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Twitter – @CoachKillingsDK
Welcome to episode two of our Hoop Heads Podcast Series called “Mentality with Dwayne Killings – Season One at UAlbany” that will document Dwayne’s first year as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University at Albany.
We plan to record and release 2-4 episodes per month with Dwayne and/or players, coaches, administrators, media members, and others associated with the Great Danes Basketball Program to get an inside look at what being a first year head coach at the Division 1 level is all about.
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Get ready to go behind the scenes with us as we talk with Dwayne Killings and his wife Ana about being a coach’s spouse, the decision to take the job at UAlbany, finding a new home, their plans to impact the community and much more.
What We Discuss with Dwayne & Ana Killings
- Being married to a coach isn’t for everyone
- Dwayne being upfront when the first met about the demands and time commitment in the coaching profession
- Being intentional about their time together and making adjustments day to day
- The conversations they had while deciding if the job at the University at Albany was the right one for their family
- Finding a new neighborhood and a new home – what’s important to them in that process?
- Process (Ana) vs Feel (Dwayne) when it comes to decision making
- Why a short commute is important to Dwayne
- How the University at Albany has embraced the entire Killings family and not just Dwayne the basketball coach
- Their kids’ reaction to the move
- Incorporating the family into the Great Dane basketball program and the Great Dane basketball program into the family
- Ana’s plans to impact the Albany community through the UAlbany basketball program
- Their kids’ growing up in the gym with Dad as a head coach
- Developing friendships with other coaches’ wives at their other stops in the journey
- The differences in responsibility Ana sees for Dwayne as a Head Coach
- What their conversations sound like after a game
- What’s for Dinner?
- The next steps in the building the UAlbany program
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THANKS, DWAYNE KILLINGS
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TRANSCRIPT FOR “MENTALITY” PART 2 WITH DWAYNE KILLINGS – ANA KILLINGS ON BEING A COACH’S WIFE & THE OPPORTUNITY AT UALBANY – EPISODE 462
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle this afternoon, but we are here for part two of our special series “Mentality” with coach Dwayne Killings following his first season at the University at Albany. And tonight we are actually very pleased to welcome his lovely wife, Ana to the podcast, to talk a little bit about what it’s like to change your entire life around to follow your spouse to a new job across the country to a different place. And just get an idea of what it’s like to be the spouse of a division one head coach. So Ana, let’s start with this. Just give us an idea of your life as a coach’s wife. Some of the things that are unique about it, some of the things that you love about it, some of the things that are challenging about it.
Ana Killings: [00:00:54] Sure. Well, thank you so much for your wonderful, welcome. I will say [00:01:00] that being married to a coach is not for every woman. It’s definitely not easy. We’ve definitely had some amazing experiences in this journey. I think Dwayne did a great job at first. We were dating to let me know and be really honest with me and let me know that his job or his career was not a typical nine to five.
He was very upfront. Said I will be traveling a lot. I will not be home a lot. So I just need you to understand that and understand what you’re getting yourself into. So I think he did a great job with letting me know what was up ahead. Obviously I lunched forward and I said, let’s go for it. So over the years I, as I’ve grown with him in the business, I’ve understood more of what he says and what he meant.
It’s definitely, like I said, not for everyone. You definitely have to be a woman who’s okay with sometimes not having your husband around sometimes knowing that. There’s going to be holidays that he will not be with you or your family, and you have to be okay with it. We’ve been to some amazing places have been part of amazing programs, have met some great people to this day.
We still have [00:02:00] contact with them and even visit whenever we can. So that’s been an amazing part of it. I think too, just being exposed to different places, different people. Our kids have been very fortunate to meet people as well and understand what different things look like. But it’s been, it’s been fun, but there have been times that it has been a little difficult because like I mentioned, my husband has now given himself to the whole world.
So I have to balance to be able to say, Hey, it’s okay. He still loves us. He’s still with us, but with what he’s trying to do, I need to be okay with letting him not give us so much time all the time. And that’s okay.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:35] Here’s a question that always pops into my head whenever I think about being the spouse of a coach.
And that is up until this point. He’s been an assistant coach. And as an assistant coach, obviously you have a lot less control over the schedule. And that’s not to say as the head coach that you’re working less because obviously that’s not true, but you have a lot less control over when and where and [00:03:00] why you have to be in a certain place and do a certain thing.
And now as the head coach, you have a little bit more control over that. So what was it like when. All of a sudden, you think he’s coming home at 8:00 PM and suddenly there’s a coaches meeting at 8:30 PM that he has to stay another two or three hours. And how do you, how do you handle that? What do you do inside your own mind to help you to work through those kinds of challenges?
Ana Killings: [00:03:29] That’s a great question. It happens often more often than you would think, but I think, like I mentioned, he prepared me mentally to understand that. I mean, there’s been times yes. That he would have plans and he would call it the very last minute because obviously basketball, triumphs, a lot of things.
But I’ve managed to just say, Hey, do what you have to do. We’ll make up whatever work we had planned on another day, another week, whatever it is. And you just move on. I think. My husband can echo that sometimes when we are away from each other, it’s actually a good thing simply [00:04:00] because it just draws us closer.
And I think we have a great working relationship where we understand, Hey, if we can meet up today to go to dinner, we’ll just do it next week. And it’s funny that you also asked that because a lot of times we’ll get invited by friends to do different things, and they want us to be a part of whatever it is, a dinner party.
Or go out to dinner, whatever it is. And oftentimes I have to decline and say, well, I’ll get back to the day before because I can’t, I can’t tell them yes, we are going to agree to meet up in two months because that, as you know, will change literally in a matter of 24 hours. So I’ve been okay with it. I, I I’ve navigated, I understand exactly how it works and I don’t, I don’t take it personal.
It’s part of the job. It’s part of what he does. And. Like I mentioned, this is what I signed up for. Absolutely.
