Terry Awls

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

Email – coachtjawls@gmail.com

Twitter – @tjawls

Terry Awls joined the Lourdes University men’s basketball staff as the junior varsity head coach in the fall of 2020.

Awls has also served as the state director in Ohio for US Amateur Basketball, one of the largest travel/AAU associations in the country.  He coached the Ohio Celtics 17U team to the US Amateur Basketball Division II national championship in 2019 after leading the 16U team the previous season.

The head coach at Timberstone Junior High from 2010 through 2016, Awls guided his teams to the Northern Lakes League championships in 2015 and 2016.  Prior to Timberstone, he spent seven years at Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School.  He had three junior high teams win Toledo Area Athletic Conference titles and the varsity girls tallied a regional championship and a district title during his time with the program.

Awls has also presented at numerous coaching clinics throughout the Great Lakes region.  He is a USA Gold certified coach and a member of the NABC. 

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Listen and learn from this episode with Ken Rector, Girls’ Basketball Varsity Head Coach at Barberton High School in the state of Ohio.

What We Discuss with Terry Awls

  • Getting cut from the basketball team in Jr. High and becoming a wrestler
  • Falling in love with the strategic part of the game
  • Being a volunteer coach for youth teams early in his career and realizing the impact he could have
  • “If you can make an impact on a kid’s life beyond basketball, I think that is success right there.”
  • “Basketball teaches life lessons. It teaches you disappointment. It teaches you humility.”
  • Helping kids get a college-like experience at the AAU level in high school
  • How he attracted players for his AAU Program
  • AAU coaches helping their players through the recruiting process
  • The importance of honest relationships with players, parent, and coaches
  • What level you think a kid can play at should always be communicated
  • Helping kids build an online portfolio to share with college coaches
  • ” Are we just going to use them just for basketball or do we actually care about the kid as a person?”
  • “My job is to pay those kids back in time, talent, and treasure me to get them to the next level.”
  • What parents should look for in a good AAU program
  • “Everything Speaks” – College coaches are watching all the time
  • Working with a player’s high school coach to help the player
  • His relationship with Dennis Hopson
  • Getting his opportunity to coach college basketball under Dennis Hopson At Lourdes University
  • His role as the JV coach at Lourdes University
  • His future goals in coaching at the college level and his dream of becoming an NBA scout
  • Challenging himself to be a better coach every day

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Mike Klinzing: [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle, but I am pleased to welcome to the podcast tonight from Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, Terry Awls JV basketball coach, Terry, welcome.

Terry Awls: [00:00:14] Hey, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:18] Absolutely excited to have you on and learn about all the things that you’ve been able to do in the game of basketball.

You have a very diverse background in terms of the levels that you’ve coached at and the players that you’ve been able to reach. I want to go ahead and go back in time. When you were a kid, tell us about your first experiences with the game of basketball. What made you fall in love with the game when you were younger?

Terry Awls: [00:00:39] Oh man. Probably when I was eight or nine years old, just. Just actually watching like a Duke basketball game. I’m a huge Duke fan, so

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:49] I won’t hold that against you. I’m a Carolina guy. I won’t hold that against you.

Terry Awls: [00:00:53] Okay, man. Okay. So instead of canceling, so I’m going to go ahead and go through with it.  I feel the same, just watching just the passion in which, how Duke played the game. I grew up in the projects on the East side of Toledo and we had a lot of talented guys that would come to the park and play and guys that I grew up watching play the game and I’m like, man, I knew I would never be able to play like that.

I wanted to at least have some part of the game. And so that’s what got me into coaching and kind of dissecting and kind of being able to think ahead, being maybe if I had this play in, they could do this. And so I started thinking. Strategically like that. Actually try it out for the junior high basketball team at East little junior high, I got cut.

So I became a wrestler at the time.  I never lost that passion for basketball and it just one thing like, okay, I think I want to coach and that that really kinda of spearheaded it on.

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:55] I just think, I think it’s one of those things. When you think about how. [00:02:00] People get to the coaching profession.

And obviously there are all different kinds of routes that people take, but it sounds like for you, it was that early experience of being able to watch the game and just being able to kind of think through the game and then be able to put it down on paper, to be able to get it in your head and think, man, if I could only do this, if I could have an impact.

So when you think about that time and kind of your decision to become a coach, would you say at that time it was more about the. The basketball slash X’s and O’s side more so than it was necessarily about the players. Was it just the bat? Was it just the basketball piece at that point?

Terry Awls: [00:02:39] It was the basketball piece, the X’s and O’s side, that’s strategic.

It was like, For me, basketball is chess where everybody’s playing checkers. And I just, I really strategically, when I go to clinics and stuff like that, and I talk to the kids, I’m looking at plays and I’m like, okay, I’ll rewind it three or four times and try and break [00:03:00] it down. Okay. What if they would have did this? What if they were to do that? So, I became a student of the game, now as a collegiate coach. But back then just watching the game. I mean we had VCRs back then, so it was a lot harder to rewind, but I really fell in love with the strategic part of the game.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:22] So when you think back to that time, and you’re watching, where are you taking those notes? Where are you drawing those plays and then are you saving all that stuff? Do you still have. Three ring binders full of stuff that you were diagramming and drawing back when you were first starting out.

Terry Awls: [00:03:36] So, unfortunately, before we moved into the projects, we had a big fire and it kind of burned up quite a bit of my stuff.

So I had some stuff that I drew on like, like we have the big Crayola box of crayons with the sharpener in the back. Absolutely. I would on the back of other things, I would draw up plays and stuff like that. So I know I’ve got some of that stuff [00:04:00] somewhere. So my mom who passed away about six years ago, I noticed she put some of that stuff away, but I have to find out where it’s at, but I know she saved some of that stuff.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:11] All right, when you start to realize that coaching is a calling for you, and it’s something that Is going to be in your future, that you want it to be a big part of your life. How do you go about starting to make that a reality? What’s the first step in your journey to fulfilling your dream of becoming a coach?

Terry Awls: [00:04:31] I think one thing you do, you volunteer a lot you know, boys and girls clubs or wherever you can go to, or, my very first time I started coaching organized basketball. I was coaching fifth and sixth grade basketball. We didn’t get paid. And I got a chance to go to my uncle and goes my two cousins.

And I just think that that just being able to just be a part of kids’ lives, some of the kids who didn’t have fathers in their [00:05:00] lives we became their mentors and I thought, man, down the road, if I can continue to do this, I can really kind of impact some kid’s life. And I’ve really been able to do that through coaching basketball.

Mike Klinzing: [00:05:10] Did you realize that right out of the gate, because clearly when you’re first getting involved in it, and like we talked about a second ago, it was that X’s and O’s piece of that strategy and that figuring it out on the basketball side of it. But then once you got into it and you were actually in front of a group of kids, did you start to realize that, Hey, it wasn’t just about what I could draw up on a napkin or what I can show these kids in terms of drills or things that I’ve learned about the basketball side, but it was also about connecting with them.

As people, was that something that you realized right away, as soon as you got in front of them?

Terry Awls: [00:05:45] It’s so funny you say that. So it became about the relationships back then. So at Hawkins elementary one of my favorite players is, his name is Brad. I won’t his name is Brad DeLaughter, so he was a [00:06:00] Carolina fan.

So that can the fifth and sixth grade and I was a Duke fan back then he was one of the players. And to this day, he and I maintained that relationship and I used to call it Montross. So when he graduated from the sixth grade, I got him an Eric Montross Jersey, and we, to this day, we still have a great relationship you know, text messaging and Facebook and stuff like that.

