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Twitter – @CoachKillingsDK
Welcome to episode four of our Hoop Heads Podcast Series called “Mentality with Dwayne Killings – Season One at UAlbany” The series 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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During this episode we dive in with UAlbany Director of Ops Danny Madhavapallil and Assistant Coach Matt Griffin. We’ll learn more about their coaching journeys and what brought them to the staff at the University at Albany to work for Head Coach Dwayne Killings.
What We Discuss with Danny Madhavapallil & Matt Griffin
- Danny & Matt’s basketball journeys leading up to their arrival at UAlbany
- The transition from high school coaching to college coaching
- Two coaching paths – 1. Always knew 2. Didn’t think about it until playing career was over
- Their relationship with Dwayne Killings and their hiring at UAlbany
- How they see their role in building the University at Albany Men’s Basketball Program under the leadership of Dwayne Killings
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THANKS, DWAYNE KILLINGS
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TRANSCRIPT FOR “MENTALITY” PART 4 WITH DWAYNE KILLINGS – UALBANY MEN’S BASKETBALL DIRECTOR OF OPS DANNY MADHAVAPALLIL & ASSISTANT COACH MATT GRIFFIN – EPISODE 468
[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 morning, but I am pleased to be joined by two members of the staff at University at Albany with Dwayne Killings, Dan Madhavapallil and Matt Griffin. Guys, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:00:17] Great to be here, Mike. And that was just, that was an awesome pronunciation of my last name.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:23] There was a lot of pressure on me. We had to do a second take, but we got through it. So we’re good. We’re good.
Matt Griffin: [00:00:28] Great execution. Great. Start to the podcast. Really excited to be here, Mike, thank you so much for having us.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:33] Thanks for being here guys. So what we want to do today is just kind of get to know you guys.
Get to know a little bit about what brought you here to the university at Albany, and then what you guys are hoping to accomplish and how you’re going to contribute to the success of the program. So, Dan, we’ll start with you, just give me an idea of your background, where you came from your connection to coach killings.
And then we’ll dive into that and talk a little, see, we can’t bring [00:01:00] out some things. That’ll help. Some other coaches that are out there listening.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:01:03] Yeah. First of all, Mike, appreciate you, you know, You’re giving us this platform, you know, obviously for, for young coaches and coaches in general, to learn and to grow.
And there’s a term that says, people say, grow the game and you are a big part of that. And so I just want to say thank you for doing this. I appreciate it. And then, so I guess a little bit about me. So I guess it all starts my parents, right? My parents about 30 years ago, coming from India.
That typical immigrant story of, you know, they literally came here with a suitcase of my dad sold suitcases in India and he came here and brought those suitcases with them and they they’ve made something of their lives. You know, save money to that. You know, they grew up in Chicago at the time when Jordan was taking over.
So basketball, you know, it was important for them because of Michael Jordan. And because of that, you know, that’s how I got into basketball And then, you know, had you know, played high school basketball was good [00:02:00] enough just to be a varsity athlete. And that’s probably about it. Average play two points a game, but I was a great, you know, I was a great cheering on my teammates and all that stuff and, and was blessed to be a team captain and do a stuff.
So new one or coach had an unbelievable coach in high school named Bob ward had an unbelievable impact on my life. And I, I knew right away, I wanted to have that same pipeline on kids, you know, when I was when I grew up. So, and after that knew being a student manager was probably a really good position to kind of get my foot in the door and to build relationships.
And at that time, you know, it got down to between Marquette and Michigan state, obviously. Well, at that time, both schools had great basketball programs, great coaches and, and buzz Williams. And. And Tom Izzo and then actually just one random night and admissions counselor from Marquette called and it was, Hey, do you have any random quotes or do you have any questions?
And I jokingly asked, Hey, do you have Buzz Williams email? Not expecting anything of it? And she was like, Oh, of course. [00:03:00] So she gave me Buzz’s email. As in coach Williams, you know, an email sell, they’ll do whatever it takes and I’ll be part of the program. He read it and actually he read it forward to one of the assistants right Autry.
And we went back and forth, came up for an interview. And that’s how I kinda got the student manager position at Marquette. And actually because of that, I, every, every email I get, whether it’s a potential walk on a manager, like I, I read it because I know, you know what that means. And because coach Williams read that email.