Dwayne Killings: [00:04:46] Sure. You know, I think that we try to both be really intentional about. You know, even if it’s in the middle of the season going to drop the kids off together or go in and get coffee. Cause he tried to take that pause.
[00:05:00] But at the same time I think the best thing about my wife is that she understands like the business. And I think that’s, that’s a really important, that’s an important key to making a family work inside of our, our sport is that you have to understand that. So like having expectations like Saturday night, we’re gonna go to dinner with some friends after the game at 12.
She also knows that that game doesn’t go well, what that meets and he’s okay with that. But that’s important because for some people it can kind of crush your world and that doesn’t happen. But you know, we’ll try to go work out together if we can. And we have like a little home gym where some mornings we’ll get up and work out together just to be present and with each other, just to get that time because the business pulls you so many ways, but I do think, and I’m sure you’ll get to this, that.
It’s a little different is that she really enjoys the kids in the business. So she kind of puts herself into my world, which kind of connects it all. So now my kids are kind of understand the recruiting process and we bring them in there. That’s a chance for us to spend time, whether we’re [00:06:00] talking to a kid on FaceTime or one of our players comes over to the house.
And those things are really important. But at the beginning of our journey together, the thing that. What’s really great is that she’s very independent. So she’s not so dependent on me that if I’m not there, something changes now a sudden like her world is kind of unbalanced. Like she can just keep going, which is really, really healthy for both of us.
But to her point when we. When I’m gone when we come back and makes those moments better. And obviously my kids are so young that at least when, when I do walk through the door, they get excited now and teenagers.
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:35] Now, if you do it, if you do it right, let me tell you guys if you do it right.
Most of the time, they will still be excited when you walk through the door home. If you do it, if you do it right.
Dwayne Killings: [00:06:45] If you do it right, watching those kids smile, light up. When you come through the door. That’s awesome. That’s wonderful. Absolutely.
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:51] Absolutely. And if you set it up, if you set it up correctly, your kids will still want to be around you.
When they get to be, when they get to be teenagers, mine are now [00:07:00] 17, 15 and 11. And not that they don’t get sick of me and my wife every once in a while, but most of the time they’re pretty happy to, to come home and see mom and dad. So that’s a good, like I said, it’s a good feeling for sure.
Without question, it sounds like for you guys, I think one of the things that jumped out at me when both of you guys are talking is just how important the communication piece of it was, especially Anna for you at the beginning, where. Dwayne, lays it out and like, look, this is just the way that it’s going to be.
And this is the career that I’m pursuing. And if I’m going to pursue it to the degree that obviously he has, since the success that he has, there’s going to be challenges. And there’s going to be times where he’s, he’s going to be away a lot, as you said. And I think being upfront, I mean, we can point to a bunch of different situations in life where if you communicate.
Upfront, rather than after the fact things tend to go a lot better and a lot smoother. And it sounds like that’s what happened for you guys. So talk about how communication played a role in this decision to go [00:08:00] to the university of Albany. First of all, how did you guys together find out about it? Dwayne?
How did you break the news to Anna? That that was something that you were going to consider. And then what were those first conversations like between the two of you.
Dwayne Killings: [00:08:12] So like she always, I wanted to be a head coach. And then when we went to, to be honest, I wouldn’t have gone to Marquette without her kind of giving me like perspective where she was like, I think this is a really good fit for what you want.
And yeah. I value that because she, she understands who I am and then she sees the opportunity. And we try to do things together in terms of decisions that we make career-wise and for our family. But when I could articulate what I want, what I was looking for in an opportunity to become a head coach where it was somewhere in the Northeast corridor and a place that made sense for my family and a place of value people and community, and had a good basketball tradition.
You know, Albany checked all those boxes. So once I started to tell her about the opportunity, she’s like, well, that’s the one and [00:09:00] that’s, that’s it. So then it it gets, it just gets kind of crazy because the job opportunity opens and all these things are happening. Like all these conversations are happening around the job and in reality I’m sitting at the dining room table, just talking to people like constantly, like here’s the rumor, here’s the information.
I hadn’t talked to my agent and talk to the lady and talk to the guys that I’ve worked for at previous stops. And she’s just kind of like, Calibrating and taking in all that as it’s coming in between each call, she’s like, okay, what’s happening now? I’m just like, okay, hold on a second.
Let me, let me know the process that’s going on in my mind. And I’m always one of those people that are constantly processing and trying to think like, okay, well here’s what this means. And here’s what we need to talk to. So she’s kind of letting me do my thing, but kind of trying to get step-by-step okay.
What’s happening next? And. As I started to tell her about the opportunity, she could see my excitements and then she started to get exciting, excited, but then I could tell at night, [00:10:00] like when I opened up the laptop, she’d started looking at, okay, well, let me think about the homes and the community.
She’s trying to see her side of the life. Like I see my side of the life. My life is from the professional side. It’s very different. So she’s looking at the schools and the neighborhoods. And what does the city look like? So we both went through our processes, but then her biggest concern was like, Are you going to get the job and do you really want the job?
And then when I started telling her about the leadership and the people, I think she could really see myself here. And the best part too at all was I think we both individually and collectively, when we finally got here, when I got off of the job, we both were like, this is a really good fit for us.
And I think the biggest thing is that You know, it was a huge moment for myself and for my family, because it was what you dream of doing. But then on top of it you, you get a president and an AED you know, president Rodriguez and Mark Benson, athletic director that believe in one person’s ideas and vision and reality, like believe in you as, as [00:11:00] one person, that’s a lot.
You know, that that’s huge that they would do that and give us this opportunity and it’s going to impact my family forever. So I’m forever indebted to them. And then I think the best thing that they did and why we felt so good about the decision was when we got here, it wasn’t just about me. It was about my, my kids, at least the interest in, and also Anna with the way they welcomed us.
