Mark Schult

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Mark Schult is entering his first season as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

Schult spent the previous two seasons at Division II University of West Georgia where he earned his Master’s of Science in Sport Management.

Schult spent the two years prior to West Georgia as an assistant coach for Clark State College in Springfield, Ohio. He played a large role in turning around the Eagles’ culture, as the program went from one win to 15 wins over his two seasons.

During college Schult served as a Student Assistant at Wittenberg University.  He played two seasons for the Tigers prior to joining the coaching staff. 

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Grab pen and paper so you’re ready to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Mark Schult, Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

What We Discuss with Mark Schult

  • Winning a state championship in Kentucky his senior year at Covington Catholic
  • Playing two years of college basketball at Wittenberg before becoming a student assistant coach in his third year
  • How a connection from his AAU days helped land him a GA job at D2 University of West Georgia
  • The increased sense of urgency he felt working with scholarship players at a D2 school
  • Treat every job like you’re at Duke or Kentucky
  • When it’s your scout, it’s your voice presenting to the team
  • Having the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the program at West Georgia
  • “If you’re not going game speed there’s almost no value in it.”
  • “Game speed is not always a hundred miles per hour, you gotta have bursts.”
  • Focusing on what a game shot looks like for each individual player
  • Pre-season skill development progressions
  • Every drill should have a winner and a loser
  • “Winning is in the details.”
  • The Head Coach must set the example for the staff and players
  • Reflecting on your performance is important for coaches and players
  • “Don’t ever leave a job until you have a job.”
  • Trying to find ways to add value as an assistant coach
  • The job search process that landed him at Centre College in Kentucky
  • Being prepared for an interview – do your research and ask questions
  • Learning the the D3 level in his first season
  • Finding players in recruiting that fit the high academic profile at Centre College
  • “You have to recruit players that fit your head coach and that fit your school.”
  • Using film and conversation to determine what his head coach is looking for in players he recruits
  • Balancing time on the road recruiting with being on the practice floor with the team
  • “To be able to say that you can work and support yourself through a game like basketball and get to work with young men at a university, The whole thing is a joy really.”

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[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 tonight, and we are pleased to welcome back to the Hoop Heads Pod Mark Schult, who is currently an assistant coach at division three Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, Mark. Welcome back to the Hoop Heads Pod.

Mark Schult: [00:00:19] Yeah, absolutely. Mike, thanks. Thanks for having me. I know you, you and Jason are killing it and I know through the COVID and everything, but it’s it’s good to be back.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:29] We’re excited to be able to have you back. And since you last spoke with us, you have been to two different positions.

You were working at Clark State in Springfield, Ohio at the Juco level. You were the youngest assistant college coach in the country at that time. And now you’re a couple more years into your career. So what we thought we would do to kind of kick off this episode is just let you. A quick one or two minutes synopsis of [00:01:00] what we talked about the last time.

So how you went from high school to college, to coaching, and then we’ll dive in for our into your transition from Clark state to west Georgia. And we’re going to get into more detail about your two job searches and what you did at west Georgia and how things are looking at Centre. But I’m going to hand the microphone over to you proverbially here and let you talk about how you got to where you were at Clark state and just kind of give us a quick recap of the first podcast for people who maybe didn’t listen to that one.

Mark Schult: [00:01:33] Yeah, absolutely. So I grew up in a Northern Kentucky, just outside Cincinnati played high school ball and Covington Catholic. Just all the way on the north side. There had a good run. Our senior year ended up winning state. From there I went to Wittenberg university. Division three school in Ohio played for two seasons at Wittenberg.

My third season ended up getting cut let’s slate really easily into a student manager, student coach [00:02:00] role. From there after my junior year was kind of planning a year in advance, looking for GA jobs and got really lucky that Clark state Juco in Springfield, Ohio was looking for an assistant.

So they actually hired me while I was still senior in college. You know, so for that six months or so that I was 21 and coaching college was probably something that doesn’t happen too often, but that was that was gosh, 2019, a little over two years ago now. And since then I was fortunate to get a graduate assistant job at division two University of West Georgia, a little town called Carrollton about an hour from Atlanta.

Had two really, really fun seasons there. Just learn learned about as much as I could and in two years, and then after graduating in may through a bit of a whirlwind of a search ended up getting an assistant coach job here at Centre College. And it’s been, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s different it’s to high academic division three, but you know, learning and trying to dive [00:03:00] right in and just be a sponge and absorb it all.

So it’s been a crazy path, but I’m very lucky to end up where I am

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:07] interesting already that you have been at three different levels as a college coach. So you start out at the Juco level, you go to division two and now you’re at the division three level. So one of the things we definitely want to talk about is what are some of the differences in each of those levels?

Let’s go back to leaving Clark state and getting the opportunity at university of west Georgia. How does that come to pass? What makes the decision to go to university of west Georgia and get the GA job, continue your education while you’re coaching. Just tell us a little bit about how you end up at University of West Georgia,

Mark Schult: [00:03:43] right?  So yeah, it was, it was just May of 2019. And obviously as coaches know, that’s, that’s a really busy time to get out and recruit in the spring. And it’s also busy for jobs that’s April, may, June shoot, I [00:04:00] guess some jobs are still being in place now. But typically April through the summer months are just, there’s a lot of movement.

I was, I was just really lucky and when I was in college, I coached for two summers in the AAU circuit with Mike Price head coach Hills and Cincinnati. And I was on his staff after having played for him in high school for the shining star. So I did that while I was in college.

And one of his former players from the nineties, Dave Moore is is the head coach at university of west Georgia. And his GA had just graduated and he called Mike Price and say, Hey, do you know anybody? And fortunately I got him, his resume, did some phone interviews and kind of took it from there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:44] Once you get there and you start acclimating yourself to a new university, a new town, a new level. What are some of the things that you remember that were easy about that [00:05:00] transition? And maybe what was one or two things that were more difficult about that transition from Clark state to university of west Georgia?

Mark Schult: [00:05:07] I think the easiest things were. Kind of what everybody sees you know, is the time spent with your players, getting to know your guys outside of basketball just in terms of connecting with them on, on what’s going on in school and you know, what other teams on campus are doing a good idea of how to kind of, kind of meet the team and introduce myself to them and get to know them a little bit.

