NABC Next Generation is an interview series with assistant coaches and support staff from across the country, highlighting their career experiences and future goals. Today's feature is Richard Bland assistant athletic director/assistant coach Preston Beverly.
What led you to pursue a career in college basketball coaching?
“As a former scholarship basketball player at the Virginia Military Institute, I knew after I finished playing that I wanted to work in college athletics. My mother was a successful NCAA DI and DII head coach who later became an athletics director, so I experienced a lot of college athletics at a very young age.”
What are the most important skills for young professionals in the industry to possess, and which are often overlooked?
“Professionalism at all times! No matter the setting you always need to look and act the part. Too many times I’ve seen younger coaches approach the business as though they are still college students. You need to be a constant professional in the way that you dress, speak and write. Also, make sure that whatever task is assigned to you, that you get it done. No excuses, find a way.”
Why is developing mentor relationships so important to young coaches, and who have been your most influential mentors?
“Having mentors outside of the institution where you work is very beneficial. Beyond the obvious advantages of helping guide your career and providing a support system during rough times, it helps give you different perspectives on the things you are currently experiencing. In addition, they can help you develop new ideas to bring to your college. Having been an administrator as well as a coach for over half a decade, my mentors span both disciplines: Ted Quinn (former college coach and current Director of Coaches' Programs at Nations of Coaches), Tim Duncan (Director of Athletics at Clayton State University), Janet Cone (Director of Athletics at UNC Asheville) and Dr. Sharon Beverly (Beverly & Associates).”
How do you effectively balance all the various responsibilities of an assistant coach?
“A lot of people will say that you need time management, and that is true. But to be honest there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, so the sooner you come to grips with that the better. Sometimes you have to be comfortable with leaving the office with tasks still on your plate, but of course still have a plan and strategy to finish them in a timely manner. The method that works best for me is to make a list and prioritize. As new things come up, you’ll have to readjust some of the priorities. If you have someone who can help with pieces of your work, that is always beneficial. Delegating is an area I continue to improve on.”
What professional competencies are you working to develop while the season is in progress, and what do you focus on during the offseason?
“I am currently working on in-game offensive adjustments in the huddle. To many times we see coaches that cannot adjust their offense when needed and lack the capability to articulate changes within a timeout. During the offseason I focus on finding new drills and expanding my own coaching philosophes and style by speaking with other coaches and working camps.”
What career goals do you have for your future, and how do you plan to achieve them?
“My current career goals are to return to an NCAA college as a coach/administrator and be a championship winning head coach at the NCAA Division II level.”
What is one thing about the profession that you wish you knew earlier in your career?
“That junior college provides a great opportunity for young coaches to develop and learn. Obviously you need to be at the right institution, and I’m very fortunate to be at Richard Bland College of William & Mary with Chuck Moore as our head coach. Too many times young coaches want to jump right into a DI or DII job and haven’t learned all the necessary skills of the profession. Junior college affords you a place to learn all the aspects of the profession and grants you direct access to coaches, parents and players. You are able to work camps with players of all ages and skill sets, allowing you to really develop priceless relationships with high school, post-grad and AAU coaches.”