I have my shot and I’m here right now. And so that’s, you know, that, that is important to me. And so I was, I was with coach Williams for two years. We met at an elite eight run which is unbelievable my freshman year. And it was just nuts because I was like, Oh, this is
Mike Klinzing: [00:03:47] right. Yeah. They will do this every year.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:03:49] Yeah, of course. You know, we go through a coaching change and then it took a while for us, you know, when coach will joke. So go over, obviously keeping you honest with your manager, which I’m grateful for. You know, I [00:04:00] got to see the rebuildable program, which is unbelievable and coach Williams or sorry, coach ward, their house. I’m getting a lot of responsibilities. And then eventually hired me on as a GA and then got lucky enough where after two years as a GA and you could create a position for me. It was assistant video coordinator and in a time when a lot of places that were cutting positions, And to be, you know, I’m so grateful for number one, to be at a place where they, we could do that.
And then to be around people that would want to help me out. So it was, did that for a year and then got promoted to director of basketball operations at Marquette. So did that for past two years. And I tell people that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and, and, and, and most importantly too, is, is to surround yourself with really good people, as best as you can.
I’ve been really blessed from my parents to my high school coaches to my college coaches to be around some unbelievable people that have really helped me grow. And so I’m really grateful for that. Yeah.
Mike Klinzing: [00:04:59] There’s no doubt that [00:05:00] those connections make a huge role in what you end up having the opportunity to do in your career.
How did your role change from your first year as a freshmen student manager, to the end of your time there as director of basketball ops, how did, how did the responsibilities, the level of your level of involvement? How did that change over the course of your time at Marquette?
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:05:21] There’s a term that some people use it whenever people say, what’s your title.
I pretty much just say DFE and do fricking everything. And you can, the F word could be something else if you want. And it’s one of those things that I think from a student manager role, whether it’s rebound, it’s a laundry, I mean, and do everything part of it. Like there are times like I would go and.
I’d help our, at our athletic trainer redo his roof. You know, I babysit kids, I dog sit, you know, like that, all that stuff is really important to building relationships and building [00:06:00] trust. And so I’ve tried to try to keep that student manager mindset kind of throughout my journey. You know, and then obviously kind of as your time as you get, as you grow in this business, you have, now you have to be more mindful of what you say.
Yes and no to. And sometimes saying no to certain things is really beneficial because, you know, your time is valuable and, and that delegating that you know is huge. And I I’ll say this, I’m still learning that you know, how do you, you know, going from the GA to an operations role, it’s way different, it’s way different being the guy that does everything.
And then being the guy that manages people that does everything. A manager is totally different because you’re a leader. You can’t just do everything yourself and, you know, asking people to do things without acting like you’re just bossing people around. It’s, it’s different. It’s tough. And then also trying to develop that trust and relationship [00:07:00] and trust and relationship is huge.
Because you just, you don’t want to go to academics or compliance every time you need something. Right. Cause then you’re just going to be that guy. You know, I think for me, it was really important to just, I think there’s a term leadership by walking around and wandering around and my, and my ops role go to a strength coach, go to the orthotic training room, go to compliance, go to academics and just say, hi, see how you’re doing.
Because that’s important. And you actually, you know, coach Judson who worked together and Marquette. He said some of the, some of your most, the best meetings and most productive meetings happen in the hallway. And you know, those meetings that just are on your calendar, they’re good at all, but sometimes you just need to pop in and check on it and check in on people and see how they’re doing.
And then they’re, they’re more willing to help you when you need it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:07:54] Yeah, that’s good stuff. I mean, I think that there’s a lot of good lessons in there. I think the biggest one being, especially when you’re earlier in your [00:08:00] career, you gotta do what you gotta do and what people need you to do and fill in those gaps and not only do what they ask, but also maybe go above and beyond and look for ways that you can add value.
And we’ve heard that sort of that theme from a lot of young coaches that we’ve had on just saying, Hey, you gotta, you gotta put the time in. You gotta do some of these things that maybe don’t necessarily fit under the. Strict job description of what you’re trying to do, but, but those are all things that help you to build relationships and really cement the fact that, Hey, I’m a guy with a great work ethic.
I’m a guy who’s bought in to the program, a guy who’s here for the greater good and not just kind of looking out for myself. And I think there’s a lot to be said for that. So again, interesting. I’ll tell you one quick thing before we jump over to Matt, when I was playing, I never, ever in my life looked at.
