TOM HEIL – BALDWIN WALLACE UNIVERSITY MEN’S HEAD COACH – EPISODE 368

Tom Heil

Website – https://www.bwyellowjackets.com/sports/mbkb/index

Email – theil@bw.edu

Twitter – @BWCoachHeil  @Jackets_Hoops

Tom Heil is the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.  In his first five seasons, Heil, who was the lead assistant under former Yellow Jacket Head Coach Duane Sheldon for five seasons has compiled a 84-54 record, and has led the Yellow Jackets to two OAC Championship games and one semifinal.

In six seasons as a college head coach, Heil has five straight winning seasons, a 106-61 career record, three conference championship game appearances with one regular season league title, two tournament titles and a pair of berths in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

Heil returned to BW in the spring of 2015 after serving as the head coach at Defiance College for one season. He led the Yellow Jackets to a 22-7 record, including a 15-0 mark at home. Defiance captured both the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and HCAC Tournament titles. Heil guided his team into the NCAA Division III National Tournament where it posted the school’s first-ever NCAA Division III National Tournament victory by knocking off the defending national champions.

Prior to his experience at Defiance, Heil served as the main assistant for Head Coach Duane Sheldon ’94. In five seasons on the BW coaching staff, Heil helped guide the team to a 58-44 record. Heil came to BW the first time after serving as an assistant coach at Defiance (2007-2009).

Heil played four seasons of varsity basketball at Bluffton University. During his time with the Beavers, Heil was twice named to the Academic All-HCAC team. He also captained the 2006-2007 squad that finished with a school-record tying 18 wins.

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Grab a pen and paper so you can take some notes as you listen to this episode with Tom Heil, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Baldwin-Wallace University.

What We Discuss with Tom Heil

  • The last of the outdoor basketball generation
  • Playing against LeBron in High School in Akron
  • His experience playing D3 basketball at Bluffton
  • How his playing career set him up to be a coach later in life
  • Learning what it takes to win as a player
  • How the weight room impacted his success as a high school player
  • Why the making sure the joy of playing the game needs to stay front and center
  • The benefits and challenges associated with the lack of off-season contact in Division 3
  • Looking for player that have a committed relationship with basketball
  • Why he goes through high school coaches first in recruiting
  • Why players with parents who were athletes have worked out well
  • Recruiting good people from good families that are going to work hard regardless of their situation
  • Building player relationships and separating the player from the person
  • How his assistants help keep every player in the program engaged even when they aren’t getting playing time
  • Be a fountain, not a drain
  • Why your bench is so important to having a connected team
  • Being honest with players about playing time and roles
  • Why he prefers evaluating players with their high school teams
  • Going to 17 or 18 of their top recruits’ high school games in a season when there is mutual interest
  • The best thing a recruit can say is they’re coming, the second best best thing is that they’re not coming
  • Choosing to coach in college as opposed to high school
  • The impact former BW Coach Duane Sheldon had on his career
  • Learning to do things your way as a head coach and blocking out the outside influences
  • Tips for preparing to become a head coach while you’re still an assistant
  • Emailing himself with things he sees online to help remember
  • The importance of having a wife that understands the demands on college coach
  • Incorporating your family into your program
  • Having guys that you can win with and that you can lose with, just get great guys in your program
  • The challenge of competing in the OAC

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THANKS, TOM HEIL!

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TRANSCRIPT FOR TOM HEIL – BALDWIN-WALLACE UNIVERSITY MEN’S HEAD COACH – EPISODE 367

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host, Jason Sunkle this evening, but I am pleased to be joined from Baldwin-Wallace University. The head men’s basketball coach, Tom Heil, Tom. Welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

Tom Heil: [00:00:12] Thank you Mike, for having me, excited to be here.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:16] Absolutely. We are thrilled to be able to have you on and get a chance to talk some hoops. Do you want to start out by going back in time to when you were a kid? Talk to us a little bit about how you got into the game when you were younger.

Tom Heil: [00:00:27] Man. As far back as I can remember, and I don’t really know what age that would be, but I love to, I think I was really fortunate to grow up the way I did probably on the back end of how you grew up.

And I don’t know, I was probably on the last of the generation that grew up playing outside. And my first memories are in my driveway and at the park shooting on a double rim and the land by myself [00:01:00]

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:01] That’s kind of the way it should be.

Tom Heil: [00:01:03] It should be, man. I miss that.

I don’t know how I’m gonna, that’s how I want my son to grow up. I don’t know how we’re going to make that happen, but, as far back as I can remember, I loved basketball. it was just my favorite thing to do. and, and I continued really through my whole childhood, I was fortunate to grow up in a house where we didn’t really have, video games, we had some system video game systems when I was a kid, but I dunno, I think I stopped.

So I didn’t spend a lot of time doing it. So I really grew up outside and basketball with the we did it all, but basketball was a really, really, really big part of that. and then my first real memories of watching basketball on TV was those early nineties Cavs and Mark Price and.

And Larry Nance and Craig Ehlo and Hot [00:02:00] Rod Williams and those teams, that those are like my first memories of actually watching basketball on TV. And that’s why the Last Dance was such a needed documentary for me during quarantine man. Like that took me down memory lane for really my first memories.

And, and I was so young at the time and I learned a lot. I did not realize. That the year of the shot the Cavs beat them six times. They’re sick. So my memories are very, those are like the very first memories, but. That was when I think I really started to kind of follow up with hoops and, I don’t know.

I was great. I did it all the time. I was really competitive and once I got to high school, I was really fortunate. I went to Hoban and played for a really good high school coach. I think everybody probably feels that way about their high school coach. So I’m no different, but, and I know I’m biased, but I really.

Really, really, [00:03:00] really had a great one. And, he had a major impact on my life and I think it was around that time, like ninth grade when I started don’t want to be good, like really, really want to be good and, and learn how to win and what it took. And. I think the first coach to really instill some discipline and I was probably a 14 year old, pretty arrogant little dude.

I was really fortunate to play for a great, great, great man. And I had four great years of high school. at Hoban and unfortunately we’re the same age as LeBron. So that’s like the worst time to be playing high school basketball in Akron.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:41] I guess you could always say, you can always hang your hat on the fact you got a chance to play and stuff, which is good.

Tom Heil: [00:03:46] Yeah. It was really looking back now, obviously incredibly, incredibly cool at the time. It really sucked. They were in our district and yeah, it was not a fun. Oh was not a fun game, as you can imagine, [00:04:00] it didn’t really go too well for me, or the Hoban Knights, but I had a great experience in high school and I knew on playing college and that’s, as you know I’ve kind of heard you on a few podcasts.

Talk about that journey of being recruited, It’s just strange. And you don’t really know when you’re 16, 17, 18 years old we all think we can play division one. in that process for me, you start to realize like, all right nobody’s calling me, these other guys are getting offers.

Like, I don’t know, how’s this gonna work? So I, I had the journey that I think most good high school players have kind of the realization that if I’m going to continue to play, it’s probably going to be at the division three level. And I was fortunate just to get recruited. I think I got recruited cause I played on a really good high school team.

and I had a great high school coach and I ended up at Bluffton, which is Northwest Ohio, small school division three. and, and was honestly, probably, the journey most guys go through when they get to [00:05:00] college to like, I was a pretty average college player. I don’t know. Did anything exceptionally well?

I think I was okay at everything and had a coming off the bench on pretty much my sophomore through senior year. but I only started at a couple of games cause of injuries. And I was, I was pretty much a role player and got to play with really good players and had a great experience.

In a lot of ways. I think if you’re going to coach, I had the ideal role as a college player. When you get to be a college coach, I was never even close to being a star. I’ve been in most roles. I played in JV games. So I had a pretty, as far as setting myself up to be a college coach, I think I had a pretty special experience in college.

I played for a great, great, great man as well in college who was really, really, I think pivotal in my journey to then go on and be a college coach. So, the journey of the player was fun, man. It, when it comes to end, it really stinks as you know, [00:06:00] I mean I’m 35 now and I’d love, I’d love to change places with our guys, but in a nutshell, kind of the journey as a player, I was, I was really, really, really fortunate, I think, to be in the right place at the right time with, with some teams and had a great experience and played on it, good teams and never was, I don’t think I was anything special ever as a player, but had a great, great, great opportunity as a player to set me up to be a coach.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:26] Absolutely. I want to unpack a couple of things that you said that stuck out to me when we were talking. One was when you mentioned how you got to ninth grade and you said at that point, you thought, Hey, it’s time for me to start to take this a little bit more seriously and really begin to work at the game.

So what did that. What did that look like? Both from a mindset shift perspective, and then in terms of what you actually physically did or mentally did to prepare yourself to be a high school basketball player, just for, in case there’s a player out there listening, who says, boy, I really want to [00:07:00] take that next step in my game.

Just what did it, what did that mean to you that you started taking the game more seriously?

Tom Heil: [00:07:06] I think I started, one. I think what happened to a lot of young people when they get to high school, kind of got punched in the mouth a little bit. you know, I played JV as a freshmen, so I basically from like the first practice on, I was practicing with the varsity guys, and probably played in five or six varsity games my freshman year, but.

Some of our baptism by fire. I mean, I was going against a big 10 wide receiver and, and some guys that I wasn’t physically ready to, to compete again. So I, I think learning how to compete and what I was kind of all about. Like, I don’t know that I’d really ever had to do that and compete at that level.