And he’s got a wife and family now, and he’s an older man now. And it’s like, we talk about that moment. And if, to me it’s always been about building relationships. And if you can do that and make an impact on a kid’s life beyond basketball, I think that is success right there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:40] So let’s talk about that. And you can maybe relate this question to any of the stops or any of the teams or any of the places that you’ve been when you talk about building a relationship. And that’s one of the things that. We hear coaches talk about all the time. As I have to build relationships with my players, those relationships are so important and every coach has a different way of going about [00:07:00] building those relationships.

So when you think about building a relationship with a kid that’s on a team that you coach, what does that look like for you in terms of building a relationship? How do you go about doing that? Is there something that you do. With every kid that you’re like, Oh, this always works for me in terms of maybe I have a conversation every day with them before practice starts, or is it more something that kid by kid, you kind of have to figure out what it is that allows you to build that relationship and conversely get the most out of them.

Terry Awls: [00:07:32] I think kid by kid, because. Some kids take to being Coached hard or push harder and it’s one of those delicate pieces. You have to find out what makes him tick? What makes him go? What makes him thrive? And if you can do that and if you can build that relationship and it’s not just X’s and O’s, or, I mean, I’ve had my players over to my house or I’ll shoot them a text message.

You know, I’ve got [00:08:00] kids that I’ve coached in AAU now that I would just call and say, Hey, how are you guys doing? What’s going on? And we maintain that relationship. And when we talk about basketball, sometimes we talk about how’s school going or how’s life going. And to me that draws deeper.

And so you care about them, not just what they can do for you, but what impact you’ve made in your life and what they’ve made an impact on my life, because you guys are giving me a ton of joy,  just being able to see them succeed. I feel like I’ve done my part.

Mike Klinzing: [00:08:31] So when you’re having those relationships and you’re having those conversations.

Do you find that you’re having those off the floor away from practice? Where again, it’s maybe a phone conversation or a text chain or whatever it is, or do you find that you’re having those conversations more on the floor or a combination of both? Just when are those conversations taking place that allow you to build the trust with the kids that you’re coaching?

Terry Awls: [00:08:56] I think it starts on the floor. [00:09:00] You talked to a kid on the floor, whether he’s your star player or your bench player. And you correct a mistake or something like that, but then after practice or something like that, you shoot them a text saying, Hey, this is what I wanted you to understand.

I want to call you out in front of the team, but this is what I wanted you to understand. And I’ve never tried to never try to embarrass a kid. But I want kids to learn and I’m one of those coaches that I tell players, I’ll never take you out for making a mistake. I want you to learn from that mistake or when that mistake turns into two or three mistakes and you’re making the same mistake.

That means you’re not learning and you’re hurting the team. So I try and make it a learning experience, even in practice and outside of practice, I’ll say, Hey, you know what? You understand what I was trying to get at that because I want them to understand what I was saying in front of everybody. And then one-on-one when we can talk, they can kind of open up a little more about, okay, coach.

I understood what you said.

Mike Klinzing: [00:09:49] So what’s your philosophy or how do you go about using the game of basketball to teach more than just basketball, which is kind of what I hear you saying is that yeah, [00:10:00] you’re teaching them basketball and you may be working on this offense or this defense or this particular move, or you’re trying to work on your player development with them.

But it’s about more than that. So how do you incorporate some of those life lessons or some of those things that kids can apply off the floor? How do you apply those in your coaching on a day to day basis at this point in your career?

Terry Awls: [00:10:20] Well, so, okay. So basketball, teaches life lessons.

It teaches you disappointment. It teaches you humility. It teaches you hard work. And those are things you can have to deal with in life. It teaches you you’re going to be disappointed. You’re going to lose game. You know, if you suffered through an injury you got to go through that.

And those things are perseverance things. But I chose, I took his all the time resistance over resistance, overcomes resistance. So when you, when you bump into that gate, if you fall down seven times, you get up eight. And so if you’ve had to deal with [00:11:00] some home life, you have to use a death or a girlfriend or a grade or something like that.

Basketball is going to be the easy part, but then if you have to deal with the basketball side of it and okay, you missed a free throw or you missed a layup and you guys lost the game. Okay. Now, how do you learn from that? Okay. Are you back in the gym the next day? How do you kind of, okay. It’s always the next play for me.

And I always tell kids one play that doesn’t lose a game it’s collectively two or three things that led up to that. So I’m a firm believer in just making sure that those life lessons are taught in basketball in class, out of class.

Mike Klinzing: [00:11:36] Yeah. I think that when you start talking about coaches that have a greater impact, And you mentioned a player that you still have a relationship many, many years after you ever coached them out on the floor.

I think that when you teach kids more than just the game, when you teach them more than just how to dribble the ball, their left hand, or how to attack a zone defense. When you’re teaching them things about life. Those are [00:12:00] what, the times, when you do get those phone calls, 10, 15 years after the fact, when you’ve coached a kid and they call you up and they say, Hey, coach, I’m about to get married or, Hey coach, I just got a new job or, Hey coach, I need your advice because something’s happening into my life.

And I know that for myself and for many of the coaches that we’ve had on here and had this same sort of discussion, those kinds of phone calls, those kinds of texts, messages that you get from players, where. They’re sharing something about their life. That’s really, when you know that you’ve made an impact and that there’s nothing more satisfying than having the opportunity to do that.

So maybe, I don’t know if you have another story or two that kind of fits in that same vein of, of a kid. That’s come back to you after the fact that maybe shared something that you said that maybe you didn’t even remember that had an impact on them.

Terry Awls: [00:12:50] Well, I, so I’ve got my 2020 class, which included my son I’ve got a kid who goes to Concordia [00:13:00] University.

And his name is Nate Brighton. I have known Nate since junior high. He’s played AAU for us. And we really kind of develop that relationship and like he’s away at college and he’ll call and just, Hey coach, I just wanted to check on you to see how you were doing.

You know when he left to go away from school he stopped at my house before he left to go to school. And we just kind of had a moment  he’s one of my favorite kids. I mean, I’ve coached both my sons. I’ve got a son who’s a freshman at Defiance and Nate Brighton and I tell people this all the time, if you wanted your daughter to marry a guy fast, that’s the kid you want your daughter to marry? Cause he’s such a great kid, mean great family, but we both sat in my driveway and we’re crying because he’s leaving for college, but his parents are standing right there. So those are things that mean the most to me from a coaching standpoint.

Mike Klinzing: [00:13:55] Yeah, absolutely.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that those are the [00:14:00] lasting memories. And clearly we all remember big wins and losses that we have in our coaching or our playing career. But at the same time, I think that those impactful moments that you have with kids that nobody remembers every single game, nobody remembers every single one loss record from every season that they’ve had.

What you remember is that feeling that comradery that you have, whether it’s with your coaches, with your teammates. And I think that’s something that. Coaches really have a big role to play in terms of, in terms of being able to sort of instill that comradery and make sure that the culture is in place to be able to establish those kinds of relationships between players and coaches and then between players and players as well.

Let’s talk a little bit about. Your experience on the AAU side of basketball and just kind of give people your background, the different groups that you’ve worked with, the different teams that you’ve had, the good fortune to coach. And then we can maybe dive into some specifics about your experiences in those places.

[00:15:00] Terry Awls: [00:14:59] Okay. So my first experience with AAU coaching was probably five years ago with the Ohio. So if they drop count over who’s the athletic director and when we Valley country day, he’s coached my son, Cameron in AAU and they were looking for coaches and we had a couple of different teams and I’m like, you know what, I’ll step up and coach.

And that happens to be the 2020 class and their sophomore year. We won 32 games. We were ranked number one individually in USA amateur basketball. And we brought the entire class back for doing their junior season. Had a ton of success. What we wanted to do, we knew it was there last year.

