Ted Hotaling

Website – https://newhavenchargers.com/sports/mens-basketball

Email – thotaling@newhaven.edu

Twitter – @TedHotaling

Ted Hotaling is entering his 12th season as the Head Mens’ Basketball Coach at DII University of New Haven.  With 173 career victories, he stands second among nine head coaches in the history of the New Haven men’s basketball program.  Hotaling’s teams have earned four bids to the NCAA Division II National Tournament, the most recent coming in 2022.

Hotaling previously spent five seasons as an assistant at Eastern Kentucky University.
Prior to arriving at Eastern Kentucky, he served four years as a full-time assistant at Yale University from 2001-05. Hotaling also served one season as an assistant at New Haven in 2000-01. He began his coaching career at Adelphi University in 1998 where he spent one season as an assistant.

In the fall of 2012, Ted was inducted into the University at Albany Great Dane Hall of Fame as both an individual student-athlete and as a member of the 1993-94 men’s basketball team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight.

After graduating from Albany Ted went on to play professionally in Europe for the Cardiff Phoenix Basketball Club in Cardiff, Wales, and the Plymouth Rotolok Raiders in Plymouth, England.

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Take some notes as you listen to this episode with Ted Hotaling,  Mens’ Basketball Head Coach at the University of New Haven.

What We Discuss with Ted Hotaling

  • The influence that his Dad and brother had on his love for sports in general and basketball in particular
  • “I don’t want my relationship with my kids to only be about basketball.”
  • “When my kids get in the car after practice or games. I literally just tell them, I love to watch you play. If they wanna talk about it more. I do. If they don’t, I’m pretty cool with that.”
  • “I tell the parents that we recruit, Hey, let your kid struggle. It’s going to be the best thing for him. It’ll be painful while he’s going through it, and it might be painful for you to watch it, but you know what, it’s going to be the best thing for him.”
  • “Jeff Van Gundy said, You’d be pretty good if you worked hard and I was totally shocked. I was like, I do work hard. And he said, not hard enough.”
  • The improved skills of players across the board
  • “Play more and drill less”
  • “Understanding how to play, understanding who you are, who you’re playing with. I think those things are probably need to be improved upon with the next wave, the kids coming through.”
  • His development as a player and being a late bloomer
  • The story of how he ended up playing his college basketball at the University at Albany
  • His experience playing overseas for two seasons
  • Breaking into coaching under Hornets Coach Steve Clifford who was at Adelpi University at the time
  • Volunteering for a year at Yale before getting hired as an assistant at New Haven
  • His full-time assistant coaching job at Yale and what it was like coaching in the Ivy League
  • “You better be really organized and detailed and you better have a why and you better be able to explain that why for them.”
  • Becoming a better offensive coach during his time at Eastern Kentucky
  • “Wherever you are, you’re interviewing for that job.”
  • “I don’t really care about level. I’ll be honest with you. I never have.  I say that to players as well.”
  • Taking on the challenges at New Haven when he first took the head coaching job
  • “If you don’t write your philosophy down, then you don’t have one.”
  • The greatest coaching book? Bill Walsh’s book “Finding the Winning Edge”
  • Keys to success – Read and write things down
  • Develop your own “Board of Trustees” that you can lean on as a coach
  • Young coaches should ask their head coaches about conversations with Athletic Directors
  • Don’t talk negatively about coaches you’ve worked for or places you’ve been
  • NO BCD – Blame, Complain, Defend
  • “When you go recruiting. Don’t talk the whole time, actually watch the games and evaluate.”
  • His system of recruiting and what he looks for in players
  • Why his recruiting process usually starts with AAU
  • “I think controlling the ball and controlling turnovers is huge.”
  • His method for taking notes while watching film
  • Why he finds watching film of practice so valuable
  • “Become experts on your players and maximize their strengths.”
  • “My main job during the season is to make our team better.”
  • “I think watching practice film allows you to see patterns and allows you to connect dots so you can become an expert on your team.”
  • Don’t share more than 19 clips at a time with your team
  • “One thing that your kids want to see is that you’re organized in your detail and that you’re an expert on your subject matter.”
  • “You have to ask them what they see.”
  • “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”
  • “Really what you want is everyone to be at their best so that you can see how great you can be.”
  • “It goes back to who you bring in your program and what you talk about on a day to day basis. And then what behaviors you reward”
  • “One of the most powerful things a head coach can do is just go rebound for your 15th guy after practice.”
  • “The biggest challenge every day is what you give your attention to.”
  • “I wake up giggling every morning because I have great purpose in my life. I get to coach college basketball.”

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to be joined by Ted Hotaling, the head men’s basketball coach at New Haven University. Ted, Welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

[00:00:12] Ted Hotaling: Thanks Mike. Mike, Jason, it’s great to be here. I appreciate it.

[00:00:16] Mike Klinzing: Excited to have you on looking forward to digging into all the things that you’ve been able to do throughout your coaching career. Let’s start by going back in time to when you were a kid. Tell us a little bit about your first experiences with the game of basketball.

[00:00:28] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, so I grew up in upstate New York in a small town called Niverville, New York.

It’s a really small town. Mom and dad were both teachers, youngest of three, my brother, I did whatever he did obviously growing up. So if he was playing soccer, I was playing soccer that day. If he was playing basketball, I would tag along as well. We were a huge sports family. My dad played three sports in college, played soccer, basketball and baseball at Brockport State.

And my mom, would’ve been a great athlete. I think it was before title nine. So luckily my daughter doesn’t have to deal with some of those things. Right. But dad coached at the high school level. So soccer, varsity soccer modified basketball, always was a part of little league baseball.

So I mean, I was at a practice every single day of my life. Great, great childhood. And then I think eventually just morphed into this obsession with basketball. So I don’t know how it happened. I just know I was just exposed to the game at a really early age. My parents used to take us to basketball games and soccer games when we were kids, I’d go to see Albany and Potsdam. We’d go see Sienna basketball. We’d go see RPI versus Union. So we’d go see Catskill versus St. Pat’s, which is two great high schools back in the back in the eighties. So just always around the game and obviously my role models were essentially my dad and my brother.

So you know, got into it and it’s been an obsession ever since.

[00:01:47] Mike Klinzing: When you think about the influence of your dad as a coach, and you look ahead to what you’ve done in your career and just the influence that your father’s had on you do one or two things about who he was as a person and as a coach, stand out to you that are still continuing to play a role in what you do day in and day out.

[00:02:06] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, I think so. I just love being around him. I mean you talk about growing up the son of a coach. I mean, you’re at practice every day. You’re taking bus trips, you’re driving in the car after wins and losses. My dad is just a really, really good person. I think first and foremost, I think he had a really positive effect on the people around him, especially as players. I know a lot of people will Facebook, you and message you. And sometimes there’s guys who reach out to me about their experience with my father. So just always you know, just always loved being around him, loved being at his practices. And I saw the effect he had on young people, which I thought was really positive.

He was very disciplined and was very demanding, but just always very, very likable and really earned that respect just because of who he was more than anything else. And I don’t know if I’ve reached that as far as what my dad was. I’m certain I fall short, but he has always been a role model even to this day.

He’s just really just a unique human being.

[00:03:03] Mike Klinzing: His influence on you, when you think about just that impact of being around somebody who day in day out is having the kind of effect on people that even now are still reaching out to you and talking about, Hey, your dad really had this tremendous part in my life when he was coaching me.

And just to be able to be, to interact with him on a daily basis. And then have you yourself eventually end up going into coaching? I’m sure that’s something that when you have conversations with your dad, even today, do you guys sit down and kind of talk coaching? Obviously you may not be talking Xs and OS, but I know that there’s, there’s probably conversations to be had when, when the two, when the two of you get together or when you guys talk on the phone.

[00:03:49] Ted Hotaling: You know what, not a lot of Xs and OS it’s funny, the human part of it, I think is much more important to him. And I grew up in a house where sports were important, but it wasn’t so much where there was so much pressure on their children to be a certain way. And I always respected that about my parents.

And I think because of that, we have a relationship that goes beyond just sports as well, where we can talk about family talk about other things in our lives. Like talk about experiences growing up that maybe don’t have anything to do with sports. But yeah, we love talk about sports, right.

So when we’re around each other, we’re talking about the Celtics and Golden State we’re talking about the Yankees. So yeah, it’s not any one thing. And I don’t know if,  my dad’s very humble, it’s funny, like I’ve had some experiences where I’ve been able to talk about him in public settings and he is really uncomfortable with that, which I always think is really cool.

Because it’s never really been about him. So sometimes the conversations just don’t always lead to just basketball, which I think is pretty neat.

[00:04:45] Mike Klinzing: How has that had an impact on how you’ve interacted with your own kids when you became a father? And when you start thinking about your role as a sports parent and just how.

Handled the situation with your own kids, thinking about how your dad handled it with you. I know you talked about him, not putting pressure on you that, Hey, you have to do this and him being a big part of just trying to put pressure on you to do certain things. So how has that influenced you as a parent?

