mac Basketball AAU
  • “It’s not up to me who gets a scholarship. My job as a guy is to set the table. Your kid’s job is to eat.”
  • “The moments are what it’s all about.”
  • Building relationships with college coaches
  • Aligning expectations and experience

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here maybe with maybe without my co-host Jason Sunkle. I’m not sure whether Jason’s kids are going to allow him to jump out with us tonight, but nonetheless, I am pleased to be joined by Kevin McNamara, the girls varsity basketball coach at Trinity high school and the founder of Mac Basketball AAU, Kevin, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

[00:00:20] Kevin McNamara: Oh, thanks Mike. Appreciate it.

[00:00:24] Mike Klinzing: Excited to be able to have you on want to dive into all the things that you’ve been able to do in your basketball career. Let’s start by going back in time to when you were a kid. Tell me a little bit about your first experiences with the game.

[00:00:34] Kevin McNamara: Well, my first experience with the game really became as a fan of the game itself. I was one of those guys in grade school and high school who truly, wasn’t a very good basketball player. I was the rebounder screener guy on the floor. Take charges. I wasn’t very skilled, but I, I found myself being useful as doing all the little things that were necessary to help the team aspect of the game.

So I, you know, growing up and as a, as a younger kid in north homestead, went to St. Richards grade school and really because of some great leadership and some youth coaches that I had really found the Xs and OS part of sports is what I enjoyed in football, basketball, and baseball. I was, like I said, I was an average high school basketball player.

You know, got varsity minutes here and there spot that role player kind of guy knew my role accepted it and really embraced. And I, and I think that that’s really helped me carry on as a coach somewhat pulling for the underdog, somewhat pulling for the kid who is valuable to the team without having it appear in the paper, in the box score.

The culture side of sports is you know, is king in my world. And it’s something that I professed to teach. So along through I got involved really in coaching early 2000. When my daughter, Brittany, who is now the head girls coach at mid view high school you know, was like in fourth grade, third grade.

And she was at holy Trinity and Avon. They needed a coach. I jumped in she wanted to play more. I, I jumped in to try to find her some extra time in an AAU world. We put an ad in the newspaper when she was in fifth grade in lore county in the Chronicle telegram 42 42 girls showed up. And I was like, oh my God, that’s, that’s pretty good, man.

Seriously, man. Oh, it was awesome. I was weighing over my head already. and you know, man, we thought we were the bomb. We thought we were, we walked into our first game and we got just whacked by you like 40. And I thought, oh my gosh, I, I don’t have a clue of what I’m doing. Right. There’s a whole other world of basketball that I found now for me, the greatest part of growing and developing that group was when they were turned in seventh grade, we ended up beating that same team who beat us by 40 and, and really that’s the Xs and OS in the player development part of it.

And and what I fell in love with. And, and as a dad you know, what I thought was important in the early two thousands and what’s important today in 2022 is so past what, what I, what I had thought was that what it was, and so much more. About the, the relationships the development of the mind, and really just especially on the girls side, getting kids to believe in themselves and, and more importantly, that you believe in them.

So how did

[00:03:24] Mike Klinzing: you shift that? Obviously you start to see it as you’re going through the years and you’re gaining more experience with going through the process with your daughter and with the teams that you were coaching and that you were involved in, but how did you start to actually take that from? Hmm, I think something’s going on here and I have to focus more on the culture piece.

I have to make sure that my teams are together. How did that shift the way that you approach whether it was practices, whether it was the team dynamics of how you put it together? Just what changed for you from those first couple years to kind of where you are now?

[00:03:58] Kevin McNamara: Yeah. I think that a lot, a lot of it has to do with who I tried to listen to you know, as parents, we always tell our kids.

You know, listen, listen, don’t, you’re not hear, you might hear me, but you’re not listening to what I’m saying. And I think that once I started to listen to people and there are certain people who in basketball over the course of the last X years, and I still to this day, enjoy going to a game, sitting behind a bench that I really have no care about who wins.

Maybe I have kids on both teams and I love listening to the coaches of what they say in timeouts and what the strategy is. And then I could kind of go, all right, I like that. Right. Or interesting. But for me it was always a player or people I’ll tell you something. That was really interesting. When Britney’s team and that’s who we had when they were in, like, I don’t know, eighth or ninth grade, we there’s a group of parents.

They said, Hey, we want to go outta town. And we just decided, okay, we, we went to Las Vegas and we went out to Vegas and we played and It was really a great experience because for me, you know, the games were, you know, it was no big deal, but it was fun trip, but I was sitting in a gym and I just found myself going to watch games.

And as I’m sitting there in a gym, I noticed this a man and his wife and they were watching their daughter. And his name was Wayne tinkle. Yeah. Wayne was, I’m going to tell you, I’m going to tell you a

[00:05:19] Mike Klinzing: story about Wayne tinkle in a second.

[00:05:20] Kevin McNamara: So finish yours. Okay, cool. So I’m sitting there and I start talking to who, I didn’t know who he was.

Right. And we’re just going over and I’m watching the game. And his oldest daughter was on the court who ended up going to Stanford. And his younger daughter who ended up going to Gonzaga was sitting next to him in the stands and his son who ended up playing in Montana. They were all there. Right? Well, I didn’t know this until years later obviously where they ended up, but as I was talking to Wayne, we probably sat there for three hours and he pulled out a dry erase board.

We talked about what was going on in the court. We talked about his experience as a college coach and as a, as a player and his develop. And man, I soaked that three hours in. He gave me his card and probably once a year I hear from him. That’s very

[00:06:05] Mike Klinzing: cool. And that’s what, that’s what basketball’s all about, right?

I mean, great community, the connection, the connections, and how close knit it is and how easily you can be connected from one person to the next. That’s been one of the things with the podcast that has been really unbelievable. It’s honestly, probably been our best way of finding guests is when we get done talking to somebody, we just say, Hey, is there anybody else in your Rolodex that you think might be interested in jumping on and would be a great guest?

And inevitably everybody who comes on ends up sending me 2, 3, 4 names of guys or coaches that would be that they recommend, and then you end up connecting with them and it’s like, man, these guys are all just, you just see how willing everybody has to share. Yeah. That’s just a really, I mean, that’s a really cool piece of it.

So my Wayne tinkle story when I was at Kent and I was playing, he was playing. I’m pretty sure it was. An athletes, an action team that we scrimmaged against one preseason and my roommate who this must have been, my must have been my sophomore year. My roommate was not a basketball player. And so he would come to a lot of the games and he happened to be at that game.

And for some reason, obviously the name Wayne tinkle kind of has, you know, it’s, it’s a little bit of a, it’s a little bit, kind of a funny name. So my roommate, right. Sort of gravitated toward man. I can’t believe you guys were playing against Wayne tinkle. And then for a long time, Wayne tinkle kind of disappears off the radar.

After college. And then he comes back and gets a higher profile coaching job. And my roommate, even over the course of the last 30 years, there’ll always be some reference he’ll, he’ll bring up and he’ll be like, Hey man, Wayne tinkle. And you’re just, , it’s just, I, I don’t even know, like, obviously, I don’t know, Wayne in any way, shape or form sure.

On personal level, but just, it’s a story that keeps kind of recirculating from way back, whatever it is, 30, 30, 2 years ago, now that I played against him. And just, it’s just the

[00:07:55] Kevin McNamara: name that stuck. Yeah. Right with me and my roommate. Right? Yeah. Yeah. But’s hilarious. It was, he was the one, one of the most engaging, you know guys who were out there, we had conversations about recruiting and the things I should and shouldn’t do.

And he ended up coming to watch one of our games and on that team that Britney had. And that was our, that was the first team I really developed, you know, from, let’s say most of those kids to seventh through high school, there ended up out of the nine girls. All nine of them played in college. And seven of them went division.

One, one of the girls was top 40 in America. Now, again, I didn’t have anything to do with that. She was six foot, three and crazy athletic and right. It didn’t have nothing to do with what I taught her. But and he watched the game and he’s like, man, you got something here. And I was excited to hear from him.

And like I said, it’s just always been one of those people who it was funny, but yeah, Wayne Tinker’s name, it’s obviously something you don’t hear every day. And you know, it kind of sticks out a little bit. So


[00:08:53] Mike Klinzing: back to your daughter’s team, when, when does it transition from I’m coaching? My daughter’s team and we’re getting in the AAU scene to, Hey, I want to start putting together an actual AAU organization and start to create more teams and really start to put together what has become now.

One of the premier organizations here in this area in Cleveland.

[00:09:17] Kevin McNamara: Oh, thank you. Yeah. I think, you know, for me, it’s you know, what had happened was. I, I found a passion for doing it. And I think it translated to people who saw what I was doing. And then it just became a, a grade above and a grade below, and then another team in that age group.

And then, you know, went from, well, two teams to four teams, and then I was always in the girls side and then it, you know, and then after X amount of time let’s say, you know, 10 years or so it then, you know, my sons were playing and what do I do with them? And you know, it’s just all a sudden, and then this year we had, you know, 53 teams and I’m, I’m real lucky to have a boys’ director in Izzy, Santiago who, whose name is golden in, in basketball as not only one of the top players ever, you know, get on court in Cleveland, but as a, a Serta, a fighter re who’s college you know, official and, and done high school state championship games.

You know, so I’ve been real lucky to make sure we, you know, you align yourself the right way. To me, it’s, it’s all about, you know, involving yourself with good people. You, everybody gets a, you know, this perception of who people are until you really get to know ’em and there’s nothing more important to me than, you know, people hearing my story of, you know, I, I’m certainly not a bragger when it comes to it.

I tell the first thing I tell about, look, I wasn’t any good at basketball. I, I love the game, right. And if you love the game and you have a passion for it, you know, people find that and they believe in it and they see it. And then when they’re not a part of what you’re doing, they almost want to condemn it, condemn it at some point, because either they wish they were a part of it, or, you know, for some reason they think that they didn’t belong or they weren’t invited in.

And it’s just never like that. As the time grew and we became to get more and more popular with teams, it just kind of took a grassroots effort. I’m I’m not a guy who goes to games and sits in the stands and hands out cards. You’re never going to see me walk up to a little boy or a girl or, or a high school kid.

And Hey, where do you play? Where’s your mom. It’s, I’ve never, once. It’s not what I do. And I want, you know, people like we built this grassroot grassroots to continue to build that way and, and, and stay that way. Because I think that that part of what we do is unique and it, it has led and kind of helped our development and growth as a club.