And that doesn’t happen for a lot of people. So that was pretty impressive. And I think it reassured us that this is perfect. And it’s the perfect place and I’ve fallen in love with it. You know, I’ve been here a lot longer than they have. They probably spent a total of maybe eight days here, but I’m giving them a play by play and kind of giving them the, the lay of the land and the people.
And she’s trying to keep up best. She can, but it feels right. And I think there’s, I’m laying a lot of tracks for them to feel comfortable and feel at home when they get here.
Mike Klinzing: [00:11:46] All right. So, and I want to ask you two things off of what Dwayne just said. Number one, when he’s sitting at the kitchen table and he’s.
Feeling those phone calls and he’s talking to former colleagues and people that he’s worked with in the past and trying to decide whether this is a good opportunity. [00:12:00] What are you, what are you thinking about? What were some of your first initial thoughts as obviously you’ve moved before? So you’ve kind of had at least some experience with that, but what were the things that were popping into your head and then after you answered that, I want to circle back to just the way that the university of Albany included.
Your entire family as part of the process, but let’s go back to sitting at the kitchen table, trying to figure out what this opportunity really was about. What were the main things that you were thinking about Anna?
Ana Killings: [00:12:28] Well, it was a very interesting week to say the least. I think Dwayne and I were both on pins and needles.
Just trying to understand what was going to be the next step. What was going to happen? Was he going to get the job? Was he not? And I think because I’ve been part of this journey with him for a while, I take each season. By its season. I don’t think for a full year, because as you know, things can change at the end of the final four, right?
Like there’s job movements, people move, people go, people stay. So I literally just take our life by the season. And I’m always ready for the unexpected for something to [00:13:00] happen. Whether that’s being offered a different opportunity going to a different school. So for me, having, having that already in my head, I know that I have to find schools and the biggest thing for me that I need, I need fitness.
So if I find, if we find a neighborhood where I can have my fitness and wherever I go, I make sure to build my own community. So there’s fitness. I build my own community. We’re in a great neighborhood. That’s all I need. I have my kids, I have my husband that makes me the happiest. So when he was going.
When I was getting these play by play and trying to understand, do we have it? Do we, not? My thing was just, okay, where are we going to live? What’s the neighborhood. Like, let me look at the late at the, at the, at the Liam, let me see what the neighborhood is best for us. That will make sense for us. And I’m from New York city.
So being close to home made a lot of sense. My mom is two and a half hours away. His parents are an hour 45 minutes away. So it just made sense. So the idea that he was offered, the position was. Super, super exciting. But for me, I just needed to know where do you think we’re going to live? Because after we have that, we can just plan everything else out and everything else will fall into place.
Mike Klinzing: [00:14:00] What’s your process for figuring that out? Like how do you go about figuring out what are the neighborhoods look like? What kind of house am I looking for? How do you, do you have a set of people? Do you have a real estate person that you’ve. Used in the past. And again, obviously you have to get referred to somebody from the local area, but just what’s.
How do you go about finding those things to make sure that you have a great fit for you?
Ana Killings: [00:14:20] Sure. So we, we go by feel, we go by feel, we go by people’s opinions. Typically we drive by the neighborhoods and see what it feels like, see what’s around. And we like walkable neighborhoods, neighborhoods where you can just.
Walk see people, there’s a community, there’s a store down the street, your grocery store, coffee shop. That’s our type of neighborhood. And once we have that, we feel like it’s home because we can make it home once you have the right people around you. So for us, that’s usually what it, what it entails, just driving around.
Does it feel good? Does it, does it look good? Does it feel like we can raise our family here? And a lot of times we’re often, right. And we have had. We’ve been in great neighborhoods, which it has been amazing have met great people. So that’s usually our [00:15:00] process with this market. Now it’s just been a little crazier.
Mike Klinzing: [00:15:04] My wife’s a real estate agent. So believe me, I know
Ana Killings: [00:15:07] it’s been a little crazier, but I know we’ll find a great place for us, but typically it’s just a matter of field getting opinions. And for us, I think the biggest thing is just having what’s important to us, which is fitness, a great park.
Walking distance to a lot of places that will make us the happiest,
Mike Klinzing: [00:15:24] I think, with your kids too, being able to find the right neighborhood that has good schools and that also has a neighborhood with other kids. I’m sure that’s something that you prioritize when you guys are coming from out of town.
When you come in, what does that look like for you? Is it, is it, do you usually are usually able to pull things off? Quickly or is it more of a longer drawn out process? How many times do you have to go through a neighborhood or is it more of just, you have, you just have a sixth sense in it and an eight ability to figure out, Hey, this, this place feels right for us?
Dwayne Killings: [00:15:54] Great question. You just asked. So split [00:16:00] feel guy. So I can hit a block and be like, this is where we are. Or like for instance, we went to a neighborhood and you know, there’s a guy coming down the street and I just asked him some questions and he says, Hey, I have a house for sale right here. And I was like, this actually felt like the right neighborhood for us.
It’s just like a feeling. I think she’s a processor. She’s got to get more information than me. So that’s why we are where we at right now in this house. You got the field guy on one side when we got the information gathering on the other side, but we’re feeling, but it creates, I think a happy medium because.
You know, there are some things like that. You, you gotta process as you make these decisions that sometimes maybe with your feel, you can get a bunch of different things address, but then maybe there’s something around the corner that doesn’t fit because it’s not just what’s best for me. And my professional side of my career.
There’s also my family, but then there’s also the kids. And then to her point assessability to working out and her [00:17:00] happiness, we got balance like a ton of very different things. And then. You know, being a head coach of a program like this in this community, that’s really, really important for us.