[00:05:13] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, I’ve gotten to see, when you’re a coach, just particularly at the college level, right. You can see how parents can affect their children either in a positive way or a negative way. I mean, I signed a kid named Jeff Atkins. Who’s been one of the best players at New Haven. I literally signed him because his father was awesome interacting with him.

And I just felt like, Hey, that kid is probably going to be extension of the dad. And you know what? That kid’s probably a kid that was one of my first recruiting classes at New Haven. It’s probably someone that’s the type of person we want in our program. But for me, I don’t want my relationship with my kids to only be about basketball.

First of all, it’s what I do every day. It takes me away from them, especially when they were little. It is an obsession, right? It’s the old Bill Walsh when he is at a cocktail party drawing diagrams on his wife’s back when he’s not paying attention much. I often do the same things when you get lost in thought and you’re living in the last game or living in the next practice.

But I learned a long time ago that I don’t want this to be anxious filled. I don’t want this to be yucky for lack of better word. I want it to be a positive experience for all of us. And my parents did that for me. They let me come to the game on my own terms. They let me fall in love with it.

They encouraged it, right. They helped me along the way, but it wasn’t overboard where I just didn’t want to do anymore. So you know, my kids get in the car after practice your games. I literally just tell them, I love to watch you play. If they want to talk about it more. I do. If they don’t, I’m pretty cool with that.

So I want them to enjoy it more than anything. And then when they struggle, I want them to struggle. I want them to figure things out on their own. I think that’s the other thing my parents allowed me to do was not solve every problem for me. Right? And I tell the parents that we recruit, Hey, let your kids struggle.

It’s going to be the best thing for him. It’ll be painful while he’s going through it, and it might be painful for you to watch it, but you know what, it’s going to be the best thing for him. It’s one of the lessons that he’ll learn going through this college experience as being a basketball player. So I, I just think it should be for lack of better word fun, right?

It should be enjoyable. Basketball’s just an amazing experience. It’s off given me a ton of experiences. I love that for my children, but I do want them to find it on their own a little bit as well.

[00:07:16] Mike Klinzing: When you think back to you as a player, and the fact that as you talked about growing up, playing multiple sports, and eventually you came to realize that basketball was the one that you wanted to focus on.

How did you go about getting better and improving as a player when you were. Let’s say a high school player. What was your, what did your summers look like? How did you go about becoming a better player?

[00:07:41] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, it’s so different than it is now. I mean first of all, Niverville is not the Hamlet of ballers, right?

It’s pretty barren as far as it’s basketball passion, so to speak. So I grew up in a very solitary world as far as basketball. I mean, my brother and I played one on one forever and he really beat me every single time we played until he went to college. And I think that really drove me.

So when he went inside to eat dinner, I would stay out for two hours to try and beat him. My dad was very encouraging and helped me along the way, but I think nowadays kids are so you know, there’s so much exposure to how to become a better player. I think that was missing a little bit when I was growing up.

And you had to kind of figure it out on your own, right. ESPN had just started in 1979. So you started to get a little bit of an idea of what a good player looked like when you’re watching the Big East. And when you’re watching Big 10 basketball, but it was really for me growing up a solitary environment, I would literally ride my bike from outdoor court to outdoor court, to outdoor court.

I can still map it to this day, just trying to find someone to play with. If there was someone there, I would play one on one, if not, I would shoot for about 30 minutes, 40 minutes, hop my bike and go and go to the next playground. So we went to a few summer camps that were local at our local high school, and that was usually run by my dad.

And then I think two things really have happened for me. The first thing is I went to the only on state point guard camp going into my junior year. It was run by a guy named Jeff van Gundy, who was an assistant at Rutgers. And when you’re growing up in a solitary environment, playing hoops, you’re kind of just trying to get it on your own.

You really don’t know what it’s all about. I’ll never forget. I was walking back for lunch with coach and he said you’d be pretty good if you worked hard and I was totally shocked. I was like, I do work hard. And he said, not hard enough. that has always stuck with me. I actually tell that story to some of our players.

And then I saved up my money one year to go to Five Star Basketball Camp and I was exposed to other good players. And I think that kind of helped the process to. You know, figure out how to fine tune your game, like how to get a little bit more athletic, how to get your speed and quickness up.

So yeah, it was a long, long process for me. I was always a very late bloomer as well. You know, transferred high schools after my sophomore year. So I hit the portal in 1989, which is a lot earlier than most and got to play. And at lasal Institute, Joe Martelli in a city school, which I think really exposed me to another realm of player and good players.

So I just think every year I got a little bit more aware of what a good player was. And I think it just drove me to work more and more, but to be honest with you, it was it was my brother, my father, and a lot of it was just time put in by myself without AAU, without a lot of camps. And without a lot of workout guys.

[00:10:24] Mike Klinzing: It’s so interesting to think about the difference between how a kid grows up in the game today versus how you or I might have grown up back in the late eighties, early nineties.

Yeah. It’s just, it’s completely different hearing. You talk and mention five star. We had some of the five star guys come on and that are currently kind of taking care of the brand. And you think back to the time when that was just the, that was the camp, that was the place from both a player and a coach perspective, the number of people that have come through that place.

I mean, the list is it’s unbelievable. It’s like the basketball hall of fame. Yes. And yet you look at it and you say, You tell a kid today, like if you were to go and talk to a top 50 player, talk, talk to any talk to any high school player, say yeah, the best, the very best players in the country. They used to fly into these whatever, whether you were going to Polis or Honesdale wherever, wherever you were.

And you’re playing on converted tennis courts and you’re in the 95 degree degrees and the sun’s beating down on you all day and then you get to stay out for station 13, if you want to be a part of that. And it, I, I think they, they would look at you like you had like four heads because yes, the idea of how kids play today versus that five star environment is just so different.

And I think, and I’m sure you see this as a college coach when you’re out recruiting, just talking and working with your players, that there’s just a different way of development. I don’t know that one is necessarily better or worse than the other. I always come at it from the perspective that I think today’s players are much more skilled when you look at their skills in isolation, they’re way, way better.

Back in the day when you and I played the 11th or 12th player on a high school team probably was a player that didn’t have a whole lot of skill. Maybe it was a six, two football player that just went out there to bang people around or that kind of player doesn’t exist anymore because everyone’s just so much more skilled.

And yet, by the same token, I feel like there’s something that’s been lost in the feel of the game because guys like you, or I grew up playing against people of all different ages, different types of players in different environments. And I think there’s something to be learned from that. So there’s, there’s good and bad to it.

When you think about what your players bring to the table, having come up through the system that we have today, what are some of the strengths that you see that today’s basketball system has given to the players that eventually end up playing college basketball and playing for you?

[00:12:50] Ted Hotaling: Well before I answer that, so when I saved up my money to go to Five Star, I called the Five Star office. I bought the book. I dunno if you remember the five star book. Yes. Yeah. But the drill, the drill book, drill book. Absolutely. So I bought that book. I sent away for a brochure. I got it in the mail. I called the Five Star office and Leigh Klein answers the phone.

And I said, Mr. Klein, my name is Ted Hotaling. And I’m from Niverville New York in 1964. That’s where Five Star started their camp. And he said, oh my goodness, we started the madness in your town. So Five Star actually started in Niverville New York in 1964, if you can believe that. But I had read the book. So I knew that, but which I think is a pretty interesting story.

But regarding strengths, I think the shooting, and I think this has to do with Steph Curry. Right? I think he really has changed the game in a way that’s really, I don’t even think we give him credit for, but I think the level of shooting from kids, I mean, shooting off the dribble off a jab step with range.

I mean, I think that’s just unbelievable now. And there’s so many resources and there’s workout guys. I think dribbling, I mean, all the skills that go along with that. They’re all there with these kids now. Right. And I think kids don’t get bored with the workouts. I think they really like them.

And I think they’re engaging. I think you look at some of these guys who do a really good job of it, but keep it fresh and new all the time. But you know, they come in with good skill. When I was an assistant at Yale, I used to recruit California and another Jeff Van Gundy store. I think Jeff Van Gundy’s one of the best minds of basketball.

I mean, he’s just amazing to listen to, and obviously have met him a few times along the way. And Steve Clifford, my first boss actually worked for him for a long time. So I followed Jeff Van Gundy quite a bit when I was at Yale he did a talk at the Pump camp. So I went from Dino’s camp and then traveled over the Pump camp to recruit.

And I remember Jeff Van Gundy saying in 2001, his advice to kids was play less and drill more and now you look at it. And my advice when I do camps. And I go lecture, I say, Hey, you need to play more and drill less. Yeah. And I do think that is the big part of it. And I think playing teaches you things that drills and skills can’t, right?

Competitive spirit, learn to play with others trying to stay on the floor and playing to your strengths. You just can’t shoot any shot that you want when it’s time to win. You don’t shoot a 25 footer. You get to get fouled. I mean, these are all the lessons that you learn on how to stay on, on the court because you might sit for three or four more games if there’s a lot of people there.

But you know, that would be my recommendation to kids now is to play more five on five, play more one on one. But I do think the skill level’s made the game better. And there are kids obviously who just have naturally a competitive spirit, but understanding how to play, understanding who you are, who you’re playing with.

