This fall, FastModel Sports is excited to feature a Support Staff Series of Q&A interviews to show a little love to those coaches who aren’t in the spotlight and don’t sit in the first row of the bench on game day. These are the staff members that work behind the scenes making sure every single aspect of the program runs smoothly, so that the coaches and players can focus on winning games. We also hope this serves to educate those interested in pursuing a career in coaching on the possibilities available in the business.
FastModel Sports: Tell the readers a little bit about your coaching background.
Cory Marquardt: My start in coaching began my senior year of high school. I had the great opportunity to coach the 8th grade basketball team for our school district. After graduating high school, I joined the Drake Men’s Basketball team as a student manager. I continued in this position for three and a half years before graduating in December of 2016. Afterward I was promoted to Video Coordinator due to a coaching change. When the 2016-17 season ended I was able to stay with the program as the permanent Video Coordinator after yet another coaching change.
FMS: What is the most important thing you learned while being a student manager?
CM: I have learned how to be thankful and appreciate the good things in life. I have been through a lot with the Drake program over the last four years. Wins and losses shows some of the story, but the results of those games can’t show the effect on a person mentally. Going through some tough seasons makes a person very thankful and better able to appreciate the good times, while learning first hand how to overcome the disappointments of a loss and keep the right mindset during times of struggle.
FMS: How has your mindset changed as you have moved up in your career?
CM: Over time I came to an understanding that we are just playing a game. There are people, companies, and institutions around us every day in this nation and world that are dealing with very real problems and issues. That perspective for me has been the biggest change because I have seen other coaches and individuals become consumed by our basketball issues. I am not downplaying the importance of the issues we deal with, but in comparison to the issues our nation faces both domestic and foreign, it’s not even close.
FMS: Looking back now, what do you wish you knew when you started your coaching career?
CM: The one thing I wish I knew would be how much I would love it. My playing career in basically every sport was very short lived. I worked hard to compete and earn a spot to play, but was not successful in many cases. I have found so much joy in coaching and helping our players develop themselves on and off the court. I wish I would have started earlier.
FMS: As a former student manager, what advice do you have for current managers that are interested in a coaching career?
CM: For current managers I would say get involved as much as you can. There is always something to do for your program. In some programs, it may be hard to get directly to the Head Coach. However, if you can execute a few small tasks for an assistant or two, they will slowly start to get you more involved and come to you as they need something done. The idea that I go by is this: If you were to leave the program, would anyone notice? If you can say yes, then you’re probably doing something right.
FMS: In your opinion, what are the most important skills for young coaches to develop?
CM: Develop a voice. As a young coach, depending on what level you are at, some of your players may be very close in age or even a little older than you. With that comes the difficulty of them seeing you as an authority figure. The best way I have found to overcome this is to know exactly what you are talking about when you address your team so you do not give them any chance to question you. Then continue to do that as much as you can. If they sense any hesitation in what you say or are unsure about what you’re talking to them about, your credibility is compromised. In most cases, I have chosen to stay quiet if I am not 100% confident in what I’m saying.
FMS: How has technology helped you advance your career?
CM: As is true in our everyday lives, technology is everywhere and in basketball that is 100% true. Knowledge of breaking down video, as well as working with FastModel’s scouting and playbook software is the main reason I am in the position I am right now. Specifically, the FastRecruit app has made the biggest impact on my current position with Drake. The recruiting periods over the summer are a huge headache for teams trying to schedule out all the games and this app saved a lot of time. Going into the July recruiting period this year we had 7 scholarships to fill so you can imagine how many games our coaches were out watching, not to mention how long that would have taken to schedule out by hand.
FMS: Describe the importance of networking in the coaching business.
CM: Networking is the only way to advance in college basketball. Obviously, knowledge of the game and basketball specific talents are important to have but at the end of the day, everyone working in basketball has a pretty good understanding of the game. The people you meet and work with will take you places before any inside knowledge you might have will. You could be the best at scouting other teams but if you do not have a network, then you will never be able to advance.
FMS: What are your future goals in coaching?
CM: My main goal is to become a head coach of a program by the time I am 30. I am not picky about level – I just want to be with good people doing things for the right reasons.
FMS: What is your favorite coaching memory in your young career?
CM: Surprisingly, my favorite coaching memory was a loss. I led my 8th grade team in the last game of the season as their head coach. It was an overtime loss at the buzzer, but that was the game that I first knew I was going to be a coach. After that game, I was surprised to see my Dad in the stands with my brother who had driven 45 minutes to watch me coach my first game. From that moment on, I knew I would always have the support of my family in pursuing my passion of coaching. I am now on the eager journey to get my overall coaching record back to even!
You can email Cory at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @CoryMarquardt_.