A student manager, as somebody who was going down, the coaching profession track it never once as a player crossed my mind. I always thought that, Oh, these guys, they just like being around the team. They like hoops, [00:09:00] man. They want to hang out with some of them, you know, they want to hang out with us players, never in my life that it crossed my mind that any of those guys were doing that because they wanted a coach.
And I look back on it now and I’m like, how did I not. How do you not realize that? Just again, you think about if you want a coach and you’re right there with the coaching staff all the time and you’re on road trips and you’re on the bus and you’re at practice and you’re involved and, you know, get, obviously it depends on how much to the coaching staff kind of takes you under their wing.
But it’s amazing to me that looking back when I was 21, 22 years old, that I didn’t realize at all that, you know, guys that were managers for our team back in college, that they were, you know, that they were interested in coaching. And a lot of the guys that. We had, I don’t know if any of them went into college coaching, but a lot of them became high school coaches and just never, never crossed my mind that, that, that was the path that they were taking.
So kudos to you for knowing what your path was early in life and getting it done. Matt, give me give us, give us your story. Talk to us a little bit about, about your background and you know, you can start, I know I know you were a player at BU and you know, how you [00:10:00] got into coaching and just where, where your where your passion for coaching the game came from.
Matt Griffin: [00:10:04] Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m super excited to, to be on here. I’ve listened to so many podcasts. I can’t say tell you, especially, you know, from last quarantine to now this, this was amazing. I learned so much through your podcasts, so truly an honor to be on,
Where I started was I played for coach killings at Boston U my junior year.
We won the America’s championship at chambers was the head coach at the time. My senior year, Joe Jones became the head coach. Coach killings went back to temple in a promotional position. And from there when my senior year ended, I really didn’t want, I didn’t know that I really wanted a coach. I had studied business in school and my dad had retired early from coaching because of the demands of the job, you know, he had he’d Like a seven year contract at St.
Joe’s starting in the 1990s, retired at 95. And because of it, you know, it really wore [00:11:00] on his health and, you know, it was just an exhausting job. And so, and also like in his mind, it just, wasn’t a great lifestyle. And so I grew up in the game.
I grew up in the gyms, play basketball, my whole life, my lifelong dream was to play division one basketball.
And I was fortunate to get that opportunity. So when I graduated, I was like, what do I do now? And I realized I was so fortunate for the opportunity to go to Boston U to play division one basketball, to have parents who guided me in the right direction in life. And especially my older brother who really pushed me and was always a great mentor.
I said, I want to give back. So I applied to this program called teach for America and they place you know, young professionals with. Really no background in teaching. I had a finance degree and one of the lowest income, lowest performing school districts in the country. And you can get placed anywhere.
And then they train you for six weeks on the summer. You teach summer school and then join that two year. [00:12:00] It’s a two year commitment. You go to you, you can do a partnership with, in whatever city with the university, so to, to get your master’s degree in education. So that’s what I did. I was in the South coast of Massachusetts teaching seventh grade math where Chris Herron grew up fall river and,
You know, it was a wonderful experience. I fell in love with coaching, not necessarily just basketball coach, that the six, seven, eighth grade team there I’ve coached flag football, soccer. I didn’t know anything about soccer. I ran the chess club and I loved it and I fell in love with it. And it became a passion of mine to be around and inspire young people.
I didn’t think it was necessarily basketball that it had to be. I thought I could do it through math. I thought I could teach the habits needed to be successful in life through math. Like, Hey, work hard. Hey, get to class on time, get your work done. You know, push through on days that you’re tired, things like that.
Really important to me helped me in my life. I wanted to inspire somebody else, try to give that to them. And it was a really rewarding experience, really challenging. [00:13:00] And so when I decided I want to move back home to Philadelphia, I called speedy Mars, who was my high school coach. And he said, listen, you got a spot with me, be my assistant.
So I worked for him two years and an assistant coaching, more player development role. I was co teaching in North Philadelphia. And you know, it really it’s after my first year of speedy, the Haverford school position opened up. I applied to be the head coach. It was in the top, you know, a couple and I didn’t get it.
And the second year Roman Catholic high school position opened up and that’s where my dad went to school. It’s where speedy Morris. My high school coach went to school, had a lot of tradition there. They were our rivals in high school. So knew a lot about the school. And I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to, to, to be the coach there.