We want to impact the community. So then like where we decide to live, it changes how we do those things really quickly. And then I think the last piece that I have, like I hate commuting. I absolutely hate it. No, cause I feel like that that idle time is just, I could be doing so many different things and then also.
If I’m leaving work late if I’m 15 to 20 minute ride sounds easy, but you gotta walk from your office to the car. You’re gonna run into people that you talk to. That’s 10 more minutes. Then you get in the car and you gotta get your stuff in there and you get in the car, you drive, maybe you make a stop or whatever.
But so now all of a sudden that that 20 minute rides are like a 30 to 35 minute commitment. And when you’re leaving the office hours that we do. That means you may be walking in and it timed to me a ton of my career. Now that’s part of the life of being a basketball coach. You’re [00:18:00] walking in the house, your kids are going to bed.
You know, and that means you’re not getting a lot of time with them. So that makes it hard to be a father that’s present in their lives. Because in reality, I get a chance to be around my players more than I am my own kids. So if I, if we live in a place where. Sometimes I can pop home I can bring them to basketball practice, but then she’s got to pick them up.
You know, those things, it adds to me being a father, that’s me being a husband. So I kinda try to calculate those things and bring them to mind decision. But she brings in a whole lot of other things. I’ll let her do her whole process.
Mike Klinzing: [00:18:35] Yeah, so we got the gut feeling guy on the one side. Give me the process. Oriented person on the other side, what does that look like? Ana?
Ana Killings: [00:18:43] I will say I will credit Dwayne for teaching me along the, along the years. How to just manage, being somewhere close to work. Right? So I used to live in Boston a few years ago and I would commute. My commute was very long.
And he would always make fun of me. Like you are commuting everywhere for such a long period of [00:19:00] time and guides does not need to happen. So I’ve learned through him over the years of you just bought, you just live somewhere. That’s close to your job. That’s close to everything in life for me will be much easier.
So I’ve learned to understand the concept of time, right? And how you don’t get that back. But for me, it’s all about it is about feel as well, but I’m also wanting to understand the dynamics. Like I need to do a little research. And so what does this neighborhood have? Who are the people that live here?
What is around here that can offer us whatever we need? I just need a little more information besides the field, but I do like the field. I just need a little more information.
Mike Klinzing: [00:19:32] I’ll give you a good story from my own situation. So the house that I live in now is in actually in my hometown where I grew up.
And my wife was used to be a guidance counselor and. She got out of that when my kids were born and stayed home. And then as we slowly got back into real estate, but my mother-in-law was a real estate agent. So this is like 15 years ago when we bought our house and my mother-in-law and I went out to like 15 houses in the community where we kind of had targeted where we wanted to live.
[00:20:00] And I came back with two or three of them that I thought, Oh, these these are ones that I think my wife will like. And she walked into the one that we bought and she literally walked into the foyer. And now from the foyer. The only thing you can do, it’s kind of like a, now it’s like a California style house.
So you go downstairs like six steps or upstairs six steps. You literally can’t see anything of the rest of the house. And she walked in and was in this foyer where all you can see is like four walls basically. And she’s like, I want to live here. All right. I’m like sold. All right, here we go. I’m like, Oh, we go.
So I did my due diligence. Ahead of time. And then my field person came in and was like, okay, let’s, let’s do it. So I can totally relate to sort of the two diametrically opposed processes of figuring out what that looks like. Let’s talk about how the university of Albany welcomed you guys as a family, because one of the things that I was struck by from watching the press conference, I know Dwayne, you mentioned it a couple of times when we talked the last time that it doesn’t happen everywhere.
And I was [00:21:00] just, again, Blown away by how much effort they put into being included elusive of your entire family and not just making it about basketball, but talking about you as a human being and the impact that you could have, not just on basketball players, but on people. And I know that’s one of the things that you and I have talked about on the two podcasts that we’ve already done, just about your desire to have a bigger impact than just.
In between the lines on a basketball floor. So, Anna, how did that make you feel when you had obviously already made the decision that you’re coming here and you had a good idea that probably that was the field that you were going to get, but I have to imagine that when you show up in town and that press conference and the things that went on the video and all that stuff, I got to imagine that that cemented in your mind that, Hey, we made, we made a really good decision here.
Ana Killings: [00:21:50] I mean, it was an unbelievable feeling. The fact that you go somewhere, you arrive on campus and all eyes are on you. It’s almost like you are the most important thing or [00:22:00] person or a family that has arrived. And they just want to take care of you and make sure that you’re happy. And it was just an amazing healing to just see Dwayne’s biggest smile.
My kid’s biggest smile. And like he mentioned, you don’t get that everywhere. And I think university of Albany has embraced the fact that they believe in family, that they believe this is a journey that. Everyone is in, is a part of and we all need to be together in this and they did an amazing job to just always include us.
And it’s interesting as I think back and think about that moment, they kept repeating my name, my children’s names, Dwayne’s name which was amazing because as he said, you don’t get that often. And that feeling just felt very, very authentic. And even before then people were reaching out to me. To introduce themselves to say hello, to see welcome.
And it just felt very genuine. It felt very natural. It felt like they really wanted us there. And it just felt like it was home there. It was just a no-brainer.
Mike Klinzing: [00:22:51] What about the kids? How are the kids feeling? First of all, about the move and then two, once they. Get here now you’ve been here and spent eight [00:23:00] days there.
What’s it been like for them? Are they, are they adjusted to it? Are they, are they sad about leaving friends behind and kind of, where are they with the process?
Ana Killings: [00:23:09] So Alicia is seven. When we told her the day after we told her right before it was drop off time for school and she, the response was not what we wanted to hear.
She didn’t seem as excited. And then. I mentioned to the teacher what was happening. And the teacher actually had reached out to me saying that she had to take her out into the hallway and talk to her because she started crying. But I think what had happened was that she thought we were moving the next day and didn’t process that we weren’t going to move until the end of the school year.
