In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Florida Gulf Coast University head coach Michael Fly joins the podcast to discuss being an assistant coach who becomes the head coach. Fly who has spent the previous seven years as an assistant coach on the Eagles’ staff, was promoted to head coach of the FGCU men’s basketball program this spring. He gives great advice for being the best assistant coach you can be, while providing insights into how he is going to approach being a head coach.
Fly has been a part of more than 150 wins the past seven years, six ASUN Tournament Final appearances, three NCAA Tournament victories, three ASUN Tournament titles and three ASUN Regular Season Championships, two berths in the NIT, a CIT appearance and a run to the Sweet Sixteen which captivated the nation and put the Southwest Florida campus on the national radar for good.
Fly came to FGCU from Florida State where he was the video coordinator for Leonard Hamilton. He has also been an intern for the NCAA and the Charlotte Bobcats under head coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
“We’re going to take a lot of the spacing elements and fast tempo . . and also the freedom of movement . . but we don’t want to lose . .toughness and competitiveness . . that mentality that we’re really going to sit down and guard.”
“When I was an assistant coach I can remember wondering . . why is he so stressed out about that particular thing? . . I think I understand the pressures of sitting in that first chair now better.”
“The amount of buy-in from the players is so important . . we don’t want any off-court distractions or any on-court distractions . . if it doesn’t contribute to winning, you shouldn’t be doing it.”
“We talk about all the time with guys. . the best programs are player-coached and player-led.”
“I had such good influences . . like every young guy I was excited about getting on the court . . I can remember those guys [FSU coaches Leonard Hamilton, Stan Jones] telling me, ‘Don’t get ahead of yourself. Just worry about being as good as what you do as anybody in the country . . “
“For me it was always what can I do to contribute to winning and what can I do to make Coach Dooley and Coach Enfield’s life easier. I think if that’s your motivation . . the next job takes care of itself.”
“I used to think of it in terms of, ‘What do I hate doing? What’s really not fun and not sexy about coaching?’ And if you can do all those things . . that’s what head coaches care about because they don’t want to do it either and . . you’ve provided that extra layer of value.”
“Sometimes we get so busy . . recruiting, watching film . . that you forget to take time to share ideas and you forget to take time to get better at your craft.”
[On interviewing] “I prepared those materials and tried to think to myself, “How do I bring value? What is my value?” . . Then I could touch on those things and provide examples.”
“We tell our guys all the time: be bought in, it’s not just about you, it’s about us . . If we’re going to teach that to our players . . why would we not do that with the overall university?”
“Another thing Coach Jones used to say to me was: Make the big time where you are . . the most important situation is your situation.”
“One of the things we try to do . . in recruiting is we don’t have leaders on a kid . . they feel like it’s the entire coaching staff recruiting them, not just one assistant.”
“The biggest thing . . we wanted to implement with our guys was giving guys the freedom to be able to go make plays.”
“I don’t want sets. I want a system that we can play out of that our guys can flow into. “
“I don’t ever want guys freezing, I don’t want ever want guys overthinking . . I want them using their talents and instincts.”
“We’ve given them rules but the basic rules are keep the floor as spaced as possible, move the ball as quick as you can . . and then the open guy shoots the ball.”
Click below to listen in if you listen on:
1:00 – Introduction
2:00 – Challenges in Taking Over the Program
5:00 – Blending Both Coaching Styles?
6:30 – Personality Change in Interacting Players
8:30 – Better Program are Player-Coach than Player-led
10:00 – Assistant Coach to Head Coaching Position
12:00 – Just be Really Good at What you do
13:30 – Examples of Things He Could Take-off Coaches Play
17:00 – Finding Opportunities to Speak
20:00 – Interview and Recruitment Process
22:00 – The Value of Recruitment and the Institution
25:00 – Things that He Done in the University
27:00 – The Most Important Situation is Your Situation
28:30 – Things Head Coaches Must Do to Develop their Assistants
31:30 – Recruiting with Assistant Coaches and Staff
34:00 – End-Game Coaching Responsibilities
36:00 – Broken Up Responsibilities and Quick Meetings
37:40 – Process of Offense
38:40 – Freedom to Make Plays
40:00 – Implementing Offense and Defense
41:30 – Teach Someone a New Position and Adjusting Players
43:00 – Conclusion
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