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Kip Ioane is in his 12th season as the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He is in his 20th season on the coaching staff, including eight years as an assistant coach under Gordie James prior to being named the head coach when James retired prior to the 2009-10 season.
Ioane also attended Willamette as a student-athlete and played for the Bearcats from 1997-98 through 2000-01. He was a two-year captain who earned a total of four letters while playing at Willamette.
As a senior, he was a finalist for the Josten’s Trophy, given to the NCAA Division III men’s basketball player of the year. Ioane earned a bachelor’s degree from Willamette in 2001 and achieved a Master’s of Art in Teaching at WU in 2002.
Ioane’s Teams Of Men Character Development program, which has garnered national recognition for its work in developing a healthy version of manhood, is entering its eighth season as a requirement for all players on the Willamette team. A tiered, progressive calendar takes players through education in sexual assault prevention, victim advocacy and healthy relationships, and culminates in a senior year capstone presentation to teenage youth in the area.
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Get ready to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Kip Ioane, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Willamette University.
What We Discuss with Kip Ioane
- Growing up a multisport athlete in Billings, Montana with a father who was a Hall of Fame Coach
- Magic’s HIV announcement
- Our favorite SI covers
- Helping players navigate appropriate use of social media
- Using social media as an extra “staff” member to try and influence players’ mindsets in a positive way
- Mental health issues in the game today
- iGen by Jean Twenge
- The importance of high school sports in Montana
- The impact of sports specialization and the decline of the multisport athlete
- Why the losses often don’t mean as much to players today
- The transactional nature of sports being emphasized over the transformational
- The decision to attend college out of state at Willamette and how he ended playing basketball instead of football
- A fellow Polynesian player taking him under his wing during his freshman year at Willamette
- Why the stories from his playing days are no longer relevant to his players
- The demise of the long shorts and ever changing fashion trends
- How do you maintain what you believe in and still keep it fresh?
- How both he and his brother ended up in coaching, his brother in football, him in basketball
- Joining the Willamette staff after college and passing on high school coaching opportunities to continue to learn from Gordie James
- 8 years as an assistant at Willamette and then taking over as the head coach
- Don’t just take things you like from your head coach, make note of what you hate too
- Being given the freedom to think for himself and experiment as a young assistant coach
- Sharing the why with players
- The evolving player coach dynamic and how today’s players are much more likely to question a coach than they were in the past
- Trying to prove he wasn’t Gordie James when he first took over as head coach at Willamette
- Wishing he had slowed down in his first year and not tried to implement every idea he ever had as an assistant
- Developing clear cut responsibilities and expectations for his assistants
- The origin story behind his Teams of Men Character Development Program
- Teams of Men is 15 to 20 intentional meetings and touch points during the year where we are helping our players redefine what they believe it is to be a man in the 21st century
- Why being the first to open up and share has been important to the success of Teams of Men
- Building Teams of Men into the schedule, it’s not an add-on
- Guiding your program and players with an intent to be better
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THANKS, KIP IOANE
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TRANSCRIPT FOR KIP IOANE – WLLAMETTE UNIVERSITY MEN’S HEAD COACH – EPISODE 353
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host, Jason Sunkle and tonight we are pleased to welcome from Willamette University. The head men’s basketball coach Kip Ioane. Kip welcome.
Kip Ioane: [00:00:12] Oh, I appreciate being on guys. Appreciate the platform. You guys do a great job. So to be able to be a guest on here is really exciting.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:19] Thank you. We appreciate it. We are excited to have you on dig into what you’ve been able to do in your coaching career. And also talk about the program that you have instituted with your program there at Willamette, your teams of men program. We’re gonna get into that. Talk about it, give it a little bit of exposure.
So you can talk about the great things that you have going there. Let’s go back in time though, to begin. When you were a kid, talk to us, how you got into the game of basketball when you were younger.
Kip Ioane: [00:00:45] Yeah. You know, I think it was kind of preordained and destiny. My dad, it’s a crazy story. I’ll make it short.
My dad was born and spent the first 10, 12 years of his life in American Samoa. And then when he moved to Los Angeles basketball was the [00:01:00] thing that he and his three brothers did. So long story short, he went to East LA junior college and somehow got convinced that Montana State billings at the time it was Eastern Montana college was the place he should take himself.
And having never seen snow as a Polynesian, they didn’t take him there on a visit during the snow, but he went there and that’s where he went. My mother who’s actually a national champion barrel racer in the rodeo. So it was a crazy place to grow up in Billings Montana. But my dad was a coach, a Hall of Famer, and as a basketball player himself. My mom was a quintessential coach’s wife all my dad’s teams and everything that he was about on the basketball court, just kind of bled over into my brother and I being multi-sport athletes and, you know, being Lakers fans, because dad was a Magic Johnson lunatic. Um, I don’t think we really had a choice.
Not that I’m not at all grateful for being a basketball junkie. My brother ended up taking the football route and being a coach on the football side of things, but you know, basketball, I can remember earliest memories of the Nerf hoops or [00:02:00] hoops on the back of your door. Like a lot of kids I’m sure.
Yeah. Growing up. Um, and so it was just a, you know, Georgetown was on or the Lakers were on we’re doing. And if that wasn’t the game on, we were at my dad’s team’s games at Skyview High School. In billings, Montana, or later when he coached at the collegiate level, we were at those games. So it’s just kind of always been in the family, blood and the family existence.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:20] And I know you played a lot of sports when you were a kid. So was, it was basketball, always number one. And the other ones were things that you did in the off season or was something else number one, basketball eventually won you over.
Kip Ioane: [00:02:33] You know, I think basketball was always the emphasis, but if I’m honest, I think my favorite sport to play even growing up was football.
For whatever reason, I just happened to be when I got recruited to Willamette University by Gordie James, the men’s basketball coach and Dan Hawkins at the time was the Football coach, I was really more leaning towards, yeah. I just got done with the summer of football, all star games, [00:03:00] and I just kind of had football in my head.
I was like, Oh, it’s going to be football. But then I, you know, at Willamette ended up being four years of basketball and obviously not a, not a bad choice in any ways, but I think looking back, I probably would have been like, you know what? I wish I would’ve finished football in college four years.
But as far as ever since then, I think basketball is clearly been the focus. But if you find me on a Sunday and the Cowboys are on, I’m probably throwing things because they’re not very few, very rarely do they, when the big games there’s, they should. And I take a lot of that flack as a Cowboys fan.
Mike Klinzing: [00:03:32] Yeah, well, growing up when you did, and when I did, obviously the Cowboys were a lot different franchise, right in the Tom Landry era. And then you move on into the Jimmy Johnson era and there was a lot of winning that was done by the Dallas Cowboys. It was understandable. I think back way back then, why they were known as America’s team.
Kip Ioane: [00:03:49] They were the only team on like, you either watched CBS with the Cowboys or you watched NBC with the Broncos and I wasn’t a Broncos fan. So I had no choice. People always [00:04:00] ask, are you such a front runner? Because I got the Lakers, the Dodgers, the Cowboys, Notre Dame. Yeah. But in Billings and that’s all you got, you got to see where those three channels who’s on.
Mike Klinzing: [00:04:10] You get the big game every week. Yeah. Right. You kind of forget that that’s one of the things like both Jason and I grew up here in the suburbs of Cleveland. And so obviously you grow up in, you’re seeing Cleveland teams and so those teams. Barring something unforeseen, those teams sort of become your favorite and clearly you develop an affinity for different teams.
I think back to the Lakers Celtics rivalry of the eighties. And I was always a Magic guy. I’d always said, like I hated Larry Bird when I was a kid and grew to respect him, obviously over the years. But back when I was a kid, you could have told me anything about Larry Bird and I would have shut you down immediately.
No, there’s no way that he’s as good as Magic.
Kip Ioane: [00:04:48] I just loved the Lakers and the day of Magic’s HIV announced, but I cried for days. I don’t know if I cried that hard since
Mike Klinzing: [00:04:53] Do you remember exactly where you were?
Kip Ioane: [00:04:54] Oh, absolutely. Yeah. You know, and that time the misinformation and the lack of information, you thought it [00:05:00] was immediate and in two weeks, Magic’s going to be dead.
No idea about it. So it was, yeah, I remember it was a blizzard in Montana. My friends came to the door and were like, consoling me as if a family member had passed away, there was a whole thing.
Mike Klinzing: [00:05:13] It’s so true. I remember I was actually playing basketball. I was in college at the time and I came home from practice and had it on sports center.