I think those things are probably need to be improved upon with the next wave, the kids coming through.

[00:15:38] Mike Klinzing: I think it’s probably always been something. If you go back and think about when you and I were playing in high school or playing in college, there was probably always that same discussion amongst coaches, right?

You want your players to have a higher basketball IQ. You want them to have a better feel for the game. And coaches have been trying to figure out how to develop that in players forever. And it’s vacillated back and forth in terms of how you do that. And obviously now we have the small side of games and, and being able to do and have the practices look more like the games are as much like a game as they possibly can, to be able to help kids to get into decision making and just make those reads and do the things that you need to do out on the floor in order to be able to be successful both as, as an individual, and then take it a step further as a team.

And so it’s just interesting how player development and how coaching and what coaching actually means, how it’s morphed and changed and, and over time into these different iterations that we have today. Think it back to you as a player. What do, what do you remember about your. College experience. Just tell us a little bit about as a college basketball player, how you got to college first as a player, and then just what some of your experiences were like while you were there.

[00:16:50] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, I mean, so one of the other things I tell parents and my son is ninth grade and my daughter’s eighth grade and I interact with a lot of parents and some of them know I coach. So they’ll ask me questions and I, I say the same thing. I say your kid is running his own race.

Development is different for every young man and every young girl. Right? And sometimes you grow quickly and sometimes you are more athletic, but everyone’s running their own race. And the idea is not to panic. It’s just, let’s let it develop and go. I was like really underdeveloped, physically. I mean, I just couldn’t gain weight.

I was probably 150 pounds as a senior in high school. When I transferred from a very country school to a city school, I went to little Sal Institute in Troy, New York averaged six points, a game as a high school junior. And if anyone ever thought that I would even play in college, they were probably wrong.

Now I was obsessed and I worked really, really hard at it. In the following year. I became one of the better players in the capital district and had a lot of points and I got the attention of a lot of division three schools. Funny story Manhattan college came to watch us practice. And it’s funny.

Like I thought they would come to see me and they actually, I, now I look back, they came to see Virgil Walls. The big 6’7”  kid went up but I was dumb enough to think, Hey man, I think Manhattan, right?

[00:18:02] Mike Klinzing: They’re here for us, right? Yeah. They’re here for me.

[00:18:03] Ted Hotaling: Absolutely. They were there for us. They were there for me.

So I was like, man, this is my time. But, funny story. So I ended up in college. I went to Doc Sauers, High Five basketball camp. I think that’s where coach SAS first saw me play, but I. Mainly I think because of my physical attributes and athleticism, a division three player, but I had high IQ. I could shoot and I was skilled.

I was a coach’s son. So when I went my college visits, I was all basketball. If you showed me anything else, I was not interested. I really wasn’t like I didn’t go to my prom. I was shooting baskets and people were probably beeping at me as they were going to the event.

But I was on my dirt driveway shooting hoops on my spotlight. So that was all it was about. I went and visited all, but I had an unofficial visit and Doc Sauers, who’s a legendary coach. I mean, he’s one of the best coaches in college basketball in history. He literally sat down with me in the office. And the first thing he did was he brought out a scorebook and showed my dad had scored 20 points against Albany back in 1963.

I believe , which I thought was awesome. What a great recruiting pitch. And then Doc Sauers literally told me and my dad that I was going to play JV as a college freshman. Now what would most kids do today? They would walk out the door and say, You know how many minutes I’m going to get my dad, his credit when we left there and said, you’re going to go there.

And my dad’s whole thing was because you’re going to play. That’s the whole focus at this. You’re going to get to play all the time on the freshman team, develop and become a good college player. It’s the best thing for you and whatever my dad told me I was on board with and I ended up at the university of Albany, unbelievable decision for me, what a great experience I take away.

Unbelievable coaching, unbelievable relationships. Love my experience at the school and the people around that athletic department and professors and everyone. I was from a place where there weren’t a lot of people playing basketball. I thought I hit the goal my every day in the gym. There were people playing hoops and sometimes I would skip class to, to play a couple extra pickup games.

But yeah, just an unbelievable experience and really lifelong friends and learned a lot from coach SAS, coach SAS was such a great teacher of the game. I learned a ton. He actually taught a basketball class still. I it’s funny, like a month ago I was. Just pouring through old notes. And I found my, all my class papers for doc sours, basketball class texted our backup point guard with took a screenshot and said, man, pouring through all my old tests with, with coach Sauers.

But yeah, just, I mean, I look back on it fondly. I hope I can give the same experience to the guys in our program. Right. Cause I think that’s really part of the reason, a big reason why I’ve gotten into college coaching.

[00:20:35] Mike Klinzing: When you were thinking about what you wanted to do as a career. Obviously going to college with the idea that, Hey, it’s all about basketball and I want to be a basketball player.

Does that at some point during your college experience, do you start thinking about, Hey, what am I going to do? Where am I going to go? What’s the plan here? And just how’d you go about figuring out what that was going to look like and when did coaching kind of come on your radar?

[00:21:00] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, so I was determined to be a pro.

I really was. I mean, I did, I worked at it and I was able to play professionally for two years at a really low level. It wasn’t it wasn’t something I could do long term, but I played for. Plymouth Raiders and Plymouth, England, and then the card of Phoenix in in Wales, two great experiences. But I was, I was going to be a teacher and a coach like my dad.

I mean, that’s, that was my life growing up. I had an unbelievable childhood. I loved my dad, loved my mom, thought they had built great lives for themselves and for their children. And I thought that was the way to go. I came home after my second year of playing and I, I literally sat down in, in our living room.

And I remember my mom asking me this very question that you asked me, my mom and dad were in the room and I said, well, I’m going to teach and coach like, like dad. And my mom says, why don’t you try something else? And I said, why went through the whole spiel, Hey, you guys have a great life.

I want to coach. I think I can be a social studies teacher. I have a history degree. There’s not much you can do with a history degree. Let’s be honest, other than probably teach at that point. But my mom encouraged me to do something different. And so I went to graduate school Adelphi university.

I tried like heck to get GA jobs. One of the guys that wrote back to me, a handwritten note was Jay Wright, who was at Hofstra. Unfortunately told me he didn’t have a position. But I, I working with a woman named Linda Gundruk at Adelphi in the sports recreation department. I was miserable and it wasn’t because of her.

It was because I was really missing basketball. Steve Clifford was the coach at Adelphi on his staff was John Dunn. Who’s the head coach at me, Mike Longobardi, who was now on the NBA assistant coach. Who’s been really successful and he just didn’t have enough space. And Fred Grasso Jared Grasso’s dad.

And in the following year, I hopped onto my first college basketball experience with Steve Clifford. So you know, I didn’t fall into it, but it, it kind of found me. And once I got into it, it was like, full speed ahead, man. This is, this is the ultimate. And, and Steve Clifford had a lot to do with that.

Had the ultimate respect for him. Love going to practice every day. Love learning from him. Amazing coach really been an amazing impact on my life and then met really good friends, obviously, who are still new friends this day. So that’s how I get into it, you know ended playing and was looking for something to do with basketball.

And luckily I found some people that love the same things I did

[00:23:10] Mike Klinzing: . All right. Before we move to diving into your coaching career, give me your funniest, craziest European basketball story.

[00:23:18] Ted Hotaling: Oh, my goodness. There’s a lot of ’em. Well, first of all, one time in Carter in Plymouth, I literally, I went for a shot fake, right?

I would yell at myself. I was the coach, but underneath the basket, I go for a shot fake. And I literally land on my head and I’m sitting down on the Parque floor, which is as hard as concrete and Gary Tronick, who is an awesome dude. He was our coach.  I see him looking at me straight in the eye. He was a Jordy.

Now he had a Jordy accent, which is England up near Scotland, kinda a little further up the new castle. And I remember him saying. Mate, where are you? Me and I was, and I was literally like, England. He goes, what’s your name? I’m certain I had that concussion. I was sitting on the bench asking when I was going to go back in and went to the hospital later.

And good enough. I practiced the next day, but and then in Cardiff I did pretty well, so I moved on to another club. They offered more money and about halfway through, they would give me my cash on Friday. One night, it’s half the cash. And I went to the owner of the club and I said Hey, there’s only my half my money here.

And he is like, well, that’s all we can afford right now. and I said, well, that’s not what I signed up for. He said, well, you’re going to have to talk to our sponsor. So I go to see the sponsor who own like bars and restaurants in card of great city, by the way. And he takes out a lot of cash and pays me what he owes me and then continues to tell me though, he’s going to have a hostile takeover of the club with like my support

So I said, listen, I’m not into politics. I’m here to play ball. And he came to practice the following Thursday and tried to take over the club and told everybody in the room after practice, if you want to be in the club, you have to meet me at this place tomorrow night. And I supported the people that actually brought me there.

Didn’t help me financially, but they actually had held onto the club. Didn’t get paid a lot of money throughout the rest of the season, but continued to play. And then I thought, you know what? I probably should probably look to do coaching here pretty soon. So that, that, that essentially ended my career right there.

[00:25:14] Mike Klinzing: Right then and there. Yeah. Cashing a paycheck in European. Basketball is always an adventure. Let’s put it that way.