Like I had to, to compete in those practices. There’s and, and the other piece was I think I was pretty skilled and loved to work on my [00:08:00] game and be in the gym and shoot, but I don’t know that I had any understanding of what went into winning and what it takes to win, to be a complete player, to really impact the game.

and the, all of the ways you can do that outside of the box score and, and you know, how many. How many points I had and how many assists I had, like, and there’s a lot of ways to, to impact the game. And, and I don’t know at that point in my life, I actually, I do know I had no idea. I really didn’t know how to, how to play hard. I, I think I had an okay probably knowledge of how to play, but, I had no knowledge of really what it took to win. So I was, I remember that, man. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the only time in my life that I’ve thrown up from exercising or running or whatever was my freshman year of high school.

and it’s a funny story. I just didn’t [00:09:00] know any better. And we were kind of, at the time, a little dysfunctional as a team and. High school coach got real mad at us and put us on the line and we’ve all been there. Right. And I’m maybe I’m like 25 practices into my high school career.

So I have no idea what’s coming. And we ran a down and back sprinted a down and back. And if you won, you were out and, I actually did this with a team within the last couple of years. And because I remembered about this, but yeah, I’m sure he was teaching us to compete. We weren’t competing.

And so I take off the first couple and I have, I mean, Mike, when I say I have no chance of winning these, I have, I have no choice of winning these first Scoble and, but I ran like it. I I just didn’t know any better. I was so competitive. So I ran, I ran like it. And man, about after about four of them, I’m [00:10:00] like, man, I’m in trouble.

And, I was the last one. I was last one.  I gave everything I had, I did a very poor job as a competitor of like strategizing how I was going to do this. But I remember that like, it was yesterday. I, I didn’t. At home and from the gym, you have to go down two flights of stairs to the locker room and right there on the, in between the two flights man, that’s when it all, I didn’t make it, but I do remember that I remember being a freshman and going through that process and, and realizing how much, how long I had to go.

And that was a huge year for me because I came back as a sophomore with the start was a starter. And nobody thought that I don’t think that our coach thought I had a chance to be a starter, but that was a slap in the face. I was really fortunate. I grew up in a house that when that happened, I had my parents were just the kind of people that were like, Oh you better get better, man.

[00:11:00] If you want to play, you better get better. And that was, I think, a really big pivotal moment for me to kind of learn, to take some ownership and just, just get to work.

Mike Klinzing: [00:11:11] And so when you say get to work, what does that mean? What does that look like? And that summer between your freshman and sophomore year, what did you do?

Where are you playing? Obviously playing some pickup games. How did you go about figuring out what you needed to work out or what kind of drills you were going to do? I always say that when I was playing, I would do the same workout basically every day. From the time I was in high school, through my four years of college, when I was working out on my own, I did the same hour and a half workout.

Every single time I did it now, I look at just the variety and the things that are out there and how much I would have eaten all that stuff up to be able to have access to all those resources, to try different things and to work on different parts of my game. So just talk to me a little bit about how you got the plan together for what you’re going to do to improve.

Tom Heil: [00:11:56] Yeah. I wish I had, I think what a lot of these [00:12:00] kids have now, I think that’s why they’re so, so much skill with, especially with the basketball in their hands. Now kids have. They’re good at that stuff. And there’s a lot of people out there that can help them, but I don’t know that I did a good job of that.

The biggest thing for me was the weight room. I mean, that was the first time that I had been really introduced to, really lifting weights at all. and it was a big part of, I think, just the athletic culture at Hogan. And it was just kind of the expectation for the first time in my life. So I just realized pretty soon, like physically, I’m kind of getting manhandled by some of these juniors and seniors my freshman year.

And if I wanted to have a chance to compete, like I needed to make the most of my physical abilities. I mean, I was not a top tier athlete within our gym. So the weight room honestly, was a huge part of it. And I played every day. You know, I, I remember this was when going to the park was a thing.

I mean, we had some [00:13:00] unbelievable games I would go all over, man, all over the Akron area. Like. There was a, there was a great park and stove, silver Springs that had great games. I mean, I remember some of the canc guys being there. This was like, when they weren’t there also all the time, so different and, and getting to play those games.

I think I was better by that point. So I was playing against them all summer and, I really that’s. Probably where I grew up the most after that freshman year was, was just learning. Like, man, if I’m going to play again, guys, like I gotta know how to play. I need to figure out ways to score against grown men.

I got to like toughen up a little bit. I mean, these guys are going to eat me alive if I don’t learn to stand up for myself and those, all of those things, I think you weren’t at the park. Don’t know. I know that kids have as many opportunities to do that. I really, really, really did that. I don’t know Mike, that I was that intentional about it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:13:54] This is fun, right?

Tom Heil: [00:13:55] It was just fun. I just loved to play. And I remember getting in a [00:14:00] lot of hot water at home like coming home, like later than I was supposed to, especially before I could drive, I was young. I didn’t really drive until I was a senior. So like I would. Kind of be stuck at the park until like 10 30, 11 o’clock you know that whenever the lights went off, I don’t, I don’t really remember back.

It was awhile ago, but I remember coming home and taking some in and just, I just wore it. It was like, it was worth it to me, like, Hey, maybe. I might, I might take some heat when I get home from, from my dad, but man, I’m like, I’d love to play a couple more games.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:33] Totally. I can totally relate to you. I just, one of the things I it’s a theme that runs through the podcast with me is just the fact that, that.

Playground basketball culture, that playground basketball experience that existed. What you’re talking about just doesn’t exist anymore. I’m sure you can sometimes find pickup games, but you’re not going to find, pick up games where you have high quality, the high caliber player, [00:15:00] some a high school and college, and then adults who maybe played in college or were good high school players, or just guys who are great recreational pickup basketball players.

Those places if they do exist, they’re so few and far between, and that’s not to be Moen completely the system that we have today. Cause I think there are a ton of positives for kids in terms of their development and things you mentioned in terms of their skill. And, but I do think that there’s something to be said for being able to play out on the playground, play against people of all different ages, especially playing against older adults and college players.

When you’re in high school. To me, there’s nothing better. To prepare you for what you’re going to face out on the floor. Then that, and I could argue that probably to my grave. I know it’s not that system’s not coming back for a lot of societal reasons and whatever, but I just, I feel bad for kids today, players today that they don’t get to experience what you and I got to experience just the.

The culture of the playground, the friendships that I built, the [00:16:00] experiences that I had, like, everything that you’re describing are all things that when you say those things, it’s just the memories of basketball, the positive memories that I have just come flooding back. And I think to your point, it wasn’t surely that it was an intentional act.

You’ve done your part to try to get better. It was just. Man. I love to play basketball. I love playing in good games against good competition. And that’s where this happens. And yet the byproduct of it is that you get better. But the reality is you just did it cause you love to hang out and play basketball.

And that is really what it comes down to.

Tom Heil: [00:16:32] And I don’t care what level you’re playing at, I really think that matters finding you, like you have to find joy in it. I’m sure, for you probably even more than, than for our guys of BW or when I was a player, it can feel like, because it is hard, it’s a lot of work and it can feel like it can feel like work, but I just think it’s incredibly important as a coach.

I [00:17:00] think it’s. Incredibly important for anybody that would be listening to that, like is a player like you have to find joy and not lose that. Like, I don’t care if you’re an NBA guy that’s you’re LeBron and you’re in year 17 or whatever of your NBA career. I mean, finding that process is probably cyclical.

I mean, it comes in and goes a little bit and you have to work harder at times to find the joy, but you gotta do it. And there was no better way for me to do it throughout my entire playing career that like going back. So the park and play player in the summer, it was like you fall back in love a little bit.

It’s like a relationship in any relationships. And I feel like that was a huge part of my relationship with basketball and how I would like fall back in love with it if I ever felt that slipping alone.

Mike Klinzing: [00:17:49] Yeah. And I think that’s something interesting Tom. When you think about the contrast and you mentioned it a minute ago, the contrast between.

The division three setup and the current division one set up. [00:18:00] Cause like when I was playing summertime, our season ended and literally the next day I would be in the annex at Kent plan, pickup basketball, just to rejuvenate my love for the game. And then I was handed like a three page ditto sheet of here’s your workouts for the summer.

We’ll see you back here in August. And that was it. Like, I didn’t see any of the coaching staff all summer. So I went home and played pickup basketball, and I played in the Cleveland Pro-Am league and all these different things. And to me, that regenerated, as you said, practice at the division one level, it was tough.

There were a lot of days where it wasn’t as fun as I would have wanted it to be, but. There were so many good things that came out of that as well. But you have to continue, as you said, you have to fight for that love of the game that you, we all have when we’re growing up. And I think when you think about what you have at BW, right.

And the division three system where yeah, sometimes as a coach, I’m sure it’s frustrating that you can’t have that. Contact on the court with your guys in the off [00:19:00] season. I’m sure as a coach there’s party, that’s like, man, I wish I could get one or time with our guys in the off season, but yet I think that the division one system right now, the way it’s set up and I’ve talked to a couple of our division, one guests about that is it almost seems to me like 11 months out of the year, hearing those same voices in your ear day after day after, day off season workouts, and then the preseason and conditioning and all the way through the season.

That just seems like it’s gotta be an incredible grind on those players and the coaches. I think some of the coaches have said the same thing that like, we, it would be, they love having the time with their guys and yet at the same time, it can get to be a grind because you just never step away from it to sort of rejuvenate that love.