And that announcement came on. And I remember this, my feeling was exactly the same as yours was that, Oh my God, Magic is going to be dead in a year. How can that, how can that be? Like, you couldn’t even wrap your head around that as a, I think I was a 19 or 20 year old kid at the time. I couldn’t even fathom the fact that this guy who’s been just a huge part of my childhood. I’ve watched since ever I can remember. And now he’s going to be dead from AIDS. It’s unbelievable. Yeah. It’s something that, that’s one of those things. It’s funny. What are, what are the things that you remember? Where you are, like, I know exactly where I was and there are some, but [00:06:00] it’s funny that Magic’s announcement about it.
Kip Ioane: [00:06:02] Yes, yes. Right. I still have the Sports Illustrated. You probably do too of the sports illustrated at cover. That was him shooting the baby sky hooks. Right. I still have that somewhere in the garage somewhere.
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:15] Yeah. My favorite SI cover of all time is, and I still have it. And it’s like, Torn to shreds, but I still have my very original cover was the Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, North Carolina, number one.
And they were kind of bent over and Jordan had on a couple of gold chains and that one hung in my room when I was, again, I think that cover came out when I was maybe 12 or 13 and I know it went to college. I know it went to college with me. And hung on my wall at college. So that thing’s been with me for a long time.
Jason Sunkle: This is going to show by age. My favorite SI cover is LeBron holding the championship trophy for the Cavaliers?
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:53] Well, that was well past the heyday of Sports Illustrated.
Jason Sunkle: I don’t ever have, I [00:07:00] don’t like pay for sports illustrated whenever I get like a free six month trial. I don’t buy it anymore, but I bought that cover that one magazine I bought because I wanted that.
Kip Ioane: [00:07:11] That’s a great purchase.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:14] Well, you’ll always remember. That’s one of the things that we, we could dive into this topic probably for hours, but it’s sad to me that.
I know my dad had a subscription to sports illustrated when I was a kid. So as soon as I was big enough to be able to know and understand and appreciate and look through it, it was in my house. And then I had a subscription all the way and I canceled mine, maybe. Like a year ago, because it just became like why am I going to read this. Why am I reading this a week after things have happened? I’ve already,
Kip Ioane: [00:07:44] I had, that’s funny bringing up old covers the Magic one and then I had the Allen Iverson. So I’m a huge Iverson guy. I’m not as bad as you think cover. It’s still one that I remember, but I had sports illustrated for kids growing up, had the sporting news growing up [00:08:00] ESPN the mag until it folded, you know, all those were major for me.
Mike Klinzing: [00:08:03] Yeah. It’s crazy. It’s just amazing the way that the media landscape has shifted kind of away from that old fashioned print media. And now everything is immediate and online and I’m sure that maybe this is a good chat time to ask you this, just in terms of, from a coaching standpoint, how does that immediacy of media and social media, how do you get your kids?
How do you deal with that in terms of helping your players to handle how to navigate social media in today’s world
Kip Ioane: [00:08:34] Great question. Well, I think, I mean, I think you put down a parameters that I’m sure a lot of coaches have. We have a version of a social media conduct policy. The problem with that being the standalone approach would be, Hey, here’s what you do, guys.
Don’t violate. That’s like saying, well, we practice the play once we should be perfect at it. The rest of existence. Right. Which we know isn’t real reality. So we have a virtual one that we go through in the first team meeting every year, but then that’s [00:09:00] really where that purposeful and intentional discussion of the type of men we want to be the type of men that we want to portray has so many intersections in social media being one of them. And we, throughout the time that we’re going through some of the programming for the teams of men curriculum. So many of our examples of errors and mistakes people make are via a Twitter screenshot.
We can roll up or comments on an Instagram post or a tik tok gone wrong. So we ended up giving them some real life opportunity to see the bad happen and so maybe that’s some prevention work we’re doing, but it’s, you know, it’s hard, it’s over, it’s a roll of the dice sometimes, but you also try to in the recruiting process, get to know kids.
You listen to people that know them, not just the coach, but counselors or teachers and see what type of people you’re bringing in. And then sometimes it really is crossing your fingers. I think we’ve, we feel better about the intentional meetings we have, but like any other coach, we still have kids do stupid stuff.
And then it’s a matter of, Hey, where was your decision making paradigm [00:10:00] flawed? Where did that come in? You’re going to suffer some consequences. How do we make sure that doesn’t happen again? , but it’s definitely something that I think coaches in the last 10 years have really had to put at the top of their culture and climate building list.
Mike Klinzing: [00:10:13] Yeah. That’s one of those things that I look back on my time as a player. And then I think about, early on in my coaching career and never really had to deal with the social media PR media piece of it. And I think that, probably at the level where you are, your kids aren’t necessarily hearing on social media after they have a bad game from 25 people say, Oh no, this guy’s a bum or whatever.
Whereas if you’re maybe at a high division, one level, those kids are not only dealing with. their coach and the pressure from their family and their own internal pressure they’re putting on themselves. But then they know they’ve got to carry around this thing in their pocket that’s going to give them messages.
If they have a bad game. I can’t imagine what that’s like as a player. And then what it’s like as a coach to be able to help kids to navigate that. You can’t completely block them out [00:11:00] from looking at it, using it, you know, that’s just not realistic. So then as you said, you have to figure out a way to help them to deal with it.
Kip Ioane: [00:11:06] I think there’s some of that, it’s such a balancing act with the phone piece you mentioned, because I think in some realms we err as coaches in, let’s get rid of it. Let’s try to wipe its existence from our team room or the bus or the plane. But in other cases, the phone can really be a great staff member because you know, the phone is always with them.
And they’ll look at the phone and listen to messaging. So we’ve tried to change their feeds, what comes across their feed by purposely listing out things that we think they should follow accounts, they should follow and hopefully change some mindsets through what they scroll through every day. But you’re right.
You know, I think some of that mental health comes into play. Where do they ever get an escape? Does the phone, let them escape. you’re right at the level, they don’t have the same amount of fan pressure, alumni pressure, but they also have a friend group, they’re getting their DMS or they’re seeing Instagram.
And that comparison is the thief of happiness can definitely [00:12:00] play in, you know, coming off a season like we had where we really struggled. You can compare our losses, their wins, their existence. And then that really dives into that mental health piece that we all gotta be aware of as well.
Mike Klinzing: [00:12:10] Yeah, it’s so easy to forget that that phone is with people nonstop and there’s no way to get away from it.
There’s no way to shut it down. I always equate it to even more than athletics. You just think about the kid at school 20 years ago, you might’ve been getting bullied at school and at least your home was a safe Haven. If you don’t answer the phone. Nobody can really get to you and now people can get to you everywhere you are. And we know that it’s ubiquitous that, you know, down to eight, nine, 10 years old, those kids are carrying around phones the same way we all are as adults. And that’s the thing that I think, as an adult in the education profession or in the coaching profession, [00:13:00] has really concerned, as you said about the mental health of our young people and what we can do to try to help them to overcome it.
Kip Ioane: [00:13:05] Oh, it’s, it’s such a good point. You make, and I would recommend folks listening and I know you guys got a great audience. The book iGen lowercase, i capital G by, Jean Twenge. It’s something we’ve dove into as a staff. Cause it talks about exactly what you said, the ways that phone and the constant pressure to compare yourself to others existence that we know are false that people were posting. It’s not their true day to day. Like they probably had a miserable day and they posted their best two seconds of it. Right. But it doesn’t allow these young kids that we’re coaching to really escape. And it really puts them in these different mindsets that we’re not used to as coaches.
But it’s a great book it’s got, it’s not just laying out the scary, it’s got a lot of strategies for helping kids cope with that and helping kids and being prepared as a coach. So I couldn’t recommend that book anymore. IGen by Jean Twenge
Mike Klinzing: [00:13:54] That’s great. Because I think one of the things that we sometimes struggle with lots of issues [00:14:00] is we have a lot of identification of these are the problems, but we don’t always have a lot of figuring out what are the solutions like?
We know, Hey, social media can have a negative impact on kids and bullying problem that we need to be able to help kids navigate that. But then. When it comes time to, well, what can we really do? I think a lot of times we’re short on solutions. So when you get something, a source or a program, like what you’ve developed, that is actually a solution to a problem.
I think that’s what we’re really trying to do, that’s where we’re really trying to make progress and make strides.
Kip Ioane: [00:14:32] Absolutely. And as coach, can you imagine if we just sat there and yelled we missed, we missed again, missed again that we would never coach our team that way. Right. Thanks coach. I got it.
I noticed that the ball didn’t go through, I’m aware.