So that’s a, her was an indication of, wait, what do you mean? We’re moving like tomorrow. So that was a little hard for us. I was not, that was not the reaction we were expecting. Now my, our three-year-old, he just follows his big sister, whatever his big sister says and does he’s like I’m with it. But then that weekend we were there for the press conference.
She met the ADSL daughter. Who’s also the same age as her and [00:24:00] loves LOL dogs and they hit it off. They were excited. My son was also friendly with. The distance, they were super excited and they understand that we’re moving now. They understand that, okay, we’re moving. We have to find a home. We’re going to be here till the end of the school year.
And oftentimes we’ll have conversations. And they’re like, yeah, when we get our home in New York and we got a home in Albany, so they understand what’s going on and they’re excited. They’re excited when we went last time we actually stayed in the dorms and Elisa was like, Oh my God, this is great. I can’t wait to get student here.
That’s easy. So she felt like a big girl because she’s like, I am at a dorm. I’m sleeping in a dorm. So it was it’s. It’s been nice to see her understand the process more versus the first day when we told her, she’s like, wait, I’m leaving all my friends behind. I can’t happen, but she’s really, really excited.
And then we introduced to her the idea of, Hey, you can have compounds. They can write to you, you can FaceTime. We can zoom, they can visit if they’re in the area. So she feels much better now. Which has been great to see.
Mike Klinzing: [00:24:54] Yeah, that’s good to be able to have her make the adjustment. I know that. You know, getting kids have all kinds of different [00:25:00] reactions to change in their life, whether it’s moving or some kind of other change.
And the fact that everybody was so welcoming, I’m sure helped. And and getting greeted by the cheerleaders and that having everybody having everybody look, look, look up at you and look, look to you. I’m sure it was exciting for them as you guys think about moving forward. And building the program.
And you mentioned Dwayne about trying to keep your family a part of it. And that’s one of the things that we’ve talked to other coaches about that you obviously do spend a ton of time away from your family. And the more that you can incorporate them. Into your program. And obviously they’re still young, but just, what do you envision the two of you, when you start thinking about how you incorporate your family into the university of Albany basketball family, as you go forward.
Dwayne Killings: [00:25:52] Yeah, I think it goes both ways. You know, I want our program to be a part of my family. Like when I say that I want to bring our [00:26:00] players into my home. And not just like a beginning of the season or end of the season kind of thing. I want it to happen as often as we can. And I think that goes into our conversation about trying to find a home here.
It’s gotta be welcoming to that. I think it’s really. I think it’s fun for my kids. It’s fun for our players. I think it’s really important for our players and for some of them to see me and what I represent as a father and a husband, because they may not have that example in their lives. I also think it’s pretty cool for my kids.
You have players because they’re gonna look up to them. And that also goes into the evaluation of the kind of kids we’re going to bring into our program, because if I bring them into my home, they gotta be the kids that represent the right things for my own personal children. Additionally we’ve already talked about.
Some programming that we’ll do from a basketball team perspective at games and just for the community that our center, our kids everybody I’ve talked to talks about how great the environment can be for families. And when I think of that, I immediately think of my own children. So what are some really cool things that make it an engaging fun [00:27:00] atmosphere?
For young kids, because I want my kids to enjoy that moment. And it’s important that we create something that’s really inclusive of all the people in the community, not just our students, but we need our students. We need our faculty and alumni to come in and enjoy those two hours and celebrate those two hours of hard work that our kids are going to be a part of that plan, our team.
And then. You know, the, the, the other thing is when we set out on this journey I said to him, and I started thinking about a couple of things that you want to do, that you can own yourself. Because again, it’s so much of, it becomes about the program or about me as the head coach, but I want her to have her own things that represent things that she’s passionate about, that she feels like she can bring or things that she can address for the capital region and the community within it.
And some of that will be linked to our kids, right? Because so much of what we do is we do it through our own children are to give more opportunity for our own kids or kids that look like our children. So those are the things that jump out to mind to start with. And I know she’s been. Emailing me and texting me all these ideas.
She’s got a lot of plans.
[00:28:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:28:01] Throw one or two at me. Let me hear what a couple of things that you think that you want to do to really get involved.
Ana Killings: [00:28:09] Well, I think one, an idea that I had mentioned to him was starting a summer cleanup and a summer cleanup.
Whether that’s a few neighborhoods that’s. I dunno, a few blocks in the area, but just make it our own, make it part of the university of Albany basketball program. This is what we do before the school year starts do backpacks give out backpacks to students, but just be involved in the community so that they see us.
They know us, they know that we’re just not basketball and that we have much more to offer. And I think also being part of this program also means connecting with the students or the players, families. It’s important for me, for them to know that. Yeah, this is your coach, but I’m also his wife. And I want to get to know you as a, as a person.
I want to get to know your mom, your dad, whoever’s family. I want to get to know more of them. Because again, like do I mention this is a family. We want it to be connected. We want to be a part of each other’s lives and it just makes it [00:29:00] much more fun and much more authentic and genuine.
Mike Klinzing: [00:29:02] Absolutely. When you look forward, how excited Dwayne, I would guess this question may be, is as much for you as it is for Ana, but how excited are you about your kids having some gym access as they get a little older?
Dwayne Killings: [00:29:16] Yeah. So the first workout we had here you know, it was like my first time being a head coach and That, all that energy that you got, getting ready to lead and coach kids you’ve never met.
So you’re getting on the court and you’re doing that. And that at text my wife, and I said, why don’t you bring the kids? And you know, me and my son and my daughter, at least you over to the end of practice when we’re done a launch sprints of food over so we can all kind of hang out and they can meet each other.
And when they were done yet I’m watching or a dental practice and everybody’s kind of eating, hanging out, talking and watching the kids just run wild in the gym. I mean just going all over the place. And I think they quickly like, cause when I was at Marquette, they kind of understood okay, this [00:30:00] is where dad works, but then coach was your housekeeper was the head coach.