So maybe just talk about, maybe this is a good time to just kind of talk about. How you approach that off season with your guys in terms of making sure that they’re doing the things that you need them to do, but yet also they’re getting a break. They’re getting to step away from you and you’re getting to step away from them.

Tom Heil: [00:19:55] Yeah. That’s I think a great point. I would [00:20:00] agree most, a lot of guys, I know at the division one level. And I mean, they need a break, players do. And so do coaches. It’s a lot, and I wish we had a little bit more on our level. Like, I think there’s a happy medium, whatever that might be a few hours a week, was for some skill stuff in the fall and the spring, I think would be a big deal.

I don’t think they need to change anything about summer. I think it’s great that our guys have the opportunity to really do some stuff in the summer that I don’t know, maybe division one, guys don’t have the chance to do. I mean, they. They get to have some pretty special internships and things that lead to great opportunities for them professionally when they graduate.

And then they also most of our guys are Northeast Ohio guys. They play in a summer league together in a normal summer. they did an, obviously this summer because of the pandemic, but they. There’s a lot more of it is just on them. And I think really Mike that starts with us in recruiting.

Like we try as hard as we possibly [00:21:00] can to find guys that are committed to basketball. And I probably say I love basketball more than I should, because I think like that relationship when you’d like a lot of everybody loves basketball when they get to college. And I think we need guys that once they get to college and they’re on their own, and there’s a lot more freedom for them, the choices that they make when you guys that are going to stay committed, to being serious and good, the player and their development, a lot of their development is in their hands and it’s really hard to do. I mean, it’s really hard to do. That’s one of the hardest things to evaluate. Sometimes, frankly, we’ve just been fortunate and gotten lucky, but I don’t mind our off season the way, the way that it is. And a lot of in a lot of ways, I think it’s healthy. I think it provides some balance.

I mean, I can’t imagine them listening [00:22:00] to me for 11 months. I really can’t. I mean, I feel like that after the fall and winter, and we get to the spring at the universities and I mean, we’re really aware of that as coach was like, man, I I’m sure these guys are tired of hearing me. Say the same things over and over and over.

I mean, we try to do a good job of balance that out. I think the relationship piece is something we work at really, really hard, whereas intentional about the relationships as we are about the skills that we want our guys to be able to and fundamentals that we wanted to execute an offense and defense.

I mean, we’re pretty intentional about the relationships, but it’s a grind. So I think that balance that being able to get away and hopefully get back in the gym, like you said, when our season ends, I usually tell them I don’t want to see him for a few weeks and just let him.

Let them do their thing. And almost always, our guys are back in the gym the next day, kind of doing what you were talking about when, when you’re season [00:23:00] that it can’t back in like the rec playing some pickup. I mean, that’s no, I think our version of that, and I think if that’s the case, it means you have the right guy.

you know, you’ve got guys that their relationship with basketball is a pretty committed one. I’d love a little bit more time with our guys to be able to work with them in the fall, the spring, but. I think it’s a healthy system, for guys to stay committed and stay in love with the game.

Mike Klinzing: [00:23:24] So how do you in the recruiting process, what kind of questions do you ask? Who do you ask those questions of? And then what kinds of things are you looking for that maybe give you a clue to what types of guys. Are going to stay committed to basketball. As you said, when you, once you bring them into the program.

Tom Heil: [00:23:42] I mean, that’s the question you’re right there.

I’ll try to articulate it the best I can to start really hard. I don’t know if this is always this way or whatever. I think we have so many relationships with coaches, especially in Northeast Ohio. [00:24:00] that we’re fortunate that. I feel like they’re very honest with us about that. We always go through the high school coach.

I mean, I think that’s our, just our best resource to really get an idea of what the young man we’re interested in is like on a day to day basis. I don’t know the, I think AAU coaches are people that we will certainly have relationships with and talk to, but we just are, so we know so many more high school coaches and I think there’s such great high school coaches in Northeast, Ohio.

I think that’s kind of where it starts. the other thing that I would really emphasize is the parents what that relationship is like, number one, and how basketball fits into recruit mom, dad, like where does basketball fit in for, for them and their family? Like, we’ve had a lot of, I think, success with parents that were athletes themselves.

They don’t seem to be as caught up in [00:25:00] it as parents. That weren’t’

Mike Klinzing: [00:25:02] isn’t that funny? Like I think that’s a hundred percent true, Tom, and I think that I, and I’m not sure. Well, I mean, I guess I know the answer to why that is. I think when you do something yourself and you’ve had an understanding of kind of what it takes, then I think you realize that most parents, at least in my experience, both just people that have played with my kids or just people that I know that are my friends. I think what you find is that. They understand that if you’re going to make it to be a college athlete in whatever sport it might be, that that’s driven, not by the parent, it’s driven by the athlete.

And so I think those parents kind of understand that, look, I can provide opportunities for my kids to play basketball or be a soccer player or play football or whatever it is, but ultimately. Whether or not, my child gets an opportunity to play college athletics or heck even high school athletics. It’s not up to me as the parent.

It’s up to the [00:26:00] kid to put in the time and the effort and have the love and all the things that we were talking about. So I think that’s a hundred percent, a hundred percent spot on and that. Those parents, I think, tend to take a step back we’re athletes themselves because they understand that it’s not about the parent wanting it.

It’s about the athlete wanting it.

Tom Heil: [00:26:16] bad evaluations, like trying to evaluate that I think is probably been as, as consistent as anything. With a kid that is driven himself to be good. And, and, and when they, when we get them that work just accelerates. Cause they have more opportunity, I think, to work on their game and beyond that, I don’t know. I’m trying to really recruit good people from good families. I think that’s the best we can do to try to evaluate that. It’s really hard on everybody that you talk to is gonna tell you that. He’s our, whoever we’re looking into or recruiting is, is working hard. I mean, they’re the best player most of the time, right?

[00:27:00] It’s kind of easy to work hard. You know, we need guys that, and I think the family is a big part of that. What kind of family they come from? That when they get to college and it’s not easy, and they’re not just the best player that they’re going to continue to work and work like a guy that wants to be a starter.

Well, before they actually have a chance to do that, I think that’s a big deal at our level. I think it’s more common for guys to settle in and accept like, all right, we start practice. I kind of am not in the rotation. The first few games this year is probably not my year. You know, I probably, this guy’s got to graduate and I just think it’s more common for guys to kind of fall into that.

And not because so much of that work has to be done outside on their own outside of practice, we, we really try to be intentional about getting guys that are going to work. Regardless of what their role is going to be and making that a big deal and a part of our program. And, and, it’s hard, man.

That’s hard, it’s hard. It’s a hard thing to, to consistently get right. We just try to do that every day and constantly be evaluating that. And [00:28:00] I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job. We’ve got guys that I’m really, really excited about. I’m pretty committed to basketball right now.

Mike Klinzing: [00:28:06] All right. I want to ask you this question to follow up on that.

And then I want to jump back to something on the recruiting piece of it. How do you engage those guys who are. On your roster, who are a part of your team, but who are not part of your regular rotation? So guys, let’s say 10 and up on your roster, how do you over the course of the season in practice in games, how do you recognize what those guys are contributing in order to keep them feeling like they’re a part of what you’re doing?

Cause we all know as coaches that it’s easy, especially as the season goes on to. Lose sight of what those guys are going through and the contributions they’re making, because we’re so focused on the kids. We’re actually gonna get it out before and play for us and, and, and determine whether we win or lose.

So how do you engage those guys to the back end of your bench?

Tom Heil: [00:28:53] Great question. try to be intentional about the relationship. Number one, we really try to be intentional about [00:29:00] separating coaching you as a basketball player and you being in our program and us loving you and trying to help you.

Get your degree and become a man, which is really what it’s all about. And, I think that I have really good assistants. And if I’m going to be honest, Mike, I think they do a really good job of that without me having to tell them how to do it or what to do, it’s just, they’re there from a relationship standpoint, an intentional standpoint and a coaching standpoint, I mean, you’re right.

Most of my time and effort, once we start our season is surrounding our rotation guys and figuring out how the pieces are gonna fit together. And what’s how do we become the best version of ourselves this season and. I have great assistant coaches. Like my full time assistant is the real deal and he’s like family to me. And he’s an incredibly important, if not the most important part of our program [00:30:00] when it comes to everything to recruiting to those relationships that you talked about. If he’s not around, I don’t think those players tend to, and up on the, on the depth chart, I don’t think they feel anywhere near as engaged without him. And then we have a great part time assistant who is incredibly invested in our program as well. And so I think it starts with having great assistants and number two, I think we really value, people that bring energy and, and are consistent with that energy and are fun to be around.

Those guys a lot of times are that, and it’s why they stick it out, they lift people up, they’re fountains, not drains and they’re those type of people. And I think because they’re those type of people, it’s easy for me to. Acknowledge the contributions that they make, even though they [00:31:00] don’t come show up necessarily on a box score or whatever.

It’s easy for me to acknowledge those contributions on a daily basis because it’s easy to see. And they’re not feeling sorry for themselves. And I think relish the opportunity to be in their role. I mean, we just graduated  a couple of them that had never been in the rotation.

And their role basically for four years was like scout team. And they were incredible. I mean, they they can tell you most of the things that most OAC teams are running and probably can do it to this day. And I just think that really matters. I think that’s how winning is done.

Like, I think those guys, if you’re going to have a connected group, that’s going to overachieve those guys at the end of the bench. Like they really, really really matter. an impact winning. And I think being able to have great assistants that keeps those guys engaged. And then I think it’s my job as the head coach to continue to acknowledge those contributions, even when they don’t [00:32:00] necessarily show up to people outside of our inner circle.