And the respect that comes along with it, culture is king. And I want to make sure that, you know, the Mo you know, don’t get me wrong. This is a business, but man, you you’ll see me. I, I think I probably raise more money for kids in this area and for local charities than any club around and would challenge anybody to think it because we put 10, at least $10,000.

Back into our club this year for kids who either couldn’t travel, we’re helping with travel, we’re helping ’em with, you know, fees, we’re helping ’em with whatever it is. And you know, we’re not publicly Laing that or putting that out there because we’re doing this. We want to do, we’re not looking for the pat on the back.

[00:12:12] Mike Klinzing: Talk about some of the things you do, just so people have an idea of how you’re going about raising that money and just what the process

[00:12:18] Kevin McNamara: is. So when I train during the off season and you know, when I find those windows and a lot of times we’ll do a lot of group training things you laugh, I take an old shoebox and I, and I wrap it in duct duct tape, and I put a little slit in the top of it.

And every time somebody comes and trains with me, after I pay the gym bill, I put 100% of that money in a shoebox. And in, in March, when we’re going to get ready to play, I open up that shoebox and every nickel that goes in there, it gets allocated into a, a fund for people who need. And 100% of it every year has gone to that.

And typically it turns out to be, gosh, let me thousands of dollars by the time it’s said and done you know, it’s really, really important for me to make sure, because again, I grew up one of nine, the oldest of nine, my dad was one of 15. I didn’t have a nickel to my name. I tell kids about, you know, I was in welfare lines and we got food stamps in the seventies.

And you went to special stores with special, funny money in booklets to get Mac and cheese. I didn’t, you know, I didn’t go to college. I never graduated college. I was a little bit of a troublemaker in high school and. Played sports and thought that, you know, that was the epitome of life. And really never had any guidance or leader.

I had great parents, but they were just, you know, they were never again led themselves. And so I found myself that how can I continue to give back? Because I was that kid that parents had to pay for. Right. I, I, I, I, I know coaches bought me dinners and paid for my little league and paid for my basketball.

I’ve had coaches buy me shoes, you know, when I worked at, when I went to school, see at Richards I was an altar boy in the pre bought me a bike, because I didn’t have one. And you know, and again, no fault to my mom and dad who I love dearly. It’s just, you know, part of the way that I was raised and I grew up and it’s just the way it goes through life.

And so for me, it’s okay if training, if my work can help someone else. And I don’t know who that is, I don’t care who it is. And they need, they truly need the help that I want to be able to afford to do that for them. Every year, our tournament, the north coast cup I take money outta the registration.

We don’t ask any parents for any money, all the money that’s outta the registration, because that’s a Mac basketball tournament. 25 bucks from every team goes towards a local charity this year. We ended up raising over $5,000 for Katie McNally. Katie McNally played for me in 2012. She graduated from down in Ohio state.

She ended up playing college basketball in lake Erie for a couple years. state Katie at 28 years old, found out she had leukemia and a, and a severe blood disorder and she went into chemotherapy and had to have a blown marrow transplant. And she’s. Fighting for her life. And insurance dropped her.

So we ended up raising the money. We, we gave her dad and one of her sisters, the check for, I think it was $5,300 this year that went just, just to Kate to help her out the year before we raised money for oh, rock which is ovarian cancer, outrun, ovarian cancer. One of our moms got sick. The girls play on our team.

We felt that it was something that we could teach our kids what’s going on in, in their life. The, you know, ovarian cancer’s a, a female centric disease. So what better way for us to raise some money in a female group than, and to help teach ’em about it. At the same time, Katie McNally was a girl just like them.

She played basketball and wore the same uniform for me. And if we have avenues in which we could help other people. You know, it’s just something at home that, you know, I’m built on. I believe in giving everything we can back to whoever we can and laying that principal and foundation, if it clicks in one person’s mind and one kid kind of turns their head or is proud to be in that moment when we’re given the checkout, man, that’s, that’s why this is what it’s about for me.

I, I, I appreciate the business side of it. I appreciate, you know, basketball in a whole, the relationships and the opportunities is what I never knew was going to be the greatest payoffs in life for me.

[00:16:28] Mike Klinzing: How do you think about this is something that we just did an interview right before we talked to you. We talked to Brian Litvack, who’s the CEO and founder of league apps and they do like management software for yep.

Different organizations and Brian and I started talking about just kind of how youth sports has changed from when you were a kid. When I was a kid where. You just went out and you played on the playground or you played on your driveway or you were playing in the neighborhood with kids and you didn’t have the travel basketball.

You didn’t have the AAU basketball that you and I are a part of today. And it also though has led to a situation where it’s kind of goes to what you were just describing, where you have the accessibility issue, where kids who are less economically advantaged sometimes get phased out because they just can’t afford to be able to do some of the travel.

And some of the things that lots of kids who are from the suburbs or who are a little bit better off have an opportunity to do. So, I’m just curious to get your thoughts on just the way basketball has shifted in terms of the system that we have today and how maybe we have to make sure and be conscious of the fact that we bring all kids along with us.

And we don’t just leave some behind, which I know is a really difficult problem to try to figure out the answer to.

[00:17:43] Kevin McNamara: Yeah, I think it starts at the top. You know, I think it starts with whoever is the creative director and the leader of your program. Right. I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure I insert that Izzy.

And I make sure we know that we are putting kids first and one identifying them. Right. That could also be difficult because you know, how do you know? Right. I mean, I, I had a loving mother, right. And I was with her, but you wouldn’t have known, we didn’t have anything because I wasn’t a miserable child.

You know, I didn’t, you know, act out, I didn’t have rip clothes, but again, we were a welfare family. And so it’s identifying, but as a leader and if you’re in new sports and I guess part of me is I can’t believe that everybody doesn’t think this way, but I’m not naive not to believe that. But you know, I see all these guys go out there and, you know, Hey, I’m going to give back to my community.

I’m going to do this. This is for the kids. Man. They’re the ones that are full of crap, right? These are the guys who aren’t really looking out for anything more than maybe them coaching their son with a good group of basketball players or, you know, them going out there and trying to raise their own profile or whatever they need to do.

You know, I always say, man, man, give back to those players. So people look and say, Hey, you know, it’s, it’s expensive to play AE. Well, yeah, you and I both know it. Right, right. There’s a lot of court time that comes in there’s uniform. You’ve have to pay the coaches when you travel in our club, you’re paying for the coach’s expenses, because he is a hired employee of the club.

At that point, you know, we’re trying to cover insurance has gone up through the roof because we have to cover our coaches and the players and liability across the board. And so there’s all these little intangibles that get in there and people are like, you know, well, how do you manage that? And how do you know?

Who’s the ones you should be able to help? That’s the hardest thing. Identifying finding out, having conversations, getting to know people. I just think it’s where we’re different. I think we’ve created a niche of, of, of finding out and having these heartfelt relationships. I hear all the time from kids who go coach Mac.

I didn’t play for you in AAU, but I hear more from you or I see you more often. And you talk to me more than my AAU coach did when I played for him. and I’m like, yep. I hear that. I heard that. I’ve heard that from college coaches, Matt, you work out my girls and I appreciate it. Right. And you know why?

Because you have to want to do it. Right. And, but isn’t that the role of a parent, of, of an administrator in new sports that, you know, I, I, I learned a lesson a long time ago when I, when I first had met Mike elder at Avon and an elder’s role, which I didn’t see it at the time, but I co totally understand it afterwards.

He wanted to have the worst player on his team have the same experience as the best player on the team. And I always thought that to be no way you can’t do that, it’s just, it’s just in no way, it’s just, it’s impossible to happen. But I understand it right, because you want, it may not be in playing time.

It may not be in you know, on the field or on the court. But if they feel like they’re a part of it, then that’s a big thing. So if we’re getting to know these kids you’ll know who needs the help. And then as I have my coaches have conversations with them to identify, and then I’ll call them personally off the record without anybody knowing and say, Hey, you know, look I get, you’re having a problem here.

Let’s figure it out.

[00:21:15] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, it’s a great point. And I think that. By putting kids first. That’s what it always comes back to, to me is, look, you’ve said it a couple times and I run a basketball organization and run camps, and there’s certainly a business aspect to it. Right? As you said, there’s expenses.

There’s things that, you know, you’re, you’re in it to be able to, to run your business and be able to make some money as a part of that. But I think ultimately what it comes down to is that if what you’re doing is for the benefit of the kids and you, so you sort of frame all your decisions as to, what’s going to be the best for this player, this kid, this family, then that’s where I think you get that intersection where everything makes sense and where everybody’s got rolling that boat in the same direction, because you have the kids best interested, hard.

And just like you, we’ve all seen that underside of organizations, people who have. A different agenda, who their agenda is about. Just I’m going to lie in my pockets as much as I can, as often as I can. And if you align with what I’m trying to do great, but if you don’t, then I’m just going in another direction and I’m not sure that I really care about you or your interests.

And that’s where I think it’s been something that when I look at in full disclosure here, my son has played with Kevin this year for the first time with his organization. And he’s mentioned coach Izzy a couple times, and my son’s just had a tremendous experience, thus four thus far, we’ve got a couple more tournaments to go here in July, but it’s just really been something that has been a tremendously positive experience for him.

And to me again, that’s what it’s all about is you want it to be a positive experience for your kid. And so I, I definitely, when I’m listening to you talk and I hear about the things that you’ve done and that you’re continuing to do, those are all things that. Attracted me to what you were trying to accomplish.

And, and that’s really, again, I think you’re doing it

[00:23:11] Kevin McNamara: the right way. Thank you. Yeah. It’s a, and you know what, it’s, it’s a, it’s an effort, right? You have to want to be able to do it. I, and I appreciate you seeing it because sometimes it goes unnoticed and you know what, that’s part of it as well. And you know, again, that’s we’re, that’s not what we’re looking for.

Right? We don’t, I don’t want anyone to know the kid that we’re helping. Right, right. That’s I I’m cool with that. That’s that’s not what it’s about, but yeah, no, you got, you hit the nail on the head. Thank you very much.

[00:23:37] Mike Klinzing: What’s been, when you look back over the growth of your organization, if you could point to one, maybe two things that have been the biggest challenge to getting it to where you are today, what would those challenges be when you think back?

[00:23:52] Kevin McNamara: Oh gosh, I think the you know, you have to, you know, when, when I first got it in, I started making waves. People started aligning themselves to try to push me out. You. And right. And big boys, the big, big boys didn’t like it, man understood, understood. And so, you know, they, they tried to align and you know, they couldn’t do it.

