My name is Joshua Werbeck and I was the Assistant Coach of the Day at SU Basketball's game against Colgate this past weekend. It may not have been the best timing or the most competitive game, but it was still an interesting behind-the-scenes look at SU Basketball. The following is a quick overview of my experience.
It all started at a Salvation Army fundraising lunch in Downtown Syracuse. I went with a few people from my firm to the lunch, which had a relatively good attendance for a mid-day event. There was also a silent auction and the hosts announced that one of the gifts was Coach of the Day. I remember thinking: wow, that sounds awesome, it's going to go for $500 or more. Now, I love silent auctions because there are always deals, but I didn't think I'd win this one. The attendees, however, did not seem interested in bidding in the silent auction and so, I won! It cost me $150.00 and came with two additional tickets for my guests.
I had my pick of any non-conference game, but apparently Coach Boeheim gives out a few of these and a few people had already reserved games. Thus, I chose Colgate and marked my calendar. More fun below...
I made plans with Kelly, Boeheim's Assistant and arrived at the Dome an hour early. Kelly was very clear that I had absolutly no responsibilities and, in fact, I would not be permitted to direct the team or discuss strategy during the game in any way. According to Kelly, this is not clear to every winner and a different Assistant Coach of the Day once tried to meet with Boeheim a few days before the game to discuss his responsibilities and plan for the game (haha!).
The Assistant Coach of the Day honor, however, did involve a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dome and the locker room, court-side seats, and the opportunity to huddle with the team during timeouts and after the game.
I brought my Mom, Sister, and friend, Josh, along for the behind-the-scenes tour. A team manager met us at the entrance for Stadium Control, just below Gate B, where the visiting team and Dome staff enters. This particular manager gave a pretty good tour (as seen above).
While we were in the locker room, we saw a couple other Assistant Coaches, albeit permanent ones, scouting out the Red Raiders.
So, of course, I went over and added my two-sense and help write-up a play...
Actually, we were just posing. But alas, we did get a good preview of the team warming up:
And I did get to stand with the managers during the huddles and listen to Coach Boeheim strategize. It was interesting to be so close to the Coach during the timeouts. There was not much coaching going on, probably because they were up by 40 most of the game. So, a lot of the time, Coach Boeheim knelt down near the team, but did not say anything.
One thing I enjoyed was hearing what Coach Boeheim said to the players on the court during play. They often look back to him for instruction, but he does not always offer anything. At one point, Michael Carter-Williams turned and asked, "what should I do?" Boeheim merely said, "run a play!" That was it. Haha.
After the game, I followed the team into the locker room for the debriefing...
The team was pretty excited - everyone loves when the bench is emptied during the game and a few guys get points, avoiding Club Trillion. Coach Boeheim gave a pretty standard break-down. There was at least one recruit in the room (I do not know who). And for the parting chant, everyone raised their hands, and Scoop called out the charge: "Bernie on 3! 1 - 2- 3, Bernie!"
I was invited, but didn't stick around for the media. All-in-all, I had a great time and would definitely recommend picking up an Assistant Coach of the Day package if you ever run into one at a silent auction near you.