And you know what that represented his kids. It was like their spots. I think they were kind of saying, this is our spot. Now we got it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:30:09] We’re the Kings of the court here.
Dwayne Killings: [00:30:14] Not taking away anything away from my daughter, but you know, for my son to grow up around the team, it’d be a lot of fun for me just bringing them in the locker room, being around the guys I’m sure some times he’s just, he’s kinda just there just kind of watching it or so many kids that are coaches, sons.
They, they learn the game just by watching it. That’s really cool. And I think it’s really powerful. What can come from that? And then for my daughter to be able to see into my world, she doesn’t. Really like, she understands like what I’m doing, but she doesn’t really know. So now I could be in coach with your house.
He was always comfortable saying like bring the kids in anytime you want. And, and coach Dumpty was the same way, but like now they’re at a point where they’re old enough probably where it makes it a little bit more sense. And you know, on my staff doesn’t have [00:31:00] children yet, but I’m hoping as their families evolve.
You know, they can bring their kids in there. And I want to have some many hoops in the gym where the kids could just bop around and do their thing while we’re doing ours. Because for me, if this is going to work the way I want it to work, it’s gotta be a family atmosphere. And I think Ann has used the word we gotta be connected and have to be, and it’s not just.
Our players and the coaches, it’s got to be the wives and it’s got to be the people in the community and the administration. Like, I want everybody to feel like they have a piece of this program because when you win, right. It makes it that much more special. And you know, there’s so many moments that you get in college basketball that are so unique.
So if everybody’s a part of that, I mean, it just makes for an awesome moment. Hopefully we get a picture and we can laugh about it for years.
Mike Klinzing: [00:31:43] And have you developed friendships? At your previous stops with other coaches on the staff there, their wives, is that something that’s happened at different stops along the way?
Ana Killings: [00:31:54] We, I mean, we’re all we have, right? So we are at these schools and most of us are not from the area and, [00:32:00] and we have to connect and, and get to know each other, but it makes it very fun because it’s not forced. It’s, it’s actually genuine. We get to know each other. We spend time with each other. We get to know more about each other’s lives.
And then the beautiful part about it is. For whatever reason, once we move on, we still have that friendship. We still have that solid friendship where you can pick up the phone, call them, see how they’re doing, see pictures of their kids, growing up, find out what, what the latest is in their lives. So it’s been, it’s been great because we’ve met so, or I’ve met so many wives along the way, and to this day we’re still in touch.
And it makes it, it makes the fun, it makes the genuine, it makes the fun. And that’s what it’s all about.
Mike Klinzing: [00:32:37] Yeah, absolutely. I think that when you look at that opportunity to be able to, again, when you’re going to different places, I think you have to be, you have to be open, right? You have to be outgoing.
You have to be willing to kind of put yourself out there and develop those friendships. And a lot of times, I mean, you guys have had stops that have been. Five years, two years, different amounts of time that you’ve been in particular spots. And every time you go, not that you have to [00:33:00] completely start over.
Like you said, you’d still are maintaining those friendships that you had before, but you’ve probably at this point gotten good about kind of figuring out who your people are. And you mentioned you know, finding your fitness community and then getting the, getting the thing going. I’m sure you’ve gotten pretty good at that over the years as you’ve gone from place to place.
Ana Killings: [00:33:16] Yes. Yes. It becomes very natural after awhile. And I think the beautiful part about it is you just get to meet people. You get to meet people, you get to see different perspectives. You get to understand where people come from. And sometimes people don’t have that experience unless they’re going through what I go through.
So it’s, it’s been great.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:34] All right. Two questions for you. One, what, if anything has been the biggest difference to this point with Duane being a head coach versus an assistant? Is there anything that you can put your finger on? I know it’s obviously really early, but is there anything that you could put your finger on?
And then the second part of the question is what are you most looking forward to? Let’s just say this season with him. Being a [00:34:00] head coach. So what’s been different to this point. And then what are you looking forward to as the season moves along?
Ana Killings: [00:34:06] What’s been different, I would say is time. Everything rests on his shoulders.
He is on the go from the moment he wakes up till the moment he goes to sleep, which is not much different than before when he was an assistant, but now he has so much to think about so much to pinpoint so much to delegate. So I see that as a big difference where it’s just a lot, a lot on his plate, a lot on his laundry list.
But he’s been great with managing it all and trying to take care of it all. And what I’m looking forward to is seeing him on the court. Seeing him on the court, seeing him lead this program, seeing him talk to his players, develop his players, grow these great relationships. I’m just excited to just see him just take charge and build this community that we’re looking forward to.
Mike Klinzing: [00:34:49] What’s your role as a sounding board? During the season when he’s coming home and asking you different things about stuff that goes on and it clearly some of those questions, some of those [00:35:00] conversations may be different as a head coach, but just what was your role or what is your role in, in season when you guys are talking and before you’re going to sleep at night and you’re.
Laying down in bed and talking to each other. What does that look? What does that look like? What are those conversations about?
Ana Killings: [00:35:15] So I’ve called myself the associate head coach at all time, because that’s what it is. But typically I I’ll wait for him. We talk about whether it was the game and how it happened, how it went.
We talk about any players that he’s recruiting. So just talk about the day, talk about what’s going on with us. Talk about the program, talk about how I can be of more help to him. And just being transparent with everything. So it’s more about the communication and just going about our day, how can we help each other?
What do you need, what do you need? Tell me what frustrates you, how can I help? How can I make it better? Is typically what our conversations look like.
Mike Klinzing: [00:35:50] How important Dwayne are those conversations to you on a daily basis?
Dwayne Killings: [00:35:54] Yeah, they’re, they’re really helpful. I mean Well, it’s not always the last person I talked to cause she builds on me all the time.