Mike Klinzing: [00:32:04] So what do you, when you say acknowledge, what does that look like? So if I’m the 11th man on the team and I’m having a great day of practice with whatever my enthusiasm, or maybe I’m playing really well on a particular day, or I’m supposed to be part of the scout team and I’m executing what I’m supposed to be doing perfectly, what does acknowledgement look like?

Is that verbal praise in front of the team is that put an arm around a kid on the way off the practice floor. What does that acknowledgement look like?

Tom Heil: [00:32:31] Both, I think it happens a lot on a relationship one-on-one standpoint. And then I think it’s incredibly valuable when, when you can do it in front of a team.

and when I think it gets really special is when it doesn’t come from me, when it comes from our players and, and the leaders on our team, I think to acknowledge that we give guys opportunity to kind of do that at the end of practice. if they have. You know, something just to say about somebody that did a good job.

And I think those opportunities, [00:33:00] I think are really special and it’s hard because the best way to reward a guy is to put them on the floor and to reward them with playing time. So it’s hard because I don’t want to be, I believe in being authentic and genuine  and saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

And I don’t want to be building and lifting a guy up just to do it. And then he’s sitting there thinking, well, like, dude, you never play me. you know, I’m doing it, all these things that you’re talking about. So I think those conversations need to be honest and guys need to be able to accept it.

Like, Hey, you’re not the best athlete, and whatever your skill level and in certain areas isn’t good enough, but like the way you’re competing every day at practice is a big deal. And it’s really, I don’t know if your ceilings is higher than  the guys ahead of you. It’s certainly most likely not, but man, like on a, in a big picture, life standpoint, how valuable is it to be there guy when things aren’t going your way, like you bring it every day and you’re a great competitor and you’re a great teammate.

So, [00:34:00] you know, I think the big we have in our program is like to be the best teammate. So we try to reward that, lift that up as best we can, but like the bottom line is, I mean, we’re going to play the best cast and that certainly matters. It can help a guy get on the floor, but it’s a really delicate balance and, and frankly, that’s why you need good people.

You can’t win without good people. if those guys on the bench are idiots and they’re acting like idiots and they’re they’re kind of behind the scenes sabotaging what you’re trying to do, you’re never going to have a chance to be any good. Now, when it matters, not at the end of the season not in the conference tournament, not against the best teams on your schedule.

You’re never going to have a chance to win those games.

Mike Klinzing: [00:34:38] I think that goes back to what you said five minutes ago about evaluating the kid and the parents, because anybody who has not been involved in athletics, I don’t think that they understand the negative impact that players 10, 11, and 12 can have on a team.

If those guys. Spin the [00:35:00] wrong way, for lack of a better way of saying it in that if those guys are complaining, if they’re getting after the other guys and coaches know what he’s doing, and they bring a bad attitude with them every day. People from the outside who haven’t been involved in athletics might say, well, who cares?

Those guys aren’t playing anyway. You know, just focus on the guys that are out on the floor, but you and I both know. And any parent who’s been through an athletic situation and played on a team themselves, especially at the higher level you’ve gone up. I think you understand that those players at the end of the bench, if they are dragging everybody else down, it can make what could otherwise be.

A very positive situation, turned negative. Really really fast and I think good coaches and experienced coaches and coaches who have been successful, understand how important it is to keep those guys at the back end of the bench engaged not only for the benefit of the team, but also as you said, for the benefit of those kids as people in the long term.

Tom Heil: [00:35:56] Absolutely. I mean, it’s the right thing to do and [00:36:00] that’s just the way we try to operate. And I know I can do a better job of that at times, but we, it is something we think about and try to be super aware of on a day to day basis. I mean, and we’ll watch and film our bench and, evaluate like, and talk about that with guys and I know that might sound a little, a little corny, but, How their engagement is while we’re playing.

Like, I’ve been pretty upset at times and got upset with guys when you know the camera’s on them and you can tell their body language. I mean, they have their have no interest in even being there. And those moments I think are good, great coachable moments. And in a lot of times, guys might not necessarily realize that they’re giving that off, but, but that’s a big, big, big deal.

And we say this, sometimes I say this because it is true. I mean, you spend so much time as a coach. I mean over analyzing, like who we’re going to dress and if, depending on what our [00:37:00] numbers are going to be, I mean, we spend a ton of time and energy over going over that stuff. I mean, to the point where it’s it’s nauseatingly and, and back and forth and who should dress and how many we should dress and, and how many we travel and.

Because we care. And I just think that’s an important part of the process. And  if it didn’t, if we didn’t care and those those decisions, we didn’t give them a whole lot of dialogue and time. I’m sure I wear my assistants out with it, but ultimately it’s my decision. And I want to do the due diligence because it’s a big deal to me.

I want it to be a big deal to the kids and those guys matter to us and they really, really do. I think that’s part of having a great. Program at our level, especially is the development and engagement guys. We have guys that are going to have what I think will be major roles for us this season.

Now we’re in that position last year as freshmen. And, [00:38:00] to me, that’s what a program is all about. You know, we, we need to continue to do that. And I think that the structure, we provide the processes in place on a day to day basis and how we try to engage in like skill workouts and that stuff matters.

And those guys need to feel the same juice and energy for me when I’m working out working them out as the guy that’s ahead of them and the starter and the guy that gets that all the attention from opposing team. So that takes, I think, having a great staff and that’s aligned from a values standpoint and, and I think we do that.

So. I love that you pointed it out because I think it’s something that doesn’t get talked about anywhere near enough. And I think it’s a really, really big deal. I really think it’s how winning is, shouldn’t say winning it’s how like reaching your potential and overachieving, whatever that means.

That’s how that’s done is those people matter and their engagement really, I think can steer the ship one way or the other.

[00:39:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:38:59] Yeah, I agree. I think overachievement is really a good way to look at it. I think when you have. A roster from one to 12 or one to 15 or one to 25 or whatever it is when everybody’s bought in.

And everybody’s rowing that boat same direction. I think it makes it much, much easier to accomplish things that maybe you’re just raw talent says that you shouldn’t be accomplishing. And it’s rare, I think to see a team that overachieved that isn’t together, sometimes maybe they. Achieve what they are capable of, but you rarely see a team that overachieved that doesn’t talk about having great chemistry.

You’re just having great people are really enjoying being around each other, whether that’s on or off the floor. And I think that’s critically, critically important. When you look at how you develop the success of your team is making sure that everybody is on the same page. I want to jump back to that recruiting question just so I don’t forget it.

And that is when you’re talking to you talked about how important it was for you to. Build those [00:40:00] relationships with local high school coaches and that when you’re going out and you’re recruiting and you’re talking to those high school coaches, that relationship is so important and that you’re getting the truth from them.

But we all know that the AAU scene is an important part of the recruiting piece in today’s basketball world. So I just want to, how do you balance the, what you see when you watch a kid play high school basketball versus what you see. When you watch them play AAU basketball, maybe are you looking for different things in those two different settings?

Or are you looking at, or just explain kind of how you balance out what you see in each setting?

Tom Heil: [00:40:37] Yeah, the, the evaluation, I think is certainly a little bit different. you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I mean, we all have, I think, different. Skill sets and things that might appeal to us as coaches.

Like I’m pretty biased to just skill. I think skill really matters. And, and, guys that can dribble pass and shoot at, or at a high level. always I think we’ll [00:41:00] catch our eye. AAU I think is, probably unfairly bashed. But in some basketball circles, I think there’s a lot of really good things that come from AAU,  guys getting to play with other high level guys from other schools.

And those relationships I think are, are, are important for kids and, and can really help them try to get better. I like the fact. In a year, we get to see some guys that we will recruit, play against some pretty special athletes. I think the opportunity to watch a guy that we think is a most of our top guys are good at it to play division two.

And there a lot of times they get offers. that type of guy played against sky going to play in the big 10. That’s a pretty good opportunity to see that kid play against those level of athletes. And I really enjoy those types of games. I like AAU because I get to see a kid play at eight in the morning sometimes.

You know what I mean? Like you get to, you [00:42:00] get to, everybody’s telling you this. And the other thing about the kid, and it’s like, Hey, sitting here with my coffee, watch ready to watch it play. Like, we’re going to figure it out. What kind of competitor? He really is. And I think there’s a lot of great opportunities that you get in a new, I also think it’s easier to look if you have the athleticism, it’s easier to look like a college player in AAU.

I think high school is, is really where the evaluation can really take place where you find out about all the other stuff. there’s no there’s not really a scout or a game plan necessarily in AAU. I mean, guys are just kind of playing we’re in high school, man. I mean, if you’re the best guy at Medina and you’re playing Brunswick, like you better believe that those dudes at Brunswick have spent three straight days onhow   going to not let you do what you want to do. And it’s just such a special thing. High school basketball, [00:43:00] such a special thing. Like I love, I love going. I love being in the stands at games like that. I mean, I honestly talking about it kind of gives me goosebumps. Like I, when I watched those type of games and those environments, like I almost feel somewhat sadness that like, man, I’ll never get to do this again. And watching kid play in that environment again, against that level of we’re just, it means that much to both schools and the other coach is a great coach and he’s got a plan and. You get to see how they handle that I think is just a whole nother level. I mean, I just, I think the best evaluation really gets done and watching high school games, you, I think can get a lot.