We took them to Canada and played in Canada. They won a silver medal. As 17 years mind you, they played, they had to play 19 years were playing FIBA rules. They were playing 24 second shot clock and they were playing against guys that [00:16:00] were in college. And so we ended up going to the gold medal game.

We lost to the number one team in Canada. But it was a great experience for those kids. We wanted to make that experience for those kids special they they’re going to remember that they got a chance to go to Canada for the rest of their lives.

And a lot of those kids hadn’t been out of the state so having to get passports and stuff like that was extremely for me just rewarding that we were able to do that. We ended up winning the the division two national championship down in Atlanta. And for me it was like the pinnacle of my coaching career.

Like I’ve got this big old championship ring on my counter. And of the 11 kids that we had on that team, I’m very proud to say that eight of those [00:17:00] kids are playing college basketball. Three are playing college football and one is running track. And then we got two other kids that were off and on, well, one kid’s going to University of Cincinnati and he’s walking on and one kid is going to  Michigan State.

So that’s awesome. All those kids are in secondary education and, and we made it a point to tell their parents it wasn’t going to be just about basketball. We wanted them to learn about life. So taking them to Canada and let them see a different culture. We went to Tennessee, we were in Chicago, we’re in Wisconsin, so they were on the road and we paired those guys together.

So we ran it almost like a college. So we gave them a curfew and everybody was responsible. And we wanted to have that experience when they look back 20 years from now we want them to remember those moments being on the road, playing video games and stuff like that, we took them to movies.

You know, they went shopping just all kinds of things that [00:18:00] in college, you get to do that because you guys are responsible for one another, but as high schoolers, you don’t get a chance to do none of that, unless you’re a shoe team. And we were definitely not a shoe team. But we were proud enough to play a rigorous schedule.

So those kids in two seasons won over 60 games, won eight tournaments and won a silver medal in a national championship. So that speaks volumes about the type of kids they are, but the hard work that they put in as well.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:30] All right. So a couple of questions related to that one, first of all, How do you put that team together?

Cause I think a lot of people out there maybe have misconceptions about what AAU basketball looks like and how you go about putting together a team. So talk about how that team came together, where those individual players came from and how you put the team.

Terry Awls: [00:18:51] So, so what we did, I’m a firm believer. I don’t like to do tryouts or teams.

I think that if your brand is successful, [00:19:00]  it can sell itself. And we just, we hand-pick kids. A lot of these kids, I had built relationships with in junior high. So I knew, so I got a kid that’s playing up at, at Wells color’s Dez jet. So he’s in schools all time assists leader in all the time.

Leading score all time steals leader. I knew I wanted him on the team. We hadnNate Brighton, who’s a thousand point score to evergreen. My son, who’s a team captain and in high school and an all conference player OD district player, he was on that team.

So recruit. Yeah. So, I mean, so all these guys, you know so and one of Cameron’s best friends, Kendall Marshall who’s now he’s an all-state linebacker. And he’s playing division One football at at Akron was a heck of a basketball player. So was able to recruit him because I coached him in grade school.

So a lot of these kids we’ve played against we’ve known. So like, Hey, we’re putting this team together. So it was easy for us to hand pick these kids a lot of time. Hey, you [00:20:00] get such a bad rap because. I think some of these coaches, they use the kids just for basketball. And after that they’re done with them.

And for me, it’s a disservice to AAU basketball because there’s a lot of good programs out there. And a lot of good coaches that really give a darn about the kids and what the kids did to succeed off the court. So I mean, there there’s some good programs out there. I was able to connect with, with, with Dennis Hopson, I’m sure you know who he is.

We had some success with our hops, that elite team, just in July, we were only able to play in July this year. But we had three division one kids on that team. One kid just committed to Arizona State. We had another player committed to Sienna and then another player that committed to Kent State.

And so. On that 12 person roster, all of those kids are gonna play in college. I mean, we’ve been able to recruit good kids and we recruit character kids. Kids that we don’t [00:21:00] have to babysit or anything like that because we want them to be accountable.

And you hear about different kids and stuff like that. And those are the kids that we don’t want in our program because. It’s going to reflect on us as coaches and it’s going to reflect on us as a program.

Mike Klinzing: [00:21:14] All right. So I want two things I want to get back to the relationships as an AAU coach, because I think a lot of times, again, there’s misconceptions about the role of an AAU coach in terms of player recruiting.

We’ve talked to a lot of coaches on the high school level and a few on the AAU level, just about how they can help and assist a player with their recruitment. And I’ve talked to college coaches and try to get to pick their brain about, well, what do you look for in a player in an AAU setting? What do you look for in a player when you’re watching them in a high school setting and different college coaches obviously have different opinions about what they’re looking for.

In each one of those different places and how much stock they put [00:22:00] into how a kid plays and how they look at you versus how they look in high school. So just give us an idea from your perspective, what does, what is the role of an AAU coach in terms of helping a kid through the recruiting process?

Terry Awls: [00:22:15] I think so for me, it’s the most important role, more so than a high school coach.

Because I I’ve seen so many kids fall into systems in high school where they have to play system basketball and it’s not really their style of play. I think you have to adjust your style of play to your personnel. And when we go out and handpick these kids, we want to play fast. We want to play quick.

We want to play intelligent basketball. We want to trap, we want to lean through one of the athleticism. High schools don’t do that unless you’re unless you’re okay or something like that, where you can, where if you’re a prep school, you can go out in a year since they have a team as a prep school.

[00:23:00] But I think, I think college coaches and me as a college coach, I relied more on the AAU coach than I do a high school coach, because I’m going to have that relationship with that AAU coach probably longer than I am going to have that relationship with the high school coach. Most high school coaches just want to sell their product.

Hey. Yeah, my kid’s a D one kid. My kid’s a D two kid. Most AAU coaches were like, Hey, you know what? He’s not there yet. And most good AAU coaches will kind of tell you the truth. Some high school coaches will do that. But I think like for me, I made it a point to make sure as an AAU coach.  I dealt with all the 2020 class, all the recruiting.

I set up visits for those kids. I made phone calls and send emails, and we’re doing the same thing now with the 2021 class, I’m making phone calls with teachers and visits for these kids. High school coaches won’t go that far. I think it’s up to us as AAU coaches that if the kid is really worth us putting that effort into we ask them to do so much on the court.

We, [00:24:00] owe that to those kids. We owe that to those families to do that for them outside of basketball.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:05] One of the things that I heard you say, and I think it’s a really important point is how important it is to. The honest and truthful when you’re having conversations. I’m sure I’m assuming both with the player and their family about the level that they can play at.

And then also when you have college coaches that come in or talking to you, and they’re trying to get a feel for that kid, you clearly have to be truthful and honest, or the next time that coach comes into your gym and watches your team play. And. You give them an opinion. They’re not going to listen to you anymore.

So clearly you have to be telling the truth on both sides of the equation. And I would assume, especially on the player side of it, sometimes those conversations are not always the easiest conversations, because as we all know, there is sometimes an inflated opinion of the value or the level that a kid could play at.

And that could be from the kid, or [00:25:00] that could be from the parent. So just talk a little bit about the importance of having honest conversations with both the players that are part of your program and their parents in terms of where they can play. And then with the college coaches that are coming in to watch those kids.

Terry Awls: [00:25:14] Well, I think first, like you said, you’ve got to have that conversation with the player. So we do evaluations where we’re with players and we’re like, okay, what level do, do you think you’re at? well, I’m in at D two level because of this or D three level and NAIA  and some players actually believe that they’re division one players.

And I said, well, How many coaches are talking to you? Well, a couple of coaches. Well, what level is, we’ll do three in AI. Okay. Then you’re not a D one player.  Could you potentially play D one? Of course. And I tell kids all the time, don’t let the fact that  coaches aren’t recruiting you. I mean that to me, I think kids get caught up in the, Oh, I’m not playing , but if you have those honest conversations with those parents [00:26:00] and the parents have to realize that because every parent thinks their kid’s a D one kid they’re not. I mean, if D three schools are calling you.