And it’s funny, like, I, I didn’t, I thought I knew the game and I thought I knew how to coach. And I thought, I knew like how to run a practice. And I, you know, until I became the coach and, you know and then it was [00:14:00] like, I call it a PhD in learning, like in coaching sued me because over the next five years, I was challenged every day to become a better coach for my players along the way.
And a lot of player develop coaching development opportunities. I coach USA basketball for the last two years which was incredible. You know, you’re in a room with Mike Jones from DeMatha, Steve Turner from Gonzaga, Joe Montana, from bull air. And, you know the list goes on. Scott Fitch, you know, is up here in New York.
And it’s just like you sit around the room, we listened to these guys coaching from all over marshal, Cho, you know, from captain, from from Portland and, you know, Eric Flannery from Ohio and you listen to how they develop programs and how they teach and how they coach and their concepts. And they go through the same things that, that I do.
And I, I learned so much from them. So over the last five years, Really through just experience, figuring it out, relying a lot on, on my, my dad and my brother to help me become a better coach every day. [00:15:00] And I had a great coaching staff and you know, I was able to, you know you know, really learn how to, how to become a better culture.
And I’m still learning obviously, but, you know, coach killings and I had stayed in touch from the time that I played for him, you know, going full circle. So and we actually became
really close when he was back in temple when I was back teaching in North Philadelphia and we, our relationship really grew and, you know, we always would send each other motivational things, keep each other going, you know, especially when times weren’t going well, you know, I think it’s easy to like, Hey, you know, good job good.
When I see you on national television. Good win. But Hey, I also know DK and on those days when they lost, I know he was taken as hard as Hey coach, you know? So I was like, Hey, stay with us. They weren’t there. But. We always kind of you know, vibe in that way. And he just was fortunate that he wanted to bring me on and his first coaching opportunity.
So that’s how I’m here.
Mike Klinzing: [00:15:50] It’s interesting that you guys sort of came to the coaching profession in different ways. So, you know, Danny here you are saying. From [00:16:00] the time you get done with high school, you had a plan, you knew you wanted to be in coaching. And then Matt, your, your path was, was more similar to mine.
Where, when I was playing, I had coaching was not on my radar at all. I was not a kid who was. Diagramming plays and dreaming about someday. Pick it up a clipboard. When I was done playing, I was, I was a player and I was not thinking at all about being a coach. And then when I got my first coaching job and I’ve told this story before, like the only thing I knew, I played for the same high school coach for four years.
And I played for the same college coach for four years. And so that was the only, I mean, everything that we did was from those two guys. I mean, all of the drills. Everything. And I’m like, well, I was a good player. I know what I’m doing. And unlike, unlike you, Matt, unlike you I kind of stayed in my bubble for awhile and didn’t necessarily go out and have the opportunities to learn from, from other guys and kind of stayed there.
And part of me wishes, you know, if I had gone back and maybe done it differently or had somebody that took me under their wing and said, Hey, you know, you need to get out and get to clinics and do these days, I was just kind of doing [00:17:00] my thing. Like, Hey, basketball is always been a part of my life and.
Know, I must be pretty good at this thing. And you realize very quickly that there’s so much out there and the podcasts and I’m 51 years old and the podcast has taught me so much about the game, both from, you know, some X’s and O’s, but more just about how do you build a program? How do you build a winning culture?
How do you put things together? So that. It makes sense for your players and you put that environment in place so they can have success. And it’s just, again, I find it to be so interesting that almost everybody we talk to falls into one of those two camps, you know, somebody who’s in third grade and they’re playing, but they’re also drawing plays on a napkin.
And then there’s, you know, there’s other people who get done, they get done with their playing career and they look around and they’re like, Oh man, I, you know, Basketball is over for me. How do I, how do I stay in the game? And I think most people fall into one of those two camps in all honesty.
[00:18:00] Matt Griffin: [00:18:00] Yeah. My two things.
One is, you know, when I was a coach, DK gave me this amazing advice and he said, listen, you’re a high school coach. You’re going to be welcomed into really any, any gym in the area. So I was in center city, Philadelphia. We had really good players.
And I took advantage of the opportunity. I got a chance. I sat in on coach Don piece practices, multiple times, coach B keys.