Mike Klinzing: [00:14:44] Yeah, no doubt. There’s no doubt about that. When you really think about it in that way, it makes it clear that we have to figure out and dive into solutions. Let’s move backwards for a second. And to a simpler time when you were in Montana. Talk to me a little bit about the basketball [00:15:00] scene in Montana.
When you’re growing up as a high school player, what does basketball in Montana look like when you’re a high school?
Kip Ioane: [00:15:05] Well, I think high school sports in general in Montana are such a big deal. I’m not trying to compare Friday nights or Saturday basketball games in Montana to Texas by any means, but there’s nothing else in town, Montana, Montana state, or everybody loves the Cats and the Grizz, but there are deep division, one AA FCS schools.
And that’s the closest thing you have in Montana to professional sports. So on those weekends, you really are the show. So, I mean, it was unusual for us not to have 2,500 to 3000 people at our games every day, every game, no matter who the opponent is, especially Crosstown rivalries in Montana, so it was a big deal. Importance was great. So you felt that. Front news front page of the Billings Gazette is always about AA basketball and in Montana and the classifications are AA, A, B and C, so in that manner it was awesome. It was a great [00:16:00] place to grow up.
The importance of the sport you’re playing that they’re ready to give a damn by the community was through the roof, so I can’t complain for a second about that. It was actually, in terms of fan attendance and awareness in the city you’re playing in. It was way greater in Montana AA basketball than it was in division three. Now that doesn’t mean the quality was anywhere near, division three is a great level of sports, but just the fan attendance and the overall awareness was just, I mean, we were interviewed all the time as high school players and that’s still the case in Montana. So I think it’s a kind of a big fish, small pond situation, but still as a player in it, and as fans, it’s awesome. You can lose yourself in the season and really be engrossed by it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:16:42] Yeah. There’s no question that having the opportunity, no matter what level you’re playing, I don’t care if you’re playing Peewee basketball or you’re playing in high school or you’re playing at the college level wherever, when you get an opportunity to play in front of.
A packed house, whether that packed houses 500 people in a little band box gym, where it’s 20,000 [00:17:00] people in a huge arena, when that gym is packed, the atmosphere that it creates, there’s nothing better than playing or coaching in that kind of environment. Cause I’ve been in both environments, I’ve been in the environment where it’s packed and I’ve been in the environment where there’s 10 people and yeah, as both a coach and a player.
It’s way, way more fun. Right? On a day in day out basis to be able to play in front of those kinds of crowds that are supportive or that, or conversely that are against you when you’re on the road.
Kip Ioane: [00:17:30] You know, I think some of that was what’s that last part you mentioned going across town to play Billings West.
So I played at Billings Skyview, Skyview West, or Skyview senior, are the inner city rivalries. You knew all those kids you grew up playing against, there wasn’t as much travel ball then. So it was like, remember when we played in the Y we played these same five dudes. It’s the same five guys since we were seven and it’s not to our block versus their block.
And whether that was football, basketball track, that it really mattered level. You know, every year in Montana, there’s probably one or two . [00:18:00] , but the majority are going to go frontier conference in hoops or if you’re like myself, you’re going to try to get out. And it just kind of depends what every there was, it was solid competition.
I don’t think the athleticism in Montana is anywhere near the bigger States, like where you guys are at or California, but on a sheer give a damn level it’s through the roof.
Mike Klinzing: [00:18:19] Yeah, that’s awesome. I think that’s something that any kid or coach would aspire to be able to be a part of that environment. So as you’re growing up there, obviously you’re playing a bunch of different sports at the high school level. Tell me a little bit about what your multi-sport experience was like and then how you try to get that point across maybe to your own kids or your family, friends, kids, how important it is for kids to play multiple sports, because we know it today the emphasis is on you got to specialize. If you want to be able to go and do this or do that, you gotta be focused in on whatever your sport is by the time you’re 10, 11 years old. So just talk about it.
Kip Ioane: [00:18:55] I really feel, you know, I’m 41 [00:19:00] now. So when I first got the job, I was 29. So I always felt like I was still young and now I’m 41 and none of my players consider me young at all, you know, so I see.
But I do feel like this group of kids really missed out, not by any choice of their own. That was like this negative thing, but just the, the, the focus is no longer on can I compete in different arenas with different skill sets and different areas as a well rounded experience, right. I can’t imagine not playing football in the fall, playing hoops in the winter and then running track.
I can’t fathom kids not doing that and I understand the concept that’s developed around travel ball and club ball, and there’s some great benefits to see in big cities and playing great competition. But I do think it’s less in the the win loss factor. I think those you lost four games today in a tournament in AAU, but we’ll go play tomorrow?
So it’s some of that, some of the building and the competitiveness you have to recoup. Now, I think it’s harder for coaches. I think in the past, when you were the do or die seasons across multiple sports, you [00:20:00] were kind of flexing that muscle, that competitive muscle in different environments and being, I think being around different folks, like my football teammates, they weren’t the same guys as my basketball teammates sometimes and then even in a track and field athlete, you’re really honed in on the mental approach for yourself, which can only help when you’re at the free throw line at the end of a game. Right? So for our own players, I love when we get recruit recommendations or we find a guy that also has played football that also has played baseball, anything that’s multi-sport and that’s maybe some of the benefit of D three, cause we still do have some multi-sport kids.
This year’s current roster won’t have any, but we’ve had plenty in the past, thousand yard rushers and thousand point scores. That’s a great story. That’s a great experience. So I think there’s some benefit of that we still get to do that, it’s almost impossible anymore at the higher levels.
So we try to tell guys that are like juniors or sophomores on our recruiting board, man. Don’t give up football for us. Don’t give up track and field or baseball or soccer. You want to have those experiences [00:21:00] across different venues, with different people in different environments and different skillsets for your body.
In general, you got plenty of time to focus when you get here.
Mike Klinzing: [00:21:08] Yeah, it’s so true that I think when, when I see it, one of the things that always bugs me about it is that so often it’s not driven by the kid. For sure. So often it’s driven by the parents or the coach at some level, whether it’s a high school coach, the AAU coach, the club coach, somebody is getting a message to that kid that this is what you need to do because here’s, what’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, instead of, and I’ve ranted about this before, but.
I feel like one of the big problems that youth sports today is not just basketball is that everybody is always focused on the next thing. That’s nobody loves me now. Great. Let me, yeah, let me have a great high school career. Let me enjoy my senior year. Instead of being all worried about where am I going to play next year?
What’s going to happen? Am I going to get the scholarship or not, and then by the time you get done, you look back and you’re like, man, I should have enjoyed playing high [00:22:00] school basketball. Instead, I was so worried about what was going to happen next. I think that’s a big, big issue in terms of educating both kids and their parents about that.
Kip Ioane: [00:22:08] I agree. I think we’ve become very transactional in our usage and our rolling out of our experiences in sports, whether that’s from third grade through college instead of being transformational. Um, and when you start focusing on the transaction piece, I put in X amount for my kid to play. I should get this out of it in terms of scholarship or future.
Rather than the transformational experience of his experience with the coaches, teammates, adversity, all those things happening. We can lose our way a little bit and you’re right. I, I don’t want to paint a broad brush cause there’s tons of youth programs and travel ball folks that do it the right way and encourage multi sports.
But it is a challenge to find that whether it’s for your own kids or the kids you’re recruiting or I have a son, my son’s 13, my daughter’s 11, my youngest is eight. You know, just like you asked, what am I pushing? I would like them to never specialize until they have to [00:23:00] in college.
But it’s harder and harder because yeah, they’re missing for basketball, for football or vice versa, volleyball for this. They can be left behind, but depending on the person running those youth sports programs. So I think that’s probably even more vital folks like yourself and other people that have really contributed to the youth athletics.
Having the right mindset is so important.
Mike Klinzing: [00:23:22] Yeah it really is. I think that’s one of the things that you run into when you start talking about having kids play more than one sport, especially at the high school level. And we’ve talked to this, you know, we’ve talked this subject of the bunch of different high school coaches that the baseline amount of time that a high school coach has to put in to have a successful program today.
Compared to 20 – 25 years ago is nowhere near. I mean, it’s so much more time. And as a result of that time that the coach is putting in, that means there’s more workouts, there’s more weight training. There’s more, all that stuff that. Either kids did on their own or didn’t do it 20, 25 years [00:24:00] ago, which that was all time that if you were a multi-sport athlete, you weren’t at basketball weight training, you were on the football team where you were playing baseball or whatever. And now to your point, In a lot of ways, it becomes more difficult on those high school athletes because they’re missing the basketball weight training to be on the football team.
You’re missing summer workouts for football, so they can play in the basketball summer league. And at a certain point it just becomes really difficult. And that’s where I don’t know what the answer to that question is, but I think that coaches out there have to be really conscious and intentional about trying to create an environment where kids can play.