And then the challenging thing, and I say it was a challenge, but it was far and away the best part of, of my time at west Georgia which is the, the raised level of intensity the sense of urgency and when you’re dealing with, with scholarship players you know, at that level, it’s, it’s really competitive and you know, it all started with, with Coach Moore and just his work ethic, you [00:06:00] know, really setting the tone for everybody in the program.

You know, pretty much the, the mentality was well, my first day he said, if you were at duke or Kentucky, Kansas, like that’s how you got to treat this job. And you know, I was fortunate that he gave me that advice. You know, I followed it to the best, best of my ability, but getting, getting involved with the school we’ll get involved in the community or challenges that obviously COVID didn’t help, but they were all things that we were able to do.

And it like I said, it was, it was just a tremendous experience full of full learning full group.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:37] What were some of your responsibilities that you had to take care of there as part of the staff? Was there anything that was specifically given to you? Hey, mark, you’re in charge of X or were you working more underneath some of the other assistant coaches?

How was the staff structured in that way?

Mark Schult: [00:06:56] Right. So. It was we [00:07:00] had paid more the head coach Andy young full-time assistant and myself. You know, so kind of by default, I got a little bit of everything the standard GA stuff that you would expect getting managers and training managers and helping out with, with skill development workouts.

If the other coaches are recruiting, actually running those skill development workouts or conversely I’m going recruiting while everybody else is on campus so I got to do a lot of those things. And then the other one, I guess, would be the social media. I was able to kinda kind of take that over and it really helped grow the program and boost the brand and everything.

And then from a basketball standpoint with the staff that small I was fortunate to get a lot of the X’s and O’s part. So I had a third of the scouting reports over the suit year. You know, when it’s your scouting report, like again, Coach Moore gave me great advice.

He said you’re the head coach and a scout. You know, it’s, it’s your [00:08:00] voice you’re presenting it to the team. You’re, you’re making the film do it, how how you want to. And obviously sometimes he would look at what I wanted to do and change it. That’s always going to happen.

But so that was really good. And then I guess some more little stuff that, that you don’t think about the average fan, when I’m thinking about organizing the travel, organizing the food doing the laundry on seeing your day making sure the logistics are in place. Different stuff like that.

So I with the size of the staff, I really touched everything. But  the social media, the study hall and the community service programs were probably the three bigger ones that, that I had

Mike Klinzing: [00:08:39] It’s interesting when you think about what it means to be a basketball coach and when you’re young.

So let’s say you’re a high school player who is thinking that someday, they want to be a basketball coach and hearing you talk right now and saying, I was in charge of community outreach and I was in [00:09:00] charge of social media and I’m in charge of travel logistics. And I’m in charge of making sure that we got all the meals and all things that are clearly critically important to a college basketball program, but also things that are not necessarily basketball coach related.

And I think that’s one of the things that always comes through in almost every interview we do is the number of things that coaches do that are more administrative in nature and less basketball coaching on the floor. You mentioned coaching on the floor that you did a lot of the player development workouts.

What are some things that you learned about player development there at university of west Georgia in terms of how you went about designing, what those workouts look like and meeting the needs of your individual players to help them get better? So it would translate into games. What was [00:10:00] your process for putting those workouts together to make sure you are maximizing your time with the players out on the floor when it came to player development?

Mark Schult: [00:10:07] Right. So everything I did obviously  it’s a thing, any assistant does. You gotta follow your head coaches lead coach more I’d spent 11 seasons as an assistant at St. Bonaventure which is obviously a program with the tremendous turnaround under Mark Schmidt, So everything we did came from there for the most part the number one thing, the skill development was just the pace, the pace and intensity I really believe if you’re not going to game speed there’s almost no value in it.

Now there, there are things like warming up with ball handling there’s there’s form shooting there’s exceptions. But you know, once, once you’re actually getting into the workout I think everything needs to be as game-like as possible. And a big misconception that I think a lot of coaches or trainers might have is like [00:11:00] game speed is not always a hundred miles per hour.

You gotta have bursts, you gotta have hesitations kind of change the direction. And you know, so would kinda basically look at our offense, look at the plays that, that our players were scoring in like the best off season activity. Was as, as the unofficial video coordinator I had to, I had to compile everybody’s every, every field goal attempt from the whole season, put it into a clip one edit.

And so for some guys, that’s, that’s a 45 minute video a a hundred, 200 shot attempts for other guys it’s it’s 10 minutes, it’s five minutes. But you know, from doing that and getting a real good feel for the type of shots that, that your guys are getting and then combining that with how the offense is designed and the situations and the positions that they’ll be in try to tailor our skill development workouts from.

You know, so a lot of wing balls Springs on a [00:12:00] slot ball screens, a lot of drag screens up top on the week we ran a ball screen motion. So that’s, that was a big emphasis. But you know, that and getting a healthy balance of shooting getting, getting your stroke to the point where you’re just confident or it’s your muscle memory is on.

But I think definitely the pace was the number one takeaway and player development. And  the second thing would be really dialing in and focusing on what a game shot looks like for each individual player.

Mike Klinzing: [00:12:29] That makes a lot of sense. I think when you start talking about having players work on the things that they’re actually going to do in a game, right?

It doesn’t do any good for a player that make 79 dribble moves and then take a shot. We all know that that’s not what they’re going to do at a game. Maybe you have one player on your team who gets to put the ball on the floor and do those kinds of things. But for the most part, most guys, aren’t going to get the opportunity to do that.

So putting them in positions to work on the [00:13:00] things that are actually going to do in games is really, really important. I know anytime you hear about players working at the college level, and you think about that adjustment from one level to the next, and just thinking about the intensity and the pace of a college practice versus a high school practice, or I’m sure there’s even a difference from when you go to a division one practice versus division two price versus division three, not in terms of how hard the players are working, but in terms of the athleticism and just the things that a player physically is able to do, how do you guys balance out when you’re doing a workout?