[00:36:00] Ana Killings: [00:36:00] Mike. Sometimes he’s on the phone. It’s like 1130 at night. I’m like, okay, dude, I got to go to sleep.
Mike Klinzing: [00:36:06] I know I, my wife and I have the same way. Trust me. And I’m not even coaching in that nearly as much demand as Duane is. So yeah, I know my wife will kick off the better, a lot earlier than me, a lot of nights.
So I get, I get it. Believe me,
Dwayne Killings: [00:36:18] I think. No, a lot of times some of it, she doesn’t understand, like you’re going through a scouting report or you’re going through talking about some of the things you deal with in recruiting, but she does understand like, Hey, did you ever think about saying this or doing this?
Cause she knows me too. So I think those things can be really helpful. And sometimes just as you know, just kind of unloading and unraveling the day. You know, it makes me kind of like, okay, I never thought about this, or I need to replay and think about that. And a lot of times like, she’s listening, she’s like, what temple you did this.
So she has a lot of different reference points that that helps. And sometimes it’s just give her a chance to see into my world like I’ll be sitting there watching [00:37:00] film, getting ready for one of the big East opponents. She’d be like, so what are we going to do to win this game?
Then you just start talking through it. And then after the game, she’d be like, well, you guys didn’t rebound the way he thought you were and I’ll be like, thanks. I noticed that I’m your biggest cheerleader.
Mike Klinzing: [00:37:14] That’s good stuff.
Dwayne Killings: [00:37:16] It was good. You know? And then it’s funny, like sometimes you, you come back and lock room and you go through all this coach talk about games and then you get home and you know, she’d be like, you guys are really tough today.
And I’m like, yeah, we actually, we were you’re right. You know, you saw it or other times she’d be like, Yeah, you guys were hustling enough and you know, a lot of times, like she can understand it cause she just hears me talking and watching and all that. So it makes it fun. You know, it makes it a lot of fun.
I think she feels more invested into it. So that stuff’s important.
Ana Killings: [00:37:44] But Mike, I will say there are moments that I know when not to say anything. Yeah. So there are moments where he may come home and I’m like, Oh, this was not a good one. And I just, I stay quiet and so he’s ready to talk and sometimes he doesn’t even want to share anything.
So I just respect the silence and we may go to bed and [00:38:00] that’s that. And then the next morning. We’re ready. We talk about it and we debrief and we move on. So I do know the balance of when I should say something and when I probably should just not.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:11] Have you become. More of a basketball expert over the course of your relationship.
Do you feel like you have a far greater understanding of the game compared to when you guys first got together?
Ana Killings: [00:38:25] For sure. For sure. You know, I think before I was more of a spectator just watching the game cheering now, it’s more like I’m like in it. So I understand the process and I understand what he has to do.
I understand what what’s going on. And it’s been fun because I’ve been learning a lot and it, it wouldn’t have happened. Had I not been in this position?
Dwayne Killings: [00:38:42] Yeah. But she always falls in love with one of the guys like this guy should play more. He needs more more minutes.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:47] There you go.
Ana Killings: [00:38:49] Just giving him a different perspective he’s not seeing, that’s all.
Mike Klinzing: [00:38:51] Is it a personality or is it, or is it a, or is it a talent thing that you’re looking for? Do you like the, do you like the kid or do you like the kids’ game or a combination of [00:39:00] both?
Ana Killings: [00:39:00] I think it’s a combination of both. It’s a combination of both. When you see that talent, I just have to call it out and just mention it to him.
Cause he may not be seeing.
Dwayne Killings: [00:39:08] Yeah,
Mike Klinzing: [00:39:10] It is funny though that there are some times different perspectives and sometimes you can, when you’re so deep into it even when you just you know, Dwayne, you mentioned when she just said, Hey, you guys really tough out there today.
Are you really hustle there? Sometimes you can take all this minutia and. Maybe it does just boil down to, Hey, we just got to be tougher and you can you could look at all these different things. Sometimes that outsider perspective. I’m sure it’s helpful
Dwayne Killings: [00:39:36] No, for sure. I mean, it definitely is. I mean, you get I call it and I took this from somebody else.
You know, the guys in your cabinet, those are the guys that you talk to almost every day. So for me, it’s like Bruiser Flint, Ashley Howard, Kimani Young. Kyle Neptune, JB Bickerstaff. Like those are my guys that you’re just constantly just running stuff off, but then she’s also extension of [00:40:00] that, like in the non coaching world, but so much of it, when you talk about like toughness for one, like she hears me say that all the time, that’s part of like the DNA of our program.
And when we talk about mentality, that’s one of the words that we talk about. But if she also knows that she hears me say it so much, so like she kinda understands what it is that I’m looking for, what it is that we, I feel like we need. To be really good, you know? And then if I’m come home talking about a recruit and I’m like, Oh, he’s so tough.
He’s this he’s that whether she’s like, well, then we better get him because then he complain about all that’s not sincere.
Ana Killings: [00:40:31] I played a lot of pressure on him. A lot of pressure,
Mike Klinzing: [00:40:35] I believe it. All right, Ana. So what’s something that he says all the time that you’re like, all right, enough of that.
Ana Killings: [00:40:42] There’s a lot of that.
Dwayne Killings: [00:40:43] What’s for dinner, I’m always hungry. Oh gosh.
Ana Killings: [00:40:46] What’s for dinner. I mean, Mike, when I tell you this man has a tapeworm, I can cook so much food that I think will last for like two or three days. It will be gone in like literally 30 minutes. So that’s one of his things what’s for dinner. [00:41:00] Yeah, I think that’s pretty much one of the biggest things that he always always says what’s for dinner, you will say.