Multiple sports. Again, when it’s the kid’s choice, I don’t have any problem at all with a kid who is someone like me when I was a kid, I played multiple sports up until I was in seventh grade. And then I dropped everything, not because my dad told me to, not because my high school coach told me to it was because I loved hoops and that’s what I wanted to do.
So if that’s the kid who becomes a single sport athlete, great. If it’s kid [00:25:00] driven, it’s when the kid is forced to make a decision by an adult in their life. And it’s not the kid’s choice. That’s where I have a difficult time.
Kip Ioane: I think we’ve become very tribal in our sport. And also in our belief that our training regimen is the only way to prepare them for tip-off.
When you really think about the contact and the stuff that you have to go through as a football player that can only benefit you as a basketball player and vice versa, right? Or as a baseball player, the mental approach, even as a tennis or soccer player, I think we’ve become very information driven, which is great.
We’re passionate. Like you, I mentioned we want to put in the time, let me build this. And then the thought that some of this could actually be done in a different way. Sometimes we struggled to get our head around it and so I think there’s some of that cross an intersection. Now we got to do as coaches that direct guys and trust that person on the other side of it.
That our kids time with them is not a detriment. It might actually be a positive. Right. And it’s hard. I’m preaching like all this is easy. It’s not, none of this is easy. Right?
[00:26:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:26:00] Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So talk to me a little bit about your decision to attend Willamette. When you get done with high school, how did that come to pass?
Obviously? A neighboring state. , you gotta go across. You’re not, you’re not staying in state. You just talk to me. How did you discover Willamette University so that you can consider going? Just tell me about the process?
Kip Ioane: [00:26:21] Well, I, you know, growing up as a person of color in Montana, there’s not a ton of diversity.
so my dad and my mom, even though she’s Caucasian were always very much about, Hey, this is a great place that we wanted to raise you, but we want you to go see the world. Montana isn’t the world. The world’s a whole nother different place. And so we were always very cognizant. I was, at least I want to get out of here.
I want to go, I love it. I love my friends here, but even my, the starting five of my high school team, we all went to school out of state. All of us, we just kind of had that mindset that it’s time to expand. This was a great foundation and base. And so Willamette was on my radar purely, initially because of football.
And their usual film share and Hey, the [00:27:00] football team’s interested. Let’s talk about on the basketball side, they had had a player from Billings from our rival high school, but he was four years older than me. And growing up, he played against my dad’s teams. My dad’s team coached against him and I loved him.
I hated that he put 35 on my dad’s teams. Right. But he was like one of my idols and he ended up going to Willamette. So I knew about the program. He had told them about me. And so it ended up being a football recruiting visit, but a basketball home visit. That really kind of sealed the deal. And then we’ll at being such a high academic place.
You know, I had a 3.97, so I was able to get a full academic scholarship to school here. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to make the choice just because of the cost of D three. I needed that full ride to keep a three seven here at Willamette to keep that full ride.
So that was motivation to pick one sport or the other, but in hindsight, coach Gordie James recruited his ass off, made my mom cry in the living room. And that was it. It’s all over. Right. Once you get the Mom, it’s done, [00:28:00] you know, whatever I decided, but mom had to be convinced and he figured that out pretty easy.
Mike Klinzing: [00:28:06] That’s why they pay you the big money coach, right? You figure out who’s making the decisions and I’m sure mom, mom is pretty important in most cases. All right. So what was the transition like both as a player, as a student and culturally for you going from your high school in Billings going to go into a different state in a completely different environment.
Kip Ioane: [00:28:28] You know, it was very, it was different, it was academically the transition was to a very prestigious academic institution, but I felt pretty prepared for that. None of that was too shocking for me. Oregon is different than Montana in a lot of ways, the rain versus the snow, although I’d make that swap again in a second.
Basketball was different. You know, it was a higher level. Guys were bigger, faster, stronger. And even though, you know, you’re an All-state guy in your state and you come to this team and you think you’re the big wig and you find out how they got a Juco guy [00:29:00] at your spot, they got a returner at your spot.
And so it’s kind of going back to the, like a lot of everyone experiences. You gotta earn your stripes again. I think I had a great senior leadership group. There was another Polynesian player that was on the team as a senior captain that kind of took me under his wing a little bit, which was huge for me.
That was a nice mentor relationship, kind of a big brother to lean on that. But after that, I really kind of settled in and Willamette is the exact size, one of the smaller school environment. I could recreate the kind of the family atmosphere that I had in high school at Willamette, because it was a smaller community, and so that transition ended up being, I bet the first. Semester of freshman year, I was super homesick. I’m wanting to go home, even though the season was in full swing. For every freshmen, there was some version of that, but after that it was easier and easier to just say, Oh, I’m coming home for two days.
I gotta get back, you know? And so eventually became, this is home even though I’m from Montana.
Mike Klinzing: [00:29:58] So how do you take [00:30:00] still, obviously, you’ve been there a long time now, both as a player and then as an assistant coach and as a head coach, do you still take your experiences as a player in that transition that you described to us, do you still ever reference that with your current players?
Kip Ioane: [00:30:14] You know what I would say probably five years ago, I don’t know if it was a clinic or, you know, all of us back then maybe we were even still watching DVDs of championship productions.
It was, there was a speaker somewhere that really hammered home and I figured out, you know what, I’m 34 something. Now my stories aren’t relevant anymore. You know, as the concepts and like the foundational truths are, so I’d like to utilize them for are great. And I think they still apply, but they really don’t give a damn that you did XYZ.
Maybe when you were the assistant, you know, you were the young assistant, you’re 24 and you’re a young assistant. They absolutely applied. I could still have some of that direct listen to my story, learn from my story. Now I gotta be more intentional with it. I’ve got to activate the leadership group of the captains.
I got to rely on my younger staff. [00:31:00] so I, I tried to impart upon them that the tradition and the expectation of our program because I followed a coach that was here for 23 years, I’m going on my 12th. So we got almost four decades of continuity in what we believe is the foundation of the program.
But the story, you know, what Kip did is less relevant. They see a picture of me now, we had long shorts and long shorts are out now. It’s crazy to me, it’s a war that was fought that I thought I was on the winning side of in 2001.
Mike Klinzing: [00:31:28] Could you ever imagine that? I mean, they’re clearly not going back quite to the John Stockton era of shorts, but if you would have ever told me that short shorts in any form or fashion would have come back. I would have told you, you were crazy I would have told you maybe not Scotty Thurman long.
Kip Ioane: [00:31:47] Right. But all the, I can’t even remember in 2010, 11, right.
I’m ordering new Nike stuff for the team and I’m adding to the order, right? Like we want 11 inches on there. My guys today would riot. [00:32:00] If I didn’t keep the standard seven, cause they hate them long. And that I just can’t. So that kind of proved, you know, ankle socks were cool when I was playing.
And you had to fight your coach for it. My guys looking at me, coach, what are you doing with the no shows? What are you doing? And so, yeah, that’s a great question. And I’ve actually, with younger staff members, that’s one of our evolutions of them as coaches is, Hey, we’ve got to start to figure out.
The moral or the point of our story is valid. The story itself is not the transformation mechanism because they just will tune out. They just will, but that’s okay. That, that forces us be better as coaches and figure out okay, relevancy and other ways. And maybe that stories. And even now I tell you, we have a legacy wall in our locker room. So guys that have left a mark, it doesn’t mean you were the leading scorer in our locker room, but you have a story that I think is worthy. I don’t one of those walls from the 2010 to 2012 guys, great stories. I’ve got to update that side of the wall because it’s too far away.
The kids, it doesn’t relate to them, so it’s, [00:33:00] I like that. I like keeping stuff fresh, and I think that’s the challenge in coaching for all of us is how do I maintain what I believe in, but keep it fresh. Keep the delivery message new.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:09] Yeah, no question. And with each passing year that it changes, as you said, kids change, and it’s not necessarily a huge change from one year to the next, but there’s a slow creep, right?
In terms of the way that they do things and what’s available to them and their pop culture and everything else.
Kip Ioane: [00:33:28] Oh, the music they have now, I think like I’m a hip hop guy, but I’m not their level of hip hop with what’s cool. Right? Like Little Wayne’s old to them and I’m like right there. None of them know who Tupac is.
Yeah. I want to fight them but yeah, but that’s actually a fun history lesson. I’ve used that before the past as well.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:46] Yeah, it’s true. It’s so true. When I first started teaching, I still remember this vividly. I was teaching third grade. I remember. I think it was my very first year, maybe my second.