How do you think about reps that are players going to do? By themself versus putting a player in a group, or maybe they’re working. One-on-one where maybe they’re working two on two, or they’re working three on three where you can simulate more game conditions, but maybe you can’t get as many reps as you can when you just [00:14:00] have one player by themselves.

So how do you balance out a player getting a lot of reps where they’re shooting by themselves, let’s say versus a player, maybe getting more opportunities to play in a game, like scenario, how do you balance that out and player development?

Mark Schult: [00:14:16] Yeah, so we, we would do that kind of over a cycle of the whole pre-season.

We would kind of build up to closer to game simulation. That makes sense. So the first, I think we have eight weeks pre-seasoned division to a eight or nine. It depends on the year. Pretty much the first three, three and a half, four weeks. We’ll just be skilled development groups of guys on their own groups, two groups of three, and those sessions were mostly a lot of you know, like the only defense you would see is this a coach on the path and finishing through contact or hedging screens, but it wasn’t really a live [00:15:00] defender.

And then after three or four weeks we would combine the groups and we would switch the times around so that I could be working with the big guys on one end for about 20, 25 minutes coach Young or coach Moore would be on the other end with the guards. And then after 25, 30 minutes, we’d come together and play two on two and try to take exactly what we did.

You know, and, and make it competitive and make it a game situation. The other thing too I might go to last question, but it applies here. I think it’s good for coaches to add to their workouts, like every drill with one player or two players. Like we would always try to put some sort of objective on there.

So whether that’d be a time shooting drill, right. You got to make 10 threes and two minutes you know, they gotta be two in a row at each spot or you know, or some sort of competition, right. Or some sort of team activity where it’s a race on who, who can make the most shots first. [00:16:00] You know, so there was always an extra element of time or score to try to get that kind of that game, like pressure and you know, not, not exactly a game situation in terms of defense, but like the mental aspect of it, of, of having a goal, having an objective objective.

That’s kinda how we, we progressed it and I think it’s good. I think it’s really valuable cause the, the mental aspect is arguably as important or more important as the physical reps that you’re getting as well.

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:28] Did that transfer over then? Once regular season practice started in terms of the competitiveness of drills and tracking it, whether it’s through time or total number of makes or wins and losses, how did you guys go about at west Georgia putting together competitive practices?

What are the things that you just talked about in player development, things that you were also during doing during the season to help you to instill and stoke that competitive fire in your place?

Mark Schult: [00:16:58] Right. So it’s probably an [00:17:00] obvious one, but pretty much in in practice as a lot of teams, do you know, it’s hard to fit development and especially with a big group, especially with limited time.

So we, we really encourage guys to, to get in on their own. And, and by year two, they really started to buy in. And I think that’s why we had some, some success, but from a team practice perspective, every drill had a winner and loser. Whether we’re doing rebounding whether if we’re going to do ball handling we’re going to add an element to whether it’s a race or whether it’s alley ball into live that there was always a winner or loser and the loser always had something.

You know, a punishment. I don’t really like that word. I’d say consequences is better. And it wasn’t always bad. You know, these five pushups for a college athlete and punishment, I don’t think so. You know, or one down, back not timed, so there was always an element, something to keep that drive in the back of your head that Hey, we’re playing for something you’re playing [00:18:00] for a quicker water breaker less you know, five less pushups, whatever it is.

But there would always be something to something external to kind of drive that competitive aspect of the practice.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:13] What would you say is the most important thing that you learned at west Georgia that you’re going to carry with you for the rest of your career?

Mark Schult: [00:18:21] It’s easy. It’s quote from Coach Moore winning is in the details.

I can’t, I can’t take full credit for it. It’s his quote, but my goodness, like. If F every little thing if you show attention to detail, your players will or if you have a practice plan and it’s it shaky, or that you’re unsure of something, right? Like that’s going to translate to how the team performs.

You know, so, so we really emphasize that the details, the little things there’s no typos on scouting reports. You know, when there’s videos made, like if the volume is supposed to be off the [00:19:00] volumes off you know, but it, it was just the details and the little things it translates to the game and that it’s an off the ball screen away from the play you know, eight times out of 10.

That that past might not even be there. But if you’re sitting in a good screen every single time and you get one bucket out of it that can be the difference in it loss, you know? So we, we just focused on doing your job control and you control and doing all the little things.

Right. And you know, fortunately that’s what helped us to, to have a good run at the end of the second year,

Mike Klinzing: [00:19:32] How did coach Moore instill that in you as a member of his staff and his players, what did that look like on a day-to-day basis? Focusing in on those details? Cause I would have to think that you have to be very intentional in order to a notice those things and then be to be able to get players and staff, to be [00:20:00] able to buy into those.

And obviously he can’t be everywhere. His eyes can’t see everything. And yet we know that once that type of culture is established. It’s established everywhere, even when the head coach isn’t there. So what did you learn from him in terms of establishing that type of winning is in the details culture that he was able to put in place at west Georgia?

Mark Schult: [00:20:24] Yeah. I mean, the first thing was, was just the example he set. You know, I think there’s a saying that goes around and I think it’s true that three people can’t have a bad practice, your head coach, your point guard, your best player. And he, he held up his end of the deal. I mean, we could I mean, we, we had, we had conference tournament, we’d drive.

Would you drive like six hours? So you get in Tennessee and then six hours back to Carrollton sleep for a day and then drive five hours throughout ASTA and play. You know, and like that practice on the travel. Everybody was dragging. I mean, [00:21:00] I mean, everybody, I mean the train or the managers, like w B you know, big conference game, 12 hours on the road in a day or day and a half.

But coach Moore was fired up for that practice. I mean, he was ready to go he, he was energetic, he always jokes about it. He says he’s gonna sweat through every suit he has. And and he did when we were wearing suits and but he just always brought the energy, the intensity himself, and he was a master communicator.

So the players and staff, and he was really good he, he would never, ever embarrassed somebody you know, out of line or anything. But if, if you weren’t if you weren’t bringing the effort, bringing the focus that you were supposed to he would let you know about it. And you know, some people, some people get really hurt by that or think that that’s being me, but you know, every, everybody knew that you wouldn’t be doing that unless he knew he could do better.

