The college basketball season has started. Hoop fans are watching the players on the court and the big-name head coaches on the sideline.
Assistant coaches are a big part of college basketball, too. Rob Moxley is an assistant coach for the University of Maryland men's team. Moxley grew up around Washington and went to Fauquier High School in Warrenton. After being an assistant coach at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Moxley has returned home to help Coach Gary Williams and the Terps return to the Final Four. I talked to him about being an assistant basketball coach.
Did you play basketball at Fauquier High School?
I tried out in the 10th grade and got cut. I tried out again in the 12th grade [but didn't make the team].
Did you ever play on a team?
After high school, I was on my way to register for classes at Frederick Community College. But my car broke down in Germantown, and so I decided to register at Montgomery Community College. I didn't know if they had a team. I just dropped by the gym and tried out.
How did you do?
Coach Steve Hobson was a great guy. He was the kind of coach who, the harder you worked, the more he tried to help you. I played two years and became a junior college all-American. Then I transferred and started two years at Newberry College [in South Carolina].
Did you know you wanted to be a coach when you were a kid?
I really did. My dad coached me in all sports growing up. That was a big influence. I also was a sports fanatic and saw great coaches like Lefty Driesell [Maryland basketball] and Earl Weaver [Baltimore Orioles]. In my last year at Newberry, I knew I loved basketball and wanted to stay around the game.
What do you do as an assistant coach at Maryland?
I am in charge of recruiting. Getting good players is important to any basketball program. I also work with the guards, trying to make them better players. And all the coaches make sure the guys are keeping up with their classes.
What do you look for in a player when you are recruiting?
I look for a kid who loves to play and wants to get better. I also look for a good person, someone who is doing the right things and is working with his teachers. You can't have a good team with a lot of problems and attitudes.
So what should kids who want to play basketball in high school or college do?
You have to be dedicated and work hard at basketball. You can't play PlayStation more than you play basketball and expect to be a good basketball player. But you should be realistic. Be the best you can be. That may not be good enough to play for Maryland, but you may play for a smaller school.
Do you coach your kids?
I help with Joey's and Emily's teams. [They are 7 and 5.] But I can't be the main coach because I travel so much. I can't even get a head-coaching job at that level.
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's Friday sports opinion column and is the author of sports novels for kids.