Chances are college coaches think of you as a D three kid. We are NAIA.  So we look at kids that are at our level, we got a couple kids that have transferred in there were D2 or something like that. That’s one thing. But being able to have those honest conversations with the parents and the player, and then the coach on that end and say, Hey, you know what?

I think he’s got D one potential, but he needs to work on X, X, and X, or I think he’s got D two potential or his grades aren’t good enough. So he’s probably gonna play Juco. Those are honest conversations that we have with coaches all the time. And as an AAU coach and a college coach now just called me and they’ve asked about, Hey, what about this certain kid?

Yada, yada yada. Okay, and the one question they ask, what about the family? You know, tell me what his parents are like, [00:27:00] tell me what his dad’s like, tell me what his mom’s like. And if you’re honest with those coaches, you gain that credibility when you do that. And you’re honest with them.

You’ve lost those columns go. So they’ll never take your word again on anything else. If you do that. And to me, that credibility and build those relationships with coaches is just  extremely important.

Mike Klinzing: [00:27:20] So as you’re building that relationship, and obviously it goes through to the quality of the player that you have in terms of which college coaches you’re getting an opportunity to reach out to them and have contact with.

How do you build up that Rolodex of college coaches? Not only in terms of just when they show up for your, to your gym to see a specific player that they’ve heard about, but how do you go about. Try to get your player in front of coaches at levels that you feel like they can play at what’s your process, or what’s worked for you to build those relationships with college coaches, as we all know that the more relationships you have and the more connections you have, the easier it is then for you to reach out.

When you have a player that you feel fits a [00:28:00] particular level of particular program or particular coach, you can now reach out to them and say, Hey coach, I got a player for you, but in order for you to be able to do that, you have to have those relationships. So. What’s worked for you in the past building relationships with college coaches.

Terry Awls: [00:28:13] So, I don’t know if it’s a shameless plug. So we use this resource called field level. And field level was basically Facebook recruiting. And you reach out to coaches at different levels and what you do, all of our kids have profiles and you send them video.

And they got the grades in there, the scores in there, and we’ve used field level for the last three years. With our Ohio Celtic team, and now with our Hopson  elite teams. So with our Hopson Elite team, now we’ve got our 17 u, our 16 u or 15 u 14 u 13 u.

So now these kids are building profiles early on. And we’re able to send the coaches video. We’re able to send coaches grades, we’re able to send coaches anything they [00:29:00] want regarding the player. The coaches can actually go in and follow that player. And they can see everything that kid’s doing when it comes to basketball.

And for me, that’s been a great resource for us because it’s a free resource. For us, but now the kids get to see, okay. You know, if the certain cultural program is falling the player gets, gets to see that. And to me, I tell coaches all the time and I’ve been blessed to be, be able to have, I’ve got 600 coaches in my portfolio, if from the D one level, D two, D three, NAIAI, and Juco.

So I can pick up the phone and call any one of those coaches. Hey, I got this kid. You got to take a look at, I mean, we’ve got a kid who was a 2022 kid that’s a D one prospect. We’ve got a couple of D one schools looking at him.  Right now we’re trying to set up some visits and we’re going to get something set up after the first of the year.

So it’s just being able to have those resources and being able to [00:30:00] have those courses available to you and build that trust. And we’ve been able to do that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:30:07] So here’s the question that I have that I always think is somewhat fascinating to find out is once you have the player move on out of your program and they go and they end up at a college. How much connection are you continuing to have? And obviously this isn’t a blanket statement because it varies amongst different players and depending on what your relationship is like with them, but when a kid leaves your program and goes to college and they’re now playing for their college team.

How much contact do you try to maintain? With those players. And again, like I said, I’m sure it varies, but just, what do you try to do to maintain that relationship going forward so that you can have those experiences? Like we talked about earlier where 10 or 15 years down the road, that kid still appreciates is still reaching back out to you as, as their, as their long time coach.

Terry Awls: [00:30:57] Well, I think now’s probably a prime [00:31:00] example of it because I’ve got a lot of my kids that are playing at the next level now and I’ll shoot them a text message especially with COVID and everything going on and everything we’re dealing with, they are people first, they’re athletes second. And even if I’ve seen their game or something like that, I’ll shoot them a text, Hey, you probably should have did this. Or what, what were you thinking there? And we still have that bond. So I have that connection and they’ll text me. I’ll text them, they’ll call me, I’ll call them.

And I, I don’t think that relationship will ever go away as long as. As long as I’m here, they know that they can call coach Awls and say, Hey coach, can we just talk and I’m going to always be there because we’ve built that bond. We built that trust where they know that I’m a safe place for them.

Mike Klinzing: [00:31:54] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. I think when you build that kind of relationship and you know that you could [00:32:00] go to somebody for advice as a player, you’re your coach that you’ve worked with, that you have a level of trust that you can have somebody who’s going to give you an honest evaluation of your game.

That’s obviously tremendously valuable. And that just again, somebody that you have that relationship with, that if things are going on in your life, that you can reach out to for. Any kid, the more people that you have that can fulfill that role that they can reach out to. I think the better off everybody is when it comes to that.

When you think about putting together a, an NAU team and you think about just the process of what you’ve been able to go through and the impact that you’ve been able to have on kids, What do you think is what do you think is the biggest challenge that’s facing? Maybe you specifically as an AAU coach, but then just in general, the AAU environment, what do you think is the biggest challenge or the thing that maybe you’d like to see be done differently from an AAU standpoint?

[00:33:00] Terry Awls: [00:33:00] I think players getting used by a few coaches is one of my biggest pet peeves. I think that a few coaches, especially when you get to some of the shoe circuit teams that I think they use the kids just for basketball, I will be interested to see the percentage of how many AAU coaches actually, when AAU is over with, and those kids are, are you making those calls?

Are you sending those emails? Are you sending the video? And then are you even calling that kid and say, Hey, you know what? You don’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. Why don’t you come to my house? Or you don’t have any money here’s a couple of dollars to put in your pocket.

Those are things that to me are invaluable as a coach that I think that that level of just being able to just, okay, you’re our jobs, our coaches are being to be a [00:34:00] mentor to be a tutor, to help that kid learn, to help that kid through life. If he’s struggling with something or me, or we just going to use them just for basketball or do we actually care about the kid as a person?

And that’s the one thing that AAU has gotten a bad rap on and I just refuse to do that because I think for me being able to be in this position, I’m in this position for a reason, to give back to those kids, just to solely those kids and then you build that legacy of being able to instill Goodwill in those kids.

Mike Klinzing: [00:34:31] Do you think that the reason why AAU gets a bad rap is because of a few bad apples that kind of spoil the whole bunch, whereas you look across the entire landscape of. A U and you can find so many people doing it right. And doing good things by kids and their families and their parents. And by the college coaches that they come in contact with.

Do you think it’s just a few bad actors that end up kind of souring people on the whole experience?

Terry Awls: [00:34:58] It [00:35:00] It is. And the thing is that it’s some of the same bad actors because cause they’ll have an assistant coach that has learned from that guy. And so he’ll hit when he gets his team.

He’s thinking the same way. AAU should never be a money grab. And some of these guys use it as a money grabbing to me you’re sending the wrong message to the kid. You know, when you charge for tryouts and stuff like that, I don’t understand charging kids for tryouts, go ahead and pick your kids, or do an open tryout.

It shouldn’t be about the money. It should be about the kid. And like for our Celtics teams we went out and raised the money, because we knew all the kids didn’t have the money to pay for a year because we had the charge kids. And so we raised money.