You know, so I think just by, by him holding himself accountable and bringing it in every day everybody kind of fed off. [00:22:00] You know, and, and tangibly we have team meetings and and all that stuff, but the big thing was we talked about the skill development workouts. Pretty much after every team gathering we would huddle up and whether that was a workout with one guy, right?

Whether it was a workout with two or three with a whole team in the weight room or conditioning or whatever it was we would always, always gather, would always regroup always reflect on how the practice went and and try to build on the next day. You know, so it was just a constant example from him.

And then constant reminders that at the end of every day, or at the end of every session that I think really helped spread the message and get the buy-in that we got,

Mike Klinzing: [00:22:42] That reflection look like from a player standpoint. So let’s say a workout ends, you got two or three guys that you just work. You guys have been going at it for an hour, working hard.

And now you’re going to sit back and you’re going to reflect on how that went. Are you sharing your feelings as the coach or the players sharing their [00:23:00] thoughts? Are they praising one another for good things that they saw during the workout? How did that process go in terms of that self-reflection both for you as a staff member and for the players.

Mark Schult: [00:23:12] Yeah, it, I mean, it usually depends dependent on obviously how the workout went. But then who was there to everybody has has different abilities. And I think it’s important to keep that in mind when trying to evaluate a workout or evaluate you know, but it would just depend for, for some guys if they had a bad day we wouldn’t even need to address it.

We could just ask you know, ask the players themselves, how’d you do today? You know, what do you think your weakness was? You know, that that’s really good. I think it, it gives players an opportunity to understand that they’re involved understand that they’re being heard and, and give them a chance to it almost forces them to think how did I do that?

You know, why am I not in shape? You know, tend to, I go to sleep less early last night that I eat this morning all that stuff. And [00:24:00] and then sometimes after a really good workout, it was the same thing. It’s like now, can you do that again tomorrow? You know, is this going to be a one-time fluke thing?

You know, if if you want to be a pro like, like you say, you do, like, this has to be it every day. You know, so I think I equal praise and equal criticism where appropriate was, was kind of how we did that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:25] It’s interesting because I think one of the challenges as coaches is to be able to get your players, to have that level of self-reflection and be able to speak out loud about their own game, right? We don’t always like to be, I think we’re maybe self-critical inside of our own head, but we don’t necessarily like to share those insecurities as a player, even as a coach of a I’m thinking that this is a mistake that I made or here’s something that I could do better.

And we don’t often like to admit those [00:25:00] weaknesses. And I think when you can get players to be vulnerable and to share when things maybe don’t go as well as they’d like, then it gets them to start to recognize that, and then they can start to figure out ways as you said to fix it so that when they do have a good day, you can say, okay, this is more like what it needs to be all the time.

If you want to reach your individual goals and we want to reach our goals. As a team and that type of communication, I think, is only built through trust and building that relationship day by day by day. And it goes back to that winning isn’t the small details, right? Building those relationships allows you to get more out of your players because ultimately they trust you.

And I think that’s really, really important as your time at university of west Georgia. And that GA position is coming to an end. Let’s jump into your job search, which I know you and I talked during the process and there was definitely some frustrating moments for you [00:26:00] in there as you were looking around for jobs.

Talk to me a little bit about how you started the process and let’s work our way through it. And eventually we can get you to Centre and figure that out and start talking about your, your, your new experience. That’s lying ahead of you,

Mark Schult: [00:26:17] Right? Absolutely. So there’s. It was definitely unique. I think I was really, really fortunate in the situation I was in cause I realized that not every grad assistant gets that, but you know, so our season ended and you know, the season’s winding down take a day, take a day or two to reflect and kind of just stay out of the gym and clear your head.

You know, and then after, after that period was over and we started to get back in and playing out the postseason workouts and everything. You know, coach, coach Moore, and I had a meeting and he was just again, I, I got really, really lucky. He he told me that he was going to try to create a full-time [00:27:00] position for me.

We had, we had been in the middle of an 80 hire, so it was athletic director hire. So it’s a little complicated you know, but, but I was all in and I still am pro UWG his biggest fan. It’s not there. You know, so when I played in college my associate head coach, I know it’s been on the show Travis Schwab over Muskingum.

When he took the job, I must stay on my sophomore year. I’ll never forget, like for the next three weeks before he moved, he was there. He was there at 6:30 AM lifts. He was there at the team meetings, the team dinners. And that, that really meant a lot to me. So I, I told coach Moore and I’ve told our players, like, no matter what happens, I am working here all the way through.

And I got some good advice from, from one of my mentors who said don’t ever, whenever I leave a job. And so you have a job. So in the postseason I kinda, after the season ended, it just. Kept kept working. Like I [00:28:00] was still a GA and I was getting ready for next season. So that involved doing all the player development stuff eight hours a week, like we did in the pre season recruiting a little bit obviously spring is when it started opening up with COVID.

And then we had camps, I had put on a four camps over the summer for west Georgia. So doing all that while at the same time kind of having this we’re fighting for you to have a job, but we don’t have a decision-maker and we don’t have anything on paper. And it was hard so I, I kind of just again, followed some advice I had gotten in and just start with who, you know you know, so I started reaching out to a lot of good coaching friends.

She kind of mentioned it to him, said, Hey, if you hear anything, let me know. And you know, fortunately through that I had you know, PR I had a list at one point of like eight or nine schools that had some level of, of possibility of me getting a job there. And each one of them I would kind of organize by how, how I got connected there, who I knew in that [00:29:00] area who are the good players in that area.

You know, and try and see what I could do, but it you know, so, so through that process you know, going for jobs like every head coach, I think wants to do it differently at least the three or four that got close with it. You know, but a big part is you gotta build up your relationship. That’s, that’s really such a huge part of coaching, obviously when, when somebody puts their name out there for you.

You know, connects you with, with the head coach is looking to hire somebody. It’s your job to just create value way you can so every coach is different. Again, I had gotten advice from an associate head coach at a school that, that I was really interviewing hard at. And and he said he said, our coach wants you to, to have people call for you.