[00:25:19] Ted Hotaling: You had to check every dollar that’s for sure. Every pound, I should say, when you got that envelope on Fridays after practice.

[00:25:25] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. When you think back to that first experience, Coaching at Adelphi.

And just what that was like for you. What was something that was right from the get go, something that you loved about coaching? Like, man, this, this little piece of it, this part of it is something that I love right now from the moment it’s probably something you still love.

[00:25:47] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, I love being in the gym and I really did love like helping the players Chris Bernard Ryan McCormick, Ryan Law, Richie Edwards you know just a lot of really good kids who were really tough competitive guys.

And then I mean this, like Steve Clifford was amazing. I learned so much in that year and I really loved that part of it, the learning aspect of it, but I learned more in that year and I was just like something like to fire in you and it’s something that you want to do. But and then we ended up having a great year and one game from getting to the elite eight, which at Adelphi at the time, what Steve did, there was pretty amazing.

I think he had five scholarships at the time, like just an amazing coach, but being in the gym being connected to those players and trying to help him any way I could. And honestly, just being around Steve man, I think there’s coaches, coach, right? He’s a coach’s coach, man.

He’s in it for the right reasons. He loves the coaching. He loves the strategy, the tactics, he loves working with players. And you know, that was just an amazing experience. And honestly just gotta fire lit and I burned the boats at that point, to be honest with you.

[00:26:55] Mike Klinzing: So after one season at Adelphi, you get an opportunity at New Haven.  Talk a little bit about how that came to pass.

[00:26:59] Ted Hotaling: Well before that. So Steve left Adelphi to go be an assistant at east Carolina. He, he wanted to get back in division one and you know, I think he had some opportunities to be a division head coach. And I think they looked at the division two resume and weren’t impressed for whatever reason.

I think to some of the school’s detriment but James Jones had gotten the head coaching job at Yale. Steve told me you’re going to volunteer at Yale because you know, even now the third assistant at the Ivy league is not paid. So James was my assistant coach at Albany. Steve helped hooked it up.

I talked to James obviously and I moved to New Haven, Connecticut and. Volunteered and worked in a great staff and, and again, had a great op opportunity to learn from someone who’s really been outstanding in his professional life year. James has really crushed it at Yale. So, and then the following year got hired by Jay Young for $15,000, man.

It’s pretty cool. So didn’t have, didn’t have health insurance, and I was still playing ball at night a couple nights a week, but you know, got to work with Jay young as he started.

[00:27:58] Mike Klinzing: You don’t need health insurance when you’re 25. Who you kidding?

[00:28:01] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, I was 26 at the time, so I don’t even think my parents covered it.

So yeah, it’s funny what you do now. And when you’re to get older, you’re like, oh my God, what was I doing? But I was playing in a men’s league in New Haven and coaching ball and I didn’t have any money. So I was staying in the office till 10 at night. Cause otherwise I was going to spend money.

And yeah. So, and then I remember having this conversation with Jay in the spring, that year at new Haven, I was living on my credit card. I was. You know going to the grocery store, putting stuff in my credit card. And I was living pretty low rent in a really tough section. And I remember telling him, like I have one more year, I have to make money or else I probably can’t do this.

And then two weeks later James called and, and offered me the fulltime job back at Yale, which was which is pretty cool. That was 27, 28 years old. When I got my first check to be a college coach.

[00:28:49] Mike Klinzing: What was unique about working in that Ivy league environment?

[00:28:52] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, really unique people.  So you know, I still, and I think it’s funny you have a different relationship when you’re an assistant than when you’re a head coach.  I have great relationships with all those guys that were at Yale that we coached. They were just awesome people. I organized a run with the dads on like Saturday mornings to play like pickup five on five, four on four, which those guys were awesome.

But high level people the way you coach them is very different, I think, than I’ve coached other places. You have to explain things to them. There’s gotta be a why. They’re very inquisitive. They’re very smart. And I think that really taught me at that point. Like you better really know your stuff.

You better be really organized and detailed and you better have a why and you better be able to explain that why for them to really grasp it and then believe in you. Cause I think. Really ultimately what players want. And then just the Friday, Saturday dynamic playing Penn and Princeton when they were in their heyday.

Fran Dunphy was the man, what a unbelievable coach Bill Car was at Princeton at the time. That was my first real venture into Princeton offense. And I really you know, just was consumed with it. And at that time, Armand Hill was at Columbia and Dave Cher, who was a great coach, was at Dartmouth. They all ran Princeton offense.

So yeah, just a ton of great experiences there. Just at Yale. And then in that league just really well coached league and honestly helped me grow as a coach and develop as a recruiter, I got to recruit nationally.

[00:30:13] Mike Klinzing: And then from there you go to Eastern Kentucky, tell us a little bit about what you did there at Eastern Kentucky and what you, what you learned over the course.

This time that you had as an assistant coach, just some things that you’ve taken with you now as you’ve become a head coach.

[00:30:25] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So you know, I think I worked for three defensive oriented guys. You know, Steve was a very defensive oriented guy and very balanced in his approach, but like really great on the defensive end, Jay Young who’s the head coach at Fairfield now is if people want to learn great defense, he’s an excellent defensive coach.

And really James really before he started was a defensive coach. You know, I got offered the job by Jeff knew about like 10 o’clock on a Monday night, I was sitting in, in my living with my fiance and I told her, I was like, I just got offered a job in Eastern Kentucky with the new head coach who worked for John Bielein at West Virginia.

And I said we have to go take a look. And so we flew down on that Friday and I committed to come work for him. I think, you know that next morning. And really, I, I really wanted to be a better offensive coach. I think I had a good base. I think I learned a lot from the Princeton offense. I really wanted to dive into it.

Jeff was an outstanding offensive coach very detailed, really high level, second level thinker. And then the other thing too, was just really organized, so different region for me which was very unique and great experience. But yeah, learned a lot from Jeff. My time at EKU had great assistants there.

I know you’ve had Jeff and Josh Merkel on the staff. He’s you know, national championship coach. He was on staff there ever solve unbelievable player at Louisville. Great coach at Vince sends he’s. Now the head coach at Lenore Ryan. I think Peter Thomas just got the job at Richmond. I mean, we had Dale Wellman won a national championship in Nebraska Wesleyan.

You know, guys like David Boyden. I mean, we had really good coaches, high school coach. Ben Frick was down in Orlando, went to the state finals this year. I mean, just look at the people that you are around, just a great learning environment. And thought I just became a better offensive coach, to be honest with you.

And dove two feet in. And you know, we run the same stuff at east at new Haven now that we did at east Kentucky, obviously. With different personnel and some different looks, but I think it just helped me become a more balanced coach as far as offense and defense

[00:32:22] Mike Klinzing:  The opportunity at New Haven to take over a program as the head coach, you’ve been at the division one level at Eastern Kentucky and Yale for a number of years at that point.

So now you’re going to switch gears and go to division two. Just tell me a little bit about your thought process when that job comes open and just what the, what, what it looked like, getting the job in terms of the interview and just your conversations that you had with your wife and, and just making the decision that, Hey, this is the right place for me.

Obviously you had been there before for a season. So you had some familiarity, which I’m sure played a role in it, but just talk a little bit about how you went about getting that job and what that process looked like.

[00:33:03] Ted Hotaling: So funny story, they were interested in talking to me about the head coaching job five years prior, before right after I took the EKU assistant job.

And I just politely declined because I had just taken Eastern Kentucky I had committed to moving there and, and helping Jeff, help the program. So there was some familiarity. I tell young coaches this all the time and I can’t impress upon the small people enough. Wherever you are, you’re interviewing for that job.

Right. And when I was at New Haven as an assistant, I didn’t have a lot of money in my pocket, but you know what I dressed up every day, I acted in a professional way every day. I tried to treat people the right way every day. I tried to handle things professionally every day and I worked really, really hard.

And I think that had some impact on me getting hired back in 2010, when the job did open up, honestly, I think it was my job to lose. So they did bring me an interview. You know, was a very familiar interview. I think that helped. I knew the place. I think that helped as well.

I mean, you kind of know the keys to what’s going to win there. How you’re going to operate there. How are you going to work with administration there? And I think that’s the biggest thing is just understanding the place, understanding what the athletic director wanted in a head coach really helped me come back and get the job.

I wanted to be a head coach. I was desperate to be head coach. I was 36 at the time and I just wanted to be a head coach, man. That was my goal. Getting into this. I don’t really care about level. I’ll be honest with you. I never have.  I say that to players as well. Right. You know, I play with a kid named Jason Grayer.

I don’t say that Jason Gray’s a great division three player. I say he’s a great player. Ryan McCormick was division two player of the year. Ryan McCormick was a great player. So I, I just think that there’s this you know, this idea, especially in college athletics where if it’s not division one, it’s not as good.

And I really would bust that myth wide open and say every level where there’s opportunity, it’s great room for growth to learn and develop. And that was for me the most important part. So yeah. And it’s Just been a great experience and you know, I think my personality is such that you know, I want to be a head coach and that was really the whole idea behind it.

