Kerr enjoying his new role in basketball

Steve Kerr had a much longer NBA career than anyone thought when he left the University of Arizona. In fact no one gave him any shot at being a college starter, much less an NBA champion, when he came to Arizona as a lightly recruited guard from Southern California. Now his playing career is over and he's made a very successful transition to the broadcast booth.

We interviewed Steve Kerr on our weekly radio show, ‘Cat Tracks On The Air'. The show is aired every Monday from 5-7 on Fox Sports Radio 1290 in Tucson.

Doug Carr: We were just talking about the Wooden award, and speaking of Wooden, Lute Olson is closing in on several of his conference records. All season long Coach Olson has been setting milestone after milestone. Lute downplays this, but he's a heck of a coach isn't he?

Steve Kerr: He sure is, but before I start on Lute let me say how much I admired John Wooden growing up. I was a ball boy for UCLA as a kid and I was a huge Bruin fan and went to all of their games. I saw Bill Walton play and a lot of the other greats. Wooden was my idol, I went to his camp. I feel lucky to have played for a guy who is as close to Wooden as there is going to be. With all of the milestones this year, it's pretty amazing, especially when you think about where this program was when he took over 20 years ago. I feel very lucky to have played for him.

Carr: You can't build a program like Arizona without great talent and a great plan. Lute has to be one of the more organized coaches you've played for?

Kerr: He knew exactly what he wanted to do when I came in that first year. We all came in and Lute was walking around telling people that they'd better get their tickets now. That year I could not give my tickets away. I think we each got four for each game and I'd walk into 7-11 and some people would not take them. Now you come to town and you can't get one. That's obviously a testament to Lute and he had the foresight to know that was possible in Tucson. With the recruiting base in California and even in Arizona and the fact that the fan base had supported the team when Fred Snowden was the coach, Lute knew it was all there. It just a took a man of his talent and vision to make it all work.

Carr: Looking at the Oregon Media guide it said they sold 5,700 season tickets and that was an all-time high. They've got a pretty good program but they can't hold a candle to Arizona in terms of fan support.

Kerr: Well, you have to keep in mind that Eugene is the Mecca of entertainment. There are so many other things to do there. People have so many other things to do.

Carr: Tell us about Steve Kerr. You are working just one day a week, what do you do the rest of the time?

Kerr: I'm generally doing one game for TNT on Thursday nights and that might be anywhere in the country and I'm also doing one or two local games for a San Antonio channel. I'm also coaching my kids' teams and spending a lot of time with them. I have a great home life and it's something I want to do right now, especially while my kids are still young. This is the perfect job for me. It keeps me in the NBA without the total time commitment and emotional commitment that it takes as a player or as a coach.

Carr: Tell us how it is as a father now coaching a game that you know so much about and that has been so good to you.

Kerr: It is so much fun. I look forward to practice and games all week, even more so than the NBA games I cover. There's just such a personal connection with my son and my daughter, to be able to teach them a game that has meant so much and was so good to me, it's just an unbelievable experience. It's so much fun to see kids compete at nine and eleven. It's just so innocent, they compete hard but they respect the opponent and respect their teammates.

Carr: Does your son Nick have that ‘Steeeeeve Kerrrrrrr" flick to his wrist at the end of that shot?

Kerr: He's got the jumper, there's no question, but unfortunately he's got his old man's wheels. He won't blow by anyone that's for sure.

Brad Allis: You've said in the past that you might like to get into coaching. After this time off is that still in the plans, or do you like this less hectic lifestyle?

Kerr: Coaching is definitely in my future, it just depends on what level. This broadcasting gig is perfect for me right now because my kids are young. When they get older and go off to high school or college, I know I'll be very interested in coaching. I should have some opportunities in the NBA and I may go that route, but I'd be very happy coaching at the high school level or any level actually. I just need to kind of see where my career takes me and go from there.

Carr: I know you've talked to Lute about the difficulties of coaching at the college level, between the NCAA regulations and players leaving early. So many of them get bad advice and jump too soon. What do you think of the guys who leave early, or even the guys who jump straight from high school?

Kerr: Some of these guys are ready to play in the NBA, but very few. If you look at Kobe, Garnett and MacGrady, you can't argue with their decisions. They're perennial all-stars and brilliant player, but what I would say about most of those guys is that they are not ready. They haven't had the life experience that college provides. I would always advise a player to go to college for a few years. The problem is that the money is so good. How do you tell a player to pass up a guaranteed 10 million bucks, or in LeBron James' case, $100 million? I don't think you can possibly give him that advice and have piece of mind. He would have cost himself $100 million bucks if he suffered a devastating injury. I just think it is so much healthier for an 18 or 19 year old to go to college and learn, not only about basketball, but learn a lot about life as well.


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