He said, it’s okay if they don’t have any connection to our school or him he just wants people to call for you. You can vouch for your character. So I I was really lucky. I had a few people do that for me and ended up not getting that [00:30:00] job. But for that one and for another one you know, like the, the graphics are a big part of what I did at west Georgia.

You know, so I went online and created some graphics, created some Possible content for Twitter player highlights, team highlights, whatever it may be. I’m just trying to send to the coach and let them know, Hey, this is what I can bring to the table. And then I had been in the process of doing some scouting reports for these schools which is actually scouting their team watching games last season.

But when I was in the middle of one of my, I had gotten the call that they were going in another direction. You know, but, but it’s just trying to find ways to bring value. I think was the best approach fortunately with Centre the, the way that kind of happened is that I had seen, they had an opening and a coach, Greg Mason.

He actually recruited me like eight years ago coming out of high school. So I had had his contact information. It was a really good recruitment. I really want him to come to Centre in high school, but didn’t have the grades. [00:31:00] And you know, but fortunately we had gotten along and he remembered me.

There was an interview process and a search committee and all that stuff. But by the grace of God, I ended up here and it worked out, but it was you know, June and July, especially after camps ended in June. It was, it was a stressful time and I think a lot of coaches go through, but it really helps you to remember why you’re in the business and it makes you a lot more grateful for the opportunities you do have.

Mike Klinzing: [00:31:27] Absolutely. All right. I want to touch on two things that you mentioned the first is the value add that you tried to bring, as you were going into your job search by creating, as you said, the graphics, social media, the things that you had done previously that are a skill set that let’s face it. Not every coaching candidate was going to have those particular skills.

So the fact that you were trying to highlight those as something that you could bring to the program, I think there’s a great lesson that. [00:32:00] For young coaches who were looking for jobs, try to find something, it could be social media, it could be graphic design, whatever that sets you apart, that makes you unique.

Something that you can bring to the table. That’s going to add value to whatever program is looking to hire you. Same thing with the scouting reports here you are preparing and getting ready for an interview, looking at the schools where you’re considering try to apply or where they’re considering interviewing you and just taking a deep dive into their teams and creating these scouting ports to again, be able to show what you would be able to do or what you would be able to bring to the staff.

To me that’s incredibly valuable and it’s a great lesson for any young coach out there. And then the second piece of it is the fact that you had to show patients in order to be able to eventually get your job at Centre. And as you said, [00:33:00] I’m sure those two months, while you’re sitting at home and you’re trying to figure out where am I going to be next year?

Where am I going to be coaching? Where am I going to live? And what am I going to be doing? I’m sure it was an incredible, incredibly stressful time. Maybe not even in a bad way, but just the uncertainty of knowing. And then finally you get it straightened out and you get an opportunity to go to Centre.

What do you remember about the interview process at Centres? Is there anything that you can point to that maybe a piece of advice that you might have for other coaches who might be heading into an interview? Something that you felt like you did well or a question that you felt like you were especially prepared for weather because you had prepped on your own or somebody who maybe you had reached out to a mentor said, Hey, be prepared to answer this type of question.

Anything from the interview that you can pull out that might help a young coach out there. Coming up on an interview.

Mark Schult: [00:33:58] Definitely, definitely. [00:34:00] I think, I think you said it a couple things, like the first thing I thought was just having questions and having questions prepared I’ve, I did some inner, I got, I got very lucky again in April and may doing some video interviews and I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.

And it probably showed, it probably showed in a few of them. So by the time end of June rolled around and I was interviewing with. I was much more prepared for a lot of questions written out. And not just questions that, that they always hear not, not just questions about you know, what, what type of stuff do you run?

What you like about Centre? You know, I asked some, some are ones I said, I said, what’s the hardest part about being at Centre? You know, which in an interview you think, oh, you’re not supposed to bring up anything negative. But it was, it was honest and it gave the pain all the opportunity to, to be honest with me about what, what I was getting into potentially.

And I, I think it just helped us [00:35:00] become more comfortable with each other. So that was one. And then the other thing that you also mentioned was like I said, I, I was recruited by coach Mason back in high school. And as you know, the, the basketball world is pretty small. So being in Kentucky, being a school.

I have been a little familiar with I did have some, some mutual coaching friends who were able to, to call and you know, just, just get a feel for what coach Mason was looking for and they said, look, you gotta be yourself in the interview. Like, that’s, that’s the bottom line. You know, but here’s, here’s some things that, that the last guy did well and didn’t do well here’s, here’s what they need, they struggle with.

So you had to get, trying to get that inside info, if you want to call it that was helpful. But you know, at the, at the end of the day, I think you just have to be yourself and let, let your values and let your actions speak for you. You know, throughout the interview process. And yeah, like I said, I got really lucky.

I got really lucky. I know every everybody does, but you know, it [00:36:00] all worked out thankfully for me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:36:03] How are things going so far? What’s been. The best part of the job other than having a job itself, what’s been, what’s been the best part of being, et cetera thus far. Obviously you’re not too far into the school year.

And at the division three level, you have been able to get out on the floor with any of your players yet, but just what’s the experience been like so far?

Mark Schult: [00:36:24] Yeah, it’s, it’s been great. Definitely a lot of learning talking about recruiting at west Georgia. And I’m doing a ton of recruiting here at Centre, but it’s, it’s not completely different, but there are very different you know, and, and the big reason for that, it’s obviously division three, you don’t have scholarships.

And then Centre itself, it’s really, really good school. I mean, I think U S U S news or one of the publications just came out and put us in the top 30 in the country. You know, so it’s, it’s academically really challenging here and that, that limits the pool of players that you’re [00:37:00] able to recruit.

But I’ve been fortunate to I’ve got my college roommate, coaches division three. I’ve got a lot of friends who’ve bounced around different levels and have been here. So I’ve been able to lean on them a little bit and just ask them, Hey how do you, how do you approach this? Or if you have a borderline kid, what do you do?

You know, coach Mason obviously has been a huge, huge help with that. You know, he’s a coach, Mason’s been the head coach here for 21 years. One 11 out of the last 15 conference titles. So he knows what he’s doing and I’m here to follow along and learn from him. And then we’re just, we’re just lucky at the Centre that the admissions team is really good answers, all your questions and it’s really helpful.