I went to Zack’s Lakers practices. I went to Jay Wright’s practices. I want to feel more Teles. I went to Billy lanes. I went to John J NEIdeas. I went to Ash hour, so I was able to watch how they do it. And that really also helped me, you know, besides the, the coaching clinics that we, we paid, you know, for, to go with our staffs every year and the zooms and the podcast that was really I mean it transformative for me as a coach to really be in their gym.
How do they start practice? What’s the pregame routine, you know, what’s the energy level. Like some [00:19:00] coaches like to put on music, some don’t, you know, some have an emphasis on defense, some start with schoolwork. It’s how did, how did, how was the flow of practice? I mean, these little things, and then how often.
Does the practice stock, how many times does this assistant talk and this assistant talk and really, you know, what’s the command, the coaching moves of the coach during practice? Is it a lot of scrimmaging or is a lot of breakdown? I mean, like I was, it was incredible. And then you would go to like Fran Duffy’s practice and then on the side of them will be like Billy hon, you know, like, you know, and he’s telling you about like the one, three, one zone that he used to put in and it was just like, my mind was blown.
So that was, so that was really. The first thing. And then the second thing, just to piggyback on that when I was all I ever cared about in college, you know, and this is probably to my detriment is, is how do I, how do I become the best player I could be? And I was so passionate about basketball, that you’re right.
I had that same feeling when we lost, we got upset in the Americas tournament. [00:20:00] My senior year against Hartford, John Gallagher, still there beat us. And I literally remember sitting in my dorm room in March. Saying, like, I don’t know. I don’t even know what to do. Like I just, I just was just basketball and that’s it.
So I share that same sentiment.
Mike Klinzing: [00:20:16] Yeah. Try to figure out with something that you’ve spent so much time with as a player. And you’ve been so focused on it. It’s difficult. It’s difficult to change gears and say, all right, now I’m going to do. X Y or Z and figure it out. And I got a business degree and I ended up going back to school to get an education, because again, I just wanted to be around the game.
And I, you know, during I was a kid who, when I went to school, I mean, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Cause I wanted to be a basketball player. There was no, you know, there wasn’t, there was no, I mean, I was a good student, but there was no, there was no plan B. I never had a job growing up. I didn’t work at McDonald’s or nothing.
I mean, my, my summer job was maybe going to be a counselor at a camp. But that was just, you know, getting in there so I could play at night. I mean, it was nothing about, it was nothing about a career or anything, and I [00:21:00] think it’s hard. It’s hard to make that change. And You know, th like I said, there’s so many people who fall into one of those two camps, for sure.
I, Danny talk to us about how the opportunity here comes to be, obviously, during your time at Marquette, you build a relationship with Dwayne. And what made you decide that this was a good opportunity for you to come along to you, Albany?
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:21:24] Well, actually before that, I do want to hop on, so like, Matt’s one of the best coaches I’ve been around.
And I like, he’s going to be a future division, one head coach. I promise you. And I think one of the reasons why he’s got like unbelievable experience running practices and doing it in his own, like doing that in high school now, there are a lot of people are like, how do I become a college coach?
There’s no one path to what you know, to what you said. And I think that do at the high school route. I mean, like. He’s got coaching. Like he’s, it’s easy for him to run practices and run drills now because he’s done and he’s done it in front of, [00:22:00] in front of some big time coaches watching him because of their, you know, when they come into the gym.
So I think like Matt, Matt Griffin is unbelievable. I, I, I, I just have to put that out there because that’s, that’s very important.
Matt Griffin: [00:22:13] That’s a good,
Mike Klinzing: [00:22:14] that’s good. I like, I like it. And it, and it is, there is something to be said for that when. You talk about being in charge versus being an assistant. We all know that there are differences.
And as you look through and you go through your career I was a varsity assistant coach at the high school level for a long, for a long time, probably for 10 years. And then one year our JV coach. Had to leave the program right before the season was going to start. And so I took over kind of was in a dual role.
And all of a sudden I was back to managing a practice and trying to sub during games. I was like, what is this? Like, I haven’t had to do any of that. I haven’t had to do any of this for like 10 years. And even though obviously you work, I was coaching. It was still, it’s still a totally different field. So I think that’s a good point, Danny, that, you know, when you talk about having some experience, we don’t [00:23:00] necessarily always equate.