And for me I’ve always built everything I’ve done in my life after a certain point about networking and aligning people who, you know, you really believe in, and sometimes I’ve gotten burned. Of course don’t get me wrong, but I believe the character matters. And, and when you, you can build yourself around those types of people, you win with people.

And I kind of had to, you know, fight it off and struggle and kind of, but I had people who believed in me in what I was doing and we had to overcome it, you know? So it’s a, a lot of the, you know, oh, he’s never done it before. He’s never had a kid before. Well, You know, now almost 20 years into it. I have over 200 kids, girls who played in college basketball.

You know, we started on the boys a couple years ago and proud to say that we’ve had, you know, almost, I know it’s a minimal amount in the big scope of things, but we’ve gotten our first 10 to 12 kids and boys basketball. Obviously your son and the rest of these classes in high school, where is he’s doing an unbelievable job and there’s that number’s going to increase significantly.

You know, but you know, you kinda have to fight through it, weigh the water and get lucky, get lucky that people believe in you. And you know, it’s really, you know what I did. I, and, and again, there’s many factors that go into that, but, you know, as a person, you go through your bone personal trauma that makes you change the way you are.

And, and for me, I had to go through, you know, things in life that made me appreciate people and things that I had more importantly, for sure.

[00:25:44] Mike Klinzing: If you had to point to one or two people along the way that you feel have been. The most instrumental in helping you have the success that you’ve had, who comes to mind immediately,

[00:25:56] Kevin McNamara: you know, I mean, I’m going to get beat up for it and she’ll love me, but my wife, you know, I have to, you know, how, how my wife, man, you know, I’ve been married 27 years.

I’ve been very lucky. And in those 27 years, you know, it’s, it’s funny, Mike, I, I always tell the girls, I, and I enjoy this. Believe me, it’s just such an awkward, weird feeling. But when I walk in a gym and people whisper, I really love it. I love it because they’re, they’ll go, there’s that guy  he’s so cocky.

Oh. And I say, girls never confuse confidence with cockiness, you know? And, and you know, my wife’s had to put up with that for 27 years. and you know, early on in my marriage and I’ll share this with you that we got married in 95, I think. Yeah. 90. And in 2002, I quit drinking. I made a life changing decision.

One morning. I woke up and I looked myself in the mirror and I decided I’m never going to drink again. And when I walked outta the bathroom, my wife was standing there in our room and she just kind of looked at me and she says, I can’t live with you if you’re going to continue to drink. And I wasn’t one of these guys who was a drunk who was abusive or, you know, it’s just overwhelming because you do make bad choices and, you know, it affected the, what I felt was important.

I think I was spending less time at home. Right. I was working in an industry through the mid nineties, into the early two thousands, I was in the mortgage industry and went through the boom and the bust of it all. And you know, and you know, I come from a, a family in the line of alcoholics and I wasn’t a guy who needed meetings.

I didn’t go to a meeting because, you know, I went, I called my uncle Bob and we went to a meeting one time and I went probably for a couple weeks. And then I’m like, I, I don’t really, this isn’t something that I need to, I know what I need to stay sober. Right. I, what I needed was two things. I needed to look in myself in the mirror and, and be disgusted.

And then I needed to look in my wife and see the disgust in her face. And if I cared about myself and I cared about my family and I cared about my wife, I was going to quit drinking. And I just chose to go. That was it. And ever since then, I’ve never had a drink. I’ve never wanted one. Wow. That’s amazing.

And I was a guy who probably drank a case of night and you wouldn’t have known it. I wouldn’t have it. Doesn’t affect, never affected me. You know, but I also knew that it was a conscious decision of mine because my dad was a drinker and his father was a drinker. I have plenty of family movement, I believe, you know you can, alcoholism is a, a gene that sits in your body and it is hereditary.

You know, and I, and I really, most importantly, made a conscious choice that I wanted to be in my kids’ lives. Be like, I didn’t have that in mind and I wanted to be a better dad. I wanted to be a better husband and I certainly couldn’t do what I’m doing now, if I didn’t make that choice back then you know, so there are different people outside of sports who mean the world to me just, and they don’t even know it because of who they are as people you know, aunts and uncles of mine, who I look up to, I don’t have to talk to, I have a cousin who, who, who actually married my wife’s sister and He’s a great guy and a great dad and lives just in the city next to us.

And you know, I’m really proud of the way he’s led his family. I have a brother Mike, who is one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met in my life and out of my eight brothers and sisters. If you asked all of us, who’s your favorite brother? Everybody would say, Mike, Mike’s humble. He’s a multimillionaire.

He’s, he’s humble. He’s a great father. He’s a great husband. He’s a great brother. He’s a great son. And you know, I think for me more importantly, isn’t the people who I look up to. I think it’s the people who I don’t want to let down and I don’t struggle with not drinking. I struggle with being a good person.

And I mean, that is I learned later because of a lack of leadership in my life that I had made mistakes that I was luckily to overcome. and had some tragic things happen to me, which people when I tell them my story, they’re blown away and they look at me like that is an absolute movie. And I’m like, well, you only heard probably a quarter of it.

And so it’s more the people Mike that I don’t want to let down. And now it’s turned into be, there’s a, there’s a group of many people who represent my brand that I don’t want to let down because, you know, it’s, what’s allowed my family to have some success and allowed me to have a greater chance in life.

[00:30:42] Mike Klinzing: Those influencers that we all have in our life, I think are so important. And clearly you mentioned your wife as that first person, the driving force. I think we’ve talked to so many coaches that have talked about either a, my wife has been. Unbelievably supportive and understands kind of what it means to be a coach’s wife.

And then at the same time, you also have coaches, I think who we’ve talked to that have regrets sort of about the way that they approach their job and their relationship with basketball and how that impacted their family. And it’s something that, you know, as a guy, who’s coaching at the high school level and doing all the things you’re doing on the AAU side of it, that the amount of time that it takes to invest in the kids, like you talked about to invest in what you’re doing it, the amount of time that that takes is just, I don’t think the average person understands what that’s, what that’s all about.

I just don’t think people understand how much time you’re putting in to do all the things that you do. And you better have a supportive spouse. That’s going to enable you to be able to do. Those kinds of things, because if you don’t have a supportive spouse, it, it gets really, really difficult, really fast.

And if your home life’s not in order, we all know that that, that adds a whole nother level of stress that I don’t think again, people don’t people take that for granted.

[00:32:10] Kevin McNamara: Yeah. You carry that weight, right? I mean, for sure. I look at it this way, I’m 54 years old. I’ve grown up on the, the west side of Cleveland.

You know, my, my family’s enormous just not only in mine, but I’m the oldest of 70 some first cousins on my dad’s side, you know? So the McNamara out here is, is something that’s you know, very popular when you run into people. You know, my wife always laughs God, everywhere we go. When we first got married, cause everybody, you know, everybody , you know, so for me, it’s you you’re a thousand percent, right.

But when you have, you know, there’s certain people and you know it too, as a player that. You know, you looked up to, if it was a coach. I, my, my, one of the guys who there’s two men early on in my life guy named Pat Mahoney and another guy named Bob Jabo and they were baseball coaches for me when I was growing up in north homestead.

And they just cared for me. Right. And you know, my dad wasn’t around much and these two guys took it a role and they did more for me than, you know, than they should have, you know, and they, they had a burden to feel like they were helping, you know, guide and raise me. And one of the real regrets and, and disappointments in my life is I, I never got to tell ’em before they passed, how, how much I really loved and appreciated ’em and and it, and I think about it weekly.

I think about those two guys. Just because you know, now I’m a dad of five and I just became a grandfather and, you know, I’m watching the successes my kids had. And, but, you know, it’s because of guys like them coaches mean a lot more and you and I both know it than just showing up and, and being at games and you’re right, the amount of time that I put into everything else.

And I put as much time into high school as I do AAU and, and, you know, darn well that at a private school, I, I’m not making any money in a high school thing. so not, not, you’re

[00:33:58] Mike Klinzing: not, you’re not putting that money in the bank role

[00:33:59] Kevin McNamara:. Come on. No, man, I don’t know. The time you get done buying lunches, dinners donuts in the morning, nickel an hour.

Are you at, are you at you think, you think you’re at a nickel an hour? It could be good. The people at Trinity are, are some pretty wonderful people, but you know, I understand where my role is in the, in the, the, the the line of who gets paid there. Trust me.

[00:34:19] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. I completely understand that. It’s, it’s funny when you start thinking about again, that time that you have to put in and how valuable that time is with your family, how valuable that time is to the kids that you’re coaching. And, you know, you talked about the two baseball coaches that guys that had an impact on you, and you never really got a chance to say thank you to ’em. And one of the things that I always think about when it comes to myself, both as a player and then as a coach, is that there’s things that I can still remember.

That coaches that I had at every level, there’s still things that I remember that they said to me, some things were basketball related. Some things were life related, and I’m a hundred percent convinced that if I went back and asked those coaches, Hey, what about, what about this? Do you remember when you said this to me?

I’m sure those coaches have no recollection whatsoever. Right? Of saying the things that here we are, I haven’t been a basketball player for 30 years and I can still remember. those quotes, those things that had an impact on me. And so then you flip that around and it makes you think about as a coach or as a teacher, what you say to kids and how careful you have to be and how thoughtful you have to be about the things that you say to ’em because you know that they’re going to carry those things with them for the rest of their lives.

And that can either be in a positive way, or unfortunately, as we all know, that it’s very easy for a coach to quickly do a number on a kid, especially when you talk about the youth level. Like, I think about how important it is to have good coaches at that third, fourth, fifth, sixth grade level, where you have guys who are positive guys who are, and females who are, who are positive and who are good role models and who are building the kids up and teaching ’em how to have fun and learn the game and just being influenced, not just on their basketball lives, but on their lives off the court.

And I think sometimes as coaches, we get so caught up in. We have to, we want to win this game or we’re caught up in the minutia of today’s practice or the next opponent. And it’s really hard sometimes to stop, take a deep breath and reflect. I know, I feel that a lot of times as a teacher where days are just coming at me and kids are saying this and doing that, and they’re driving you crazy.

And party is just, oh, you’re climbing up the wall and then you have to stop. And you have to remember, like these kids, they need you, they need us. And the things that you say to ’em, they’re not just going to remember today, but there’s going to be some of those things that they remember for the rest of your life.