We were a 501C3. So we were able to pay for meals. We were able to pay for hotels and stuff like that. And that’s what it’s about. I mean, it shouldn’t [00:36:00] be a money grab where coaches are getting. I mean, I’ve never gotten paid for AAU, that’s not what I’m supposed to do.

My job is to pay those kids back in time, talent, and treasure me to get them to the next level. That’s our jobs as a coaches.

Mike Klinzing: [00:36:13] All right. That makes a lot of sense to me. So let me ask you this. If I’m a parent of a high school player and I’m listening to this podcast and I’m trying to figure out, or let’s even take it back a level, let’s maybe say I have a seventh grader.

And I’m trying to figure out what a program, what a coach I want to play for. What advice would you have for a parent who’s trying to navigate this system for the first time in terms of what should they be looking for in a good a program. And then maybe what are you already mentioned? One red flag or two red flags that you might watch out for.

So give us, what should we be looking for? That’s positive. And then maybe what are some things that we should be looking for that are red flags that would maybe run the other direction? The parent of the kid?

Terry Awls: [00:36:55] Well, what you want to do is look for, especially the [00:37:00] non-issue teams look for programs that have been established.

If they’re just starting up and they’re just doing it, cause some, some of these guys will start a new team just cause their kids on it. And then once their kid’s done, boom. Look for programs that have some longevity or a history. And there’s a lot of good programs that have that history.

And then talk to the director and say, Hey, what do you want to get out of my kid in cause most coaches will see your kid play. Like, you know what? I think he can do this, or you can do that. I’ll be honest with him. And if you asked that coach. Okay. Do you think he’s got a potential to play in college?

If that kid wants to play in college and if he says, yeah we think we can get him here. Then have those honest conversations, because a lot of those kids that play, you play you one because you know, they have a desire to play at the next level. And if you’re in a good program, No matter what level you’re going to get to play college.

And if you can answer those questions and [00:38:00] if it’s a nickel and dime where we’re going to charge you $500 here, okay, we get a hundred dollars a year. We got a $50, zero $60 here then run like hell. Most programs will do a flat fee. Like we did a flat fee, but then we went out and raised money as a501C3 and some of the programs have some sponsorships or some parents and stuff like that that are invested in the kids or sponsor two or three kids that don’t have the funds. I think too many times parents can take an advantage of because  they think, okay, man, he’s going to play a Duke or Carolina, or he’s going to play at Kansas and stuff like that. And the coaches just string them along because it’s about the money for them.

I mean, you take the money out of the equation and ask the coach. If we don’t have the money, can he still play? If they want that kid they’ll find a way to sponsor that kid or get that kid in the program. And that’s one of the courses I tell the parents, like, [00:39:00] you know, if your kid can play for our program, go ask, okay.

If you don’t have the money, can Kenny still play? And that’ll separate a lot of stuff right there for you.

Mike Klinzing: [00:39:10] All right. So if I’m thinking about that, and I’m trying to make my decision as a parent, and I’m looking around and I’m taking your advice and trying to find the right program for my kid.

And then eventually I make my decision and I find out that, okay, this is the program that I want to be in. What. What do you guys do? What’s your process for figuring out what tournaments you should play in to help maximize the exposure for the kids in your program? How do you make that decision about where and when you play.

Terry Awls: [00:39:38] So we this year, with everything being COVID, we, we, we, we were supposed to be on the prep hoop circuit, which is what’s is our really nice circuit. Well like our Celtics team was on the circuit team the prep room circuit. So literally they’ve got five or six destinations that you play.

To where there’s literally 200 coaches [00:40:00] at almost every tournament. So even for some teams that are really good from a junior high perspective, You’ve got let’s go. Coaches are looking at those kids at junior high. You want to play in the Chicago’s or new York’s even, or Atlanta or Tennessee.

usa amateur I’m big in USA amateur basketball. So we played some USA amateur basketball tournaments. You’ve got a hundred plus coaches at every usa amateur tournament had, they asked that we would play down at Atlanta. You had almost 200 coaches at almost every game from 15, 16, 17.

You watch a lot of these kids play. So to me, that’s where you want to be, if your kid has a desire to play at the next level. Cause a lot of these coaches, aren’t going to go to the local high schools. They’re coming to AAU tournament so they want to see these kids in big tournaments against good competition.

Mike Klinzing: [00:40:54] Yeah, I think that’s, whenever we’ve talked to college coaches, that’s one of the things that when you talk [00:41:00] about what’s different about seeing a kid at the high school level versus seeing them at the AAU level. One of the things that they constantly mentioned is when I see him play in AAU, I see them out on the floor with other players who are at their level.

Whereas when I’ve seen them in high school, I’m seeing them more than likely as the very best player on the floor and they’re playing a different role and they always. Indicate to us, again, that there’s value in seeing them in both roles. You see them in high school and you get to see what they do as the leader, as the best player, and how do they handle that situation.

Then you go to AAU and they may no longer be the best player. And now they got to now they got to fit into a role. And so maybe you see them as the fourth option on offense and the best defensive player or whatever their role might be an AAU. And so it gives college coaches a better idea to see both.

And I think that’s the key that. From college coaches is. And if you’re a high school player, a parent out there is it’s important that you understand that both of those environments are critical to [00:42:00] your success in terms of always try to be at your best. You should always try to be at your best during your high school season.

You should always try to be at your best in the AAU season because college coaches do take both of those environments into account. And even though. They might be looking for slightly different things. And each one of those environments, from a planning standpoint, there are things that they look for from an attitude and preparation and the way you interact with teammates.

Those are things that college coaches consistently say to me, I’m watching that no matter what environment, whether it’s a practice environment, whether it’s a high school game, whether it’s an AAU game, whether it’s. Sitting around between games and getting prepared at an, a turmeric. A lot of coaches have told me, I watch how the kid warms up and get the shoes on.

And all those things seem to me to be so critical. So how do you get that message across to the kids? That you’re a part of program that everything matters that they’re constantly being evaluated.

Terry Awls: [00:42:55] So we, we talk to the kids about everything speaks. [00:43:00] So everything speaks mean from the time you walk into the gym to the time you warming up, if you get pulled out, what is your attitude like when you get pulled out?

Because I tell them everything speaks in, everybody’s watching. If you’re on the bench and you’re out of the game in the crucial moment, are you being a cheerleader or are you pouting because coaches take a look at that stuff and we talk about it all the time. You got to understand because a lot of our games were streamed this year.

Coaches got to see everything and they got to see you on the bench. They got to see you warm up. When you left the gym, did you shake hands or did you say high five where you, if you dunked on a kid were you taunting him? Those are things that coaches look at and we try and tell our kids those are things that if you’re pouting or you’re being a baby coaches, won’t look at you, they will look at you if you’re yelling at your teammates, coaches won’t, I mean, who wants a kid like that on a team? So we try and raise our leaders to be leaders and then our teammates. Okay. Be a good [00:44:00] teammate if you’re the star player on the team. Okay. And you get pulled out of the game, how are you going to react?

Are you going to pout or are you going to go cheer for your team. Cause it can’t be about you. It’s gotta be about the team first. And so we try and instill that into our kids all the time.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:16] Yeah. I think that that’s really an important thing to be able to get across to kids. Is that.

You’re always, always being watched. And even when you think you’re not, and especially today with social media,

Terry Awls: [00:44:26] big time, it’s just like, I mean, it’s crazy.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:29] You think about what it might’ve been like 15 or 20 years ago where none of this stuff would have been televised or none of it would have been recorded.