High school coaching as a path to getting into college coaching. But there’s certainly something to be said for that opportunity to be, to be in charge and to make those decisions as you move forward, to have that piece of experience in your back pocket, I’m sure as Matt, as you move forward, that that’s going to be, you know, that’s going to be something that’s going to be an asset that you’re going to be able to point back to and draw on as you go through your college coaching career.
For sure. Yeah.
Matt Griffin: [00:23:25] Yeah,
Mike Klinzing: [00:23:25] absolutely. All right. So Danny talked to us about the opportunity here.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:23:30] Yeah. So obviously, so I’ve known Coach Killings for three years now. And in that three years, he’s grown to be one of my best friends and then in college basketball. And so actually, you know, and I think it’s important to talk about kind of the whole journey of how I got here, because it’s been a while about two months.
And so, and, you know, cause I think it’s, it’s very real. I think people need to understand, you know, all of it. And so. March 19th is when our administration at Marquette had told us that they [00:24:00] were going to let go of coach drop and obviously was a wild, wild day, you know, like, cause we get the information now we’re calling our recruits, our recruits parents, our current players, their parents, and then add to the fact that my fiance’s at work.
Now I need to call my fiance. We’re getting married in July in Milwaukee. And it’s like, wait, what does all this mean? Because. Like all this, like, cause I, I called her, I want to say probably 1130 and it hit social media at like 1145. And then so like everyone at work is not asking her, you know, about what’s going on.
And so like our phones are blowing up and everyone’s like, what does this mean? And to guide us, none of us know. And so like they, it was a wild day obviously, and I was blessed enough where they, you know, they said, Hey, like we want to try to keep you on. At least we want to have you be here for that, that transition period.
And so I was grateful for that because that, you know, that’s an important time. [00:25:00] And it was good to be there for our student athletes. But I also know that when a new coach comes in, most of the time they’re going to bring in their own people. And so all of these conversations we’re having are going on on Friday and keeping up like our head, my head is spinning at least.
And I’m just trying to make sure that our kids are good. Cause that’s an ultimate, that’s the most important thing. And then, you know, coach killings calls me Friday night and he says, Hey, you know, I want to bring you on here. And then I’m like, I’m excited. I’m ready to go. Like, Hey, I just wait. I was part of a step.
That was probably, it was let go. But then now I have a job. Like I’m like, what does all this mean? And so I’m like, I’m ready to just like, say, pack my bags and go to Albany. But then he’s like, wait, just hold on, take your time. Talk to your fiance. And I’m like, that’s probably,
Mike Klinzing: [00:25:55] that’s probably a good idea.
That’s fine. That’s probably a good move. Short term and longterm.
[00:26:00] Matt Griffin: [00:25:59] Exactly.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:26:00] And my fiance, Katelyn has been unbelievable. She now she uses, she has her dream job out right now. She’s a PT home and children’s hospital in Milwaukee. And I’m the guy asking her to move out with me and to kind of uproot her life too.
And she’s been like supportive all the way. And I think, you know, for young coaches that are trying to get in this business, like having, having a partner that is all in to, and actually understands that journey is, is, is really important. And I think, you know, and th the, the, the people that have that on top, like understand, and, you know, I think in talking to my fiance, it’s like, Hey, like, are you ready to do this?
And I guess the answer to be honest is no. Are we ready? No, we’re not. What are we going to figure out? And are we going to make the time to figure it out and learn? Yes. And that’s, that’s the only thing I can ask. And that was, that was important. And so she was all in on the [00:27:00] move, you know, she’s back in Milwaukee.
So she’s preparing for a wedding. I have no idea what’s going on. Coach Jones actually called her to make sure that she was okay with it. And she said, just make sure he’s at the alter on July 9th. And I was like, Oh, and.
Mike Klinzing: [00:27:14] So you’re learning how to delegate. Then this is your lesson delegate. You’re just like, Hey, take care of, take care of that whole thing. You got it.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:27:22] Yeah, exactly. So she’s doing all that. So I’m really excited and, and, you know, and I coach Karen’s school back to Milwaukee Sunday and take me out to dinner and officially offer me the job. And so that’s kind of how I got here.
And we, we made the 13 hour drive from Milwaukee to Albany. To bring his car over here and, you know, and then kind of never looked back. So I’m really blessed fall in love with this place. I fall in love with the people. I’m sure you guys like we’re living in an empire time. That’s just the dorms right on campus.