You know, so I guess my long-winded answer, my favorite part is, is just getting involved and kind of learning, learning the differences. Cause there are some, but you know, obviously the same things, it’s getting the, getting to know our players, getting to see them in study hall. And you know, we do a lot of culture stuff here and you know, meeting with the freshmen individually, meeting with the seniors [00:38:00] individually because like, like you said, in division three, we can’t be on the floor with our players right now.

So everything is senior lead and you know, we’ve got a really good group really talented, really mature guys and so get getting to work with them and kind of learn the Centre. Cultures has probably been the best so far.

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:19] What do you hear from them? I’m always curious about this. When I talked to division three coaches.

And obviously, as you said, it has to be led by the players and coaching staff. Can’t be there. What, what are your players doing right now? What are, what are your seniors organizing for players? Does that mean they’re organizing? Are they organizing workouts? Are they organizing pickup? Are the organizing three on three?

Is it just tell me exactly what are they putting together?

Mark Schult: [00:38:51] Right. So pretty much. Just the open gyms and playing and and then lifting twice a week with our strength coach [00:39:00] they’ve got to work to what, we’re division three, we’re very lucky. We’ve got a practice gym. So that helps with gym space, but you know, we’ve got men’s basketball, women’s basketball, I’ve got cheerleading.

You know, so they, they’ve got to coordinate the times and get with the other captains and just make sure there’s no conflicts. You know, then obviously the weight room, we’ve got time with the strength coach so those are kind of set, but it’s their responsibility to make sure that the, the pace of play is, is that the right level that, that people are showing up you know, consistently and when they can be there like I said, Centre, Centre’s a high academic school.

And if you had, if you have to study, like you need to go study you know, now would we prefer that, get your studying done in study hall. Manage your time better so you can make it to basketball. Of course. But you know, so the seniors kind of play a big role in that. All that’s important and then as important possibly is the off the court stuff.

You know, it’s really, really a big deal that, that the freshmen are comfortable that the freshmen [00:40:00] feel at home. And that’s, that’s fine. I guess it’s not unique to Centre any, any freshmen that’s going away for the first time it’s going to have those nerves and homesickness and everything.

But especially a rigorous academic school seniors really, we really encourage them to, to invite your freshmen to hang out and I let’s, let’s go watch the Monday night football game or whatever it is. And and just, just make sure that everybody knows that that there’s resources there for them.

If they. So that’s, that’s a big part of what the seniors do. And then again, when we get to the basketball stuff we can ask them how how is it, is it competitive? Who’s playing well is everybody showing up? You know, but like I said, if they’ve been known braids so far, we’ve got four seniors all are, all of them are different problem bring really important things.

And we got just a, just about a month left from, from the day of recording. So hopefully they, they finished strong these last 30 days before real practice starts.

Mike Klinzing: [00:40:59] Absolutely. [00:41:00] Right. You want to come in as ready and as prepared as you possibly. Can. You mentioned that you’ve been out of the road a lot recruiting, and we’ve obviously talked a couple of times about the rigorous academics there at Centre.

So when you think about that from a recruiting standpoint, I guess in my mind, I’m going through and trying to think about, would that make my recruiting process. Harder in that there’s a much smaller pool of players who are going to fit the profile, both from a basketball skill standpoint, along with the academics, or does it in some small way, make it easier because it narrows the pool of there’s only so many guys that we could even consider recruiting because of the high academic standards.

So I don’t know which one, or if, either one of those describes kind of the way that it’s felt so far to you, obviously it’s a new experience. You’re just kind of getting into it. But where are you in terms of how the [00:42:00] academics fit in to the recruiting process there at Centre? Yeah,

Mark Schult: [00:42:04] so I think, I think it’s, it’s, like you said, it’s definitely a smaller pool of players who fit the academic profile.

It’s still a big pool. There’s still a lot of, a lot of really good players out there. You know, but I’d say I tend the big difference. You know, coaches get in trouble a lot. People, people like to tease coaches about when they say well, who else has offered? You know, and I, I understand like for some coaches that’s because, well, I don’t know if he’s good enough and you know, I need, I needed to tell my head coach, but he’s got other offers and that’ll give us leverage to offer him.

But like sort of division three school and even at division two low majors it’s important to hear who you’re up against, because especially in division three, like if a kid has the opportunity for free education, I don’t know. I have a hard time. I’m not going to tell them ever turn that [00:43:00] down. I’ll tell them the great things about Centre, but you know, if someone’s going to take a free education, I mean, that’s, that’s hard to pass up and I don’t I don’t, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if you know, if I asked somebody who else they offer, so.

Okay. You know, I probably don’t need to spend too much time recruiting him because he’s got five full scholarship offers at other really good schools. You know, so that’s, that’s one, one difference that I think is a little more prevalent with the division three. But it’s some of it’s the same, I guess, like I said, you just starting with the different pool of players that, that meet the academic standards.

And then from there, it’s a lot of it’s the same you know, you have to evaluate on court verify that the classroom is okay. Obviously checking on guys’ characters becomes the most important piece at some point in the recruiting process. You know, and then, and then it’s, it’s the same thing in, in, at west story, Recruiting guys who had other offers and [00:44:00] taking visits to other schools in our conference.

And that happens here too so it is a little different with, without scholarships. You know, for example different states have state money that they can give and you know, some schools will, will match that. Some schools won’t. So Senator in particular you know, just can’t accept money from, from different states so that that can limit the pool a little bit.

But yeah, in general, it’s just a different circle. I think, of, of potential players that you’re looking at with recruiting

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:30] for you as a coach, who’s out on the road, recruiting, and now you’ve recruited at three different levels and been involved in that process. How do you have to adjust the way you’re looking at the players, talent skill level, physical attributes.

Intangibles when it comes to, let’s say recruiting a division two player versus recruiting a division three player. In other words, is it, I don’t want to [00:45:00] hard is the right word, but what’s the adjustment like in terms of, okay, six months ago I was out and I was at an AAU tournament and I’m watching, trying to find players who are capable of playing really well at the division two level.