And I was teaching third grade at the time. There were a couple of little girls that [00:34:00] were coming in from the playground and they were singing some song or whatever. And as they were singing it, I finished the lyrics for them, you know, and they just looked up. I mean, like, you know, like this whole new found level of respect, like Mr. Klinzing knows, he knows this.
Kip Ioane: [00:34:16] Not anymore.
Mike Klinzing: [00:34:16] Yeah. No, not anymore. Not anymore. The music comes on. I’m like, what is this? I don’t even don’t even understand what this is about. So yeah. It’s just amazing. How, again, it’s inevitable and it happens to everybody, but it’s kind of crazy when you start thinking about it as a coach or a teacher, you do really have to reinvent yourself and figure out different ways to be able to convey the same message because your messaging is just as critical today as it was 20 years ago. It’s just, how do I get that message across? And I think that’s a great point for sure. When did coaching come on your radar, did you know growing up because your dad was a coach?
Did you always have that in the back of your mind that I think I might want to coach? Or was it something that kind of crept up on you as you started to see the end of your playing career on the road?
Kip Ioane: [00:34:59] You know, I can [00:35:00] remember vividly my brother and I, and he’s now the defensive coordinator at Montana State.
Both of us, like specifically saying we’re not going to coach. Dad don’t make enough money. Parents are a nightmare. You know, it’s just too stressful. Why would we do that? And here we both are, you know, I think the education piece and wanting to give back and help people develop was always in us. , you know, my dad being a teacher and a coach, my mom was a Montessori school principal for 35 years.
So education and helping was always in our DNA and I can vividly, I remember the first time I actually was saying to myself, you know what? I could do this. And it was at a camp, maybe like most kids we had to work. Our camp has Willamette players in the summer. It was a great way to get actual reps with each other.
The NCAA let Gordie work us out during that camps. And we could play at night against other teams. So it was worth it to come back. And I just came back for the money and the games. I wasn’t really interested in what I was gonna do as a coach, but I remember I had. , 10 and 11 year olds from like that first team.
And they, I don’t know if it was a ball screen that we actually ran [00:36:00] correctly or something that I thought was awesome that these kids ran and we scored on it. , and that feeling was great. And I, from that moment on, I kinda thought to myself, you know what, I kind of liked this. My wife was a hall of fame player here at Willamette, same age as me scored a lot more points than I did, which my kids like remind to me of a lot.
But I remember coming back from spring break as seniors in college and we were done eligibility wise and we decided, you know what, we’re going to camp. We worked last summer. Maybe we should coach. I remember the discussion in a Toyota Camry about it, and she ended up going to high school coaching route and I joined the Willamette staff.
But that, that was the moment when it kinda clicked. I’d never grown up young Kip, no way, but that, that camp experience and the kids, and that really changed my outlook. And you know, here I am, Whoa boy, 19, 20 years later.
Mike Klinzing: [00:36:50] So the decision to go college versus high school, was it a matter of opportunity or was it a matter of choice?
Kip Ioane: [00:36:56] You know, the first year I was going to get my master’s [00:37:00] degree in teaching at Willamette and Gordie offered me a spot as kind of the GA, D3 has got so many different names for what it is. I got my master’s degree while coaching that team. and then I had the opportunity when I got my Teaching degree, I had teaching job offers?
Those were pretty much Hey, do you want to coach high school here? We know you’re a college assistant first year, a young guy, minority coaching candidate. We’d love to have you these various high schools that I had job offers that. And I just really liked, I didn’t feel I’ve learned enough yet.
Like my coach learning from him as an assistant versus as a player is a whole different world. Right? Your eyes are open to this per this, this guy is a human being rather than the guy that makes you run. So I felt like I had more to learn and I just remembered parents from my dad’s experience in high school.
And then that’s not to say he didn’t have great parents too, but I remember, especially for him being a minority coach in a very white state, the parent interactions were traumatic. You know, they were for a young kid like me [00:38:00] seeing it. I wanted nothing to do with it. Now, fast forward to 2020, and paramount parents are very much involved in division.
Mmm. And very much involved in general. Right. But at the time I thought, you know what? I’ve got more to learn at this level. And I don’t want to deal with parents, so I’m going to stick it. I’m gonna stay here. And I was getting to do a lot, you know, as a, as a young guy, 22, 23 year old coach Gordie was giving me responsibilities.
So that there was different times as my seven, eight years as an assistant where there was high school head job offerings. But to be honest with you, I could only ever see myself as the head coach here. That’s just what I pictured, so I turned down some of those and lucky enough, when Gordie retired I was lucky enough to get the job.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:43] It’s amazing. Just the fact that you’ve been there as long as ] you have, you kind of lived your entire adult life more here than in Montana, which is crazy.
Kip Ioane: Yeah.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:51] I know. We start thinking about that as you get older and it’s just, it’s incredible. The amount of time that I’ve spent, I’ve [00:39:00] spent now more time with my wife and my own kids that I spent with my parents.
Yeah. You know, growing up as a kid. And that’s one of the things that you have a hard time, I think, as you get older that you have a hard time wrapping your head around. So when you went from being a player in the program to being a coach in the program, obviously kind of that curtain gets pulled back a little bit.
You get to see what goes on behind the scenes. So, or one or two things that were surprising to you that maybe you didn’t really know about Coach James or maybe you didn’t really know about what coaching really was all about. Just talk to me about what was surprising.
Kip Ioane: [00:39:38] You know, I think one of the best things he did for me as not only my boss, but also as a mentor coach and you know, as a father figure to me was he told me day one of my first day coaching.
I don’t want you to only write down or take mental notes of what you like about what I do. That’ll make you just a version of me. You know that won’t make you, [00:40:00] you write down everything you hate about what I do as well. And so I was very cognizant of that, you know, probably even sometimes due to a detrimental level because as a 23 year old, you think, you know the game.
Cause he watched a lot of NBA the night before. Right? Like, but he really allowed me to formulate my own belief systems and how things could be achieved. I think we’re very much believers in, like most coaches, playing hard, playing unselfishly, getting good shots, but how I believe I could do that, he always allowed me to explore that side because he was a flex disciple in a five out Five man motion disciple, man. No man only defense don’t switch anything, but he allowed me to explore those other things. Whether it’s through was through giving me all the Scouts or sending me to different clinics too. Cause he knew I wanted more than just his way of doing things. So I was very appreciative that as far as pulling the curtain back I don’t know if there was that much only because I had grown up in a coach’s household.
I think if I hadn’t grown up with a dad that lived it the way he [00:41:00] did and seeing the hours and seeing the level of give a damn from coaches, sometimes it supersedes the players, even though the hurts after a loss, the coaches have a harder time dumping that than some of the guys do.
So that part wasn’t as crazy to me, the method to the madness, the rationale behind some of the things that as a player I didn’t know we were doing, we were running flex as an introductory offense every year. Cause it made us better at motion. You know, getting to see that because all the cuts and screens and flex are involved.
If you’re a good motion team, seeing him build that kind of the sequencing of building a team, seeing that and the purpose and the intention that went into that was probably the biggest eyeopener. Cause as a player, you show up and the calendars ready and you just do right. You don’t realize that calendar has been built.
It wasn’t built yesterday and it wasn’t just him sitting at the desk one day, putting it down. It was a lot of meetings, a lot of thought processes, and so I think I’ve carried that forward now. I’m not writing it down on a piece of paper and making photocopies like Gordie liked to do obviously.
But I think that was [00:42:00] probably the lesson he taught me about finding my own way. And then purposeful sequencing of everything, whether it’s practice one builds into practice because of this or the conditioning or any of those. That was probably the biggest things from that first year.
Mike Klinzing: [00:42:15] Do you think that sharing the why is more important in today’s basketball world for you as a head coach than it was for him. Cause I think about basketball in that era and there was a lot less of why we’re doing it. It’s just do it. This is what we’re doing, right. This is just what we’re doing. And yes, that there wasn’t a why, because clearly there was as you’re describing, but it wasn’t always shared with players.
Whereas I think now players almost demand to know why we’re doing these things. And then it also just helps you to build relationships with kids.
Kip Ioane: [00:42:48] Great point. I think it’s all based on the information available. And back then, you know, so I’m playing 97 to 01 in college, even though that was the start of email and [00:43:00] internet.
It still, wasn’t the expectation that all information in rationales delivered to me in the drop of a hat, like I still had a patience level, right? I think are the kids we’re coaching now, I’ve grown up with the expectation that anything they want to find out they can right now. So that heightens their demand for what you’re saying.