So we we’re, we’re all like we’re, we’ve gotten so close so quickly. And I [00:28:00] think that’s, that’s one of the reasons we were literally spending all day with each other. And so it’s like, it’s like a summer camp feel.
And so this is, this is, has been, it’s been awesome.
Mike Klinzing: [00:28:11] That’s very cool. How long do you get your household set up?
What’s the, what’s your ETA on your household? You to set up?
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:28:17] that’s a great point. And see, like now I gotta get my fiance, a job out here, got to get pre-approved and get it. You know, we’re trying to buy the house. We’re trying to take advantage of of these, of these interest rates and, and show. And she was Albany community that, that we’re all in.
Mike Klinzing: [00:28:32] Nice. Nice. All right, Matt, give me your story. First of all, I guess the biggest question for me is the transition from high school to college in terms of, was it something that you knew you always wanted to do? And then just, just talk to me a little bit about what the difference has been so far, those two experiences.
Matt Griffin: [00:28:51] Yes. So people have always asked me and I’ve had conversations with all their high school coaches. Hey, what’s next? What’s next? And I honestly. [00:29:00] I never, I always thought, you know, colleges next, but I never had any ambition to make a jump to college immediately. I had worked at Roman Catholic for five years.
I had been in education for almost nine years. And you know, I was just going to do the best job at Roland that I could, and. We actually had a really good team coming back and the entire team’s coming back next year. I think the Roman Catholics can be really like a team. It just so happened that, you know, in, in basketball, you know, the way I see it is, you know, timing and, and relationships, right.
And just so happened that this was the right time, you know for me to make the transition from the transition from high school to college has been Yeah, I thought I kind of understood like what pouch coaches went through in terms of, I would, as a high school coach, I’m seeing these players, I’m like, well, why [00:30:00] hasn’t this?
Powerage offered this kid or why isn’t, you know, but you realize that they, you know, their, their pool of players is like, there’s like, You know, a hundred players that they’re looking at for three spots, you know, and each assistant is, you know, bringing a player to the table. So it’s not just so straightforward.
So that’s one of the adjustments. The other one is the. The actual roles. You know, as a high school coach, I could work my players out and we were in before school, we were in late at night, we were all summer long. We didn’t really have those restrictions in terms of individual skill development and how that is much different.
The rules regulations, like, you know, even with social media and how you handle that. Certainly there are some rules regulations in high school, but. I mean, you know, the binder of rules for colleges is like, you know, I had to take a recruiting test and it’s pretty serious. So that’s, that’s, that’s the other major adjustment and that’s real because, you know, you’re dealing with compliance on a daily basis [00:31:00] and making sure you’re staying within the lines of doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And so, you know, really learning that at the highest level that I can, but that those two things have been the major. Major adjustments, but other than that, I’ve always dreamed of, I kept saying to myself last night, wouldn’t it be nice. To worry about basketball all day. And that’s what I get to do, which is really cool.
Last year I was the athletic director. I taught five classes of algebra two, and then I got the coach, you know, for two hours. So, and then I had to find time at night to scout and this, or early in the morning. So it was like, now I wake up. I’m like, okay, skill development, recruiting. You know, I can’t like, it’s just, I don’t know. It doesn’t get it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:31:42] It’s all that. Yeah. All that. All basketball, all basketball. All right. So each of you, I don’t know who wants to go first, but just tell us a little bit about what your, what your role has been so far. What you think is going to be moving forward to try to help this program, get it to where you guys [00:32:00] want it to go.
Danny, why don’t you take that one first?
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:32:06] DFE baby. DFE no, it’s It’s been, it’s been awesome. So I guess for me, I think relationships are a huge part of what of coach Kaelin’s and his, the mentality that he’s bringing to this to this university. And it’s important to connect campus because there’s people here that love basketball and care for this university.
And so it’s really connecting the dots of our, who do we need to talk to about certain events? And I think community engagement is huge. Like, you know, we’re, we’re doing tons of camps. We’re trying to do on, we’re trying to work on a five K we’re doing all these child talks, you know, that, you know, we’re a, to your point of trying to grow the game and give back football tailgates, you know, there’s this, all this, all these stuff that we’re trying to do.
But then me coming here from the Midwest, it’s like, Who do I talk to? Like, how do I get all this done? And so it’s really, it’s trying to get to know all these people trying to connect the dots and then also. You know, I think the most [00:33:00] important thing is our student athletes. How can we best help their experience?