Now I’m looking for players who are playing at the division, who are really good, that can play at the division three level. How do you, how do you approach that? Just what’s the adjustment, like in terms of yourself being able to figure out what the type of level is of player that I’m looking for that can play at the school that I’m representing at the given moment.

Mark Schult: [00:45:35] I think there’s two parts. The first one, we kind of just talked about the last question is just before you do anything, you need to get a, get an idea of, of where the players are academically. Because it’s, it’s just a waste of time if you can’t. I mean, like I said, we’re  and they mean it. I mean, I had a good GPA in high school.

I don’t remember exactly. I was above a [00:46:00] 3.0, but I wasn’t able to like any scholarship at Centre. You know, so the number one thing is you verify the academics a lot, lot quicker, individually three. And then the second one, I think this is, this is good for, for coaches at all levels. It’s more, it’s more about who can play for your head coach then the thinking of it as a, a macro D two D three, I think in my opinion you know, and, and you have to recruit players that fit your head coach that fit your school so, and obviously the team needs factor.

Like in division two you, you can take guys with, with a lot of skill, a lot of untapped potential kind of knowing, I think that it just, again, it depends on your head coach, but like w at west Georgia, we didn’t have many freshmen that would come in and play a gigantic role right away.

Whereas in with coach Mason at Centre we’ve got some freshmen that are going to play, [00:47:00] that will be depending on and again, you could attribute that to D two versus T3. But I would, I can say pretty confidently that there’s D two conferences. Where hi we’re true.

Freshmen can come in and impact. And there’s T3 conferences where true freshmen can’t come in and impact so I think it’s it as much as it is the level and obviously that, like you said, that the size strength, speed, and skill are all factors of the level, but I think more importantly for coaches recruiting it’s get guys who fit with your head coach, get guys fit with your program.

So that’s kinda, that’s kinda of one thing that I’ve, I’ve been trying to learn and trying to put an action these first, first couple of months.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:43] So as a new coach in those first couple of months, how do you get to know your head coach and the type of players. He likes to coach and the type of players that are going to mesh well with his coaching style.

When, again, you haven’t really even been able to be on the floor with your [00:48:00] current players. What’s that process like? Is that a conversation with him? Is that a conversation with assistant coaches? Is that a conversation with the players that even though you’re not out on the floor, working with them, you can have a conversation and try to get to know them and what makes them tick and what they like about the head coach.

What’s that process been like for you so far?

Mark Schult: [00:48:19] Yeah, two parts. It’s calm conversation and film. Cause like you said, we can’t be on the floor, but it’s funny with the conversation of the first time I asked coach Mason, it was kind of in passing you know, I said, well I said, what are the players you like, what do you look for?

And he thought about it and cause you know, Really like big guys who can shoot. So everybody likes that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:48:44] Thanks for the tip coach.

Mark Schult: [00:48:47] That was good. But no, I mean, we had more, more in depth conversations about it you know our, our point cards, aren’t, aren’t always going to be our leading score and in the past we’ve had success with, you [00:49:00] know, winged guards you know, hit a, hit a set shot really get to the basket size.

And so we, we talked about the specifics a little bit, and then I asked him to, I I said, what are the, what are some good games for me to watch from last year? Just to get a feel for, for the offense you know, what we do cause that’ll you know, obviously will dictate the offense to our players, but if you go watch good games, the head coach likes you can see that the actions, the buckets, the, the types of plays and players that There are scoring and executing.

So with COVID and everything he was funny. He’s like, don’t even watch last year, last year was a disaster. Just go back two years ago, I watched it, I watched about six games that he had suggested and pointed out you know, and saw all the guys that we were losing that we didn’t have MaxxHaul few returners and got to see what they did kind of what the missing pieces around them were.

So kind of both kind of kind, kinda just film conversation and, you [00:50:00] know, that’s, that’s one thing too. I was fortunate to learn young ages, like I’m sure coach Andy young, if he ever hears this whole laugh, but I ask a lot of questions, ask a lot of questions. Cause I think that’s the only way to learn obviously the best way to learn something is to just do it.

But you know, I, I’ve never I’m not afraid to ask questions because you know, You got to get the information one way or the other, he gotta know what you’re doing. You know, to make sure you’re not going down the wrong path, like with recruiting you don’t want to spend time on someone that your head coach would never sign.

So I maybe I probably asked a little too much, too many questions sometimes. But like I said, it’s always to get get what’s best for the program and to get the information that’ll help.

Mike Klinzing: [00:50:44] What was the most important question that you needed answered before you took the job at Centre? So when you were in that interview process, or you were going through your preparation, what was the most important question that you wanted to have answered in your own mind before you felt comfortable taking the job?

Mark Schult: [00:50:59] Wow, that’s, [00:51:00] that’s a good one. The most important question. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t consider myself to be in a position where I can really be picky. You know, I, I did, I knew, I knew this position was, was a lot of recruiting. So one of the questions I did ask it was I said, am I going to miss practice to recruit?

You know, cause cause obviously practice is a, is a sacred time. You know obviously good practices lead to wins and bad ones. Won’t you know, so I, I asked that question about how much practice would I be expected to miss? And you know, and we talked about it and I’ll be recruiting on the road some, and there’s some practices at all to leave early.

But coach Mason said too, he said, if our number one guys is playing, I need to be there. He says, then some days you’ll stay back around practice and knock a recruit. You know, so it was a really good answer, but like I said, I really wasn’t paying. I understand how hard these jobs are to get and how lucky I am to have [00:52:00] one especially a great one at a school like Centre.

So I wasn’t you know, when I did ask those questions, I always preface it with like, this is not a make or break type of thing.

Mike Klinzing: [00:52:11] Understood. And I think that you want to be able to get the information that you’re looking for. And yet to your point, especially when we think about where you were and try to find a job and getting an interview that you want to make sure that you find the right fit, you want to make sure that you get the answers to your questions.

And yet you also don’t want to make it seem like you have to have. A perfect scenario where you’re putting off the people who are interviewing you. I think that’s what you’re trying to get at. And that’s good advice for any coach out there is trying to get a job and is going through the interview process is to make sure that yes, you do your research and you try to find out and make sure that the school is going to be a good fit for you, but also that you don’t make it seem that you’re so picky that, Hey, we don’t want this guy around because he’s just going to want everything to be perfect.