And my wife who’s from Connecticut was on board with it and you know, brought our two kids back home. They were born in Kentucky and brought her back little closer to home where they consider grandparents. And you know, I could be a head coach.

[00:35:23] Mike Klinzing: What were the strengths and weaknesses of the program coming in as you looked at it?

[00:35:28] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So you know, I’d say this in recruiting too, right? Like when you’re recruiting kids, you want to know what they’re good at, what they’re bad at, and then you have to accept what they’re not good at and be okay with that and then play to their strengths. So the strengths of the university of New Haven were my knowledge of what the place was about what kind of kid could do well there.

And my familiarity with administration, some of the other coaches and just a comfort level where, Hey, I’m a good fit here. Some of the drawbacks were they hadn’t done well for the previous five years. And you know, they, it was kind of limping into the Northeast 10. They went from the ECC to Northeast 10.

I think my first year was their second year, which is a really good league. It wasn’t funded as much scholarship wise as some of the other ones. And there were some challenges with facilities, and I think this for most people, I include myself in this the job chooses you and you have a choice.

You take on that challenge and you do the best you can with what you have with where you are, or you can wait around and try and find something else. I wasn’t scared of the job. I was very confident that I could do well. And honestly, I kind of liked the fact that it was a tough job at the time. Cause I actually enjoy  that part of it.

And I know some people think differently. They want the Kansas job right away. but for the majority of us the challenges to win at hard jobs. And I was excited to take on that challenge.

[00:36:52] Mike Klinzing: So what did you do during the time when you were an assistant? So earlier in your career, What were you doing to prepare yourself to be a head coach, and then to go along with that, take it one more step.

What advice would you have for somebody who’s a young assistant coach that eventually has in their mind, just like you did that, they want to take over a program. What advice would you have? Somebody who’s in that position? So kind of, what did you do to prepare? And then what advice would you have for somebody who was at that same point in their career?

[00:37:24] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So Steve Clifford and I, we used to sit in the office sometimes and he would talk and I would listen. I mean, I would just soak it up and I know I’m talking about Steve a lot, but even when I talk to Steve on the phone, now I have a notebook and I take notes and I put him in my Evernote and I constantly reflect on ball screen coverage or some of the stuff he does with leadership.

So he’s been really important for my career. And I remember sitting in the office one day and we were talking about philosophy and he said, if you don’t write it down, then you don’t have one. And I really took that to heart. And I immediately began to write down every single thing that I could about basketball.

And at the time in 98, 99, it wasn’t very much, it was just whatever I learned from Steve and whatever I knew from Doc Sauers. I didn’t really have a big network. I was still trying to find my way. I was not a division one player. I was a good division three player.

My knowledge was very limited, but I wrote notes all the time everywhere in, on pads of legal paper, on marble notebooks and on practice plans. And I just began to formulate my plan and it was very primitive to start. And then I was recruiting at Yale. I got Bill Walsh’s book “finding the winning edge”, which I recommend for anyone.

I know it’s really expensive. But it’s honestly, I think the greatest coaching book ever written there’s a lot of them, but that that’s the best one. I read that book on a recruiting trip to California, cover to cover. I skipped some of the offensive lineman chapters and some of the free agency chapters.

But I remember thinking to myself, man, this guy. So organized and so detailed that I am so far away that I need to be better. So I, I mean, my book now is about 325 pages. And what I put in that book was everything I learned from every coach on a day to day basis, it was the most mundane things of how would I practice after we won?

How would I practice after we lost? What would our first meeting look like? What would our first summer school meeting look like? You know, every single thing you can think of, what would our pre-game itinerary look like? As far as before we get to the floor you know, what would a travel itinerary look like?

What does our first practice look like? These are the, I mean, every single thing you can think of, I just really just constantly just was writing things down and putting it on paper. And I think the more you write things down, the more it becomes who you are, the more you can talk about it, the more you can teach it.

And the more you can be it. So that, that would be my first advice is the skill of writing things down is incredible. I’d also say read as much as you possibly can, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be about basketball. It can be Pete Drucker on how to run an organization. If you look at Bill Walsh’s career, He was probably more, he was impacted by Paul Brown who’s the father of modern football, but he is also a huge Pete Drucker reader and a Warren Buffett reader. Right. He tied all these things into his coaching philosophy. I would say that everything you do can be tied into a coaching philosophy, and I think you should use that to your advantage. And there’s so many resources out there to help you.

And don’t just limit yourself to basketball coaches. There’s great football coaches, great baseball coaches, and you might spur an idea to lead you to something else. And then when you get your job, you better be ready. It’s it’s a lot. Right. And you don’t have time to, to write down your first workout.

You probably need it in your hands. Cause you need to go recruit. Right. You don’t have time to develop a philosophy how to deal with your AD because you’re going to have to go recruit. I mean I mean, you just have to have things ready. Right. And if you’re going to sit down and think about it, when you get the job, in my opinion, it’s too late, unless you have the Kansas job.

Right. And I don’t mean to belittle the Kansas job, but you know, some jobs you’re going to be able to get high talent level and overcome some of those things. But you know, if you want to be absolutely ready, my advice would be to read and write things down and put it in a way where you can understand it.

And you know, you can have a real, tangible, written document that can serve as your philosophy and you can refer to all the time.

[00:41:15] Mike Klinzing: So obviously going through that process of putting your philosophy on paper and trying to think through scenarios, situations, things that you’re going to have to deal with as a head coach, You come into that position about as prepared probably as you possibly could be without ever having been a head coach before, but I’m sure that there was probably one or two things that maybe you didn’t think about, or maybe that were something that surprised you about being a head coach.

So when you think back to that first, whenever 60 days on the job or that first season or two, is there anything that fits that description that was surprising? Or maybe just, you didn’t realize, Hey, the head coach has to do this or that, or more of this and that than I thought.

[00:42:05] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. You don’t know what you don’t know either.

Right. And you’re trying to observe, you’re trying to ask questions. The other thing I would add for, for young coaches is to have a group of five to six people that you can count on and call and lean on, right? Your own board of trustees, so to speak. And I had developed that along the way, where if I did encounter situations at New Haven, that I wasn’t prepared for.

You know, I could pick up the phone and they would listen, give advice. And I could call Mike Longgabardi and Jay Young and John Dunn and Steve and people like, and James and people like that to help. I think the biggest thing is you don’t know what support is until you’re actually a head coach.

Right. And I think that’s the biggest thing is, is really aligning yourself with your athletic director and aligning yourself with the mission of the university. And I think that’s the one thing as an assistant that you don’t often get to experience. You’re not in those meetings.

You’re not privy to those conversations. I would probably recommend to assistant coaches to sit down with your head coach sometimes to like, Hey, when you sit down with the AD, what do you talk about, Hey, what are some of the challenges that you deal with when you’re talking with your AD? Right.

The other part is you know, managing a staff and I’ve been treated really, really well. And I tried to treat my staff really well. But you know, we’re going to get young people at the division two level. You’re not going to get seasoned veterans because of the pay grade. And I think spending more time with your assistant coaches to get them on the same page.

I’ve gotten instantly better at that as we’ve gotten gone along. I was lucky to hire a guy named Toby Carberry. I’m going to give another good advice to young coaches. So I interviewed a lot of people first. So when I first got the job, I interviewed like 20 people. Cause I wanted to practice interviewing and I brought at least 10 to 12, the campus, and I thought I would become a better interviewer.

And be better at the job if I could get those reps in. Cause I hadn’t had those reps and that’s the other thing I think I wasn’t totally prepared for. I brought Toby Carberry and he was at another school and they had won two games. And back to back years, I tried to get Toby Carberry to say anything negative about the head coach that he worked for were about the place.

And man, that guy didn’t say one negative thing. And I hired him. I mean, that’s the guy I hired and I would say to young assistant coaches, like when you do interview for jobs, it doesn’t benefit you at all to speak negatively about your boss, about your school, about your situation, about anything that went on in your last stop, like take the high road.

People are aware of where you’re coming from. They want people who are positive and they want people to not be a blame complain, defend guy. Right. And I think we’re always trying to avoid those people in the hiring process. So I would say those two things is just getting acclimated to the dialogue you have with your ad and getting on the same page and being in alignment.

And then also the hiring process, because you don’t really go through it very often as an assistant in trying to get the right people on staff that you can align with and hit the ground running.

[00:44:58] Mike Klinzing: That’s a great point about not bringing up negative things from past stops in an interview. I think it’s something that when you stop and think about it, it makes sense, but I’m not sure that going into it, especially young coaches understand how that can make you come off in an interview.

So I think it’s really a good piece of advice and it’s something that you could take. In your own life. I know I’m always talking with my kids and looking for opportunities to point out to them about optimism and kindness and, and looking, looking on the bright side of things. I think that’s a really good example of that, that, yeah.

Look, if you’re going to bring somebody in on your staff, you don’t want somebody look, if they’re complaining and grumbling about where they were in the past, , there’s a pretty good chance that they’re probably going to spend at least a bit, a little bit of their time grumbling and complaining about where they are.