And now. Basically, as you said, like everything’s recorded, everything’s strained, whether it’s one of the services that provides that or just somebody with their phone or it’s just, it’s incredible that the, in a lot of ways I think that there’s, there’s a lot of pressure because kids see what everybody else is doing on social media and then they start comparing themselves and you got people posting the offers that they get.

And it’s just, yeah, I know it’s [00:45:00] much more complex than it was again, 10 or 15 years ago before this stuff. Was so prevalent. I wanted to ask you a little bit about how you, or what your philosophy is on in terms of. Relating or connecting with a players high school coach. So how much contact do you have with you bring in a player from a certain school?

Do you talk to their coach about, Hey, these are some things that we think the kid needs to work on. Do you work in conjunction with the high school coaches or do you try to work in conjunction with the high school coaches? Cause I know in a lot of cases there may be just a disconnect that for whatever reason.

That you can’t get connected to that coach for one reason or another, but just do you try to reach out to high school coaches to make sure that you and them are on the same page in terms of the player’s development and what does that look like?

Terry Awls: [00:45:51] Yeah, so from a standpoint, yes, I think it’s crucial that us as AAU coaches reach out to the high school coach.

And [00:46:00] I’ve done that. And we’ve had a lot of the high school coaches that have come to our games and I’m like, okay, what we’re only gonna have him from February to July and he’s going to come back to you for a senior season. What’s the one thing, and I asked the player first, what’s the one thing that you want to improve on?

And then I have that conversation with a coach. What’s the one thing that you want to improve on. And one, you want to see if we’re on the same page. Because if that’s the case, then that means the coach has had that discussion with the player and the player understands that. But I think it’s important for us to not just put the kids on the floor, but to help develop them just for that small space of time.

I mean, keeping my word where you’re only practicing two or three days a week, and then you’re in a tournament Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So can we try and make sure, I mean, we run our practices, just like colleges. We have practice plans and I’ve told parents, I can email you a practice plan for whatever practice you want because I want you to understand that we want to make sure your kid gets developed.

Even [00:47:00] if we do five minutes of skill work a day at practice, I want to make sure that is getting a five or seven minutes of schoolwork a day. So we askedthe coach and we asked the player as well to make sure everybody’s on the same page.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:13] Do you find that the majority of the time, that high school coaches appreciate that reach out when you call them up and you say, Hey, we want to we’re working with your player and we want to make sure that we’re on the same page and we’re helping them develop for what they’re going to be in your program.

Do you find high school coaches to be appreciative of that? Because I would guess that not every a program is making those calls and reaching out. And I think that’s where a lot of times the. The distrust or whatever that sometimes you have between high school coaches and AAU comes in where the high school coach says, man, I need this kid to be whatever, he needs to play a role on my team.

And then he goes to his AAU program and his AAU coach is telling him that he’s a division one player. And then he comes back to my high school program and he’s our third best guy. And I [00:48:00] just need him to rebound and play defense. And now his ego is going out the door because of what his AAU coach is telling me, I would think.

That high school coaches would be very, very receptive to those calls when you’re reaching out with the idea that, Hey, let’s both get on the same page so that we can help this kid, because obviously that helps us. But it also is in the best interest of the student athlete that we’re both.

Terry Awls: [00:48:22] Yeah. You, would think so, Mike, but some of the high school coaches actually get offended.

I mean, they they’re like, well he, he’s going to work on us when we’ve got somebody that’s going to help him with that. Almost like how, how dare you ask me what he needs to work on because they take it as okay. You haven’t worked with this kid on that.

And to me, it’s not like that for me, it’s like, okay, we want to enhance what you’ve been working on or emphasize what you’ve been working on. Not as a  criticism of you, And instead of him just hearing the coaches your high school [00:49:00] coaches, whereas now you see the AAU coaches.

So we’re on the same page. And literally some coaches in, especially in our area have actually gotten offended that we asked that question,

Mike Klinzing: [00:49:10] it’s such a weird dynamic. And again, I’ve been on both sides of it, and I’ve heard both from a high school coaches and from a few coaches. And I think for me, what it always comes down to, and I think you could take this statement and you could apply it to travel basketball at the elementary school level.

You could apply it to AAU basketball. You could apply it to high school basketball. I think you can apply it to college basketball. And that is, I always say that. Whatever it is that you’re doing as a coach, it should always be framed through the lens of, are you doing what’s best for the student athlete?

And that doesn’t mean that what’s best for a student athlete is letting a kid I’m not talking about their role on the team. I’m not talking about like every kid should get 25 shots, a game and play 32 minutes. That’s not what I’m talking about, but I’m talking about. In general, in terms of their development as a human being [00:50:00] and helping them to be successful in life.

If you start out with the premise of, I’m trying to do what’s best for the student athlete that I think you’re going to probably end up making a lot better decisions. So when I think about the relationship between high school and AAU coaches, I think that it’s a road that when both people are going down the path of.

We want to help our kid. That is part of our program be successful. Then I think there is going to be a meeting of the minds. It’s when it becomes something about like you described some of the bad apples in AAU, where they’re just trying to siphon every last dollar out of somebody, then conversely, you might have a high school coach who is territorial about their play or player.

Doesn’t want them going. Excuse me. And you know, it doesn’t want them associated with this AAU coach or that AAU program, whatever. Ultimately, I think you have to frame everything through the idea of what’s best for the student athlete. And if I use that as my [00:51:00] lens, I think I’m going to end up with better outcomes for the kids that I’m involved with.

Terry Awls: [00:51:04] No, you’re actually spot on. I mean, it should never be about us as a coach just to be about them as high school coaches, it should be about our goal is to get that player in the best position to be successful. And if we can collaborate on that and do that, then we’ve done our job as coaches in some, but I mean, we’ve got a couple of really nice programs in this area and we’ve got some programs that have talent, but don’t have coaching.

So, I mean, to me, it’s like, man, you shake your head. If some of these college coaches could see some of the talent that some of these kids have, if they only had the coaching at the high school level, how much better these kids would be.

Mike Klinzing: [00:51:44] Yeah. And I think ultimately what we’re trying to do is put the best coaches in front of them in front of players.

I mean the better, the better coaching that anybody can be exposed to the better off you are. And so you hope that you have a high school coach that cares and does their best work and [00:52:00] coaches the kids up and develop some as players and as people. And then you hope that when their high school season ends and they go and they find an AAU coach in a program.

That does the exact same thing. And when you have a kid that has both of those, I would assume that the exponential growth, that results from that allows kids to reach their full potential, which is really what everybody should be all about.

Terry Awls: [00:52:23] It should be, but I I’ll tell you this. My son Cameron attended Central Catholic high school and his coach played in college and coached in college and that was really good because him and Camerron had a great, great, great relationship. And he ended up committing to the college that his coach played for. So for me, he understands and he came into the program and he told the parents, we’re gonna run this like a college. And to me  that’s all I needed to hear because I knew politics [00:53:00] shouldn’t play a role in sports at all, but it often does. But if you can get those coaches to kind of get these kids thinking forward of even if the kids don’t play in college, okay, we’re gonna run like a college program and we’ve got some really good programs here in Ohio.

And so they have college coaches that are coaching at the high school level, which I think it makes all the difference for the kids’ development. I really do.

Mike Klinzing: [00:53:24] When you talk about that, I think you’re just talking about a level of, again, detail and organization and running things.

We’re just doing it, the right, doing it the right way, the way you would want to run. Any program where you’re focused on being organized every single day, there’s a plan in place. And I think when you don’t have that, that’s when you kind of have this, I think that’s where a, you sometimes get that gets that wild West reputation where we’re just throwing kids together.

And this kid’s not really part of the team, but suddenly he’s driving in from three hours away, never practices, but he’s playing on this team. And I think those are the [00:54:00] stories that people hear. And that’s what gives a, you a bad rap. Whereas again, if you have a program that is committed to those details, that’s really putting in the time to make sure that they’re doing what’s right by their student athletes.