It helps you generate your, your database and your list. You know, here’s the guys that we want to look at and evaluate, but watching them in a high school game is just to me, that is the ultimate determination of what’s your your chance to see what you’re going to be like or what you hope they will be like for you and how they you hope they progress and what you’re going [00:44:00] to your plan for developing them and your hope, the role that you hope they will be in someday for you.

So. I love high school basketball, but I also appreciate AAU, I think there’s a lot of good, really good things, and it’s a great chance for coaches to see a lot of players. and there’s a lot of really good things that can come up out of that as well. But I’m just biased to watching a guy in high school.

And I don’t know that like, , she’s get to do that as much as we do. I mean, I’m at a high school game every Tuesday night, every Friday night, every Saturday night. Unless we’re just too far away at a road game that I can’t make it. I mean, we were at high school games all week, so maybe I’m just biased because I get to do that.

But I just think it’s the best. I think it’s the best.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:42] How many games for a kid that you’re going to recruit and bring into the program? How many of us saw his high school games? Are you going to see in a season,

Tom Heil: [00:44:50] Man, recruiting at our level is.

It’s a grind. It’s never ending. [00:45:00] It’s also, it’s, it’s hard because we can’t offer guys scholarships. So in essence, we do have to recruit more guys, but how you, you only have so many. Assistance, your staff is only so many people and we can only be in one place at a time. And we generally have four guys on the road, three for sure.

And sometimes a fourth. you know, so every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, we, the three of us for sure are at a game. And I think the biggest thing that we try to. Do, when we recruit our top guys is, we’re showing up not really to evaluate them after we’ve seen them enough. It’s it’s to show them how serious we are and how much we want them.

I mean, we really try to hone in on guys. We think our BW guys, and I mean go all in on him. Like if you’re a top guy for us, a member of our staff is generally at most of your games, you know? So if those are [00:46:00] 22 regular season games, No, we’re probably at 18 of them 17 of them. I mean, that’s just, and that’s just how we do it.

Like, we don’t recruit 50 guys we, we recruit, well we have anywhere between, I don’t know, 20 visits on average is probably an average year. that’s probably might be a little bit high. It might be closer to 15 to 18. but. If you’re a top guy, I mean, we’re, we just, that’s how we try to show them that we’re serious and, and, and how much we value, what they can bring.

And that we do have a plan and we’re excited about what they what, how their role will grow over their career. We, we think they’re a great fit. And a lot of times we know they’re going to get offers, but we feel like the experience that they can have at BW as a player and as a student and as a socially and everything is worth the financial investment. So we go all in and, and obviously when [00:47:00] you don’t get that guy, it really hurts. but when you do I feel like it’s, the relationship is already there. And by the time we get them, it’s just we can hit the ground running. So, at every level you’ve got guys, you really want that you think are A’s and guys that are B’S that you think are great program guys, and you want to get, but the guys we really want, we’re there all the time.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:22] So if you have a kid that to go see 17 or 18 of their high school games in a 22 game season, I’m assuming at that point that you’ve had a conversation with the kid where it’s not just a one sided thing where you’re like, man, this kid would be perfect. He’s a great fit.

And on the other side, the kid is also saying, Hey, I’m definitely. Interested in coming to BW versus the kid who you might think is a great fit, but he’s maybe holding out because he thinks he’s going to be a division two player, or he’s saying, I’m not sure that division three basketball or I’m not sure BW is the place for me.

Explain just kind of how that works in terms of [00:48:00] does there need to be that mutual mutual interest in order for you to be able to put in that kind of time or there’s sometimes the kid in your mind? Just so perfect. What you’re trying to do, that you try to change the kid’s mind.

Tom Heil: [00:48:11] Almost always mutual interest. There might be and I’m sure there there’s been  one case maybe where that hasn’t been the case we’re going to chase that guy and try to change his mind, but almost always the mood mutual interests because of the time that we invest. I mean, and the P and every.

Every place I think is just a little different and the fit when you go visit a place around the coaches and around the players, like you get a feel for is this somewhere that could be home. and once a kid visits, we generally feel like we’ve got, had a pretty good gauge on whether or not. We feel like there was a connection, like a real connection and over the next month, that relationship after the visit I think is, is critical.

And [00:49:00] then we have a pretty good idea of how that’s going to go. Like w without having to really straight up, ask them like, Hey, well, give me your top three right now. We know that. Th the, the G the interest is reciprocated. because we, we always try to recruit great kids from great families. And I just, we tell them straight up, like, Hey, the best thing you can tell us is your coming.

And the second best thing you can tell us is that you’re not, or you’re not interested. And then we’ll tell them the same thing to tell other schools like, Hey, if you know, you’re coming to BW, like let’s, let’s just. Commit, try and tell these other guys like I don’t, I mean, it’s, coaching’s a fraternity, like a lot of the guys that I’m pretty tight with a lot of guys that a lot of coaches coach she’s in our league.

Like, I don’t want those guys wasting their time. And if it was, if the roles were reversed and I’m going, I’m chasing around a kid, We’re not going to get, and everybody knows it. And I’m the only guy that doesn’t know it. Like somebody just telling me no, I like to I’ll stay home. I’d love to see my kids more during [00:50:00] basketball season.

Mike Klinzing: [00:50:00] Absolutely. Absolutely. Put your resources where they’re going to be valuable, right?

Tom Heil: [00:50:05] Yeah. That’s the key and that’s the hardest piece of recruiting. That’s why I think it’s a moving target. And at our level you’re constantly evaluating how to best use your resources and manpower to maximize. you know, the recruiting class and, and that doesn’t, to me always mean like how many guys we’re going to get, it’s getting the right guys and, and making sure that we’re investing the times so that we’re consistent.

You know, when we tell a guy he’s a top guy, we want to be consistent in our actions and showing him that he’s a top guy. And showing up consistently and it’s a constantly moving target that we’re always trying to evaluate. How can we be more efficient? How can we be more efficient? And, but you just can’t fake the work.

And in our level of the work, a lot of times it’s getting in your car and driving all over the place you can’t fake that. And there’s just, no, I don’t know that there’s a shortcut. Like [00:51:00] we can talk all we want about trying to be as efficient as we can be, but. No coaching is that it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work and you know, you can’t cheat the work like you got it.

You got to do it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:51:12] Yeah. There’s no question about that from our conversation. I can tell that. You love high school basketball. I can tell you love playing it. I could tell now that you love going to games and you love the coaches. And so I think back to the beginning of your career, and was there ever a thought of going the high school coach teacher route?

Or how did you end up with being in the college at being at the college level as opposed to the high school level?

Tom Heil: [00:51:36] Yeah. Good question. I certainly did think about being a high school coach and I remember being. Early in my college career, my, my own high school coach had such a significant impact on me.

and he still is that guy to me and he always will be, but, once I got to college and, got into it college program and everything about [00:52:00] it, I kind of knew pretty early, man, this is what I want to do. Like I want to, I want to do it for a living. You know, I want this to be what I do, not that I don’t want to teach five classes of English or something. Cause I think I would really love that. And I think in a lot of ways, I honestly think it would be kind of good for me to have to have that those relationships and I’d pour myself into it. Cause I don’t really have a lot of gears.

I kind of just have been like or overdrive, and I just wanted to do it as a profession and high school coaches mandates a lot of them, good ones around here. Like they pretty much do it as a profession too. I mean, those guys are they work at their craft like crazy, but, and then they got to they got to teach a full load of classes, which is great.

And they’re part of community. I just always. I always, once I got to college, I always thought about myself as a college [00:53:00] coach. And, and I was just really fortunate that I got a great opportunity to be a graduate assistant at a school in the conference that I played in a defiance. and, and really, I didn’t know.

I mean, I remember being so excited that I got the opportunity. I really didn’t. I didn’t really have a backup plan. Like I was like, this is what I want to do. Like I’m going to find a GA job. And I was really, really lucky to get, to get into defiance. And I didn’t know this at the time, how lucky I was, but I was the, it was the head coach who was full time.

This was at the time how we were staffed at defiance. And then it was me as a GA and we were the two that were there in the office every day doing the work. And I was 22 years old, right out of college. Thrown into fire as an assistant coach. And it was like the best thing that ever happened to me.

I actually got to coach college basketball at 22. And I don’t know that if I’m a GA at Kent, that I get to really do that stuff that I got [00:54:00] to do. I was relied on as the main assistant right out of college, like what an incredible opportunity and, and. That was a huge part of what I think propelled me into being our college coach.

Like if I don’t have that opportunity, you know what I don’t know. I mean, I know you had my buddy Dan to grain on like his journey to becoming high school go just kind of a crazy one. And maybe I end up doing something like that and it getting Teaching certificate and being in a high school, if I don’t get the GA job, but that just kind of propelled me to my college career.

And I’m just forever so grateful for that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:54:41] I think being in that situation where you’re thrown in and. It’s the old conundrum here of you get to versus you have to you had to do all those things because you were the second in command on the totem pole there, but yet really the way you looked at it and the way it turned out [00:55:00] is it wasn’t that you had to do all those things is that you’ve got to do all those things.

And by getting to do all those things, you learn all the different ins and outs, all the different roles, all the different things that had to be done. And then as you have slowly moved up the ladder. You understand all those different pieces that I’m sure that helps you better relate to your current assistant coaches.

And as you look ahead in your career, it’s going to help you to be more successful, just because you have an understanding of what all those different pieces of a successful program look like, because you had to do it when you were part of a bare bone staff.