I think there’s buy in I think there’s a why bias nowadays. The kids want it to be proven why they should spend this amount of their attention span on what you’re talking about compared to back then, there was more of a I’m disciplined is the wrong word. There was more of a, the coach is the boss, and I’m not in a position to, I’ve never even considered questioning why or what he says.
so I think that’s probably the main difference. Gordie always believed in building men through his team. I think it was more dependent on the game. You know, and I’ll coach the practice and that’ll be a lesson I’ll coach, the games wins or losses. That’ll be a lesson, which is all true. I think I’ve probably just taken that to a more intentional level because the guys want more of the why and the more, the proof [00:44:00] in different mediums than we did back then.
Mike Klinzing: [00:44:02] Understood. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about the transition from you going to, from an assistant to taking over from a guy who you played for. Who was there and had a lot of success for long time. And now suddenly here you are taking over that program, you’ve been underneath his tutelage as a player and as an assistant.
So, you know, his system inside and out, how do you make the team your own for lack of a better way of saying what was the plan and when you took over?
Kip Ioane: [00:44:30] No, I think that’s something, if I could go back, I would tell my 29 year old self stop trying to prove you’re not Gordie.
I think I took it too far. I think I tried to be, this has gotta be Kip’s way. And there was no pressure from anyone to be Gordie. Gordie himself gave me, I think it was six months before he came back to the gym. It wasn’t like he was hovering over me or in a console. He did a great job giving me space, but I was so bound and determined to [00:45:00] prove that I wasn’t him, that I probably over schemed and over broke the wheel.
Well, we got a good team and we didn’t solve that until probably January when I simplified it and took away some of the bells and whistles I thought w just went back to basic basketball and suddenly we win seven or eight. Eight of our last 10. , so I think I probably erred in that, which is probably not unusual when you’re younger and you got an ego and you don’t quite know how to balance it yet.
It’s your first opportunity to go out there and prove, you know, what you thought one chair away could have worked for the whole game instead of the one time out coach listened to you as the assistant.
Kip Ioane: [00:45:38] You have 10 years worth of ideas probably puke them all out in the first two months, to be honest with you.
And if I could go back, I’d tell myself to slow down. Hey, you can do a little couple of wrinkles here, but the basic formulas there, these kids are used, especially, they’re still Gordie’s kids. Like you recruited them and you’ve been the assistant. They’re still there. A lot of these kids are Gordie’s still, so there’s no need to overstep that.
So I probably aired a lot in that. And the first year or two, before you [00:46:00] settle into kind of your identity and who you want to be and how you want to do it,
Mike Klinzing: [00:46:04] What did you learn as an assistant that helped you as a head coach to better utilize. Your own assistant coaches and make sure that they felt buy-in into the program. What did you, what did you learn as an assistant?
Kip Ioane: [00:46:15] Great question. You know, I would, I harken back to Gordie was such a basketball savant. Like I’m working for a guy that won a national championship, in the NAIA went to two final fours, 350 wins. You know, the guy knew basketball inside and out. He didn’t need us in practice.
He really didn’t like, and that’s not a negative to him. Like, so I’m, there’s some days I’m counting laps as the assistant. And I knew doing, you know, I’m just, I walked around this way. I got to shag a ball and it wasn’t like the practice was bad either without me, but I knew I did not want to run my staff.
Yeah. So that’s another example of Gordie saying, write down the things you don’t like and make sure you don’t do them. Cause that’s not how you want to. So I’ve always tried to be very cognizant to utilize my staff and give them clear, cut [00:47:00] expectations and responsibilities. I think that’s something I learned from him in a different way.
Right. And then I think there was a lot of lessons in game demeanor that was either, what coach was so composed during that time out, or even, you know, how he’s working the refs, you know, I still don’t think I’m as good as he was. I mean, he was a master of working officials. So those little tidbits and details, I, I just think I had a really good open book mentor that did not expect me to recreate him.
And so I think that was a benefit. Cause I could look at everything with a critical lens rather than, you know, just like fanatic, like just write that down and do it that way. Write that down too. I was able to kind of develop that. Why are we doing it that way? Sometimes it was like, Oh, because of this, we should copy that.
And when I couldn’t find the answer, I knew I could switch it. I could change it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:47:53] Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. When you talked about having interactions with the officials. One of the things that when I was doing a little [00:48:00] bit of research and looked at your bio on your page, and I don’t know if you even know that the caption on one of the pictures in your bio it shows a Kip Ioane having a calm discussion with a reference.
And I love, I love that. I love that. I love that caption. I was reading it. I’m like. Man that is branding.
Kip Ioane: [00:48:19] Well conference officials to sign so he won’t be mad at me anymore, but honestly, I do love that I’ve tried over the years, as you get kind of older, you realize like none of my tantrums have ever been more than a good story at the bar.
They’ve never helped us win. Right. They’ve never helped. I’ve had to do it. You know, we have a rule in our program. If you get a technical coach or player, you owe the boards, right. The old two by four with a wet rag. And I’m telling you, I don’t like doing that at age 40. So I’ve definitely tried hone down what, and I think when you’re young, you feel like that is the only, that’s how your country moving to the wins, which is dumb, right?
How you utilize in time outs, your blobs, your ATO draws stuff. You know, there’s more ways to do it [00:49:00] than just. The performance, look at me, I’m coaching so hard. I’m yelling at the refs. Now that crossed me. If you come to a game, there’s plenty of times Kip is outraged. , but I’m trying to be more cognizant of it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:49:10] I understand completely. I think that’s one of those things that you do, you do learn over time that there’s not too many discussions that are animated, that you have with an official that ended up benefiting your team in any way, shape or form. If anything. At best they’re neutral. If you have a good official and at worst, that guy ends up sticking it to you.
At some point later in the game is what usually happens so I can completely relate to it. All right. Let’s jump into teams of men. Talk to me about where it came from, put the why behind it, and then just give people an idea of what it is. Cause I think it’s completely unique. I haven’t really heard of anybody else doing anything.
Certainly not to the extent that you’re doing it. So just lay out the whole background for us.
Kip Ioane: [00:49:52] Appreciate the platform and opportunity to kind of give, give it the, of the whole story. You know, I think it was 2012, 2013 [00:50:00] season, and there were things happening in, in the realm of sexual assaults, domestic violence, um, on our campus at Willamette and in the Salem community.
And, you know, Salem’s the capital city of Oregon. And, I’ve been at Willamette for so long, even back then, I’d been at Willamette for over a decade. So most people that associated with me associated the school with me. So I feel that a ton of calls, Hey, what’s going on in Willamette? What’s going on?
Is it your players? Look at all these things in the news and on social media. And the only thing I could ever answer was no, it’s not my guys. And I went to bed at night, really struggling to sleep. Like, I don’t know why it’s not my guys. I have done nothing to educate or help their decision making paradigm.
I can probably thank their parents for raising them. Right. And also just the luck of the life draw. That it was another program’s players that committed these acts, that it was another person in Salem that committed these acts. And it wasn’t somebody associated with me. And having that gut feeling of your failing in that, what you believe for yourself is your job of building young men out [00:51:00] of the boys.
You get as a recruiter, but also remembering all the times I’d prompt parents either in home visits or on campus visits, that I was in the business of molding men, creating a family and helping their son leave a legacy. And I had done nothing besides the basketball component of that.
I really had to take the long road, look in the mirror and say, I’m done with this answer. I’m done with the, I hope it wasn’t my guy. We’ll see. And I decided, I’m a coach. I live right in the world of sequencing and creating messaging that drives change and movement my players.
Why am I not doing with that with them as men? So that next year, and that’s been almost a decade. Now, our guys go through the teams of men character development program, which is 15 to 20 intentional meetings, touch points during the year where we are helping them redefine what they believe it is to be a man in the 21st century.
And I’m not giving them a cookie cutter carbon like, Hey, you should be like, Kip. Trust me. My wife would laugh her ass [00:52:00] off. If I tried to sell my brand of masculinity is what people should be. Right. Really what I’m selling is the ability to mirror, train, or take the self journey and be willing to ask yourself, why do you believe what you do and what actions are you willing to take to prove that belief?
Cause I think that is what we got to over conversations with experts and people in the field will am it’s located right across the street from the state Capitol of Oregon. So. All of the Oregon attorney General’s task force and all the resources of our campus advocates are title IX coordinators on campus.
I utilized all those people to help me kind of shape in the beginning, which was a sexual assault prevention plan and really morphed into in order to prevent these, we really have to take a look at how our guys believe they should act as men because these. Terrible actions. Most of the time take place when men are trying to prove their masculinity to themselves or others.