And I think that’s a great point that you brought up about those two guys, probably even before they passed away. I mean, they know they had an impact on kids, but they probably had no idea that they had the kind of impact on you that, you know, you talked about,

[00:37:08] Kevin McNamara: oh, a hundred percent, you know, and that’s why the relationships mean everything.

I didn’t realize when I got into this, the payoffs were. Going to weddings, going to showers, getting a call, you know, at night because you know, your, their boyfriend broke up with them. You know, my wife, when we, when I first started doing this, I was sitting in bed one night and and then my phone beeped and, and I rolled over and I liked 12 o’clock and I start texting back.

And of course she looks at me, she’s like, who are you texting? right. And I’m like, you know, I won’t mention the girl’s name. And I’m like, so and so, and she’s like, what? I’m like, yeah. Her boyfriend broke up with her. She doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t want to talk to her mom and dad, you know? And I’m like, you know, so it’s all those things that add up.

Right. And, and you don’t remember, and you don’t realize it, but that positive influence you had for them to trust you and to feel like you’re significant enough to still remain intact. And in conversation with them, I, I had no clue that that was going to be the greatest. And now, you know, meeting their husbands and meeting their children.

And, you know, I’m fortunate that my daughter was an assistant with me at Trinity for three or four years. She’s in her third, fourth year now as a head coach, she was Lorain county coach of the year division one. You know, how much more luckier can I get, right. I just, I look at it and my, my son’s one, son’s going to be a fireman.

And then my other son graduated, he was captain of the football team in college and he’s, you know, taking great job and my other boy’s a freshman and going to be a freshman in college, he’s going to go play football up at Concordian Ann Arbor. And then on my last one’s going to be a seventh grader. And, you know, I, I have all my nieces and nephews and now my granddaughter and, you know, I mean, it’s, of course we all have bad days and we all have things we think about that we may not may or may not think is fair, but I’m, I’m extremely lucky, man, when it comes down to life at.

[00:39:06] Mike Klinzing: What do you think when you try to reflect upon your ability to build the kind of relationships that you’ve talked about with some of the kids that have played in your program, what do you think it is about either a or personality or B some of the things that you’ve done, whether consciously or unconsciously to be able to build those kinds of relationships, what what’s been the key or the secret to that success?

[00:39:31] Kevin McNamara: I really think you have to talk to them as a person and, and not, you know, you’re not, I get, we all have a role of an, an advisory and, and as a a leader and, and as an adult, but I want to be able to have a kid look at me sideways a little bit and say, what, what are you doing? What did you mean by that?

Right. I don’t think you have to be disrespectful, but you can certainly question things. I want them to feel comfortable that, you know, no question is a bad question. No, feeling’s a bad feeling. You know, maybe sometimes you say something that you didn’t mean, but you know, when you love somebody and you care for.

You know, you can always come back and, you know, kind of figure it out. The one thing I tell every team before I coach him and I read this in a book by a guy named, I think it was Fred Edelman and he coached for the culture he played for the Colts. And he wrote this book and it said the one line that always hung with me is my job as a coach is to love my players.

My players’ job is to love each other. And I share that with every team, first practice I coach every year now, 99% of the kids don’t get that what it means, right. They do when they’re done, when they graduate and kids graduate Trinity. Right. I always hear ’em and they’ll text me or they’ll say things like, you know you know coach, I get it in our family, we have a say and says to be great, you have to do something great.

When my daughter Brittney was playing at Larry Catholic and they were, she was her sophomore year and they were being they were winning the regional championship game and the newspaper guy at the time his name was Bob Daniels out of the Chronicle. And Bob wrote and Brittney MCIR was dribbling the basketball at half court at the time on the clock wound down higher and EC advanced to their first, you know state final game.

You know, and Brittany, what were you thinking of at that time? And she said, my dad told me to be great. You have to do something great. that’s awesome. That’s she said today we did today. We did something great. That’s awesome. And right. And so now I have kids who I, I always share these stories with and they always text me these things.

And today we did something great. My, my team from last year at Trinity we won, you know, they, that was my hundredth win. We were two time conference champion. We, we won our sectionals, we made it to the district finals. And, and, and we were 19 and four in the season and, and they gave me a plaque and they said, coach Mack, and they all basketball and they all signed it.

Lady Trojans, 2020 1 22. You said, be great. So we were right. So that’s awesome, Mike, but that’s when, you know, you made, made. Yeah, for sure. Right. For sure. And, and for me, that’s what it’s about, you know they don’t know as a person, what I went through in life, they don’t know the history of my family.

They don’t know the struggles as a man and as a, as a young man of what I went through they don’t know, you know, some of the things that people just hear about me growing up and things that happened to me in high school. Self-inflicted not self-inflicted that. And, and, you know, bro, you said you qualified and they’re looking at me like, man, I’ve had people look straight me in the eye and say, how did you make it.

and, and, you know, again, it’s the greater testimonial to what is right. And whether we’re doing right as a family and how we’re going to continue to lead. I think what

[00:42:39] Mike Klinzing: is the most gratifying about what you just said is the fact that here you have something that you’ve shared with your kids. And obviously as parents and as coaches, we try to share things that we think will have an impact in a positive way on the kids that we’re in contact with.

Obviously we have a lot more contact with our own kids as parents, but as coaches, we spend a tremendous amount of time with the kids who are a part of our programs. And I think when you hear a kid who has taken something that you’ve said to them and internalized it, and then right, they’re willing to share it and say it and live it.

I mean, there’s really nothing that could. Be more meaningful. I know there’s a lot of things that I’ll say probably more so to my own kids than necessarily to the players that I’m talking about. Because I’m just spending more time with my kids and I’ll make, ’em read a book and we’ll read it out loud and we’ll talk about what it means.

And they’re like, dad, we have to do the book study again, come on and you know, but you’re doing those things and you’re you’re sharing and not, you know, not every message gets through, but then at times there will be something that, that kicks in and you’re like, oh man, like they, they did, they did actually hear me.

They did actually take it to heart. And when those things happen, I mean, those are the moments that as a parent or a coach, just send chills down your back. That you’re just like, man, we are, we are getting through to, we are getting through them. We are having an impact because sometimes it’s easy to forget.

You’re having a huge impact in the day to day in the day to day minutia, especially I’m sure as a high school coach, probably even more so than on the AAU side of it that, you know, there’s times where you feel like, man, am I, am I appreciated? Am I, am I getting through to these kids? Are they really buying into what I’m saying?

Cause it’s just, again, it’s a difficult job. It’s tough. And everybody want, everybody wants a PCU. There’s there’s probably no more criticized job in America than high school basketball coaches. Nobody’s sitting at the dentist’s office telling the dentist what to do or how to do their job, but yet everybody thinks they can coach a high school basketball team.

And so sometimes you just forget that you are having a tremendous impact even on days where it doesn’t always feel like it.

[00:44:49] Kevin McNamara: Yeah, no. And I agree. And then, and sometimes, and you and I both don’t the parents make that difficult and you just have to, you know, understand and believe in what you’re doing and, and you just kind of move forward from there.

[00:45:03] Mike Klinzing: Let’s talk a little bit about your road to high school coaching and what that. Has it been like for you? Tell us a little bit about how the job at Trinity comes across your desk and why you decided to take that particular job and just what you’ve enjoyed about it.

[00:45:18] Kevin McNamara: Yeah, I think so. It was funny. It was years ago, I’d helped Al Malkerick a guy who was out at Avon and Al great guy and did some scouting for him and kind of got me involved. And I always thought, man, one day I want to get, you know, into, into coaching high school. Cause I was coaching some football and you know, that was my, my first love and probably still is, you know, I, and because my sons just really got done playing in high school, I’m thinking about maybe going back and coaching a little bit of high school somewhere.

But you know, I got into it. My friend Mike Barnes was, I coached his daughter and they lived in Kenston and he was the director of human resources for Mayfield city schools. And when Tony, where. Who was there? 20, some years of resign, they were looking for a guy. They couldn’t find, they didn’t get the right applicants.

Mike asked me if I’d apply. He said, you know, it’s probably a one year job, just a bandaid until we could maybe find, you know, cause I was, you know, it’s a 35, 40 minute ride for me from where we live. Right, right. And and then the snow, it became a, an hour and 10 minute ride, you know? But you know, I went out there and I learned a lot and I learned how to deal with, you know, some, some different people.

And I wasn’t in that basketball high school world. So adhering to rules you know, sometimes I like to play in my own sandbox and, you know, having to deal with rules, man, it’s just, you know, maybe it’s not my cup of tea. Right. so I was there a year and, and the day after I had left Mayfield The I happened to get a call and said, Hey, Trinity job opened up.

Would you’d be interested in talking to him. And I’m like, ah, you know, I just kind of looked up, they’d been doing well. And they actually had six coaches in the last four years at the time. And I thought, man, and then he kind of hit me and I said, all right, you know, I’m going to go talk to him. Second one. I thought Trinity was that school, right?

The best of the best bond awards, Mika Randall, Naima Hillman, Hillman, Cal Cho you know, just the, the, the best of the best went there. Right. And I thought, man, would it be something if you could kinda revive that program? So I went in, in the morning it was, it was really a classic move. I went in at 10 o’clock interview.

I left at three o’clock, the AD I did three interviews on one day, the ad wouldn’t leave. Let me leave. And by the time, the day was over, he put a contract in front of me and he said, we need a guy like you with an AAU background who can help bring some kids in. We need some stability in the program. We need a little bit of mature leadership.

You’re really exactly what we’re looking for. You know, what do you think? And I thought, oh, wow. I mean, I wasn’t really anticipating anything. Right. you’re like, you’re like, you’re like, I am right. Okay. That’s what you think. I am great. I must’ve did a great job of selling you. That’s funny. So I ended up the day later taking a job and you know, inherited again, responsibilities that I wasn’t aware because I don’t know anybody on that side of town.

Right. I’m a, I’m a, you know, when you live on the west side, you don’t cross 77. Yeah, exactly. Right. You know, it’s a whole nother world. Yeah, I’m hearing about St. Barnabas and St you know, Benedict, I don’t know those schools. I know St Richards and Rayfield and St you know, Clarence, and, you know, I’m like, I don’t know who you guys are.

St. Joseph John’s. I don’t, you know, and, and now I’m getting kids, although, because of my AAU experience, parents had known who I was, and we started to get a little influx. And we had a bad year my second year, and my third year, we started to kind of take an uptick. And then the last four years you know, we we won, like I said, two conference championships.