How can we better their eating, like their eating habits, their sleeping habits you know, can we get them gym matches more? You know, I think all of that’s really important because ultimately we, we, you know, I think coach Matt said, this is like, we’re rich, we’re focused on basketball all day.
But even within that, the most important thing is our student athletes and, you know, those, those guys ultimately put their trust in us. And so we need to help them grow as basketball players, but then as men as well.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:37] Great answer, Danny. Matt, go ahead.
Matt Griffin: [00:33:41] Coach Killings has kind of assigned me you know, the task of learning admissions.
And the process of when a student athlete wants to come to university at Albany. Now, what? So whether it’s a graduate transfer, A transfer or a [00:34:00] incoming freshmen learning the process, making sure I understand, you know, from their transcripts, what courses have they taken? How does that translate to the university at Albany getting feedback from our admissions, relaying it back to the students so they can really apply for the thing that makes sense for them.
So that’s one of my major roles on staff and I love that because I’ve been in education and I think that’s so important as vital part of this, this whole thing of playing college basketball. It’s just not about basketball. It’s, it’s really about, you know creating a network for yourself by getting to know your professors and then hopefully studying something that you’re interested in and I studied business, I got an education, but at the same time I’m learning something that’s interesting. And, you know, as something that you’re going to be intellectually stimulated by. So and then the second thing is, is just recruiting. So you know, and coach has given us a couple of areas to focus on and we were each kind of assigned with.
Bringing certain players to the table to discuss amongst the staff. And [00:35:00] we have a recruiting process that we follow. So but those were the two major things. I guess the last thing would be skill development. You know, in that area and really helping guys develop, see what their skill set is, help strengthen their weaknesses and, and turn the strengths into weapons.
But so, so really focusing on how can we create a any elite skill development program.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:35:22] Great stuff. And then, you know, like I think we all say this like high major isn’t where you are, it’s who you are. And so it’s important for us, like how we do everything is, is at a high measure level. But then also understanding that we don’t necessarily have the resources of a power five school.
So, you know, it’s all of our jobs to figure that out when we need to be creative with how we do that.
Mike Klinzing: [00:35:48] Yeah, absolutely. That makes a ton of sense. I think when you start looking at what you can do at a mid-major school, you know, it’s really important to be able to try to build that winning culture and to be able to put things in [00:36:00] place where you don’t have.
Endless resources. It’s not like you can make a mistake and Hey, we spend $500,000 here on something. Oh, it didn’t work out well, that’s, you know, that’s too bad. We’ll just spend another 500,000 over here. It doesn’t work that way. You know, at this level and you gotta make sure that everything that you do is on point and it’s leading towards what you guys are trying to build and the success that you want to have and making sure that the program and your kids are taken care of and that you’re putting out a product that.
The university is going to be proud of and that all of you guys sitting here in the zoom today are going to be proud of it. Yeah. I know that dancing and KJ just jumped on the Danny and Matt. We appreciate you two guys. Join us before we get out with the two of you. I don’t know if either one of you want to share how people can reach out to you directly.
If you want to give yourself a quick shout out on social media, where people can find you after they listen to the podcast. And then we’ll, we’ll let you guys go and, and bring in the next round.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:36:56] Well, Mike, thanks for having us is awesome.
Matt Griffin: [00:36:58] And my, my [00:37:00] Instagram handle is @coachMattGriffin And so same with Twitter, so same thing. Cool. So thank you very much for having me.
Mike Klinzing: [00:37:08] Thanks, man. Appreciate it. Thanks. Thanks for being here this morning.
Danny Madhavapallil: [00:37:11] Thank you. Matt. My Twitter is @coachDannyMads and Instagram is just DannyMads12. So. Appreciate you. Thank you so much again, like what you’re doing is unbelievable.
I’ve learned a ton and it’s been a blessing to be on this podcast.
Mike Klinzing: [00:37:26] Thanks, man. I appreciate it. And it means a lot to me that all of you guys are taking the time out of your lives and your schedules to jump on it and be a part of this. And obviously thanks to Dwayne for kind of opening it up. The program to let me step in kind of behind the curtain and see what it takes to have the kind of success that I know you guys are destined to have.
So thanks for being on guys So thanks guys. Thanks Matt. Thanks Danny. Appreciate it guys.