Then you end up with a positive experience. And when you don’t have that, That’s when you start getting on thin ice and things get a little dicey.

Terry Awls: [00:54:20] Yeah, no, I agree. So for all my AAU teams, we’ve actually, we go to the kids of playbook. We’ve given them a notepad so they can actually keep notes for what game how’d you do a practice, great grade yourself after practice.

And I do that with my kids in college now, is that. I want you to think about your practice. I went to a practice, but I want you to be invested in you because I’m investing in you. And I think if you can really kind of, you can kind of weed out the bad apples in coaching, but, you’re never going to do it.

In some of these kids are starting to see through that. And that’s why you see the transfer rates are getting so high now in high school. They, [00:55:00] want to play for good coaches. They want to play with other good players as well.

Mike Klinzing: [00:55:04] Yeah. It’s kind of crazy when you look at the amount of transfers and just how things have gone.

And I know that you’d talked to high school coaches and a lot of them sometimes get frustrated with that fact, but I think the bottom line is, and it goes for whatever level that you’re coaching at. You’re not going to be able to please every single person, but I think if you’re running a quality program and.

You’re having those honest conversations like you and I talked about before about look, this is where you’re at. Sometimes having those honest conversations, both I’m sure as an AAU coach and as a high school coach can cause kids to and parents let’s face it, who help drive a lot of these decisions can sometimes cause them to go elsewhere.

But I know I’ve always been of the philosophy that I’ve worked for coaches and have had the philosophy that look, if you don’t agree with our assessment and you’re not going to be happy with that assessment, then you’re better off going somewhere else. Like we don’t necessarily even want you to be a part of the program [00:56:00] if you’re not going to buy into what it is that we’re telling you, that we believe to be the truth.

If you disagree with that truth, and you’re not going to accept that. And then. Conversely, you’re not going to accept coaching and you’re, you’re not going to be you know, you’re not going to be a good teammate and all those things that play your role, then we’re probably better off both us as a program.

And you as a player, you’re not going to be happy and we’re probably not going to be happy. And so we’re probably better off parting ways so that you can find somebody who better fits with whatever it is that you as a. As a player and a parent or trying to accomplish.

Terry Awls: [00:56:34] I completely agree. I completely agree.

Mike Klinzing: [00:56:37] All right. So let’s talk a little bit about this. So how did you, develop your relationship with Dennis Hopson, talk about the friendship that you have with them and talk about how you guys met and just give us the genesis of how you got connected to Dennis.

Terry Awls: [00:56:50] So, Dennis obviously is a local hero in the Toledo area.

And we’ve known each other in circles, you [00:57:00] know, seen him at a charity event events and stuff like that. You know, and I’ve always had a great admiration and respect for him. And when their household X thing was over, he said Hey you know, are you interested in coaching? And I’m like, yo, for sure. And I’m like, okay, and for me, it’s like, I want to learn, he played in the NBA, he’s Ohio State’s, all-time leading scorer, he’s got an NBA championship. So, even watching his practices in AAU, cause he coaches the eighth grade team.

He runs it like, it’s amazingly, he’s very, very detailed. And so to be being able to be underneath him from AAU circuit. He said, Hey  we’re going to have a JV team. And I really, you take taken over that. And for me to be able to coach college basketball.

It’s something I’ve always [00:58:00] wanted to do, Mike. I mean,  I’ve dreamed about coaching college basketball forever. And just when he said that I’m like, I’m in, I mean, I didn’t care how much I got paid it. You can pay me in pizza for all I care. I just want the chance to go to college basketball and.

And he believed in me and trusted me and we talk all the time now. Just being able to see him at practice with his team, how detailed he is, and he doesn’t let the kids settle in. And if I’m a kid, if you know, if I’m at Lourdes, I’m getting recruited by him.

Dennis Hopson walks into my living room. He’s Ohio State’s all-time leading score. He won the NBA championship with Michael Jordan. I think I’m going to listen to what he has to say. And I’ve learned so much from him in the last couple of months. Just how detailed he is, how organized he is, how much he cares and things he knows from an X and O [00:59:00] standpoint, but he cares about the kids.

He wants them to succeed. And it’s a really, really good situation for me. I think Lourdes is extremely, extremely blessed to have him as a head coach and  we’ve got a great strength coach. We’ve got a great assistant coach.  Lourdes is going to be one of those programs that you look at from an NAIA standpoint.

And they’ll be in the top 25 year after yearbecause, because of what Dennis is going to bring to the table.

Mike Klinzing: [00:59:31] All right. So for people who maybe are familiar with a junior varsity position, At the college level. Talk to me a little bit about what your role is like day to day in the program, both from a standpoint of coaching your team, but also contributing in other areas as a member of the staff that.

Covers the entire program.

Terry Awls: [00:59:56] Okay. So I mean, at the JV level, [01:00:00] we do our own recruiting and we told kids that there’s a chance that in a year or two, you could move up to the varsity level. But I have my own practices. I do my own practice plan. We have our own schedule, our own games but then me as part of the varsity staff I go to their practices, go to their games and I get to practice, gives me a practice plan, every practice, and I’ll work with him with the bigs or something like that.

Or we’ll talk about certain drills or certain things he likes or certain things he doesn’t like. And so I provide my input to the varsity as well. So for me, it’s a dual role that I’ve got my own team that I have to deal with, but then I’m a large part of what the varsity does as well.

Mike Klinzing: [01:00:44] So what does it look like right now with COVID? Where are you guys at? What are you doing that just, just explain day-to-day what it looks like for you guys and what you anticipate the season looking like.

Terry Awls: [01:00:55] Well we’re right now, we have suspended everything to the first of the year. [01:01:00] It wasn’t until Thanksgiving.

So we are the Wolverine. Who’s your athletic conference? So our teams that are in a conference are in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. So with everything going on with COVID, we actually are not even practicing. So we’ve had some zoom calls with the players.

I’ve been on the zoom calls with varsity, and then I’ve had my zoom calls with my own JV team as well. But right now everything is on hold until after the first of the year, which to me is scary because  we’ve got seven seniors on the team. You want them to have a senior season, obviously?

With the rule coming out, that somebody they’ll be able to come back. It’ll be interesting to see if some, none, or all the players come back. That that goes for any school in the country. But Dennis has done a great job getting in some great recruits.

And the program is going to be one of those programs that you’re going to have to reckon with. But right now it’s just kind of like, okay, [01:02:00] we’re standing around twiddling our thumbs we’ve had some text messages back and forth. Our has played two games, they played in Bethel.

So just going over the filmand Dennis had been looking at film, he goes to school looking at so we’ve talked to the kids about that. We’ve talked amongst ourselves about how do we get better for Dennis is always about them getting better. So we just hope that we get a chance to have a season hopefully in January.

Mike Klinzing: [01:02:25] Yeah. I think we’re all crossing our fingers that that ends up being the case and clearly with where we are with COVID at this point, I don’t think anybody knows whether it’s from a high school standpoint. And clearly if you think about across the country there are some schools in some States that are.

Kind of full bore and they’re just proceeding with the season as normal. And then there’s other places where I know for sure, like Illinois and California are two States that I know for sure that they have, not those high schools are not playing at all at this point. I think California has plans maybe to play in the spring and Illinois, as far as I know, doesn’t have really.

[01:03:00] Any plan other than the fact that they’re, they’re not playing at this point. So you talk to coaches and I have friends in both places that it’s just, nobody really knows. And so I think any, I guess I’m looking at it as any, any games that. We get, whether it’s at the high school level of the college level, you get any games in this year, you get any kind of a season and it’s a bonus.