So that allowed me to branch out from purely the shock and awe statistics reading out and kind of the scare tactic to don’t you [00:53:00] do this in terms of sexual assault or domestic violence too. If you read it. Fine and are willing to take a critical lens to how you believe you are. As a man, you’re going to avoid these because you’re going to read, you’re going to have a different approach.
And so that’s really how it’s morphed. It changes every year for our team. It’s a requirement. Now you don’t get on the floor for us. If you don’t do your teams of men assignments and be at the meetings. And so as a freshmen, you more from getting the statistics about sexual assault, domestic violence, and toxic masks culinary into your sophomore year.
Teaching that to the rookies junior year, giving us community, give back assignments and senior year your capstone project is going to high school teams freshmen through varsity and giving hour long presentations on Hey, fellas. You’re at a great age where you can redefine what it means to be a man, how are you going to do it?
So that’s been our evolution that we’ll lamb it, and I’ve branched that out into my own business now where I help other coaches in like-minded athletic departments [00:54:00] create that same messaging for, for their teams with man.
Mike Klinzing: [00:54:04] So when you first started this, I got two questions. The first, first part of the question is when you first started it.
How long did it take you to get it into a format that felt comfortable?
Kip Ioane: [00:54:17] There wasn’t just a one research.
Mike Klinzing: [00:54:19] Yeah. Just you just taught like, so in terms of Todd going out and talking to people and you get a bunch of great information, we all know how excited we get about something new you want it do.
And then we look around and we go, Ooh, I should have written all that down and kept it organized. So how did you go about that process?
Kip Ioane: [00:54:34] I think the first year, year and a half was a bunch of one off. So I was committed to this speaker. All we’ll do is this movie, we’ll do this reading, and I was committed to multiple touch points, but none of them were sequenced and none of them were based on knowledge about prevention to victim advocacy, you know, greater themes. So I had this lesson plan that really didn’t lead to any assessment, or really didn’t have an [00:55:00] overarching learning objective. Right. I was just doing it. And so I think talking with different folks, like I mentioned, our title IX and campus advocate, Carly Rohner and Andrew Doyle Humira now.
Talking with folks across the state, starting to figure out how do the experts that live this work every day, how do they sequence information? And what can I take out of that, that’s doable for a basketball team. You know, that’s doable with the time restraints we have, I would say at least two years of creating something that I was comfortable saying is a program.
I knew we were doing the work, but the actual program with outcomes and separating the junior year experience from the senior year experience and the sophomore experience. At least two years. And every year I try to recreate it, not the philosophy, but I try to take out old. I just like hoops, right? Stuff, ways we guarded ball screen in 2010 don’t work anymore.
Just like ways of in, in materials people use for sexual assault prevention in 2010 or outdated. Now there’s new books, there’s new speakers, there’s new documentaries. Um, so we’re, we’re [00:56:00] constantly evolving, um, and recreating w the, the content part, but that what word, where we’re driving the buses the same.
Mike Klinzing: [00:56:07] Okay, next question. When you first start this thing, obviously you’re dropping in on your players who don’t know what’s coming, right? So it’s something brand new. So when you first brought it out now, clearly. As part of the recruiting process, kids are aware of the fact that if they come into your program, this is going to be a part of their day to day existence.
But when you first bring it in, what were the reactions from your players? How did your kids react? Because if nothing else, it had to be somewhat of an uncomfortable conversation. I’m sure it’s always an uncomfortable conversation, but I’m sure those first few times it was really uncomfortable because you hadn’t done it before.
Right? They had obviously never done it. It was kind of getting dropped on them. Out of the blue. Just talk a little bit about the evolution in terms of that,
Kip Ioane: [00:56:56] You said a lot of it, that that happened absolutely. [00:57:00] Was the case like that first day when I dropped the statistic, you know, and before we do a film, the slide before we start seeing clips is the statistics and the amount of people and the amount of women that experienced sexual assault or some form of harassment on college campuses.
There’s a lot of WTF looks. You know, there’s a lot of modern, what the hell is he talking about? So it took a lot of, here’s why fellas, here’s where we’re at on campus. You guys know this is happening. You guys know this happened in Salem. And then a lot of that, what was good for me to learn and probably has helped my coaching in general was I’ve got to be the Guinea pig and vulnerability.
I’ve got to be the one that’s willing to stand up there and be authentic and say, guys, here was my thought process as your coats. I think I failed. In these areas. I think I failed in this area as a man, or I think I failed in this area as a husband, as a father and model that vulnerability and that allowed some of the kids, I think, to feel more comfortable now.
And you know, you got to give the kids themselves, that senior class, their first year of this, when, [00:58:00] like you said, I hadn’t recruited into this. I hadn’t given them the warnings that this was going to be an expectation. All of them buying in. Almost instantly, not because of some great moment I had as a lecturer, but just them as people like, you know what, I can see why from coach and I want to be a better person.
So I was lucky in the makeup of the kids, but also I think it was important that I was the first one to have to share. I was the first one to have to show like, Hey, let me tell you about the song I was listening to in front of my daughter yesterday. And let me tell you about this thing. And I said to a person two years ago, That was, it’s just awful.
And so I think that allowed them to kind of accept the space. Um, um, and from then a lot of the buy into the program comes from the older kids. When you’re on a visit as a recruit or you’re in the freshman year, September the older kids are the ones telling you, Hey, you’re going to talk to Kip a lot more about teams and men than Boston.
Great. Just get used to that. Like, that’s just what it’s going to be. So some of that is absolutely a lot of credit to my staff and my, my leaders throughout the [00:59:00] year on the team.
Mike Klinzing: [00:59:01] Absolutely. So how do you build this in day to day into what you do with your team? Is it something that you guys meet after dinner, you go to practice and then you eat?
Is it something that happens before practice? Is it something that happens on the weekend?
Kip Ioane: [00:59:15] Great question a little bit about the schedule in the fall and the spring. There’s five scheduled Saturdays where they’re getting their butts out of bed and we got character development. That’s what we’ve titled it.
In season there’s five to 10 touch points. That’ll always be before practice. cause when they come in there, they’re in their freshest mindset practice. They’ll be tired of taking their shoes off. They’re sweaty. I want clear and concise focus and what I do know is a lot of these conversations come up in my business and talking with other coaches, like I don’t have the time.
I don’t have the time. And a lot of people have the false impression that we don’t lift that day to do character development, or we cut practice short. Now we just budget in the expectation that there’s going to be an extra 30 minutes today, or you’re going to have [01:00:00] over the weekend. Coach is going to text you a video.
You got to watch and react to through this Google form. And if you don’t, you’re probably running. So I think it’s building the expectation that this is just as important as getting shots on the gun. It’s going to be scheduled. It’s going to be expected. so I don’t think we sacrifice any of the basketball or wait time or the academic time.
It’s all kind of built in and it’s the first thing I schedule every year. So, you know, when I’m recreating the calendars for our existence, the first thing I get done is the teams of men calendar.
Mike Klinzing: [01:00:33] What’s been the most powerful moment that you’ve had as part of the program. Cause I know there’s been something I could just tell from listening to you talk that there’s been yeah.
You know, a couple of moments that have just stood out and you’re like, man, this just really, I reached these guys are man. I’m seeing something here.
Kip Ioane: [01:00:49] Yeah, that’s a great one. I think some of the most powerful moments one individual moment was, and I don’t know if you have heard of Brenda Tracy, but she’s a national [01:01:00] voice.
That’s driving the set, the expectation pledge with division one football all the way through D three hoops. She was gang raped by Oregon state football players. And I took my captain leadership team in the spring. , I want to say 2016 or 2017. I heard her went to her life telling of the story. And it was, you know, there’s tears everywhere.
There’s tears everyone in that audience. So at my gut, my players got to a wishing that got to experience the raw emotion of her telling that story. And she does it nationally. Over and over and over in the power of not only in the moment, what it was and the effects it had on her life going forward or kids’ lives going forward and then getting to meet her afterwards.
So I think individually as a resource, that was an unbelievable, um, invalidation for me, but I opening for the players too. And the captains took that back to the team. I think the most powerful moments for us as a group come in the sharing of each other’s failures. Um, you know, where we’re, I don’t try to model that, Hey, I’ve got this all [01:02:00] figured out the best husband there is, and I’ve never had a piggish moment as a man.
I think the power comes from myself, the staff, kids on the team standing up and sharing, um, And, and guys being appreciative of that raw vulnerability because men aren’t good at that, right? We’re not good at admitting we’re less than in any area. You know, that’s when we puff our chest up and try to not be who we really are a lot.
So I think those have been, there’s been tears. There’s been plenty of tears in these moments, but I think it’s all worth it. And I think the guys would, would probably attest to that as well.
