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 Cal State East Bay assistant coach Daniel Eberhardt.
What led you to pursue a career in college basketball coaching?
“I have always loved the game of basketball. It has been my main focus ever since I could remember. When people would give me career advice they would always say, ‘Do what you love and you will never feel like you have to work a day in your life.’ So that is exactly what I did.”
As a young professional in the industry, what key decisions and experiences helped get you where you are today?
“The first thing I did was go to a school who had a coach whom I wanted to emulate. I played for Coach Bryan Rooney at Cal Maritime. The principles he built his program on, hard work, accountability, passion and cohesion, were qualities that I wanted my program to represent someday.”
What are the most important skills for young professionals in the industry to possess, and which are often overlooked?
“I have seen and learned that there is no certain path to get where you want, but there have been a lot of people who have gone before you. Pulling for different experiences, strategies, or concepts from successful coaches can only help you on your journey. This is a business where you are not going to be able to make it one your own. Bryan Rooney and Gus Argenal have been the biggest influences on me. I learned from Coach Rooney to be the same person everyday. From Coach Argenal, I have seen the importance of building strong individual relationships with people. He meets with every one of our players for at least 15 minutes once a week.”
What professional competencies are you working to develop at this stage of your career?
“At the Division II level, assistants are required to wear many hats. I am trying be proficient in every way possible so my head coach only has to focus on what is important. There is always room to improve with teaching the game, so this is something I focus on daily at practice. Dialing in on the fundamentals of each drill and coaching guys up as they are on the sidelines or in the back of lines. I want to be known as a legitimate recruiter in the bay area. I try to do this by staying connected with high school, AAU and junior college coaches to have a pulse of what is going on with players.”
What career goals do you have for your future, and how do you plan to achieve them?
“The end goal is to be a head coach. Right now, I want to be surrounded by good people, have some ownership in the process, and be in a place where I can learn and grow. I definitely feel that I have all three of those things. To achieve the end goal of being head coach, I am going to keep working as hard as I can in my current job. I believe the successes that East Bay is able to achieve now will align with the successes of my future.”
What is one thing about the profession that you wish you knew earlier in your career?
“There is always something you can be doing in this profession, and I think early on I would work really hard but it would not be very efficient. In regards to recruiting - running around and seeing different players or tournaments is great, but really doing my homework and building the relationship prior to visits. In a lot of different areas, I was willing to just take on tasks, but at times it is best to slow down and work smarter rather than just getting things done.”