And then we’re just all obviously hoping that next year we returned to some degree of normalcy at some point, whether it’s through a vaccine or this thing, just kind of dying out or who knows what’s going to happen. So it’s a little bit, as you said, it’s a little bit scary. And for you, again, it is first year trying to figure it out and obviously being excited about getting an opportunity to coach at the college level. And now you walk into this situation, which is clearly a goofy and weird situation that nobody saw coming and that we’re all still trying to figure out how to navigate it. It makes it quite a challenge. So as you look forward in your coaching career, what do you hope if you could plan out the next 10 years of what it would look like?

[01:04:00] Just in general terms? Where would you like to see your coaching career progress? If you could kind of wave that magic wand and see it progress, what would it look like for you?

Terry Awls: [01:04:10] I would say coaching at the college level for the next couple of years, I would love to be an NBA scout, to scout college talent and stuff like that.

To kind of be on an NBA roster at some point in time, that’s my ultimate dream and goal. I love coaching at the college level, and I think I can have a definite impact at the college level. Or even some doing something with international basketball or something like that, something in the basketball realm, either international or USA basketball, something along those lines to be able to coach and be able to teach at that level to be able to scout some sometime in the next 10 years, would actually be a dream.

Mike Klinzing: [01:04:57] Very cool. Very cool. I think that you think [01:05:00] about. Being able to have a career in the game and something that you’ve loved since the time you were a little kid. There’s so many people that have that dream of just being able to earn a living by doing something in the game of basketball. And to me, when you get an opportunity to do that, and you have, I just know how important the game has been to be in my life.

And I think about anything that I get to do basketball related and how much I just enjoy just. The podcast or when I was coaching or just the camps that I run in the summertime and all the things that I have going on. And we’ve got this mentorship program now that we’re trying to pour back into coaches and just again, have a positive impact on the game.

And I think that when I think about what you’re trying to do and where you’ve been. And where you are now and where you’re going to go. You know, I look at that and I’m like, man, that is an exciting path that you’re going to hopefully have an opportunity to travel. And you’re just now on this first step.

And although it’s kind of an interrupted, nonetheless you know, it’s got you on the track that I think probably you’ve thought about for a [01:06:00] long time. And so I want to wrap up with one final question here, Terry, and that is, it’s a question that I’ve been using at the end of a lot of our episodes lately.

And that is. What is, as you look forward here in the next year or two, and let’s kind of take COVID out of it if we can, but just, what is the biggest challenge that you face in your coaching career? Moving forward over the next two or three years, again, taking COVID out of it. And then number two, what’s the biggest joy that you have getting up in the morning and being a college basketball coach.

What about it is something that just puts a smile on your face when you wake up,

Terry Awls: [01:06:34] Wow. Okay. So biggest challenge I think is to not fall into a rut, to where I’m predictable as a coach. I want to make sure I still have that same passion. I want to make sure that I’m providing something to the game, to the players.

I think myself is going to be my own biggest [01:07:00] challenge, just to make sure that I’m giving the kids everything I can, when it gets to the point where I feel like I can’t be a value to the players, then I think that lets me know it’s time to step away. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but I always challenge myself every day.

Okay. If I didn’t know how to do this from a coaching standpoint and a basketball game, where, okay, what do I want to do? So I’m watching film. I’m looking at videos of certain things all the time. So to always challenge myself, that’s going to be my biggest challenge. I think getting kids in is going to be easy.

I mean, we’ve had a kid fly up from Florida for a visit with his dad and his high school coach. So. And that speaks to the level of what they think about the program and Dennis and myself. And so, to me that that spoke volumes right there. You know, the kid came up from Florida, the one thing I enjoy about it is that I grew up in the projects extremely poor.

My mom raised two kids on $400 a month. And for [01:08:00] me to get up and do what I do and coach basketball. And be able to experience the things of our experience. You know, I’ve gone to final fours, I’ve gone to Superbowls. I’ve been so blessed in the sports world I’ve worked major golf tournaments, I’ve done so many things in the sports realm and sports has given me so much.

I’m extremely blessed and honored to To have been able to do this and be able to share that with my family. And you know, growing up in a project, you don’t think about that stuff. And, and when I look back, I think of everything that I had to go through to get here and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Mike Klinzing: [01:08:40] That’s awesome. A great answer. And I think when I think about our conversation tonight, I just can feel the passion that you have for. The coaching that you do for the kids that you have, or for what you’ve again, I think back to the conversation at the very top and how a [01:09:00] kid reaches out to you many years after the fact, and you’re still that impact that you had on him oh, so long ago is still being felt. And to me, when you start to define what it means to be a coach, I think that long lasting impact is really what it’s all about. And so Terry, I cannot thank you enough for being willing to jump out with us tonight. It has been an absolute pleasure. To get a chance to know you and have the conversation and learn about your journey before we get out.

I want to give you a chance to share where people can find out more about you, more about the program at Lords. More about, just give it away for people to be able to reach out to you if they just want to talk hoops with you. And then I’ll jump back in and wrap up the episode.

Terry Awls: [01:09:42] All right. Well I’m on Twitter.

I’m @tjawls. You can see our Lourdes link on there. If you were to look at our program, Dennis Hopson is on there as well. If you want to, anybody who is interested in coming to visit our school, who once we open back up, [01:10:00] that would be great. I have a podcast.

I’m a social media junkie. So I’m on Facebook. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Instagram. So yeah, we would love for anybody to want to reach out and talk hoops and my God, I would love to have you and your partner on our podcast was a video podcast. So you’re going to have to do your hair so

Mike Klinzing: [01:10:22] well, I don’t have any hair, so that’s easy to do

Terry Awls: [01:10:25] so you’re great then.

Mike Klinzing: [01:10:26] Oh, yeah, I’m good, man. We’re ready to go right now.

Terry Awls: [01:10:28] You’re good. Yeah. I’ll tell you. I’m so honored to have been on. And , I appreciate what you guys do and I think you guys are doing it right. And man I’m just smiling because to be in this position, to be on the show.

Those are things that I’ve dreamed about being able to make an impact. And so I appreciate you taking the time or just giving me the opportunity  to speak and talk to them.

Mike Klinzing: [01:10:58] Can’tThank you enough for those [01:11:00] kind words. Again, we have loved what we’ve done with the podcast, and it’s so much fun to be able to talk to guys like you. And again, we’ve talked to people from every different level of the game. We’ve talked to grassroots coaches, we’ve talked to high school coaches. We talked to college, we’ve talked to NBA people, and I learned something from every single person, no matter what level. And I think that’s one of the things that’s one of the great lessons that I’ve learned is there are outstanding coaches.

At the fourth grade level, and there are outstanding coaches at the MBA level and it doesn’t mean one is better or worse than the other. It just means that there’s just a tremendous amount of people out there that love the game of basketball. Want to share it, want to talk about it. And so we’ve had. A tremendous amount of fun.

Being able to talk to people like yourself and tonight’s conversation. Again was just one that I think is very valuable for coaches out there to hear whether you’re an AAU coach. You’re a high school coach or a college coach. I think there’s value in it. And I appreciate you taking the time and I appreciate the [01:12:00] opportunity and the offer to come out of your podcast.

And certainly that’s something that we would love to do, we’re always looking to be able to help to grow the game. And really that’s kind of been the mission of the podcast from the start is to have a positive impact on the game of basketball. And I think we’re doing that and we’re trying to find him, you know?

Yeah, we’re trying, we’re certainly trying and we appreciate the people who are out there listening and stick with us. Day after day, week after week in episode after episode, it means a lot. We don’t take that listenership lightly and we don’t take it lightly guys like you who come on the podcast and share their stories with us and help us to provide value to our audience.

So again, Terry can’t thank you enough. To everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.


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