Primesport 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 Hofstra Director of Operations Colin Curtin.
What led you to pursue a career in college basketball coaching?
"I was always playing sports when I was younger, but I started thinking about getting into coaching when I was in high school at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia. I talked with William "Speedy" Morris, longtime successful head coach at LaSalle, about the idea of getting into coaching. He convinced me to become a manager and be around the game as much as possible, and I am forever grateful for him and his advice."
"I continued to learn under his wing for four years, and when it came to pick a college, Coach Morris once again sent me in the right direction. He suggested that I attend Niagara University and continue learning from one of his former assistants at LaSalle, Joe Mihalich. So I graduated from St. Joseph's Prep and headed up to Niagara University where I met one of the most important people in my life, Joe Mihalich. From the day I stepped on campus I knew I wanted to coach for the rest of my life."
What individual skill do you feel is most vital for achieving success in your job?
"The Director of Basketball Operations position is a type of job where at any moment you need to be able to adapt to any type of situation. The running joke around our program is how I describe each road trip as my Super Bowl. I take pride in getting our program from point A to point B in the quickest and safest way possible. Along the way you will get your handful of canceled flights, late buses, or possibly lost luggage. When that happens you just have to adapt to that current situation and be able to find a way to fix that situation. Being organized is important, but being able to think on your feet and make quick, smart decisions on the fly might be the most important."
How have mentor relationships impacted your career?
"I have been blessed to work with two of the best and most respected people in the business in William "Speedy" Morris and Joe Mihalich. I owe everything to them. I would not be where I am at today without the help of those two. I pinch myself every day, because I get to work in college basketball as my full time job!"
What challenges have you faced in your career, and what have you learned from them?
"I feel like every day you will face challenges, whether it's at the office, traveling with the team, or running summer basketball camps. I really think learning from those challenges and getting better every day at your craft is how you rise in this industry. It's very rare to make huge jumps in this industry. You need to pay your dues and be patient. It's all about embracing the grind."
How do you balance the rigors of coaching with maintaining a personal life?
"I love my job. I never think of it as coaching and my personal life. My personal life is coaching. If I'm home I'm watching a basketball game, whether it's in college or the NBA. It's all about having a passion for what you do. I never wake up and think, "Man I have to go to work." Do we work seven days a week? Yes. Do we work crazy hours? Yes. But I wouldn't trade it for anything."
What career goals do you have for your future, and how do you plan to achieve them?
"I think the ultimate goal for every coach and administrator is to become a head coach or director of athletics at some level. I would love to become an assistant coach at the collegiate level and then eventually a head coach at the high school or college level. I really think you achieve that goal by learning every day and becoming a sponge and soaking up as much knowledge from the coaching staff. By doing that it should put you in a pretty good position in becoming successful with your next job."
What's the one piece of advice you would give to somebody considering a career in coaching?
"Loyalty is so important in this industry. Finding jobs at any level of college basketball is very difficult, but once you get one, you always have to remember the people that got you there. Being loyal is very important. By showing loyalty you will then develop someone's trust. And once someone trusts you, that's when you become an important asset to someone's program."
"For the last eight years I have had the privilege to work with Coach Mihalich both at Niagara University and Hofstra University. He hired me right out of college, he took a chance on me, and every day I know how fortunate I am to work with him. I repay him by being loyal."