Tom Heil: [00:55:32] Oh, no doubt. And I still try to. That’s a hard thing the longer you’re a head coach and the more you get removed from it, I really try to not, not take that stuff for granted, you know?

And, and there’s still moments where stuff will happen, like I told you, ma’am Brian Schmidt is my full time assistant. He’s  the best. Yeah, there’ll be times. I think it was, well maybe when [00:56:00] his wife was having their first and had to do something like I hadn’t done in like years maybe it was like the key to the closet that like the scoreboards in.

And I kinda, I realized like, man, I don’t know that I have this key. And I don’t know that I can, can get this done without some help like not taking that kind of stuff for granted is just sometimes those moments, I think, as a head coach, like bring you back to just appreciating, having great help and great assistance.

Cause they’re really that, I mean you’ve been a basketball all the time. That’s the backbone of great programs. I don’t. I just, I really, really believe that I think the backbone of great programs are great loyal, high character, hardworking people oriented that are invested in the kids, assistant coaches.

I just, you can’t convince me otherwise. I just think that is the key and, and, yeah, those [00:57:00] reminderare good ones.

Mike Klinzing: [00:57:03] So talk to me about what you’ve learned. In your career as an assistant that you feel like helped you when you first got the opportunity to be a head coach at defiance, and then moving on again to what you’ve been able to build up BW, what did you learn as an assistant that really propelled you to the success that you’ve been able to have as a head coach?

Tom Heil: [00:57:22] Yeah, I worked for three different guys, which was huge. So I was hired by John Miller. my first year at Defiance as a GA, he got a great opportunity to go back to his Alma mater, at Hanover in Southern Indiana. After my first year, my, and then new head coach, my second year as a GA, which was Kyle Brahman, who’s currently the head coach of Wabash.

so I got to work for two guys in two years. Incredible opportunity, great coaches, but everybody we all do it different. So we all have different, philosophies and ways of doing things. And then I got hired by Duane at BW and, [00:58:00] you know, Duane Sheldon, I would say. Has had as big of an impact on me as a man, as anybody in my life.

yes, especially the, the same could be true, especially when it comes to coaching. You know what I learned, I think being with him for five years, Was him. And I saw basketball the same way. Like we all see the game different. And if there was a weakness with Dwayne and I, for five years, we see the game the same way.

Like really, really see it the same way. which can, I think can probably hurt us at times. Maybe not enough difference of thought and that kind of stuff. I mean, we were pretty much our thought process and mindset was pretty much spot on all the time. but where he, I think really prepared me to be ready to be a head coach like.

Dwayne’s a leader. And I think the, his, his ability and, and, focus in blocking out the noise and, and listening to what the people that [00:59:00] matter. And I think having the ability to do that with a level of focus that I think is pretty rare, was huge for me because when you, your first year as a head coach, I mean, it’s a whirlwind.

Like everybody, everybody doesn’t understand if you haven’t gone through it. I don’t know that. You can understand really what it’s like, just moving one seat over and you know, it doesn’t probably seem like that big of a deal to somebody on the outside. Maybe the hasn’t coached or been around athletics, but what an incredible change I knew I was ready for it, but when I got there, the, the volume of decisions and how each one of those decisions either.

Reinforces the things that you say you’re about as a program and a coach and a man, or it doesn’t reinforce that. And I think the volume of those on a day to day basis in and outside the office, on the court, off the court, man, that was [01:00:00] at times overwhelming, but I think because of really the relationship that I had with Dwayne and kind of watching him do that on such a, he had such a unique, I think, ability to simplify things.

And that’s really, I think our job as coaches to simplify the message to simplify the system. offensively to simplify the plan defensively. So key guys can go execute, with aggression and, and they understand, and we, our job is to add clarity, not add all these different options to complicate stuff.

And that’s just as important when I became a head coach, I found out in my own thought process and the focus that I had to have in the ability to kind of block out the noise and simplify my ability to make decisions. And I think because I. I think I watched Duane do that as at a really, really high level.

I think it is. They sent me up to, I don’t know that I did it well, my first year I tried my best and I think, I was able to, to do that because I worked for him. [01:01:00] And to some degree you have to really, Not worry about what other people are doing, what other people are thinking. I think that’s the hardest thing when you’re, when you become a first year head coach is not like doing all this stuff because that was how anybody else did it.

And for me, it was like, not just because Duane did it this way I had to kind of do it my way and figure that out for me every day. And I think having this, the ability to. Not worry so much about other people. That’s a big deal when you become a head coach. I remember that like it was yesterday.

Mike Klinzing: [01:01:32] Yeah. I believe that I, I’m pretty sure that when you step into that chair for the first time and now suddenly to decisions that you used to make behind closed doors, and it was as an assistant and give your suggestions and say, Hey, we should do this. The head coach either says, all right. Yeah, we’re going to do that.

Or no, we’re not going to do that. None of those things really show up publicly. On your record underneath your name and then, and all of a sudden, when you’re a head coach, you realized that. These decisions that you’re making are things now that [01:02:00] there’s going to be more people than just your three assistants weighing in on, there’s going to be a lot of people that are now going to weigh in on those decisions you make.

And I’m sure that the way you’re perceived, especially as a first year head coach, and you’re trying to find your way and feel your way through, how do I go about doing this? I’m sure it’s difficult to tune out that noise and tune out the opinions of people on the outside, especially. When you’ve worked for and are following somebody that as successful as Dwayne was obviously few over the course of his career, and it’s gotta be a huge, huge challenge.

So as you were preparing. And with the best idea in the back of your mind, that at some point you’re going to get it an opportunity to be a head coach, and he wanted to get that opportunity. As you said, every coach does things slightly different, and we all have to find our way in terms of what works for us, what we’re comfortable with, what we like doing, what we don’t like doing.

So, as you were going through as an assistant, were you keeping mental, a notebook, a computer file of things [01:03:00] that. If I get an opportunity to be a head coach here, some things that I’ve seen, that I believe that I like that I’m going to try. And then here’s some things that I’ve seen that maybe I’d like to try to do it a little bit differently, or maybe not do one of these things that I saw.

Was that something that you were consciously doing in preparation to become a head coach?

Tom Heil: [01:03:17]  I was, I had a a giant. Notebook. that’s probably more digital now than it was when I was in assistant, but, but from everything that we did that when I went to college player, everything that we did the two years, I was a GA and everything that we had done at BW and that other people had done.

and, and. You know, you, I think as an assistant in one of the luxuries that you have, like, I did every scouting report when I was the assistant at BW. So you have so many opportunities to like dive in to trying to get inside the other programs and like what they’re doing. And [01:04:00] there’s so many ways to play the game.

Right? I mean, you just look at our league and there’s a lot of different styles. I mean, there are. Pressing teams there’s you’ll get zones. There are teams that are kind of throw it in the post and really try to pound it and, and play through their post guys and play inside out. And there are five out teams that you’re going to have to guard five guys that can shoot it and drive it.

I mean, they’re just so in so many different systems, right. That you can, that you can play and prepare against. I think that’s one of the best things as an assistant coach is so much of the film that I watched was about other teams. So I was constantly. evaluating concepts that I really liked and, in that kind of thing, and the hard part, if I’m going to be honest, Mike, when you become it, I can speak for myself.

When I became a head coach at Defiance, there’s so much noise and things are happening so fast that honestly, you just kind of go with what the best. so we, and then that [01:05:00] evolved, it re it really evolved. Like I kind of went with some similar style things that we were at BW and the way that we played our defensive principles, our offensive principles, and then it kind of evolved from there.

but yeah, I think that’s a big deal as an assistant coach. I think you need to constantly be taking inventory of everything from add the actions, knows of the games to some player development stuff. Like there’s so much access to information. Now it’s crazy. I mean, it’s crazy what you can find on YouTube and, and some of these player development guys that put stuff out for free, like it kind of boggles my mind.

I’ve stolen a lot of stuff from them, but I think that’s a big, the big deal is an assistant that you do have a method and a system to keep track of that kind of stuff, or else you just lose it. Like. I don’t know about you, but I mean our lives are happening pretty fast. Like we got, I got to remember when I’m picking the kids up.

Absolutely.

Mike Klinzing: [01:05:56] You don’t have to tell me that choice.

Tom Heil: [01:05:58] I don’t remember what the Heat ran last night [01:06:00] that I really liked if I don’t write it out. So, yeah, I think that’s a big deal. Like having a system in place, whether it’s digitally, mine was more pen and paper. When I was an assistant it’s it’s way more digital.

Now I have I emailed myself. Like, that’s how I remember stuff. Right? Like I will email my stuff and email myself these notes and no matter where I’m at, right. I’ve got them at like two in the morning where I wake up sometimes and I have a hole, I’ll go through it all the time. And it’s kind of funny.

Sometimes the things that I email myself, but, that’s how I do it now. I mean, I have a giant digital file, but very important, I think, to add those systems in place.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:36] Yeah. I think that there’s no doubt about the fact that. In today’s society, for sure. You have to be able to keep on top of things.

And I’m sure that you found too that once you became a parent, that it also puts more of a demand on your time for sure. And in a positive way,

Tom Heil: [01:06:52] in a very positive way. Yep.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:54] But it is one of those things that when you start talking about the ambition that you have [01:07:00] as a basketball coach and how much you love coaching the game and being a part of it and being around it, when you have a family, it becomes.

