Steve DeMeo was named head men’s basketball for Northwest Florida State College on April 4, 2022, making it his second stint with the Raiders after a brilliant tenure from 2013-19. DeMeo most recently served as assistant coach for East Carolina University during the 2021-22 season and was at St. John’s University in the same role from 2019-21 prior to his time at ECU.
Possessing three decades of experience across all levels of the college game, DeMeo’s previous time leading the Raiders was remarkable. Coach DeMeo took NWFSC to a national title and was named the Spalding NJCAA National Coach of the Year in 2015. Under DeMeo’s direction, Northwest Florida State turned in a six-year record of 198-35 (.850), earned an additional berth in the 2017 NJCAA Final Four and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Under his leadership, the Raiders captured the Panhandle Conference Championship five-straight years (2015-19) and earned four Florida College System Activities Association State Tournament Championships in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Numerous players that he recruited, coached and developed have been drafted by National Basketball Association teams including Charles Jenkins (Golden State Warriors), Ryan Gomes and MarShon Brooks (Boston), Herbert Hill (Utah) and Marcus Douthit (Los Angeles). In 2019, Oregon-signee and future 2021 NBA First Round Draft pick Chris Duarte was selected as the NJCAA Division I Player of the Year, the first player to earn that honor under DeMeo.
A veteran coach with a track record of success, DeMeo also held lead roles at Division II Newberry College, as well as Monroe College and Bronx Community College. DeMeo has accumulated a 294-105 (.737) overall record as a head coach. Prior to taking over at Northwest Florida State, DeMeo spent 17 years as an assistant at the Division I level, enjoying successful stints at Iona, Providence, UCF and Hofstra.
Steve DeMeo Quotes:
“Me and my staff, every single day before we practice, usually in the morning, we go over what we think we need to improve upon . . my staff brings a lot to the table every day. I let them throw out ideas because those guys are smart, they’ve been places . . and they’ve got great ideas.”
“We do come back to the next meeting and say, ‘What do we need to improve on for some of our sets?’ Maybe the timing is off or we’re drilling some dribble handoff stuff. The handoff is too low or too high. So, we’re always correcting spacing, which is huge for most teams and it’s really huge for the way we play.”
“Less is more for coaches, less is more for players. Players are always trying to have four moves in one deal. Just go one way and take a shot. Same thing for us [as coaches]. Just hit them with one good point and get on to the next thing.”
“The first thing we teach is shot selection. We want tens and nines and maybe an eight once in a while. A lot of these guys don’t understand that, so that’s the fight for us early on. And once we get everyone on the same page or close to on the same page, our offense usually takes a . . big step forward and then it really helps your defense.”
“Our drills keep growing, even with 4-on-3 contest. I never used to do blockouts, but we had guys crash and I thought that was a great thing to add to it. Now you’ve got offensive rebounding out of it as well. So, all of a sudden, you have different elements of things and you start layering your drills and you get better on both sides of the ball.”
“We have different situations with guys. Sometimes, we’ll take guys because they need a second opportunity or they’ve got some issues or some different things. So, we’ve got to coach them a lot of times from the ground up. We talk about appreciating your opportunities all the time.”
“I tell the Division I coaches when they recruit them [players] from here, I know you’re going to get a better person than when they got here. Someone that you can trust, someone that’s going to go to class, someone that’s going to be respectful, someone that’s going to represent your program like you want it to be.”
”You have to be intentional every day. You have to think about what you’re going to say to your group. You just can’t speak off the cuff anymore because you could say the wrong thing that could not only get you fired, but say the wrong thing that could impact them and hurt their feelings, and now they won’t play as well for you to help you win the game.”
“My staff and I, we all talk about everyday guys. If you do things every single day, you’re going to get better. You’re not going to have a choice. So, we practice the right way every day . . the only way to get better is by competing against the best in practice and we try to make sure they’re going against guys that are better than them regularly.”
Steve DeMeo Breakdown:
2:00 – Next Practice
6:00 – Empowering Staff
8:00 – Areas of Improvement
12:00 – Happiness and Team Success
15:00 – Shot Selection
17:00 – Academics
19:00 – Different Defenses
22:30 – Freedom Early On
26:30 – Competitive Advantages
29:00 – Coaching Values
32:00 – Walk Ons
41:00 – Competitive Practice
42:30 – Offensive Stall
46:00 – Being Open Minded
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