And and just in those last four years, I’ve probably won you know, 60 games or, you know, average 15 wins a season. And the principal is a woman named Linda BK. One of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met in my life. And she’s standing there with the athletic director, we were playing. A Villa, Angela St.

Joe’s who at the time was pretty good. And we ended up losing by four and as I’m walking off the court, we shook hands. I’m walking off the court and they’re looking at me and I’m thinking, oh great, here we go. Right. They’re not a happy. And she just stopped me. And she just looked at me and she tiny lady, and she just said, that’s an unbelievable job you’re doing with that team.

And my athletic director just kinda, she walked away and he smiled at me. He goes, Mac, really? You know, you put effort into every play. You’re coaching constantly, you know your style look, man, it’s aggressive, you’re loud. But you’re positive and, and it’s really refreshing to continue to watch you have passion for the game.

And I just kind of looked at him and said, man, I’m doing it with all smoke & mirrors because we don’t got much here to worry, you know? And but you know, it was, it was greatly appreciated and. You know, I don’t know how much longer I stay, Trinity. I, I can tell you this. They’re wonderful people. It’s truly an administration who cares about their students.

I’ve seen firsthand people go out of their way. Yeah. And, and they got a bad rep because of, you know, some things that had happened in transitioning to the school and, you know, and so I don’t know how Trinity, all of a sudden got that bad rap, but, you know, I was incredibly proud the last two years to put the last two conference championships up on the wall.

The last one hadn’t happen in maybe 17. I don’t know, a long time, 18 years. And, you know, I always told the girls when that happened. I said, you know, that’s your legacy forever. This is your school. When you come back in here, that’ll always be up on the wall. That number represents you and what you did here.

And it is forever going to be yours. And it’s something that I’m really proud of that to help kind of bring back and turn the corner over there at Trinity.

[00:51:06] Mike Klinzing: What do you remember in terms of being the most surprising thing about being a high school head coach? Something that when you think back to, before taking the job, something that maybe you didn’t realize, or you didn’t think was going to be as big of a part of that job as you thought?

[00:51:22] Kevin McNamara: I think that the school tri tradition and pride was something that kind of I bought into, right. I, I feel, you know, I’ve been there seven years and you know, I believe I’m a, I didn’t go to school there, but, you know, I believe that I’m a part of Trinity Trojan and the, the families, right.

It goes back to the relationships. A lot of these things go back to the relationships for me because it’s these people who look you in the eye and maybe not trust because of where Trinity was and. You know, kind of the, oh, we always lose and, you know, I’m, I’m that confident? No, that ain’t, it’s not going to happen much longer.

And then, you know, the right pieces parts come in. And, but I think that I, I never realized that, you know, the more and more I learned about through the administrators and some of the guys and teachers who were there and, and the kids who were going school there, because their parents had went there that, you know, that, that alumni base and you know, part of the, the Trinity family, I didn’t expect that.

And it, it, me, it means a lot. I think that, you know, if my time today was done at Trinity, that I have some wonderful friends and, and some great people that I’ve been able to learn from meet and teach me about a school that you know, I didn’t know much about. And and I’m proud to say that I was there,

[00:52:44] Mike Klinzing: We’ve talked a little bit about the amount of time it takes to be successful as a high school coach.

To give some people out there. Just an idea of how much time you put in. Maybe take us through just maybe we go spring, summer, fall, winter, kind of what, what you’re doing in each of those seasons, just to give people an idea how much time you’re putting in.

[00:53:07] Kevin McNamara: Yeah. I mean, August is really the downtime, right?

High school. You’re not allowed now. I mean last year with COVID you could, but now there’s no touch in August. So it kind of changes for me. August is going to be, let’s say that’s the start month, September in September. There’s a lot. I’m I’m I’m again, I go back to the dad part of me. I want my kids to play everything.

I don’t want them to be my son who’s a football player. He was on the Fairview basketball team. He was a starting pitcher on the baseball team. You know, he is a center fielder. I want him to have the greatest high school experience he can have. So for us, our fall league is involved on just Sundays, nothing during the week.

If kids want to get in and work out that aren’t playing or want to get some extra time, we create some time for them. Fall league comes and, you know, we take about eight hours a day in fall league. Every Sunday in September and October September and October all are for high school. Start the open gym period, the lifting period.

So you’re spending a couple hours you know, a week, maybe anywhere from four to eight hours a week there. You know, it’s really what you’re doing outside of it. Practice planning, schedules, uniforms practice shirts, practice jerseys. Schedules on you know, your, your, my schedule for September and October is done in August.

My schedule for October, November, December is done in September, you know, so you’re constantly trying to work forward aligning yourself with the high school boys coach, because at Trinity, we got one gym and four hoops. There isn’t anywhere else we can share to prep. You know, so, you know, man, it’s a lot of, everybody’s have to be on the same page.

You know, aligning yourself with three ad and in all that time, while the season hasn’t started yet now is really when we’re aligning up our teams for our next day, U season in September. Now, September and October really become win. You’re setting your top teams up for the next season. So if it’s workouts, if it’s tryouts, if it’s the fall league, you know, it’s that constant activity to go in there.

When you get into high school, I’ll tell my girls. And if we are looking in at. A high school day. We’ll get to school about two o’clock. Let’s say I’ll leave there. Maybe at 10 o’clock after the game’s over, I’ll go home. I’ll watch the film for the first time and stat it, because I don’t trust huddle or anyone else’s stat the film.

So I have to watch the game and stat it and I’ll mark it up at the same time. The second time I’ll watch it that night is to watch what my markings were and correct anything that I have to in my notes for practice coming up. And then the next thing I’ll do that same night is watch my next opponent.

And then when I get up in the morning, I will watch the next opponent again and make sure my Scout’s going right to prep for practice the next day. So I usually get to bed game night, somewhere between two and three o’clock. And then. Just preparing yourself the right way. And then in practices that same way, I’m not one of these high school coaches that believe that we need to practice four hours a day in the beginning of practice in our, in November and December, we might go two hours.

Once we hit Christmas, we’re an hour and a half at the most. I typically give my teams off Monday. If we play Saturday, we’re taking Sunday and Monday off to make sure that they got their schedules in school. Right. We practiced enough. We don’t have to do anything as long as we’re watching film prepping for our opponents our second time through conference.

So we’ve seen who we played already. You know, that part of preparation kind of goes away. We spend more time in film and just skill work than we do in installation and other things that aren’t necess. Some coaches think they’re going to stay in there from three o’clock till 5 30, 6. O’clock no way that’s crazy.

You’re going to wear these kids out. They’re going to hate the game. They’re going to hit a wall and they’re not going to perform in the second half. So I, and that holds true in my schedule all the way until we lose. And then man, it’s a matter of collecting uniforms, doing exit interviews, talking your ad, setting your schedule for the next year.

You have 30 days off you get in. When January hits from me now we’re in AAU planning period. I’ve have to make sure we’re getting all our schedules for gyms done. We’re getting our uniforms we’ll spend. And this year we bought 500 and some pairs of of sets of uniforms. Right. We did 11 gyms of practicing.

I’ve have to get certification on my high school coaches that are going to go on the NCAA events. I’ve have to get my player certification. The list is never ending, you know, but you know, Mike, I believe this and people say it all the time. I’ve never worked a day in my life basketball. Because I get to go to work in t-shirts and shorts and shoes.

You know, I’m a basketball coach. It’s one of the greatest payoffs I’ve ever had. My dad worked, he was a construction guy for 40 years. His hands like concrete blocks. He went to work at 6:00 AM, came home at five, went to bed and you never saw him, but he had to work 12 hours a day in a real job doing real manual labor.

And I haven’t. And when I’ve been coaching work today in my life, because I don’t see this as work, it’s, it’s truly the greatest payoff I’ve ever had

[00:58:07] Mike Klinzing: Getting to go to work in shorts and a t-shirt is a pretty good deal. I will say that I spent the first, 19 years, 18 years of my career teaching in the classroom.

And I taught third grade and I taught fifth grade. And then I just had an opportunity to go. This is probably now I guess, seven or eight years ago, nine years ago. I can’t keep track anymore, but I had an opportunity to switch and go teach in the teach in the gym. And man, what, what a change to be able to put on shorts and a t-shirt and go to work there, there is nothing, there is nothing better than that.

It is definitely, that is definitely a perk. You talked a little bit about the film work that you do. How do you, what’s your philosophy on sharing film with your players in terms of how much do you, first of all, how much do you show to them? And then two, how much do you balance or how do you balance showing them things that they’ve done well versus showing them things that, where they made an error that you want them to fix.

So how do you balance that? I dunno if you want to call it positive and negative when you’re sharing it with the, with the players.

[00:59:04] Kevin McNamara: You know, I think a lot of the, for me in the film work is just. Recognizing, you know, the space and the concept of what we’re in. And I think for us, it’s you know, a lot of the girls aren’t the AAU players, right?

So let’s say half your team is filled with kids who are looking to play at the next level. Basketball’s are number one sport. And, but the majority of ’em maybe just be kids who are, you know, like, you know, like my son, right. He he’s playing because he was a good athlete and he enjoyed the game and maybe they don’t understand it as well as that atypical star that you have on your team these days.

Right. Cal understands the game much greater than kids who don’t play AAU at the level that he plays because for him, when he gets the high school, the game probably slows down a little bit because of, of who those guys play. Right. For sure. Absolutely. You know, so you’re, you’re really teaching two different levels when we’re into it.

So for me, I’m just trying to teach the concept, right? I just want them to understand, you know, this is where I want you to be when this happens and hopefully on the core to clicks. And then when we’re watching our opponent, I’m drawing up what their tendencies are right in, in girls basketball, the easiest thing to do.

And it almost gets crazy to listen to in games, make her go left. Parents ask me all the time, you know, what do I do, how to do to make your, my daughter a better, you know, better player, have her handle the ball better and get her in the gym. And I don’t mean with a trainer. I don’t mean with that. I mean, there’s have to be a fine marriage of skill work with somebody who knows what they’re doing.

People like AQ or, or method or T3 who are the speed and strength kind of leaders. And then, you know, the, the, the, the time on the floor playing, there’s have to be that marriage. You know, some guys, oh, train, train, train, bull crap. Oh, I’m just going to let her play. You’re nuts. You know, the biggest thing for girls is, is preventing yourself from injury.