Mike Klinzing: [01:02:33] Have you seen the tangential benefit of it, bringing your guys closer together because of that vulnerability and sharing.
So not only are they getting the educational piece and doing, and improving their character as individuals, and when they’re out in society, But have you seen it improve the comraderie within your locker room?
Kip Ioane: [01:02:54] I think there’s, I think there’s two great examples that helped me try to assess it. [01:03:00] I think the hard part of the program that we do on anybody works with us in the business do is it’s a delayed scoreboard.
You’re going to get anecdotal messaging back from your guys in the real world when they call you and say, coach, remember when you said stresses in a tough basketball game, it’s three kids, three diapers. There was no wife at home. That’s stress. I just experienced that. Right. Um, that type of stuff comes back and, and re and really kind of reinforces the resolve to keep doing it.
As far as the building of the comraderie. I think we’ve had, since doing this, we’ve had years, we made the NWC semi-finals and we’ve had years where we were, but naked last. Just like this last year. Um, so I try to tell coaches, I’m not guaranteeing UWS with this. I’m guaranteeing you, that you will have a team that has gone through reps of emotional flow, speaking of, outside of raid.
So like, you know, man, we lose I’m so mad. That’s the only emotion I can express. We win. I’m ecstatic and there’s nothing in between. We talk about [01:04:00] the vulnerability piece. We talk about all these different examples of how the guys will have to exist in the real world, being repped out through what you do.
That’s not wholly dependent upon the game outcome. So. You know, you’d have to ask the players. I think I’d be selling a bag of goods if I said, Oh yeah, every single one of my team, all those guys are going to be in each other’s weddings. I’m not sure that’s true. I think they’ve been their communication models that they can use with their partners so they can use with their boss.
They can use with coworkers, they can use with their kids. They’ve gotten reps that no other program gives them. And for me, that’s enough.
Mike Klinzing: [01:04:36] I think that’s a great example of. Playing the long game as a coach, but you never know the seeds that you’re planting today in 2020, that tree might not grow until 2040
Kip Ioane: [01:04:48] Exactly.
Mike Klinzing: [01:04:50] And, and that’s really where you’re going to have an impact. And in some cases, you’re going to know that and in some cases you’re never going to know, right. In that moment, when one of your players gets in a place where [01:05:00] they have to make a decision and maybe consciously or subconsciously, they think back and their brain reaches back into a time where they remember something from the teams of men program.
And it makes a difference in their life that makes it different than the life of somebody that they’re interacting with. And really. When you think about it, that’s what coaching really is all about. And clearly we’re teaching basketball, we’re teaches an ex or teach an X’s and O’s, and that’s a really important part of what we do, but ultimately as coaches, we’re educators, and it’s our job to help our kids to develop not only as basketball players, but develop as people.
And I think this is a great example of how you do that. And as you said, the payoff is not instantaneous. It’s not, Hey, we’re going to be 25 and Oh, because we did this program. That’s not how it works. It’s Hey, maybe this does have some kind of impact that is not quite measurable while we’re all here, but the true measurement of it doesn’t happen for a long time afterwards.
Kip Ioane: [01:05:54] Right? I’ll tell you, Mike, the thing that I am trying to preach to other coaches is [01:06:00] I think it allows you to sleep a little better. You know, we all suck at sleeping as coaches, right. But I think it allows you to sleep because you know, you have guided your program and your players with an intent to be better, right?
Not just the hoops, but as a human, I look at the world we’re living in now, you know, as coaches, we all say, we’re getting our guys ready for life through the game. Well, what is more real life than what we’re living through now, right? Isn’t, COVID demanding that you think outside of yourself and take actions that might not be what you would choose, but is it a benefit for others?
That’s real life. isn’t the racial injustice happening now forcing you to take a critical look at how you believe in what you believe that’s all happening now. So for me, I’m not saying that my guys are been perfect and worn their masks everywhere, or that my guys were the frontline of every single righteous protest in America.
But I do know I’ve given them reps in that. So I’ve been able to sleep a little better knowing that this experience and the real life that they’re experiencing now is not the first time. It’s not wholly alien to them [01:07:00] to think about. You know, victims to think about others. , so that that’s allowed me to rest a little easier.
You’re still nervous. You’re still worried about 18 to 21 year olds. Um, but I, I think it is absolutely what you said. There’s a different reward is a different satisfaction. And maybe it’s just peace of mind that I, I tried my best, you know, in, in that realm, I tried everything I could think of to prepare him for what’s happening right now.
Mike Klinzing: [01:07:27] Alright, I want to ask you one final question as we move towards wrapping this thing up. And that is, as you look forward in your career, what is the biggest challenge that you see ahead of you? And then number two, what is the greatest joy that you have when you get up in the morning? What gets you out of bed?
To where you can’t wait to get into your job everyday. So your biggest challenge and your biggest joy moving forward.
Kip Ioane: [01:07:52] I think the biggest challenge for me is to make my vision of our program and teams of men a reality. And that [01:08:00] vision is that teams of men and the way we do things become so known that the character of our men’s basketball team is what people associate with anyone associated with Willamette in general.
So, if you hear the word Willamette, you automatically think about man, that’s that team that’s really producing quality individuals. That’s that school, the way the men’s basketball team carries themselves as synonymous with how the Bearcats in general carry themselves. And the challenge there is. Okay.
We’re, you know, we’re getting an opportunity with great platforms like yourselves to spread the teams of men message. Where does the winning have to happen? It finally may give us an ability to amplify that message the most, because how are our brethren are in the coaching industry? If I can associate a championship with it, they’re going to question it.
Right? So the challenge is how do I keep the mindset that the winning and losing is not all important, which I do believe is not all important, but also knowing that to amplify the message the way I want to and the good work to spread and in the beliefs in the job. We’re [01:09:00] going to have to win too.
So I think that gets me up in the morning as well. I love chasing a problem. I’m not good with uncertainty. I can even handle awful news. I love chasing down solutions. And so this work, whether it’s how we’re going to be better at guarding somebody and getting a stop once in a damn while.
But also as I do that, I’ve got to stay true to my core belief system, which is the teams of men mantra. So how do we do it? And I’m lucky to work with staff that Holy cow, Kevin McCray, Chris Horton, Cam McCormick, wholly believe in that message and are supporters and allies with me on that.
And I got a team of kids that believes into it, but that’s a challenge. Right. I got to win to prove that winning isn’t everything. Right. So that’s the challenge.
Mike Klinzing: [01:09:46] Got it. That’s good stuff Kip. I can’t thank you enough for jumping out with us tonight and spend some time here before we wrap up.
I want to give you a chance to. Tell people where they can find out more about what you’re doing and where they could [01:10:00] find out more about the program. So share social media, website, any kind of contact information you want, and then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
Kip Ioane: [01:10:07] I love it. So I think the best place to start is to get out and follow us on Twitter.
@teamsofmen, we’re putting out daily content and not only is just like, Hey know about us. Come visit us is actually usable. Get reps exercises as an experts in the field. They helped like-minded coaches start some of this work where we come in is sequencing it, writing it for you. As you mentioned, the big pain point for coaches in this work is not a lack of belief.
You know, there’s good people in this profession. It’s a lack of Kip, I don’t have the time. I don’t have the staff. I don’t have the resources to build these lessons and run. I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s where we come in. We’re providing video and PDF versions of these lesson plans in virtual community.
Have mind gatherings, where you come on with myself and my previous staff and other coaches across the country that are working with us and say, Hey, the language in our locker room sucks. I want to change the language. And we’re [01:11:00] meeting as a group and going over best practices. So I think Twitter is the best place for daily.
And then he hit me at email@example.com to get you started with information on how to get really, really going with us and it’s early in the business and the business isn’t to make money right now. It’s to get the message out there in a more competent way, so I appreciate you guys, because this is a great platform to find likeminded souls across the country that are doing this work anyway.
It’s so invigorating to find people that are already doing it. And then when you combine that passion together, great things can happen.
Mike Klinzing: [01:11:35] Yeah. We’re excited to be able to help you to amplify your message because it’s one that I think all coaches at all levels can benefit from because as we said, coaching is playing the long game and trying to really develop the character of our players and make sure that what we’re ultimately doing is sending better people out, back into the world.
After they’ve interacted with us as coaches. And to me, that’s so important. So I’m happy to be able to help provide what little platform we have here to enable you to be able to share that. So thanks again to you personally, for being willing to jump on and spend an hour and 15 minutes or so with us, it’s been a lot of fun for me to get a chance to have this conversation.
We really appreciate it. And to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.