And we all know that in the college basketball world and the coaching [00:53:00] world, nothing is ever perfect. And there’s a lot of things that you have to do to make the situation a good one by putting in the time and demonstrating your work ethic and being willing to go above and beyond. When you start thinking mark about where you are right now, and you look ahead over the next year.

I want to wrap up with this two part question. First part is what do you see as being the biggest challenge for you? In the year ahead. And then number two, when you think about what you get to do every day, when you wake up right now on September 16th, tomorrow morning, when you wake up, what’s something that brings you the most joy about what you’re getting to do as an assistant coach at Centre college.

So your biggest challenge and then your biggest joy.

Mark Schult: [00:53:51] Yeah, the biggest challenge. I almost almost started to say it cause it’s, it’s hard to have, have have real challenges cause it’s, it’s all basketball, you [00:54:00] know, but I don’t know if you mean from, for me or from a team standpoint.

Mike Klinzing: [00:54:04] I guess, I guess you could answer it from both perspectives because I think both of them would be interesting to hear.

So what do you think is going to challenge you personally, professionally? And then when you think about your team and what you know about them, to this point, what’s going to be their biggest challenge or your biggest challenge as a collective staff, a collective program. Yeah,

Mark Schult: [00:54:25] Maybe my biggest challenge will be kind of what we talked about is, is, is balancing the recruiting.

And then the time spent on campus with our team you know, in division three, recruiting is it’s I touched on earlier you do have a, I guess you do have a larger pool of players. You know, because you’re, you’re not offering scholarships but most of the time players are paying you know, paying to come to school and play.

You know, so, so for the recruit and that there’s a lot more kids, I think that you’re all players, so that you’re [00:55:00] actively involved with. Whereas at the division two level when you have a scholarship offer, you can be a little more selective on, on who you’re going to recruit. You know, with basketball player, you’re with division three you’re, you’re selective the academic profile.

But again, it’s the opposite. Paying for someone’s education they, they sell to pay for it. So there, I think balancing the recruiting and still being there for our team on campus will be a challenge. But I say that with the thought in mind that, like, I’m, I’m very lucky that I had a lot of responsibility at west Georgia and I’m going to give it my best and, and hopeful that that I’ll find the right balance of it.

For the team wise our biggest challenges, it’s, it’s really going to be just, just finding it’s kind of alarming to say, but you know, finding our go-to guy we’ve got, we’ve got three-star respect, but last season was just for a lot of division threes, last season was not a real season.

But we played it at Centre, [00:56:00] played eight games and had seven practices before the first game so our current sophomores. Never really got taught how we want to play defense. Never really got taught the full playbook that we run off offensively. You know, so that that’ll be the challenge we’ve got, we’ve got an older team, but because of the season last year, it’s, it’s almost like everybody’s a grade younger.

That makes sense. Sorry. I think, I think we’ll have some adjustment with that. Some, some obstacles to overcome and some challenges. And then the, the biggest joy, I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s the people, it’s, the people is getting to see our players and get to see the other coaches and be around a young, vibrant campus.

You know, with, with a lot of bright people, a lot of really smart people here. It’s just a joy to, to be there every day. You know I got to pinch myself sometimes, like coaches are sitting in the office. [00:57:00] Watching highlight tapes. And we have a joke, like every highlight tape, I’ve seen everybody shoots a hundred percent so it’s like, you’re watching, you’re watching good basketball clips all day and mom you know, and, and talking to people and telling them about how great Centre is like, it’s, it’s a joy absolutely every day to get up and get to work and get, get to share, share this great place that I’m at.

You know, with, with young people, with parents, with other coaches you know, so it’s a blast. And one of one of my basketball mentors told me like before I got in the business said he’s like markets, it’s really stressful coaching trying to worry about how are we going to defend this?

And how’s you know, so-and-so struggling in this class. Now we can get in the past. But like the basketball stuff, he says, it’s not real strict. You know, he’s like, you shouldn’t be he’s, I, I get coaches, coaches, I was talking about their hair going [00:58:00] gray and losing sleep, losing hair over over stuff.

But at the end of the day, it’s basketball is a kid’s game. Basketball is a game that’s that the young bring the young people in America together and all over the world brings people together. You know, so while it is stressful and, and while there are challenges and things that make you scratch your head at the end of the day, it’s, it’s a game.

And to be able to say that you can work and, and support yourself through a game like basketball and get to work with, with young men and you know, young people at a university. It’s, it’s just the whole, the whole thing is a joy really

Mike Klinzing: [00:58:39] Well said, Mark. And just, again, want to say personally, congratulations to you on the new job at Centre.

I know we talked over the summer. You’re working hard to be able to try to find that next opportunity to find the right place for yourself. And it sounds like you’ve been able to do that, and I wish you the best of luck heading into the season. We’re glad that we were able to have you on for a [00:59:00] second time.

Have you back on the show to talk about your experiences. And again, I think you shared a lot of things with us and with our audience tonight that any young coaches out there listening can benefit from the experiences that you’ve been able to share with us. So thank you. Appreciate. If you would, before we go, can you share how people can reach out and get in touch with you?

Learn more about the program at Centre and then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up. Yeah,

Mark Schult: [00:59:27] absolutely. And thank you for having me, like I said, I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time and to be on here to be on here twice. It’s really an honor and it’s, it’s been fun, but probably the best way to get in touch with me would be Twitter.

There’s @coachmarkschult, no underscores, no spaces, no numbers. Always respond. If you DM me, my DMS are open. And if you wanted to do a further discussion or something you could go on our website My, my contact info is on there and I think if you listen to the last podcast, I was.

Little young and [01:00:00] felt like I was a baby back then, but I put my phone number on the last podcast. So if anybody, if for some reason I don’t get back to you after two days, which would be a rare occasion. You can’t get my phone number on there and we can do that, but thank you again for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.

Mike Klinzing: [01:00:16] Absolutely. Mark, thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule. Really appreciate it. It’s about a lot of fun and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.

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