And it’s everybody. I understand that. But girls with their, their hips and their knee are a greater concern. And I share with parents all the time. They think I’m crazy because a dad will come up to me and go, I, I need to get her to the gym. Four days of work a week with you. No, no, no, no, no, no. You know, I’ll see her on Tuesdays.

I want you to sign her up here and get her to work on her explosion. Her band work, her box jumps her strength in her hips, her strength in her knees. And, and, and you’ll find she’s going to become a better player that way.

[01:01:23] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, it’s interesting. When you think about this goes back to sort of the difference in the system, right?

Like your speed and strength training and my speed and strength training. Like I did some stuff cause my dad taught exercise physiology, Cleveland state. So he was strapping me to the back of a car and a motorcycle and towing me along and building these contraptions in the garage and do imply metrics.

None of it helped me because I still was never able to jump, but probably got me in better shape, but I never jumped any higher. I ran any faster as a result of it, but nonetheless, I was doing all that. I was doing all that crazy stuff, but I was also running through my neighbor’s backyards. I was also climbing fences.

I was also jumping down from trees and all these things. And so I think when you look at the speed and strength stuff, so much of that is things that a lot of kids back when you and I were growing up, you kind of had all these different athletic movements, because again, you were playing all kinds of sports.

You didn’t have. The specialization that where you have today. And so I think there’s at first, when I, I know when speed strength, agility training first sort of came on the scene, which is probably now, I don’t know, eight to 10 years ago, maybe where you started to see those first things pop up. I remember going, and I’d be in the gym, like working with a kid on their basketball and I’d see like these eight year olds doing speed training and they’d be doing all the different movements and things that they do.

And I remember just walking outta there going, I can’t believe somebody’s paying for that. Like I just it’s, it’s insane to me. And then over the last 5, 6, 7 years, you started to really think about, well, what is it that they’re doing? And I really feel like in a lot of ways they’re replacing some of the things that kids just did on their own when they were out running around and, and playing.

And I, I think there’s, as you said, I think there’s a tremendous need for that ability to just boost your athleticism and how much that could make you a better player. And I think especially. on the girls side. What’s interesting to me is you think about a girl who grew up in the area when you, or I grew up and the opportunities that girls had back then to do anything, there was nothing.

And now you look at the opportunities that female basketball players have to be able to play on the types of teams. They get an opportunity to play, play on now, and just the, the speed strength training, and the ability to get in a gym and be able to find games to, to play against other girls. It’s just the, the explosion of girls basketball from that standpoint.

I think there’s, there’s no question that it’s been. A huge, huge positive on the girls side of things,

[01:03:52] Kevin McNamara: Yeah, no doubt about it. And it’s it’s changed the game and that’s where girls basketball’s gotten so much better.

[01:03:58] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, it absolutely has. I don’t think there’s any question about that just because of, again, the opportunities that are being provided when you’re thinking about designing a practice for.

Your high school team. What’s your philosophy when you’re drawing up a practice plan, are you putting together a plan that looks pretty similar each day in terms of breakdowns of offense and defense types of drills you do, or, or is it more just, Hey, I’m trying to look at my team and figure out what they need day to day.

What’s your thought process on putting together a practice plan?

[01:04:29] Kevin McNamara: Yeah, I think for me the definitive answer is I treat my high school team, just like my AAU teams we get in there. I feel one of the differences in our, our club is we focus a ton on development and, and my philosophy is speed and space.

I want to go from point a to B as fast as I can go and be able to run catch and. Quick motion and to defend the same way so that they recognize the faster we play confuses the other team. And so for us, it’s being able to move with, and without the ball, either in transition drills you know, the, the 11 man game.

You know, a passing, you know, sideline passing drills so that they’re running and catching. And a lot of times you never have the ball touch the floor kind of mentality. And for us, it, it, it gets the kids to play in that mindset to, Hey, move the ball. It’s not a Mimi me show. We’re not going to hold it.

Pounded isolate. You know, it’s he, the college men’s and the, and the college bro pro game turns into isolation, basketball where that’s, why people love the w N B a and the women’s college, because, you know, it’s the teen concept when you watch Geno, Rema runs the run chins and the Princeton sets. And, you know, you watch some of these guys in the way that they set up the zippers and, and the double screens.

If it’s off of a horns, look, it’s just so many different concepts for us. Again, because it’s relatively different, I’ll change our half quart sets to. Kind of, I don’t want to say dumb it down, but to make it easier for those kids who don’t play a lot of basketball. And then when we get into AAU you know, I really enforce the kids to say, look, we’re going to spend 45 minutes, every practice working on ball handling and running speed and space and, and it’s help.

It’ll help you overall play that uptempo game that we’re looking to play. And, and that’s truly, you know, what it is for me and, and, and really on both sides of it. I’m not going to sit down there and identify X player’s weakness and say, okay, now I’ve have to get to her and we’re going to have this, you know, practice, because again, you have to.

I don’t, I’ve got really two working hoops at Trinity , you know, and you can’t, you’d be like, Hey, alright, everybody, grab a partner, go grab a hoop by yourselves. Right, man. Right. I would love to say, Hey, we’re going to do mikes for, you know, and then we’re going to go into, you know, partner floaters and we’re going to go into reverse mikes and can’t do it.

You know, everybody’s going to form shoot and it, look, I can’t do it. I would love to, but it’s just not the cards that, that I’m dealt. So, you know, and, and people tell me all the time when they come into Trinity and they see what I have to what we’re dealing with. And they’re like, man, how do you do it?

Yeah, I get it. But you adapt and you move on and it’s still basketball. And you know luckily you get girls who buy in and smart kids and you know, we figure it out.

[01:07:27] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. You have to figure it out. You have to see what’s put in front of you and then make the best of it and try to identify what it is that you can and what it is that you can’t do.

And then. Move forward. And that’s really what it’s all about. Right? I think when you talk about having success in coaching, right, it’s the ability to make adjustments, to look at the kids. You have to look at what your team needs and figure it out. What’s the style of play. That’s going to benefit us with this particular group of players and how do we get the most out of each individual kid?

And that’s something that again, has been a theme. I think Kevin that’s run through the podcast is the number of coaches that we’ve talked to. I’d say, especially in the last year, it feels like a lot of coaches are, are, are talking to us about the fact that, you know, it used to be probably again in the era where you or I grew up where it was, the coach has this philosophy and everybody on the team, either adapts to that philosophy or things, aren’t going to go very well for you.

And now it’s almost the exact opposite where the coach almost has to have 14 different philosophies to deal with each one of the players. And you talked about over and over again tonight, how important the relationships are to you when it comes to coaching your team. And so. In order for you to be able to do that in order for you to be able to adapt to each kid, you have to understand each kid and to understand ’em you have to go and have those relationships and, and build them.

And I think one of the questions that I think is always interesting to ask somebody, whether it’s from a high school coaching perspective, or particularly on the AAU side or somebody who’s running a basketball organization, when it’s just you and your coach and your team, and you can obviously share your philosophy, you can do the things that you believe in, but then as your organization grows, you can’t coach 53 teams.

So you’ve have to find other coaches. So what was that process like for you when you first sort of had to delegate or give up control of, okay, I’m going to have somebody else coach a team that’s under my umbrella. How do you make sure that obviously the person’s not going to be a clone. Of you and do things exactly the same way that you do, but in order for you to make sure that they understood the mission that you had and sort of your vision and your value statements, how did you make sure that the coaches that you’re bringing into your organization are fitting into the philosophy and the things that you want to do?

[01:09:42] Kevin McNamara: You know, there, that’s where I got lucky. And, and what I mean by this is I got guys like Izzy, Santiago, Kevin Braaten, right? I got guys like Todd Simon. I got guys like Joe Gardner and Corbin bomb who are great men and, and really have, have my back, you know, there’s, there’s a trust that’s there and that you align yourself that same way now what I think, you know, those guys, like they, them bring, they have an instant credibility, right?

And, and they bought into the culture. And I think that that’s really where, you know, we implanted it and started from there because you’re right. I don’t want ’em to do sing things like I do. The only thing that I ask my coaches, and it’s what I tell every one of my parents that I can ever have a conversation with is our families.

Mike, Klinzing paid to be a member of Mac basketball. We have to provide a service that provides value for the financial amount that they put in. Now we don’t promise anyone anything. Right? We’re going to promise that, you know, you’re going to be where we’re going to be, where we supposed, we said, we’re going to be, we’re going to put together good practice.

And we’re going to work together as a group to try to build a team. And at the end of it, as a consumer, you’re going to sit down there and say, as a family, did that check that I wrote, did it have value? And did I gain something out of the season? It doesn’t have anything to do with Winston losses. What I want Cal to do is be a better basketball player than when he came on board in March.

That’s the only goal that I tell our coaches. I, if, if, if we lose every game, which look, I’m the most, I’m as most competitive as anybody, I want to win at everything I do. And so when we walk on the court, you’re damn right, that I’m going to compete to win, but it doesn’t happen every time. Now at the end of the year, if I can look at my parents and feel that I did not, or I did what I said I was going to do, and I provided value, and that’s what I have to get to my coaches to understand they get frustrated.

Oh, she didn’t show up. And so didn’t show up and we didn’t play well, blah, blah, blah, blah. okay. But you know, how was the rest of the team I had? Oh, they were great. You know, parents love it. Great. I don’t care. Right. I want to win. I want to compete. But you know, it goes back to the Mike elder thing. I want the worst player on the team to have the same experience as the best player.

And it’s all perception.

[01:12:17] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. That’s a great way to look at it for any coach, whether it’s the high school level, whether it’s in an AAU organization, if you can give everybody on your team a really good experience. And so that goes back to those relationships, right? Because if a kid doesn’t feel valued as the ninth or 10th player on an AE team, or they don’t feel valued as the 11th or 12th player on a varsity basketball team, it’s really easy.

And you and I both know that very quickly, that could turn into a problem where the kid within the locker room, within the practice setting. is grumbling and is causing problems. And then taking another step further, the parent, the family is causing problems and it really comes down to, you have to make sure that you invest in not only those kids who are on the floor that are helping you win games because of their scoring, because they’re rebounding because of their defense, but also those kids who were providing the backend culture and the practice effort and all the things that goes into making your reserve unit, as important as that starting unit.

It’s not always easy to do that as a coach. And especially when you get caught up in like, Hey, day to day, as you said, it look coaches, there’s not a coach that I know that isn’t competitive and doesn’t want to win every game. And so sometimes you get caught up in that and it’s easy to say, oh, I, you know, I kind of forgot.