Dwayne. I hope you don’t mind, but he will ask me to rub his feet. I don’t do for you. Stay away. Do not. He will often ask you. I’ve had a long day. I’ve been standing on my feet all day. I just look at him and I said, I’m sorry, sir. I just can’t do that.
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:19] That’s completely understandable. I won’t even ask what the condition of the feet are.
I know what I know what the kid, I know what the condition of my feet are and anybody, everybody would want to stay away from my feet. So I’m with you. And I can click that sometimes. I don’t even want to go by my own feet, let alone that somebody else
what’s the go-to Dwayne, if you could pick any meal that Anna makes, what’s the, what’s the best meat. What’s the best meal coming down, coming down.
Dwayne Killings: [00:41:44] Oh let’s see. So she makes. Chicken and rice really, really well. She also I’m trying to think of the name of it. Well, it’s one, it’s one of like the Dominican dishes.
It’s the chicken Mike dumplings. What are they? I haven’t had them in so long. See,
[00:42:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:42:00] Throwing down the gauntlet right there and I’ll watch out.
Dwayne Killings: [00:42:03] Well, my favorite she also like, does this, I don’t know what the thing Crock-Pot and she puts like meat in it with like this Buffalo sauce and a little bit of seasoning or whatever.
So we eat that a lot. That’s like one of my tos and then. You know, she used to get really creative back in the day, but I guess the kids, I can’t get the meals that she got me with a long time ago, but, but I’m still happy, man. I’m good.
Ana Killings: [00:42:26] I have to add. The last time we were in Albany and the kids and we went out there to look for a house.
But do you not know that this man had me cooking every single day? So I said to him, so you really flew us out here so I can just,
Dwayne Killings: [00:42:41] no, for the whole staff, I told you, we’re a family. We do
Ana Killings: [00:42:43] cooking for the entire staff
Mike Klinzing: [00:42:45] Every single day. Well, I hope you got a big, thank you for that.
Ana Killings: [00:42:50] I did. I did. I always do.
Mike Klinzing: [00:42:52] Dwayne. What’s your, what’s your meal that you cook toast?
Dwayne Killings: [00:42:57] I’m a seasonal cook. I grew up, I grew up you’re a [00:43:00] griller. Alright. You get three good months out of me. That’s okay. You did chili. You could get Turkey. That’s right. I can get you through a winter for a couple of weeks. All right. There you go.
Mike Klinzing: [00:43:09] It’s balance you got to have, you got to have one or two things as a guy.
I think you’ve got to have one or two things that you can do just to kind of at least pretend like you’re holding up your end of the bargain.
Ana Killings: [00:43:18] He’s not bad in the kitchen at all. All right. That’s good.
Mike Klinzing: [00:43:20] Actually. Pretty good. Good. That’s good to hear. Cause I know that sometimes it’s it can get away from me.
I know sometimes my wife will go for a long stretch of I haven’t. Made something in awhile and she’d be like, well I’ve done I’ve done 13 meals in a row. It sounded like it might be time for my time for you to get in there and do something. And it’s funny because a lot of times my wife has gotten she’s gone and I’ll make something.
The kids are all like, Oh, we know dad’s he’s got, he’s got like four things in his rotation. They know it’s going to be one of those four, then they’ll start, they’ll start groaning. Oh no, it’s going to do that. So, so know what’s coming. They do know what’s coming. They, they, and they, and they like, and they like what I make, but I try to stay.
I try to stay simple. [00:44:00] Yeah. Keep it easy. Absolutely. Absolutely. So what, so what’s the next, what’s the next phase? What’s what’s, what’s exciting for you guys. What’s what’s next on the basketball side. On the personal side, we’ll wrap things up by just give us what’s coming in the next week or two in your lives.
Maybe you can’t even predict at this point, but what’s coming next.
Dwayne Killings: [00:44:22] I think just getting them here I think that’s where everything becomes whole you know, the good thing is like about this business. When you transition into a program you get through the semester and again, catch your breath for a second.
Then you get ready for the summer or in between those two things betweenMmay and July, when the kids come back as June. And that’s when they’ll move out here and it gives us a few weeks. Kind of now or relearn the city as a family which will be really good and find things for the kids and find things that she needs.
And hopefully by then we’re moving into our home. So I’m excited about that. And then we got a bunch of cool ideas and programming for our team and, and part of that includes my family. So I’m excited to see what [00:45:00] that looks like and learn the people and learn the community through my family and with my family along.
So that’s going to be a lot of fun. And then. You know, you got to take a deep breath because they just do recruiting back at us. So we got a lot going on that summer. So it’s going to be busy China, I’m going to try to enjoy may June and July and move fast. And then you look at squaring staring at the fall semester.
But we’re excited and you know, like so much of these ideas and dreams are coming to life. We’re living it in reality right now. So I’m looking forward to getting them out here.
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:31] and the same for you. I
Ana Killings: [00:45:32] assume. Same for me. I’m just. You ready to just move a B next to my husband with our kids and get to know the city, get to know the city, get to meet people, get to know where are we going to be and looking forward to a great year.
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:43] Well, it’s gotta be incredibly exciting for both of you to have thought about this for a long time and planned and come up with ideas and thoughts and Hey, if I ever get this opportunity, here’s what we want to do collectively to make this program as [00:46:00] special as we possibly can.
And from everything that. I’ve seen from everything that I’ve heard from the two of you, it sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic fit. I am so honored that you guys are allowing me to kind of come along for this journey. I’m excited to see where it goes. Hopefully our audience of coaches is going to find this compelling and interesting.
And again, I can’t. Thank you, Dwayne, enough for being willing to, to share this with us and then Anna for you to jump on. And I’m sure we’ll have you out again at some point as we go through the season, but thank you to the both of you really, really appreciate it. That is mentality number two of many more to come.
So thanks to the Killings family for joining us today and to everyone out there, we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.