More of a challenge to be able to go out. And I’m sure that going out and seeing for high school games, that when you were 23, it was not an issue you were just got in the car and you didn’t have to worry about who had to be where or what had to happen or who you were responsible for. Cause you were only responsible for you.

And then as you grow up and you mature and you have a family and you get kids and all that kind of thing, it becomes at least more of a challenge in terms of you have to be more organized. You have to probably be more intentional about what you do and how you do it and your communication within your family and all those kinds of things.

And I think that’s something that you mentioned earlier when you talked about high school coaches and how they’re doing things full time. And I have no question that. On every level of basketball we talked about at the college level with the division one guys in the summertime. And you think about all the recruiting that you’re doing, just the amount of time that you have to spend as a coach in order to have a successful program.

I think only [01:08:00] continues to increase and go up as time moves on simply because there’s so many people who want to be involved in coaching, whether that’s at the high school level, whether that’s at the college level, there’s so many people. Competing for the same jobs and. Quite frankly, you mentioned also about just the sheer amount of information out there.

There’s so many pieces that are out there waiting to critique you, critique your program. There’s a lot of, self-proclaimed experts out there that, that light, that like to, that like to weigh in with their opinions on coaches, whether that be. Parents of players who are in your program, whether that be outsiders, whether that just be people on social media, it’s kind of incredible, just what’s out there.

and so the coaching profession, I think, continues to evolve and become more challenging, but I think the one thing that’s not debatable is that it continues to require more and more time. And that has to be balanced with those coaches who have. A family. I think that’s one of the themes that we’ve [01:09:00] heard over and over again, is the challenge of balancing your family with your coaching.

So talk a little bit about how that works for you and your family.

Tom Heil: [01:09:07] That’s obviously a big deal. it starts with having a great wife, I think is number one. Being married to a college coach is not for everybody. And I think. We’re where that really fits in is my wife is as big of a part of our program as like an assistant coaches and a lot of ways.

I mean, she’s incredibly invested. I think she is, she’s a relationship person. She really, the most important thing in her life are her relationships with the people she cares about the most. Obviously me, our kids, her family, my family. Right. All, but she’s one of the things that really drew me to her was she was a great friend.

Like I noticed that right away. And her friends meant a lot to her. So as we started dating and getting more serious she still maintained those relationships, like at a really high level. And that, that, to me, that said a lot. And that has only [01:10:00] continued as, as we’ve, especially when I’ve become a head coach.

Like she’s very invested in the lives and the process of college basketball. And I think that that’s a really, really, really big deal. The other piece is. One of the things that honestly I love about BW and why I’m just, I feel incredibly lucky to be the head coach here is it’s a little bit easier here because most of the guys we are recruiting are Northeast Ohio guys.

And we are blessed to be in an area where I think, I think everybody talks about Ohio high school football, but I think basketball is as good Ohio high school. Basketball is as good as. I mean, whatever name, the state I just think it’s an especially Northeast Ohio, and, and we are able to recruit from a radius and have so many good players within an hour drive of us an hour and 15 minute drive of lists that I’m able to like.

Come home from practice [01:11:00] and any dinner and see my family and then go to a game and, and that I’m, I know that might not sound like a big deal. It might be 20 minutes or even less, but it is a really big deal like that. That’s 15 to 20 minutes is a big deal for me to see my kids. Cause I can’t put them to bed.

When I’m out during the season, like I don’t put them to bed much at all. And that’s hard. I mean that that’s hard, like missing that stuff I think is really, really hard. And our kids aren’t old enough where I can really take them with me recruiting, but, when they are they’ll come on the road with me and it’s a family, it’s a family affair, everybody, a BW athletic department knows our kids.

You know, my son. Just favorite place to be he’s about to be five, right? I mean,  with a ball in the gym is like where he wants to be. You know, he wants to come with me all the time and I just don’t know. There’s really no like work life balance. I think that’s actually like a mistake if you are in coaching thinking it that way.

Because if you’re trying to like clock in and clock, [01:12:00] you’re just get so much anxiety over that. You’re always thinking about the other thing where I think it’s more of like work life integration, like. You have to, we’re constantly, our family is just a constantly a part of our program and it’s early mornings and it’s late nights, but like we’re kind of all in it together.

and I think that’s a really big deal. And the best thing that ever happened to me, Mike was having kids as a coach. I think being a parent that’s coaching other. Parents kids is a big deal. I think I understand that way more once we had kids of our own, and I think it’s an incredible, incredible blessing that our kids grow up in the gym and they grow up at BW and they grow up around our guys.

That’s why, selfishly, why we’re so critical of who we bring into the program. I mean, these guys are like, My kid is going to be at the back of the bus with him. You know, like the last thing I need is a bunch of idiots back there teaching my kids and things. He doesn’t need to know it seven but or eight or whatever, he goes on the bus.

But I just [01:13:00] think that piece is a really big deal that integration of, of coaching and my family and it all kind of I mean, once this. Pandemic gets out of here. I mean, our, our players will be at our house all the time and it’s, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s normal or not normal, or if I’m that makes me, what about like a player’s coach or not?

I just, I really care about our players and I really care about our family. So it kind of makes sense to me that they’re integrated all the time.

Mike Klinzing: [01:13:29] I think that integration to me makes a ton of sense, because as you said, I think that when you try to compartmentalize those. It gets really, really difficult.

And as you said, you have to have somebody at home who’s supportive of making that integration real. But when you’re both on the same page and you can do it to me, I don’t see how you could do it well and have them co compartmentalize. It seems like that would be really, really difficult to put on one Cape here and then put on another Cape there and [01:14:00] keep those two things separate.

It seems like when you can integrate them and bring them both together, that that’s going to be the best of both worlds, because now the basketball side of it that you love becomes part of your family and the family side of it that you love becomes part of the basketball. And when you meld them together, it just seems like you’re going to end up with the best of both worlds.

It just seems like that to me is the way that I would organize it. If I was going to be a head coach and be being, try to run a program with it as a college or the high school level, I would want to approach it the same way. I know you talked a lot about building relationships with players. Talk to me a little bit about how you develop those relationships day to day, and if there’s anything maybe special beyond those.

Normal interactions that you just would have before or after practice, those kinds of things. But is there anything maybe out of the ordinary that you do that you think is unique or you think some other coach could benefit in terms of how you build relationships with your kids at BW?

Tom Heil: [01:14:53] I don’t know that there’s anything how I would say is unique, but one of the things that I think is a really, I don’t know [01:15:00] if it’s a skill, it’s a skill that you can develop and work on.

It’s actually really easy for me, but. I think it’s, it’s, you’re doing a disservice to the players. If you’re not going to coach them, however you feel you should coach them. If that’s hard, if whatever your personality is. Right. I mean, I think I am pretty intense without realizing that I’m pretty intense. I think from the outside, I would be labeled as pretty intense where like, I actually feel like I’m being pretty I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’m being that. That’s not like the most intense version of me, but I think I I’m going to coach our guys hard. I just expect a level of urgency to the things that we’re going to do.

I expect a certain effort level. That’s just who I am as a person. And. I expect that from our guys. And I think the ability to, as soon as practices over be able to turn it off and just [01:16:00] detach from like whatever happened in practice. Like being able to be mad at you as a player and not let that carry over even two minutes after practice, to like me being mad at you as a person I mean, we have ties in our program that are like 4.0 and they’re.

Just great humans and they’re great members of our campus community at BW. And I might’ve just ripped them because what I mean, they can’t hedge a ball screen, like, well, enough like, well, that’s my job. Like it’s my job. Try to get them to understand how important it is that they can do this. As a part of our defensive plan and what they can’t and the breakdown happens, how that affects us.

And sometimes I have to use forceful language. I have to use a level of urgency to get them to do that as hard as I want them to do it. But as soon as practice is over, like, I kind of want to hang out and like catch up and talk. And we, I think one of the things that I honestly struggle [01:17:00] with is like, I’ll hang out after practice for like way too long, you know?

I mean, I was like supposed to pick up dinner and you know, it’s six and there’s like six 30 and we’re still talking about whatever. You know, and to me, I think  it’s the most critical piece of it. Cause I, I know that I’m far removed from being a player, but I do know this, none of us ever as players wanted to feel like we were solely a means to an end for our coach.

We were just a way for them to accumulate wins on their professional journey in coaching. You know, none of us wanted to feel that way. I assume, I don’t know. I know I didn’t. I mean, guys, I played with didn’t want to feel that way and, and, but we want to be coached hard. We want to be we’re we’re trying to get better.

We want to win, but I do think the ability to have a relationship outside of that practice. And really even like maybe [01:18:00] two minutes is like a little bit of an exaggeration, but like seeing the guy the morning after we lose on Wednesday and he doesn’t play real great, like, I think that’s an incredible opportunity for me when I see that kid at Nine in the morning between classes the next morning.

I think that’s an incredible opportunity for me and how I handle that situation with that kid. If I am I going to and be a little baby because we lost the mad at him because you know, he shot two for 11. Or it am I, am I practicing what I preach like is that relationship still is important to me after we lose on Wednesday as it was when we won on Wednesday I, I think that’s an important thing that you have to be conscious about.

And I don’t know, my assistant’s the same way. We don’t really have to try too hard with that, but I do think that’s a big deal. I think that’s a big piece of the relationship and. Being able to separate like, Hey, I’m going to coach your heart as a basketball coach, man, but I love you. [01:19:00] And you know, I didn’t know that your girlfriend broke up with you or there’s just, we forget about that stuff, man.