Player 11 and 12. But as a coach, you have to be really conscious of how you’re interacting with those players and the experience that you’re providing to ’em in order to, as you said, make sure that no matter who you are on that team, that you’re getting a positive experience.

[01:13:54] Kevin McNamara: Yeah. Because you know what it is Mike, as a, as a person who leads young people, we want them to look in your eye.

Like, man, I’m working hard, acknowledge it, understand that I’m trying. And that payoff as a, as a mentor coach leader, you know, between you and the kid could be one thing, but the parent can walk away and think, oh, he hates my daughter. He don’t play, you know, she doesn’t get the ball. He’s telling him not to pass the tour.

And you’re like, oh, come on, man, gimme a break. You know, please it’s, you know, I wish I had that much control in the way it was, you know, my daughter’s just as good as her. She should have gotten that scholar. Look, it’s not up to me who gets a scholarship. I’m the one choosing, right? My job as a guy is to set the table.

Your, your kid’s job is to eat. So if we’re putting in the right spot, you know, that’s what it is. Our girls are really fortunate. We play in a circuit called select 40. There isn’t nothing like it. Unless you get into the Nike E Y B L the UON armor stuff. There isn’t nothing like it. We were in Spooky Nook in April.

And my, my 23 team probably averaged 30 to 35 coaches at a game. My 24 team averaged. Oh gosh. I would think anywhere between 20 to 25 coaches a game. And, and they’re fortunate that they get to sit in front of this audience and sometimes parents. Or blown away going, man, I’m just, I can’t believe we’re we’re here.

Really? We’re we’re playing like holy crap. Right? Look who was here and then the other ones are going well welcome. She didn’t get an offer after that game. well, because she, well, she Stu oh, she was awesome. No, no, no. She Stu you know, and you’re like, I mean, they look and it’s so hard because parents are emotional and as coaches we care about, ’em all.

And of course we have kids that we’re closer to, and we have people that we align ourselves with, but in the end, the reality of it. You know, I want every cue with me to have that great experience in high school or in AAU. It’s just not a bunch of smoke, man. I just don’t deal with it that way. I want a kid walk up to me, gimme a hug, high five, you know, coach M that smile, right?

Know, I’m going to say something sarcastic or cocky or kind of off the wall, goofy with them where we can kind, you know, and it alleviates and brings us back into that spot. We’re going, man. I remember when I could look sideways at you a little bit, you let me kind of be me and that’s what it’s about. Right.

I went to a game and I, and, and I don’t mean to kind go off on this, but I went and it just kind of popped into my mind. I haven’t thought of it a while I went to a Magnificat game, they were playing Solan. This was probably 2015 or 16. And there was a girl who played up Mag’s her name was Sarah za and Sarah was a good high school player, you know?

Role for Mag’s typical, you know, really good basketball grinder. Dad was, you know, an athlete, right. West side kid, and they were playing Solan and it was an exciting game. And Solon had a great team and mags called it timeout, because or Solan called it, timeout. Mags went on a run and, and Sarah hit a big three.

And as she was coming to the bench, her team’s pushing her around. And for whatever reason, about 15 feet away from the bench, as she crossed half court, her eyes locked into mine. And while her team’s pushing her and they’re going crazy, she gave me this most intense stare of like, yeah, man, this is what right.

You and me, man. Right. That’s awesome. All the way until she went to the bench and we kept locked in and I was I’m, I’m ready to run through a wall. Right. And that’s the moment, right? That’s what it’s about. And, and for me, I have a greater appreciation because of. You know, I’ve gone through in my life and some of the twists and turns that I’ve had and how much I appreciate things.

And I certainly I don’t take ’em for granted anymore, but the moments are what it’s all about.

[01:17:40] Mike Klinzing: Being able to create those kinds of moments for kids. And when you see ’em come through and be able to have success again, whether that’s your own kid as a parent, or whether that’s a kid that you’re coaching in the moment or a kid that you’ve coached previously, that you’re watching, playing in some other environment.

I think that’s one of the most satisfying things that you can have is either a parent or a coach is just to be able to watch somebody’s success, that maybe you had some small part in what that success was all about. One of the things I’m sure that people understand about your role as an AAU director and as an AAU coach is your ability to help impact kids’ opportunities to get exposure and to be able to earn a college scholarship, or to be able to get an opportunity to play college basketball at a whatever level.

So over the course of your time as. The director of Mac basketball. What have you, how have you gone about building those relationships with college coaches? What’s that process look like for you and just, how have you gone about doing that?

[01:18:38] Kevin McNamara: Yeah, well, I really think it’s have to be proofs in the pudding, right?

I mean you know, it used to be who are you, you know, what club do they play for? You know you know, and now I get 15 to 20 calls a year going, Hey, Mac, I got a call from, you know, this guy at AAU group or, or I got film from a coach and can, can she play here? And, you know, and look, you build a reputation of being straightforward.

You build a reputation of, of not blowing smoke up somebody’s ass about, you know, who the kids are and what they are. And you give them a realistic viewpoint of life, of, of effort. Can they provide collegiate effort? Can they provide it as division one? Can they play, ultimately, I don’t have the say or the influence to get a kid at scholarship, but I think over reputation in time now it’s the brand people follow Mac basketball.

When they walk past the court, they’ll stop and be like, oh, okay. And if they see, you know, certain coaches on a court with teams, they’ll associate them with scholarship teams. You know, all nine of our girls on our 23 team this year will have scholarships. In our 24 team, we have three division, one already offered.

You know, so I think it comes down to now people affiliate the brand with the next level player. And you know, then it’s a relationships, right? You have a great relationship with the guy who coaches at Kent, and then they move up the ladder and take a job at Cincinnati. And then you build a relationship with that staff.

And then it goes to, to Xavier. Then it goes to Val perso and you know, Loyola. And now then you have kids. You know, I’ve been fortunate enough to have kids in most, every conference that’s in America. Now I’m also look, can I call Geno Auriemma? He’s going to pick him up. No, they don’t have my number. I don’t have those.

you know, I don’t have a kid who play at UConn. You know what there are, and I try to be nice about there are idiots around here telling people that yeah, you can go, no, you can’t. You know, I mean, how frustrating,

[01:20:45] Mike Klinzing: Let me ask you this. How frustrating is that? Because I think one of the things that you see a lot and you see it all over, you see it with boys, you see it with girls is the number of people who are telling families and telling kids things that are completely and totally just ridiculous in terms of the levels that they can play at.

And so you end up setting this expectation of, Hey, this kid somebody’s been telling them that they’re a division one player since they’re in eighth grade and yet. , it’s not the reality. And I think you’re doing such a disservice, because you set these unreasonable expectations of people saying, well, this person can do that.

And I, I think that sometimes what you have to really do right is you’ve talked about it. You have to, you have to stand on the truth and if you always stand on the truth, then that’s when you’re really going to get coaches to trust you. When you tell a college coach that everybody that you see is great, or you’re telling all these kids, Hey, you can, you can do this.

Right. You’re in, you’re in seventh grade. And I already know, Hey man, you’re going to do this. And that, like I just, I crack up when I hear about some of that stuff, because it’s just, nobody had people don’t have an understanding, especially parents. And I think players probably fall into this too, but I think parents even more so that they have no concept at all of how good you have to be, to play at any level of college basketball.

Like obviously you see a lot where everybody thinks about division one schools cause that’s who’s on TV and that’s who everybody knows. And so they tend to look at, oh, it’s division two or it’s division three, but people have no concept of how good you have to be to play college basketball. They have none.

[01:22:20] Kevin McNamara: I always share this. When a girl gets an offer, I just had a girl. The other day got an offer or about a month ago. And, and and I always say to them, congratulations, you’re in the 2%, 2% of all, less than 2% of all girls who play basketball, play division one basketball. So think about that.

Numerically over the number of females in the United States of America, the greatest Asian in the world, you are the 2% it’s, it’s unbelievable right now, parents don’t understand that on their way in fifth grade, when little Susie scored 23 in a rec game, and somebody blows tells her like, oh man, you you’re, you’re the best kid I’ve ever seen.

Yeah. Until you go to the next gym and there’s a kid who’s better than you. And then it’s all about size, speed and development along the way. It has nothing to do with what, what it is. So. Yeah. It’s, it’s frustrating because you know, parents always say well, I’ll get high school coach go, oh, how you must have got her that scholarship.

I, no, she played for me. She earned that scholarship. Well, she’s not as good at so. And so, and so, and so didn’t get one, that’s your opinion. You’re a high school coach. You’ve never had anybody recruited in your life. You never played at that level. How would you know what that level is? Right. I don’t, I never played at that level, but because I put hundreds of girls into college basketball players, it affords me the opportunity of experience to have a better idea of who can play at that level.

[01:23:49] Mike Klinzing: Well, and obviously, right, it comes down to the coaching staff and if the coaching staff believes that the player can play at that level, that’s really honestly the most important thing, because look, there’s kids out there that. Somebody, some coaching staff takes a chance on because they like some aspect of that player’s game or their personality or whatever it is.

There’s something about a kid that they believe in and maybe there’s nobody else out there that that believes in it. But all it takes is one staff to believe in that kid to give them an opportunity. And then it’s up to obviously the kid to take advantage of that or not take advantage of it as time moves on.

But yeah, for somebody, for somebody who’s kind of on the outskirts of it to, to criticize somebody or again, to, to tell a kid that, Hey, you’re this or you’re that I think you see it so often that we’re doing kids a disservice by not telling them the honest truth of what we believe

[01:24:38] Kevin McNamara: For sure. And that’s the frustrating part where we, where, whereas as people in this industry and, you know, people always think like you know, there’s a guy who works at, at an opposing club and better on the game, long time, Carlos is his name for smac, right.

And lo people think Lois and I, you know, our mortal enemies, now. Look, I think the world alos, I think he is done phenomenal things in the girls’ game. Is he a competitor? Absolutely is Los and I are Los and I going to sit down and break bread for breakfast tomorrow morning. Nope. Are Los and I, you know, we see each other, give each other a, a hello and a five and a handshake and a and a, Hey, how are you?

Hope you well, how’s things. Yep, absolutely. We will. We have a mutual respect. I like to feel between each other, but Los is also one of those guys who, you know, he gets those phone calls and he gets those calls too. And we talk more than people realize and and have that common experience with players, parents, and their unrealistic expectations about who their kids are in basketball.