And we all know the job’s hard enough as it is that. If you have somebody who’s going to be grumbling about how difficult it is or this or that, then not a whole lot’s going to get done. And you gotta look for people who want to find solutions as opposed to people who are looking for problems. I think that’s a great piece of advice that you just shared.

[00:46:04] Ted Hotaling:

Yeah. You know, it’s we call it our program BCD, right? No BCD no blame complain. Defend. I use it with my kids, you know you know, it doesn’t really solve any issues. Right. And you always know the people that you’re trying to avoid because those are the people that always B CD, right. They’re always blaming somebody else.

They’re always complaining about their circumstances or always trying to defend their own actions or their own production. Right. If it’s, if it’s not going well. So you’re trying to avoid those people on your staff. You’re trying to avoid those players in your program. And you’re trying to avoid doing that in your own life as well.

Right. To be a good example for the people around you. Absolutely.

[00:46:39] Mike Klinzing: Now you’ve talked a couple times about. Recruiting. And now we’re talking about it in the confines of this particular conversation and the type of players that you’re looking to bring in. So tell us a little bit about the recruiting process.

How do you come up with your initial list of recruits? Where does that list come from? I’m assuming it’s through contacts that you have with AAU high school coaches, but just give us, how do you get that initial list? And then once you have that initial list, what’s the process that you go through to par it down.

And how do you zero in on the guys that you really want to bring on campus and that you hope can become a part of your program?

[00:47:15] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So, I mean, you generate names a lot of different ways and  I think when you’re on a smaller staff, you. I have to really find a way to like pinpoint the guys that you really want.

And I think what we do at New Haven is we don’t really mass recruit. We try and find guys that we really like, we zero in on those guys, because I think we’re pretty aware of the fit and their level and evaluate ’em in the right way, in a realistic way and not you know, I’m not going to recruit a five star prospect, right?

So I think the best way to recruit is to watch. And when you go recruiting. Don’t talk the whole time, actually watch the games and evaluate, and I think you have to watch prospect more than once. I think with film now, it gives you an unbelievable opportunity to watch more film before you go see people live in the summer or during the year.

You know, we generate names from recruiting lists. And from guys that we trust you know, when you’re in this industry long enough, you get friends, right? It’s good to have connections because young assistants who I try and befriend a lot try and help them a lot. You know, a lot of times they’ll call me with a kid that’s maybe not good enough for them, but might be good for us, or it doesn’t fit them in as good fit for us.

And then the process really is you know, you have to have a system. I am a systems person. I think you have to have systems to help you from making mistakes. And I tell the story all the time. I went to a coaching retreat and Tim Kight who’s really, really, really good with leadership.

I was in the front row and. He says to me in front of all these coaches, mostly football coaches, he says, coach, do you have a offensive system? And I said, yes, do you have a defensive system? And I said, yes, do you have a leadership system? And I said, no. And I kind of took that as, you know what I need to systematize everything that we do.

So when we do get into assistants, we can be on the same page. And this is what a new Haven basketball player looks like. So in 2016, in 2015, 16, we had a really bad year. And really it was because I made poor choices in recruiting. It was a great year for me. You know, our job at New Haven, I always thought was to minimize our down cycles, kinda like the Oakland, a right, like we’re not the New York Yankees.

We don’t have the most resources, the best facilities. So I took the Oakland a model and said we’re going to minimize our down cycles. And 15 wins is going to be a bad year at New Haven and we’re going to eventually get to NCAA term appearances. And we had eight wins in that year and I had a bunch of suspensions and I just didn’t do a good job recruiting.

I revamped our entire recruiting philosophy. Number one, you have to be academic in order to come to school here, you have to pour over their transcripts. You have to look at what they’re good at, what they’re bad at. We like kids who have high GPA, maybe little test scores and not vice versa. Right? Image means they’re not trying as hard.

We like kids who have shown improvement over 4 years. Right. We like kids that just care about the academic side of it. And we like when their parents come to campus and they also talk about the academic side of it, want kids to a good character. Obviously that’s going to be an exhaustive process to really narrow in on the kid, talk to their guidance, counselor, talk to other people that know ’em and that’s not a perfect science, but you’re trying to do the best you can.

And then we want people that absolutely love and live basketball, because I think that’s the main component of it, because you’re going to have bad days in college. Right. And how much enthusiasm do you have to come back after two bad days or not playing at all? Is that really part of who you are or do you identify as a basketball player?

And if you don’t do well in the other two things, I can take those. I can take basketball away and it hurts. And then we systematize just what we look for in players. And we look for stars, spacial awareness some of the things there are steal percentage. If you look at the NBA now steal percentage is a great indicator of IQ, right?

It’s instincts anticipation. And I know NBA guys really look at that at the college level. You know, some things play zone, so it’s not obviously as easy. So if you’re evaluating Syracuse, it might not be as easy to evaluate that, but we’re just trying to evaluate spatial awareness. And sometimes when you see it like kids know where the ball should go, like tough kids, mainly for us, that’s just being resilient, being coachable, athletic enough, you don’t have to be super freaked, right?

You can just be athletic enough to compete at the level you’re at. We have to have range shooting unless you’re a five man. And I would think that we do love guys who are unselfish. So that’s kind of how we grade our guys and how we use our system and it’s not fail safe. But I think really it helps us avoid mistakes.

I tell my assistant all the time, there’s three rules, just like Warren buffet, right? There’s three rules in investing. Don’t lose money, don’t lose money, don’t lose money. You’re just trying to minimize your mistakes that you make with people. And the more information you have the better, and if you have a good kid that needs to develop, we can deal with that.

But sometimes like taking the wrong people can really, really affect your program. And we’ve learned the hard way. And I think we’ve done a better job of that. Over the last few years,

[00:51:53] Mike Klinzing: AAU versus high school, in terms of your evaluation process, do you prefer one or the other? I know, obviously you’re going to use both and see both, but do you look for different things when you’re watching a kid in the different environments and maybe how do you balance out how much.

Is it 60%, their high school career, 40%, their AAU career. I don’t know if you can put a percentage on it, but just talk about the difference between what you’re looking for or what you watch when you’re watching an AAU game versus a high school game.

[00:52:18] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So I think our process in division two probably start starts a little later than division one.

So we’re going to find most of our guys in the summer, right. It’s going to be one camp season was really at its height with the hoop group and with AAU season. So we’re going to find guys in AAU and I love AAU. I think it’s awesome. I know it gets a bad name for maybe some bad actors or whatever it might be.

But I actually think there’s a lot of people doing a lot of good work at that level and respect the fact that there’s a lot of people doing a lot of great things and then helping kids get exposure to college coaches. So you know, you also can find out when you, when you show up on Sunday morning at 8:00 AM, who really loves to play, right?

I mean, those are things that you don’t often see with your high school team. You find out pretty quickly who can compete against other athletes or who can fit in high school is the next level for us, where you go now, watch him with their high school team. And more often than not that kid’s going to be the best player on his high school team.

And how does he approach his teammates? Like what kind of role does he have as the star? Whether maybe he was a role player in AAU. So, I mean, you’re trying to take it all into you, and you’re trying to do the best thing. Best way you can is just to, Hey, who is this player? And how’s he going to fit with us.

But I think both are very important, but for us, it really does start with AAU, to be honest with you. And then once you get an idea of is that kid a recruitable player, you start to delve into the high school stuff.

[00:53:37] Mike Klinzing: Once you get a kid on campus and you’re ready to start putting them into your team.

And you’re talking about practice, you’re talking about the design of practice. Let’s dive into a little bit of what you do when you are putting together. A practice plan. Do you have sort of a set formula that you go by? Do you look at the previous day’s practices? How do you go about designing a practice so that you can get the maximum amount of benefit in the timeframe that you have in order to get the most out of your players?

[00:54:12] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So we have a luxury of individuals. I mean, our individuals start it’s day one every year. I mean we are passing, catching, footwork.  I think the most important part in an offensive system is how you catch the ball, how you pass the ball, and then your pivots, to be honest with you, I think controlling the ball and controlling turnovers is huge and we’ll pass back and forth for eight minutes for the first two weeks, at least every individual.

And then we’re just trying to get a baseline for where guys are at a lot of stationary shooting, a lot of dribbling drills. And I think the job of a coach is to notice. Right. And I think early in most people’s 10 years of mind included, you want to talk a lot and you want to coach a lot, and I’ve talked a lot less as I’ve gotten older and, and have gotten more, more experience being head coach, you’re just trying to notice.

And then when we build our practices, we’re building our base and our first two practice will look identical and we’re not going to change it from October 15th to October 15th, after those first two practices. And we’ll get ’em on film and I will watch practice film throughout the day, every day.

Then we’re going to really go by what we see on film. The way I watch the film is  I cut my legal pad in half. On the left is offense on the right as defense red ink is personnel. So if I want to help Eric Anderson in the post that can write in red in EA, Hey, let’s work on some left block and this is what he’s doing wrong, like higher release on his hook.

So you’re trying to make him a better player. Writer’s trying to make the team better as well. And then alls I do is I pull the ideas out when I see on film. And put it into the practice plan. If I pull it off the legal pad, I highlight it in yellow to know that it, I put it in practice. So there’ll be some things that I didn’t put in practice that day.