The older we get, like what was really going on on, in our lives at that time at 2021, like there was a lot. And I think the ability to, Could you separate between the lines and outside the lines? I think that’s a big deal.

Mike Klinzing: [01:19:18] Yeah. And I think that self awareness of just being introspective and thinking about how your players are going about their day to day life and what’s happening for them and how they’re going to perceive it.

And then thinking about it from your own perspective and what kind of coach do I want to be and what kind of relationships I want to be then? Am I going to do the things that I talk about? Or am I, or am I just going to be a guy who talks about them? To me, the word that always comes back two, and I think you said it in so many ways is just being intentional about what you do in terms of.

Building those relationships with the kids and making sure that you’re acting with their best interests at heart. And that can mean, like you said, [01:20:00] coaching them hard and being tough on them. Like that’s in their best interest to be able to help them improve as players and as people eventually, but then it’s also off the court.

Making sure that they understand that the relationship is about more than just basketball. It’s about what we can build off the court. So that 20 years from now, they can call you up on the phone and be like, Hey coach, I’m getting married or, Hey coach, I got a new job or whatever it might be, because we all know as coaches, that those are some of the most rewarding things that could possibly ever happen to you when somebody who’s like I’m 50 now.

And you know, I’ll still have guys that I coached, it’ll say they’re, they’re now 35 36 saying, Hey coach. And and like my high school coach and my college coaches I don’t, I’m never going to call them by their first name and I was just, and I’m a 50 year old man, but you know, I’m still gonna call him.

I’m still call him coach because it’s just, again, that’s the level of respect that they were able to engender from me. And I think it’s just, it’s something that you have to do as a coach is to be intentional about what kind of a coach you want [01:21:00] to be and what kind of program. That you want to run. And that being said, we’re coming up close to an hour and a half.

So I want to ask you one final, two part question and it’s going to be the first part of it is one. What do you see as the biggest challenge that you have in front of you? Once we get through the pandemic? Cause that’s a challenge for everybody. Well, once we get through that, what do you see as the biggest challenge for you there at BW to continue the success that you’ve had so far and then number two, What’s the biggest joy when you get out of bed in the morning, what’s the one thing that gets you so excited when you first wake up that you can’t wait to get into the office and get started working on

Tom Heil: [01:21:37] Yeah, two great questions.

So I’ll start with the joy one. So I feel like, we’ve talked a lot about recruiting and, and rightfully so and, and how important it is to have good people. And winning and losing is hard. We all hate losing, right? I mean, it’s not fun as a coach, but I feel great joy knowing we [01:22:00] have good dudes and I just don’t know a better way to put it than that.

Like we have guys, I like being around and I can win with them. I can lose with them and we can go through this process and this roller coaster together. And I feel. Joy and confident that we have great people in our program and, and coaching is a crazy profession, right. And if let’s say whenever, someday, if they decide we’re not doing things, we’re not winning enough games, whatever, the fact that I’ll feel all right, like, I’ll be all right, because the guys we did it with.

We’re great guys, and they’re great guys now. And they were great guys before and I really enjoy being around them. And I don’t, that might sound corny, but I can play, I coach basketball. I don’t have to coach all bunch of other crap I don’t have to worry about we’re not dealing with a bunch of issues all the time.

You know, we just won’t put up with it. I don’t, we don’t have to have a lot of conversations with guys about their academics and going to class. Or how to act right off [01:23:00] of the court or what our expectations are socially. We don’t really have, I have to spend very little, if any time on that I get to coach basketball and I get to be around these guys.

And I think that’s a really, I don’t know if I would feel that way. If we had guys that were getting in trouble and it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be fun for me. I would struggle. I just had don’t have the patience for it. So I think that’s the biggest joy the, the piece that I get joy from in developing elite competitors, like, I don’t know that any of us are just inherently elite competitors.

I know that I wasn’t, like, I think it’s a learned thing and a mindset that is really, really, really important. And I think people that enjoy. Competition not winning and losing. Like, I hate the question, like, do you love to win? Do you hate to lose? Like what everybody hates to lose? I mean, we all hate to lose and we all enjoy winning, but I think elite competitors, man, they love the challenge.

Like they love the competition. They’re not afraid to fail. And I think [01:24:00] ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do. And because we have good people, like, I think we. That journey of trying to get guys to that place where like, whether they make the shot or they miss the shot with the game on the line, like they’re so excited to take it.

That we may miss it. They’re not, it doesn’t affect their ability or their excitement to take the next one. Like, I think that’s kind of what life is all about and that’s what elite competitors have. And that’s a really hard place to get, but that, that wakes me up in the morning and having good guys and chasing that that’s a big deal.

and I think it’s a license. I don’t necessarily think it’s a basketball thing. Like that’s how you got to approach life or you’re going to struggle to consistently be happy, if you’re just afraid to fail or take chances or whatever, I just think you’ve got to be that way. so chasing that, I think is the joy piece.

The challenges that BW is, I really, we tell recruits to this. I mean, I think this is a real thing. I’m not afraid to say it. Like we want to win. You know, on the national level, like we want to compete nationally. We want [01:25:00] to know, we want to get to the final four. We want to win a national championship.

We want to obviously when our conference and the value of our league, we play in such a great conference. And, at our level, at the division three level it’s a top five in the country league. I mean, it’s like the big ten and everybody’s really, really good. Yeah. And that’s the challenge is for us at our level, getting to the NCA tournament is the hardest part.

You know, there are 20, we call them pool seeds at our level, but at the division one level at large people that are selected to be in the NCAA tournament, they don’t get an automatic bid. There’s only 20. You know, and I think division one men’s basketball. I think there’s like 38 or 36 somewhere around there, but they’re significant mean, I think it’s 36, but there’s significantly more.

I mean, 16 more. Of those bands. It’s hard to get there. And our conference is a bear. I mean, we everybody’s good top to bottom. Like [01:26:00] a couple of years ago, the two teams that didn’t make our conference tournament, they finished ninth and 10th. One through eight made the conference tournament, then ninth place and 10th place team.

They’ve both won the national championship at some point. You know how Northern wanted in 1993, I believe, Otterbein one in like 2002. And they didn’t make our conference tournament a couple of years ago. Like that’s how good it is. And they were good. I mean, they beat people they beat top half teams that year.

And that is, I think the biggest challenge is what it takes. you know, day to day, game to game to get to where we want to be in the NCA tournament. It’s just. At our level, it’s just harder. Like if you don’t win the conference tournament, it’s just, it’s harder. And the time we were able to do it we won our conference tournament and went to the Amsterdam, but we were a game away from the sweet 16.

We lost in overtime in the second round. And we’re continuing to try to build on that. And I just, I feel great joy for. The guys that were trying to do it with, I feel great joy cause you you’ve coached. Do you know the guys I’m doing [01:27:00] it with as a coach? Like that is a huge piece of it, man.

We have a ton of fun, probably probably too much fun. It’s like an hour, which do we haven’t talked about practice yet. You know, like we should probably, I came in here to talk about practice and you know, we’ve been talking about our frustration with the Browns or whatever the case might be, but.

I relish that challenge, man. I really do like while it’s the challenge, I also think that challenge is part of the joy piece as well. Like almost think it’s the answers are certainly connected because I enjoy that. I enjoy playing in the conference that we planned. especially in September when we’re not playing I mean, obviously.

It’s sometimes that joy piece it’s hard when you’re like going to Marietta on Saturday, we got John Carroll on Wednesday, and then you go to Wilmington next Saturday. Like that grind is for real, but, we’re just, I feel fortunate and blessed to play in the league that we do, because if you can compete at the top of our league, you can compete with anybody in the country and.

Not every league has [01:28:00] that. And I think we’re lucky to have that. And so I don’t worry that impact that has on like my coaching record or whatever. We just relish that opportunity. And we try to recruit guys and coach guys and develop guys that look at that the same way,

Mike Klinzing: [01:28:15] Day in, day out, that’s got to push you to be at your very, very best.

And I think anybody who you said. Earlier, like when you’re a competitor that matters. And I think anybody who’s a competitor, do you want to step out on the floor against the best that you can step out on the floor against and challenge yourself and be okay with whatever those results are. As long as you know, you were giving your best.

And that’s a great way to wrap this up. I want to give you a chance to share how people can connect with you, share your social media account, how they can find out more about your program at BW. And then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

Tom Heil: [01:28:48] Yeah. you know, anybody that wants to reach out happy to do that.

I mean, I’ve, you can always connect with emails is a T H E I L@bw.edu, is a great way. I’m on Twitter. I’m probably not the most active Twitter poster. you know, my, my Twitter game is, man, it fluctuates probably a lot. Like my jump shot right now. I mean, it’s kind of hit or miss I don’t shoot enough to be a good shooter anymore.

you know, some days I get hot, so that’s my Twitter, game’s not great, but I certainly I I’ll get on there. is @BWCoachHeil is my Twitter. So happy man, for anybody who would want to reach out. And that actually listened to me talk for this long. It’s like, if they made it here, To this point and they reach out, I mean, it’s an hour and a half of me talking.

Like, I feel like they’re pretty committed at this point.

Mike Klinzing: [01:29:41] Absolutely. No question about that, Tom. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule. It’s been a blast getting a chance to talk hoops to you tonight. I really feel like we learned a lot about what makes you tick. What makes your program at BW so special?

And again, I can’t thank you enough for spending the time with us this evening and to everyone out there. Thanks for [01:30:00] listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.

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