And some people are great, some get it and some really believe that it happens, you know? And, and, and yeah, it’s, that’s probably one of the more frustrating parts.

[01:25:56] Mike Klinzing: I can only imagine, especially when you’re dealing with the number of kids that you’re dealing with and you’re dealing with parents. And again, when people join and they, they sign up to be a part of an AAU club, and then they start thinking about, well, this is going to lead to that.

And I, I always maintain that. One of the things that I think is a shame about where we are today, sometimes with basketball is that kids don’t stop and enjoy the moment that they’re in, whether that’s, Hey, this AAU season or this high school season, or this middle school season, or this fifth grade season, because they’re always worried about what’s coming next, whether that’s, Hey, am I going to be a starter next year?

Am I going to make the middle school team? And am I going to be on the varsity next year? Am I going to be a college player? Am I going to get a scholarship? And so often they they’re looking so far ahead that they don’t stop and be like, Hey, I should just enjoy being a, being a high school basketball player. Right.

Because sometimes you look back and. Those are some of the best moments of your life. And if you’re always looking ahead and not enjoying the moment, I think you’re missing out on a lot of great things. And I think parents sometimes push their kids in that direction and get them more focused on what’s next.

Instead of being worried about, Hey, just enjoy what’s right in front of you and try to maximize that by putting in the most effort that you can. I mean, I know you’ve talked to huge numbers of people and so have I, that they look back and they’re like, man, if I just would’ve worked a little harder, I just would’ve concentrated a little bit more.

I just would’ve overlooked such and such, just so I could, could go back and have a, have a better or more enjoyable high school experience. There’s a lot of people, I think that look back and have regrets just because they were, they were focused on the wrong things when they were in high school.

[01:27:32] Kevin McNamara: Oh, a million percent.

Right. I mean, if we could, you know, we could all go back. And get a redo, but the, the one thing is, is, you know, and again, now we sit down and share because my my high school teams, right. They’re going into, and same thing, you know, with all these boys in the 23 class, they’re going in their last recruiting cycle.

Right. And, and, and I’m looking at, ’em going, look, the clock’s ticking, and this is almost over, you have 15 games left in your AAU career. You know, we have coaches who are coming, you know, have you done everything you can mentally and physically to be ready for this moment. Right. That’s what comes down to.

[01:28:09] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, That’s absolutely what it comes down to. And like you said, you, you have kids that, whether they’re part of your high school program or they’re part of your AAU program, you try to provide that framework. You try to put ’em in the right position to be able to showcase what it is that they can do. And then ultimately it’s up to them.

Right. It’s how up to them, how hard they work off the floor. It’s how hard they work during practice. And then how do they perform. In games. And as you’ve said, numerous times, it’s not you getting them a scholarship. It’s them earning that. And you play a small part in that by providing an opportunity for them to get exposure and for them to play with you, whether it’s on your high school team or play for the AAU club.

And you’re just giving them that ability to get themselves out in front of coaches and to be able to show what they can’t do, but what they can do. And ultimately it’s not, it’s not whether Kevin Mac can get ’em a scholarship it’s whether or not they’re going to take advantage of the opportunities that are put in front of them.

[01:29:05] Kevin McNamara: Yeah. They’re trusting that, you know, the, the alumni and the people who wore the Jersey before them have represented the brand to make it someone that coaches see, they know that there’s quality coming out of. And so it’ll provide them that opportunity for people to sit down and watch ’em. And that’s all we can ask for is that opportunity.

And really at the level that we’re playing in our top teams are playing and paying to be. They’ve got to perform and we don’t know if they will and we’re hopeful, but in the end, it’s really important for them to realize it’s a fleeting moment. They’ve have to take it for, they’ve have to take it for granted.

You know, they’ve have to go and get it while it’s there. You know, I’m one of these guys that I’m going to look him in the eye and I’m going to give ’em the greatest speech and man, we’re going arm and arm. We’re locking in. We’re going to run through that wall together. If we bounce off it, we’re getting back up.

We’re going right through it again. Right? We’re I’m going to hold your hand when you cry. I cry. I’m going to pick you up. I’m going to carry you through. Look, every mistake you make, I’m going to live it with you. And then we’re going to celebrate that success together. That’s what people have to buy into because again, competition creates those moments in life for us, which will forever remember, you know, in high school, cutting down the net in Kyle, in these NCAA exposure opportunities playing against, you know, we played against Britney Griner.

Back in the day, you know, I’ll, I could promise you every girl on our team remembers playing against Britney Griner, for sure. Right? Yeah. And, and those are what it’s it doesn’t, we didn’t mention one time who in AAU, who you, who you beat or what trophy you won, or some BS, 500 different national championships, and I’m going to win the, the, the silver division champ.

you know what? That’s great. And I have to be honest. And, and it’s part of the thing that I love about the kids who play for me. I love the fact that this is so bad when we take a runner up, they leave the medals and trophies there if people might say it’s poor sport, man, man, it’s this that I get it. I understand they leave them there.

I don’t say a word to ’em about it. If their parents want to have a conversation, that’s cool. But man, you know, it’s I love the competitive spirit and the competitive drive that people bring. And I think they see that in myself. And, and when you’re a reflection of your team, you know, as a coach, you won

[01:31:32] Mike Klinzing: That’s good stuff.

And I think it’s well said when you think about just what the mentality has to be and the amount of competitiveness that you have to have in order to have success at a high level, and that doesn’t come by accident. And I think it starts with the leadership at the top. And clearly that’s what you’ve been able to provide over the course of time.

As you’ve built up Mac basketball into what it is today, we’re just past an hour and a half here, Kevin, and I want to ask you one final question to wrap up two parter. When you think about what you get to do day in, day out, first of all, what’s your biggest joy. And then secondly, when you look ahead over the next year or two.

What’s the biggest challenge that you have in front of you, and you can either take it to Trinity or you can take it to Mac basketball or combine ’em however you want, but just your biggest challenge and your biggest joy.

[01:32:17] Kevin McNamara: Well, I always think that the challenge in, in AAU and in high school is different because I think in AAU it’s expectations and in high school, it’s the experience.

And, and as long as you’re aligning those two, the correct way, then, then, then we can be in a good spot. You know, the biggest challenge in hurdle is you know, truly making sure that in both those worlds, the parents stay aligned with the mission. There’s nothing worse than the, the conversation. Going home, hearing from your mom or dad of how bad your coach is about the mistakes they made.

I always start every year at, at school. When we do our parent meeting saying. You can all sit in the stands and second, guess me all day long, but there’s a hundred mistakes I’ll make during a game that you don’t know about. Why didn’t you second guess those? And it’s because you truly don’t understand what we’re trying to accomplish.

You’re not here in practice. So the only thing we can ask you to do is be a supporter, be a supporter of your kid in the good and the bad. It’d be more importantly, be a supporter of their teammates and coaches in the good and the bad. Oh. Now if we want to have a conversation, I take to Chuck, Kyle from Ignatius, thought about it as a challenge, the greatest challenge in sports as parents, and as a parent, if you want to come in and talk about playing time, you are more than welcome.

We will talk with you and your daughter about playing time. At any time you want. The only condition I have is who is she taking time from and who is that person that I’m going to invite them and their parent in the same meeting with us in eight years, it’s never happened. And the reality of it is because people don’t want to have those conversations because they’re, it’s not real, it’s emotional.

And instead of supporting the team and the program, they’re looking to make excuses of what and why of typically things they don’t know, because Mike, you know what? Most people aren’t as educated basketball person like yourself, most parents are the guy who never played. And it’s the same way that parents can challenge like my daughter, right?

She’s 27 years old and there’s a guy in the stands, who’s 40 and he played JV basketball and he was a six man of the year, his senior year. Well, what he doesn’t know is she was a college basketball player, played in the state final four coached now at her fourth or fifth year of high school basketball.

And she’s forgotten more basketball than he’ll ever know, but because he’s a male and he played, he thinks he knows more. Yep. We all know what that is. So when the greatest challenge in sports are the parents. I am that parent, right. Sometimes I have to tell myself don’t be that guy. Don’t be guy in the stands, right?

For sure. For sure. Second, guess your coach, right. I’m not a big fan of the football coach that my son had in high school, but what I didn’t do is sit in the stands and rip the guy. Right? I didn’t sit down there and question him to anybody else. The conversations that we have at home with me and my wife may have been different, but when I’m at the field, I was respecting the rest of the players, the staff, the school, and wanting ’em all to do well.

It’s the old adage. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

[01:35:27] Mike Klinzing: Well said, I think that’s a challenge for anybody. Who’s a parent and a coach. You really, even when you know the right thing to do, it still is a challenge sometimes to sit and not be critical and not have. Opinions, but what you have to do is just what you did, which is you sit and when you’re there, you’re supportive of your team, your son, your daughter, their teammates, the coach.

And if you have private conversations back at your house about it with your spouse have at it. , but for sure, but for sure you want to make sure that you’re not becoming that parent who’s creating problems for a coaching staff because nobody wins when that’s the case. Nobody wins. All right, Kevin, before we get out, I want to give you a chance, share how people can reach out to you, how they can connect with you.

If you want to share websites, social media, email, whatever. And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap

[01:36:20] Kevin McNamara: things up. Yep. Yeah. Thanks Mike. Our, my phone number and, and again, I’m accessible at that all the time is 4 4 0 3 8 7 6 4 3 9. Email is on Twitter, you can get ahold of us.

Social media is really big in Mac basketball and it’s @MacbasketballUA Those are the three easiest ways to get, get ahold of me. And you know, I want to tell you, thank you for letting me come on. Man, it’s been a long session, but I tell you, I didn’t feel like it.

I just looked at the time and thought, holy crap, man, I can talk to you for a long time. You’re doing a great job. And it was really easy to converse with you. So I appreciate that.

[01:37:08] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. Cannot thank you enough, Kevin, to for jumping out with us. I think what you just said there about looking at the time I say this all very often that there’s, I’ll be sitting here and we’ll be having a conversation and all of a sudden I’ll look up at the time.

I’m like, man, we’re at like a minute we’re we’re at like an hour and 20 and I still have, like, I still feel like I got like 500 questions for you. So nonetheless again, thank you for your time. Truly appreciate it. Like I’ve said numerous times, it’s been an absolute pleasure to be a part of your organization with my son, Cal.

And it’s been a great experience so far looking forward to the months of month of July, a couple more tournaments. And again, thank you. So to everyone out there, we appreciate listening and we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.