ZH: Tell us about your college career as a player and what position you played. You transferred to a D-II program, didn't you?
MS: I played the point guard position at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. It was a DII school and basketball was very important to the community and university. Northern State is always in the top ten for attendance among NCAA DII schools. In my junior season we qualified for the NCAA DII basketball tournament winning our fifth straight conference title. My time as a player at Northern State University was very enjoyable and rewarding.
ZH: As I understand, your coaches at Northern were quite accomplished. Can you tell us all about them?
MS: My junior season I played for Coach Bob Olson who is the current athletic director at Northern State University. He led the Wolves to the Elite Eight Tournament in 1997 and was head coach during their domination in the 90's. My senior season Northern State hired Coach Don Meyer to lead the wolves. He is the fastest to reach seven hundred wins among any college basketball coach. He won an NAIA National Championship in 1986 and is among the top twenty coaches for career wins. He is the best teacher of the fundamentals in the country and runs the best summer basketball camps in the country. He has done so much for me in the beginning of my coaching career and I hope someday to lead and teach a team with as much passion and dedication as him.
ZH: What do you feel you've acquired from Coach Meyers in terms of basketball knowledge?
MS: Coach Meyer has opened my eyes to the game of basketball. He showed me winning basketball games is not the only part of coaching. The biggest thing Coach Meyer has taught me is that no matter how successful a person can be it is important to treat everyone with respect. I remember him quoting a coach, "For but every hundred people who can handle failure there is but one who can handle success." He has instilled a huge portion of my basketball philosophy such as never forgeting where I came from and how to relate and teach the basic fundamentals of basketball.
ZH: How did you come to Gonzaga University and did you have a chance to watch any Zag games on TV?
MS: I wanted to stay in the college game, so after I received my Master's Degree I applied to several Universities and heard nothing back. Coach Meyer and Coach Krause are good friends. Coach Krause coached Coach Meyer while he was in college. I met Coach Krause at The Don Meyer Coaching Academy a couple of years ago and met with him again this summer. I approached him and asked what the chances would be if I was a volunteer assistant and did some substitute teaching in Spokane next year, and he asked if I had a resume. He called back a few days later and asked if still wanted to be a Zag. I was able to see the Zags on TV a few times the last couple of years. They are an exciting team to watch and play extremely hard. They are very well coached and the players respect the game.
ZH: Are there similarities between Gonzaga's style of play and Northern's? What are the most obvious?
MS: Northern and Gonzaga are similar in their team chemistry. The Northern State basketball team and staff was a family, there was great communication among the staff, and the players were well-coached and played hard. I feel that both schools play extremely hard and are well coached. Both programs try to emphasis fundamentals and the teaching of those skills.
ZH: What is your official title now at GU and what will your duties consist of this year?
MS: My title at Gonzaga will be Volunteer Assistant/Administrative Assistant. I will assist all the coaches in different film work, mailouts, summer camps, and collecting statistics at practices and during home games. I do not travel with the team and I am not allowed to participate in on the floor coaching, so I will take lots of notes and try to learn as much as possible from Coach Few, Coach Krause, Coach Grier, Coach Rice, and Coach Lloyd. My number one duty is to learn as much as possible to continue forming my coaching philosophy.
ZH: You are married and have a baby girl. Please introduce Zag fans to your family.
MS: I have a lovely wife Debbie, and a beautiful daughter Madyson. My wife is an unbelievable teacher who has three years of experience as a fifth grade teacher and eighth grade Science teacher. My daughter is going to turn one on Oct. 12.