And I might have to go look at that again the next day, but really what we’re trying to do is become experts on our players and maximize their strengths. And we’re trying to become experts on our team, meaning who are we going to play? What are the playing groups going to be? And what can we be good at? So, and I think that’s just an ongoing process in the preseason.

So and it’s different for every team now, we’re pretty set in how we’re going to play. We’re going to play man to man and we’re going to run two guard. But you know what we do out of two guard and how we highlight and how we highlight those players is probably going to come  from practice film the majority of the time.

[00:56:29] Mike Klinzing: Just give us an idea of how much time you spend watching the practice film and breaking it down. Because I know that various coaches have different philosophies on how much they watch of their own team versus how much they watch of opponents. Once you get into your season and your schedule. But I know that practice film’s important to you.

So just talk about sort of its role in your preparation and how you get your team to the point where you want them to be. So that they’re prepared game in and game out to be at their best.

[00:56:57] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. So, I mean, I watch practice film all day. I think that’s my main job during the season is to make our team better.

Right. And I think that’s the best way to do it. I think watching practice film also allows you to see patterns and allows you to kind of connect dots so you can become an expert on your team. And if you can’t see things, my advice to most coaches be, well, just go watch it again. If you can’t see things, go watch, just keep watching it until you can figure things out.

So yeah, it’s the first thing I do is as I watch the first I clip every possession of practice and that’s the first viewing. And then I’ll go back and I’ll start labeling some of the things that I like, the primary things I’m looking for particularly early in the season is I’m always going to show every turnover that we have in live action.

I’m always going to show ball screen coverage positives and negatives. We’re going to show some guys individual film, Hey, you’re not running hard enough. This is what it looks like. And then we’re going to show transition defense, right? I mean, there’s things that I think we all hold dear to our heart.

And that’s what we’re going to watch majority of time. Once I once I label those clips, I then go pull clips out that I want to show. And then I group them into how I want to show them. 19 clips or less, only for the team. And Gordon Chisea was the great assistant coach for the Utah jazz.

Who’s really, he’d be great guest on your show by the way, unbelievable stories and just a fountain of knowledge. But I asked him one time, how many clips they watched with the Utah Jazz? Cuz at one point early in my tenure, I was watching 25, 35. I mean I was, I was wearing dudes out and there was long film sessions and we were, and we were good teams.

So I thought it was working. But he said 19 or less and I took that to heart. Cause I do think kids attention spans less. I don’t want to wear ’em out mentally by the end of the year where they just don’t have anything left mentally to give right. Want ’em to be sharp and then to be honest with you, I rehearse what I’m going to say with those clips.

I mean, I take it to that extent where. Before I bring it to the team, I’m going to take notes. I’m going to write one through 19 on my pad. I’m going to write exactly what the clip is, what I want to teach them and what I want them to learn from it. So, I mean, I do go to that extent. And I think it’s pretty important because I do think the one thing that your kids want to see is that you’re organized in your detail and that you’re an expert on your subject matter.

And the only way to do that is to show them that every single day. And I think that’s my way of showing them that I care and my way of showing them like, Hey, I am working as hard as I can to help you become better. And I know exactly what we want to do, what it’s going to look like. And I’m going to show you on film exactly how it looks or how it should look.

[00:59:33] Mike Klinzing: That’s a great point. And that’s a great piece of advice for any coach, but specifically young coaches is if you’re going to come out and you’re going to demonstrate a drill, or you’re going to share something on film, or you’re going to put together a play that you want your players to run.

You better make sure that you know exactly what you’re talking about and exactly what you’re saying. I know that I’ve been in a position where as a high school coach, as an assistant, that our head coach put something in, we got a zone offense and maybe the head coach has to step out for 10 minutes. And man, if I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to be doing and showing, and we’re supposed to be going over zone offense while coach steps out for, to take a phone call or talk to an athletic director or whatever, your credibility can go really, really fast with your players.

And so I think that that’s a great, great point that you make. I think it’s one that sometimes we overlook, because everybody says, ah you work hard and you gotta know what you’re doing. Yeah. Okay. That’s great. But when you think about the amount of knowledge that goes into knowing everything that just as an example, your head coach knows sometimes as an assistant, you kind of take it for granted.

Well, that’s really not my area of expertise. Somebody else could know that. Well, no, there may be a time when a player has a question for you or maybe there’s a time where you do have to run the drill or whatever it might be. And if you don’t have the knowledge to be able to do that, it definitely can quickly cut into your credibility.

Yeah. Going back, going back, going back to the film piece of it, when you’re showing those 19 clips or less to your team, do you think about the balance between showing them things that they’ve done wrong, that you want them to correct? And showing them things that they’ve done right. That you want them to continue to do.

Does it just kind of vary based on the film of that given day? Or do you try to have a particular balance day in and day out?

[01:01:17] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, it, I mean, it’s very intentional was what I would say. And you know, I think there’s an ebb and flow to your season, right? Like Hey, the first 10 days of pre-season it’s.

They have clips and let them know, Hey, we’re not even remotely close to where we’re at, right. As you get towards the season might be more positive. I think, I think you need to be very intentional to film and I hope our players aren’t listening right now. I mean, I’ll go so far as to establish who’s going to play in that film session.

Right? So if I want to, if I want to say, Hey, Johnny’s going to play into our staff. I’m going to show five positive clips and say, Hey, this is why Johnny’s going to play. Look at him, dive on the floor. Look what Johnny did here. Steve Clifford was amazing at allowing the team to see what he sees, right.

Whether it was, and he was more on the floor at that time, because it was less l capabilities with video and computers. But really I’m trying to tell our team exactly why certain guys are going to play. I’m also going to use clips for guys who think they should, and probably point out some things why they’re not doing and in a public way and not to demean them, but just to kind of send a message of, Hey, this is not good enough.

If you’re not playing I’m showing you the reasons why and it’s subtle, but you have to be very intentional with film. And I think that it can’t be messy. It can’t just be thrown together. You have to spend a lot of time to do this, and I think whatever you’re trying to get out of it.

And there’s a lot of things you can want to get out of it. It’s always contextual. But there’s always a purpose to it, right? So what you’re saying is positive clips. So if, if one of my players is struggling, I’m going to show him making a. Right. Hey, look at Devon Thomas here, man. Look at that three Devon tray, shoot it every time you touch it, your light is so green.

It’s blue man. Like we want you shooting all the time. You’re a great shooter, right? He might need that, that particular day. We might have an RQ shoot too much. And I might say, Hey, who thinks this is a good shot? All right. You might be the only one in the program that thinks it’s a good shot. Tell us why’s not a good shot.

I also think with film, you want them to answer questions. So instead of me telling them everything and kind of like being the voiceover of a documentary, you have to ask them what they see. I think that’s how learning really helps them. And it also keeps them awake a little bit too.

Right. So they know you’re going to ask them questions. Second thing with film never be in front, always be behind them and have the group in front of you. Just little small things. Right. So you can see who’s watching. Who’s like, you’re just always evaluating everything that’s going on. Film is an unbelievable tool for coaches to get their message across.

And then also to see, right, to see certain to kind of observe and, and notice things that you might be able to see whether it’s in practice,

[01:03:50] Mike Klinzing: When you’re talking about your players and you’re showing them the different clips and you’re using some clips to motivate guys that, Hey, here’s what you’re doing.

And we need you to do better than that. And then you’re showing other guys like, Hey, look at this, this guy, this is why this guy plays. And I think one of the things that coaches sometimes struggle with is that ability to inspire every guy on the roster to give their best. Right. You want your best player to play as hard as they can. And you want your 15th guy to be playing as hard as they possibly can. And you want them to be competing all the time with each other and pushing one another. And yet at the same time, you want to develop that team cohesion you want. ’em when the game starts, you want ’em all to be pulling for one another.

So how do you balance that desire for internal competition, which sometimes can breed some friction with that team cohesion that you need on game night to make sure that everybody’s rolling the boat in the same direction?

[01:04:52] Ted Hotaling: Yeah, so I think it all starts with recruiting and getting the right people in your program.

So expectations are premeditated resentments. All right. If I set up a wrong expect, if I set up an expectation that you’re going to play 40 minutes and you get to college and you don’t, you’re going to resent me, our relationship is going to be soured and it might get to a point of no return. If I think you’re a good student, you try hard, you have high character and you live basketball and you’re not.

My expectations probably won’t be met and there’s going to be some friction. So I always think it starts with establishing the right expectations for your program and the recruiting process. Okay. And then getting those people in your program that understand exactly what you value and understand what the behaviors that you have tied to those values.

One of those is competitiveness, right? One of ’em is humility. I mean, we have a lot of ’em right. And we attach behaviors to all these things. Great book by Tim Galloway, “the inter game of tennis”. And I think we talk about this with our program a lot, and he has a chapter on competition. And in his mind, Tim g would say he wants his opponents to play at their absolute best because competition is a chance to test yourself, to see how far you can achieve.

Right. And how great you can be. We tell that to our players as well. You want to have this friendly competition, right? It can’t be the dark side of competition. It’s gotta be the light side of competition where everyone’s trying to make everyone else better. You’re being a leader in that regard and really what you want is everyone to be at their best so that you can see how great you can be.

