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 Binghamton associate head coach Bryan Goodman.
Why did you become a coach?
“My college coach gave me an opportunity right after graduation. I knew if I could possibly make a living coaching, it’s what I wanted to do. He gave me a lot of responsibility early. I loved the game, and knew that I understood it much better than I could ever play it. Plus, I look good in a tie!”
What experiences – both professional and personal – have shaped your career the most?
“I was fortunate to travel a lot growing up. I saw many parts of our country and several countries around the world. I think this helped me have a better understanding of people. Professionally, I ‘ve worked for some great coaches and people. These relationships have certainly shaped my career.”
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career, and what have you learned from them?
“I’ve had so many mentors during the course of my career. I grew up just outside Oklahoma City. I attended, and later work for, the camps at Oklahoma Christian University. The legendary Dan Hays was the longtime coach then, and remains a dear friend today. His camps and the many coaches that worked them, and worked with me during my later years, really shaped my understanding of the fundamentals of basketball. There are a lot of really good high school coaches in the state of Oklahoma. Many of them are disciples of the OCC Cage camps. They provided the foundation for me. I still stay in touch with a lot of them and still seek their insight on things.”
“The coaches I’ve played for and worked with have all shaped me in some way as well. Skip Smith, my 8th and 9th grade coach, really had fun coaching. I felt that from him. Rich Holden, my high school coach, had a passion for the fundamentals of the game. I learned how to play the game from him. Ralph Nigro, my college coach, gave me my opportunity to play in college and first job out of college. I would not be where I am without him. Frank Marcinek, head coach at Susuquehanna University, hired me when I moved to Pennsylvania. He taught me the importance of just being a good person. I learned from him that you don’t have to be a jerk to be a really good coach. Pat Flannery, head coach at Bucknell, taught me the importance of having an edge and paying attention to detail. He was a master of the game. He along with my fellow assistants at BU taught me how hard you had to work to be successful in this profession. Jeff Capel hired me at Oklahoma. He taught me the importance of managing personalities and motivating kids to reach their full potential. He is a player’s coach, who really understands how the entire game works. Rod Barnes hired me at Cal State Bakersfield. He taught me how to build a program for the ground up. He also taught me to be patient and to try and understand others before always demanding to be understood. He is a wise coach. Tommy Dempsey hired me at Binghamton. He’s taught me how to deal with adversity and push through tough times with positivity and optimism.”
Aside from winning games, what are your personal career goals?
“I would love to lead a program one day. I would like to work in the NBA in some capacity. I’d love to work with USA Basketball in some capacity. I also think I’d like to end my career as an associate athletic director somewhere, helping to manage and mentor young coaches. As I’ve gotten older, there are so many more factors that influence my decisions to look for other opportunities. I have had a few chances and the Division II and III levels, but none of them were right for us. When you have a family, they have to be right for everyone. You can’t spend your life preaching ‘team first’ and then not live it when it comes to your own team. I really enjoy what I do, and my daily goal to positively influence the guys in our program will not change with my job title.”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“Every year in this job you are helping to shape the future for the young men on your team. Your daily interactions will impact your later relationships with them. At the same time, you’re working close with your fellow staff members, and building the foundations for lasting friendships. These relationships are by far the most rewarding part of the job. I have not made a ton of money throughout my career. But the friendships I have with former players, coaches, and mentors are more valuable to my life than any paycheck could ever be.”
What does it take for a coaching staff to work well together?
“It is essential that you like and respect those you work with. I’ve been a part of several staffs. If there is an individual that thinks he’s better than the other staff members, or more valuable to the team than others, then it’s usually impossible to function really well as a staff. We have to spend a lot of time together. I think a staff can and should disagree on things. At the same time if you respect each other, you don’t take disagreements personally. When the head coach makes a decision, that’s it, you get on board. It’s really the same thing that makes any team functional or dysfunctional. You have to have a staff that is about the team, not themselves.”
What’s one thing most people don’t know about the coaching profession?
“Outsiders think coaching is about knowing the game of basketball. That is why most people think they could do our jobs. But coaching has little to do with knowledge of the game. It’s more getting your players to do what you know. That sounds simple, but it’s a complex formula of communication, repetition, honesty, accountability, responsibility, love, sacrifice and trust. When that all comes together it’s a beautiful thing. Coaching is the daily grind to get that formula right.”