And I know it’s hard with young people, but again, it does start in the recruiting process and it starts with how you talk about things each and every single day. Cause that is what it is. That’s messaging. Right. And then rewarding the behaviors. We had a clip last year where our backup, we had a seven foot one center.

He’s amazing defensive player of the year led the country in blocks. It’s his first year, our school, he’s a transfer in our incumbent center on film with coaching him. That was one of our clips the next day. And what we talked about was, Hey, look at this. This is leadership. This is about competition.

Tony Lopez is teaching and coaching Major Majak even though they’re competing for the same minutes, how many other adults could do that in this room? Why aren’t you doing in this room? I mean, you gotta find these winning moments, right? And the winning moments when you’re watching film, I mean, find funny moments on film.

And I know I keep going back to watching practice film, but every once in a while, like when a guy falls, that will be the last clip, right? Where if a guy gets dunked on, or if someone’s dancing after a three, we show those things. Like, you’re just trying to show the things that you want to celebrate. You know, the winning moments that you can find.

On any day of your practice, but that is what we’re trying to get. It’s not always perfect, but you know, there is an expectation that guys are competitive each and every day, regardless of the outcome for them, right. Whether it’s playing time, making shots, missing shots, but again, it goes back to who you bring in your program and what you talk about on a day to day basis.

And then what behaviors you reward or what you show on film. So I think, I mean, it’s all encompassing, but it’s a hard thing to balance, but you know, not, everyone’s going to be happy and not everyone’s going to get what they want, but you’re trying to build a championship program. And obviously it’s always gotta be about the team first, which is hard for young people, hard for adults sometimes as well.

[01:08:03] Mike Klinzing: I is.  And I think it’s something that you have to, as you said, you have to constantly preach. And I love the idea of what you talked about when you have to find those behaviors. Right? So you can talk all you want about, Hey, we want this, we want that. But when those things happen, if you or your coaching staff, isn’t recognizing them.

Yes. Eventually those things just kind of Peter out and go away because the kid says, yeah, they’re talking about it, but they don’t really ever recognize it. They’re not seeing the things that, right. They’re, they’re, they’re saying these things, but they’re not really seeing here I am, I’m doing this. And I’m, I’m guy 14 on the roster.

And every day I’m bringing enthusiasm and I’m diving on the floor and yeah, maybe I’m not a starter. Maybe I’m not a guy that’s impacting, winning and losing on game day, but all throughout the week and just my presence, I’m doing all the things that I’m being asked to do. And when those things aren’t recognized, it’s really, really easy to have that kid just.

Kind of get lost and yeah, not, not feel like they’re not feel like they’re a part of it. And I think coaches have to be really intentional. And I know that I’m sure you’ve been a part of, or heard of, or talked to other coaches. Who’ve had situations where you have a pretty good team, but the back end of the bench ends up going south.

And then you have guys grumbling and doing things. And before you know it, you’re spending a lot of time as a coach trying to problem solve players 12, 13, 14 on your roster, then really honestly, don’t have anything to do with. What’s going on out on the floor and you end up spending such an order amount of time with those players.

That’s a lesson that I learned really early in my coaching career is you’ve gotta figure out how do you keep those guys engaged and feeling like a part of it? Cause if you don’t, it’s very easy for that to turn bad very quickly.

[01:09:46] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. And I think you can use film with that, right? That’s how you highlight their impact.

Coaching used to be there’s 15 guys on the team. They all had to adapt to one personality, which was dead coach. I mean, that’s how it was when I grew up. Right. That’s the top down the hierarchical leadership model, I think it’s so different now. And I’m not saying it’s, it’s, it’s a lateral leadership dynamic because we’re still the adults in the room, right.

With the high school with college. But now it’s one coach has to adapt to 14 guys or 15 guys and you have to try your, you have to be intentional trying to give every guy a little bit what he wants and they all want something different. You know, one of the things I think that you need to do in your offices talk about every guy and honestly every day, Hey, where is Jason at?

You know, What’s Mike doing? Hey, why don’t you get with Mike after and shoot with him? I think one of the most powerful things a head coach can do is just go rebound for your 15th guy after practice. It’s a small gesture. But I, I I’ve, I’ve often thought that one of the most powerful things I can do as a head coach is to stay around after and grab the guys that don’t play a lot and rebound for ’em.

And you might not even have to say anything to ’em, but man, that is such a meaningful thing for those kids. And it does. And you’ll see after you’re done how much they appreciate it. It’s just you’ll feel it. You gotta give them something, right. Because they’re not getting what they want. All right.

And not everybody can. And we discuss that in our program, but you have to be really intentional and you have to be really thoughtful about everyone in your program. And again, you’re not going to align yourself with every single human being. There’s going to be some kids that don’t like the way you operate.

You’re going to not like the way some kids operate, but you really have to be great with your staff and be really intentional about where some of these guys are throughout the season and find little ways whether it’s film or rebounding, just to let ’em know that they matter. Right. And I think that’s I think it helps your whole program to be honest with you.

And kids stick around a little bit longer afterwards, too, right. Instead of all just leaving when the bell rings.

[01:11:40] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. When you look at the success that you’ve been able to have at New Haven, if you could point to one or two things that you think are indispensable to the success you’ve had, what would those things be?

[01:11:51] Ted Hotaling: I mean hard work is one. I know it’s simple. But it is right. It’s an obsession, right? You and I think it’s a constant learning where you’re trying to make your program better every day. Right. It’s why you’re reading books. It’s why you’re watching film. It’s why you’re, you know calling your guys in the summer.

And I think when we’ve been really good and we’ve had some success, like I think we’ve been really intentional about recruiting and not really looking at talent just because of the talented players, more to it than talent. But yeah, I think we’ve created a learning environment where people can grow and develop.

And I think we’ve created some measure of psychological safety, right? Where kids can also beat themselves and being in an arena where it’s where it’s safe, to be honest with you.

[01:12:32] Mike Klinzing: Final question two parts, number one, your biggest challenge as you look for over the next year or two. And then the second part, your biggest joy.

When you get up in the morning, you think about what you get to do. As the head coach at new Haven, what brings you the most joy?

[01:12:48] Ted Hotaling: Yeah. Biggest challenge every day is what you give your attention to. And I know that’s for me, right. Being very intentional about how to improve not only yourself, but the people around you, your program your family.

So just being very intentional about what I give my attention to and trying to edit my life in a way that eliminates some of the stuff that isn’t important. And then the biggest joy is man. I get to coach, I get to coach hoops. You know, I get Dwayne Brook. Was a football coach at Yale’s. Now at Dartmouth used to tell me he wakes up giggling every morning and I use that same line.

And I wake up giggling every morning because I have great purpose in my life. I get to coach college basketball. I get to help young people in this great game, be a little bit better at what they do, and hopefully help them run that is along the way, get to connect with other college coaches on a daily basis who have become close friends and talk hoops.

And you know, we had a coaching clinic on Tuesday. We had about 30 guys come in and just rap rap about basketball and leadership and, and team building and stuff like that. So those are the things that gimme the greatest joy in able to do that every day, which is which is pretty incredible.

[01:13:51] Mike Klinzing: Before we wrap up Ted, I want to give you a chance to share how people can reach out to you. Find out more about you, your programs, whether you want to share website, social media email, just so how people can again, reach out to you and connect.

[01:14:03] Ted Hotaling: Sure. My email is thotaling@newhaven.edu. You can find me on Twitter sporadically, not so often, but @tedhotaling I also have a newsletter, I guess it’s called a newsletter, but  I shoot an email out every Friday, usually a lot of coaching material, leadership material some podcasts thrown in there.

So if you want to get on my email blast, I’ve done it for about six years now, if you want to get on that, just send me an email. We’ll put you on the list, but yeah email me and call me if you have any questions about our program. We’d we’d love to talk.

[01:14:37] Mike Klinzing: Ted’s email newsletter is awesome.

So if you are out there and you’re listening and you get a chance to subscribe to it, I would highly recommend it since Ted and I got connected. I’ve been fortunate enough to receive the newsletter and there’s just a ton of great stuff in there for coaches. And again, we talked about it kind of off podcast, but it’s really  well done.

And I know you’re proud of it. And as you talked about when we talked kind of off air, it, it forces you to kind of keep reading and keep up to date and when you’re finding it and putting that thing together, and it’s really well done. So anybody in our audience who wants to subscribe to that, please make sure that you do. Also want to give a quick shout out to Josh Merkel, who we mentioned earlier in the podcast, but Josh was nice enough to connect Ted and I and make this podcast possible. So again, thank you Josh, for, for the connection here, really appreciate it. And that’s really what the podcast has been all about is, is building relationships and making connections.

And so we’re appreciative of any of our guests that share their contact information with us. So shout out to Josh and thank you. And then Ted, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule tonight, to jump on with us and record really appreciate. I thought it’s been just a tremendous conversation with a lot of information out there for coaches at all levels that you can put to use in your career and make yourself a better coach.

So Ted, thank you and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.