Our series started with Part 1 and How Did This Happen? We also had Part 2 and Who is Mike Boynton? Then, we finish it up today with Part 3 and Here Are Some Things You Want to Know.
Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in the Oklahoma State Basketball offices the new head basketball coach of the Cowboys led a brigade down the hall and into the basketball staff conference room. Mike Boynton didn't know many of the people following him. He knew his wife, two young kids, assistant athletic director for communications Gavin Lang, and associate director of communications Stephen Howard, who handles basketball, he knew beat writers John Helsley of The Oklahoman and Mark Cooper of The Tulsa World, probably recognized me from being around a lot, but the other six media members, maybe from bylines or pictures in the newspapers on columns. This is what a new head coach at a major school experiences. There are lots of new people and lots of your stories to tell. For a little over an hour on Saturday morning, his first full day as the new head coach at Oklahoma State, Boynton was telling those stories to a very interested and attentive audience. Our job is now to pass them along to you, which we will do immediately in three big doses.
Here Are Some Things You Want to Know
Don't count this as a question and answer. Remember, the questions here were being fired from a number or individuals. In fairness, to all of those that were in the room and to give credit where credit is due. I am going to identify the reporter/writer that asked the question. I just think this is a compilation of information you would most be interested in from the Cowboys new head basketball coach Mike Boynton.
John Helsley-The Oklahoman: I was told that you would interview well and then I was told that 'you knocked it out of the park.' Did you walk out of the interview on Thursday thinking that you had really made a case for yourself?
Boynton: I felt really good and again my advantage, at least this time was that I had been there to a lesser degree. I was probably more prepared last year (at SFA) because I had more time to prepare. It was like a two week process. I thought I was getting that job and I really believed I was until I got the phone call that I wasn't. This time I felt like I did a really good job and that I had a better idea of how to handle the conversation in the room and knowing the players in the room. I felt I knew what I was going to get.
Robert Allen-Triple Play Sports Radio/Go Pokes: I'm not asking for you to go through them one by one, but name off the coaches that you feel you have taken the most from and what you learned from them?
Boynton: I really have learned from everybody. I don't know if anyone has had more influence than any other. A guy like Mike Young for example, I worked for him for one year. He was one of the greatest people that I have ever met in my life and he was one of the people I couldn't wait to call yesterday (when he got the job). As you can imagine, it is hard to get through to me right now or for me to call. Frank Martin, I really didn't even work on his staff. I was kind of a supplementary guy when he came in with Brad (Underwood). I learned an immense amount from him just going to practice everyday and being around him and seeing him interact with his players. It's more like you just figure out what you like about certain things and then maybe somethings that you might do differently. I learned from everybody, Buzz Peterson, Larry Davidson, the first guy that I worked for at Furman University that I worked for as a grad assistant. Darrin Horn, we were in the trenches together and got fired. He's an assistant at Texas right now. I learned a lot from him and the last four years from Brad. Every guy is different and they all have strengths and they all did things a little bit differently. Things can be done different ways and there are a lot of different ways to do things.
Robert Allen: I've seen practices under Brad Underwood. I'll use your word, demonstrative, as to how Coach Underwood communicates and you say you will be different, not as loud. Will your practices be as hard. Do you see them being similar, just more quiet?
Boynton: Absolutely, that is the foundation for everything. Work. There is no substitute for it and it is the only thing that gives you a chance at the end of the day. The talent, that is a prerequisite to a certain degree, but guys that work harder tend to have more success. I believe that and that will be a staple of our program and our players will understand that wholeheartedly from day one. We will outwork everybody that we possibly can. The only way you know you are doing that is to work as hard as you can. We will do that every single day and then push ourselves a little bit further with the nudge of a teammate or the nudge of a coach.
Robert Allen: Did you see South Carolina win last night and what is it like to see your alma mater in the Elite Eight?
Boynton: I had it on and I didn't really pay attention. I kept looking at the score and I could not say how proud I am to be an alum and how remarkable a story this is. The last time they played a game in this tournament I was wearing a uniform. I was on the team. I feel bad because I kept wanting them to get to the tournament so people would quit asking about that team. I don't want to be that guy. It is a proud program with good players that should get to the tournament more often. Frank Martin is an unbelievable person with what he has done there to get the corner turned. I am so proud to watch that.
He continues and it goes to his pet peeve in basketball:
Boynton: That is the thing about basketball, even watching West Virginia the other night, they've got 45 seconds and I feel bad for Coach Huggs because he's got no timeouts and he can't get his team organized and please just get a good shot. The game expires with the ball in someone's hands. That drives me crazy. Shot clock violations are like inexcusable. I tell our guys all of the time there is a clock at both ends of the floor and just pick your head up and throw the ball close to the basket at some point before it (clock) hits zero. I hate when the clock expires when the ball is in hands. That is my biggest pet peeve in basketball.
Jenni Carlson-The Oklahoman: I know the current players are in (with you), I now there are the recruits and one you can't talk about, but what has your communication been with them?
Boynton: We've been in contact with all of them. It is a priority to us. Current players ae 1A. There is a group of priorities for us. Current players are 1A. Our recruits are 1B, and our former players are 1C. We have got to take care of those people and be in constant communication with them, with our staff and be in contact. Again, for former players it was a shock to them. Getting them back and rub some shoulders is important. They need to know that things will be a little different but not drastically different than they have been the past year.
Bill Haisten-The Tulsa World: In the first 100 days is it more a priority for you to establish the relationship with ticket buyers here or the Oklahoma high school coaches or coaches down in the Dallas area, although I'm guessing you already have a lot of relationships established down there?
Boynton: There are a lot of people throughout my career that I have built genuine relationships with. I think that is one of my strengths. People know that I just don't call them, but when I need them they are usually there for me. We will have the recruiting base covered. I have to get the people that buy tickets, the fans to understand that the sky is not falling. It rained a little bit, but the sky was a little cloudy and the sun is coming back. Our current players are the priority always.
Robert Allen: You have two players in the 1A category (Jawun Evans and Jeffrey Carroll) that are threatening to go in the 1C category. How do you handle that?
Boynton: Again, when the guys that are on your roster are your priority then their dreams are as well. Those kids have the dream of playing in the NBA. I want more kids in 1B (recruits) that want to do that. I encourage both of those kids to have a true evaluation or where you stand and I'm not going to draft anybody. I'm going to have them go get an evaluation from the people that make decisions. I support that wholeheartedly. The people that they listen to in that process, and I hope that I am part of that equation, will be people that have their best interest at heart, long term and not short term, and I will convey that to them and their families very strongly.
Robert Allen: How prepared are you to talk about staff?
Boynton: It's fluid. In fairness to the guys here and the guys that have worked with me (other places). Those guys are very important to what we've done here. We will have conversations. One of the strengths and I believe Coach Holder said this is that we have a very good staff, Brad brought a very good staff here and I believe that we had a really good staff. What that means is, guys will have opportunities also. Guys will have to make professional decisions that are best for them. As those conversations happen we will communicate with you guys.
John Helsley: How soon would you want to be on a jet visiting those recruits?
Boynton: I wish the press conference wasn't so late Monday.
Boynton weighed 188-190 pounds when he led South Carolina to the NCAA Tournament, a question he answered for Bill Haisten. He weighs pretty close to that now and sometimes less. Discipline is a huge part of his life. He gets up and works out every morning. He does play some basketball, but refused to call it that, saying what he plays now would be a disrespect to the game to call it basketball.
Every February he drops meat and breads and only eats fruits, vegetables, and grains for the entire month. He says March 1 is one of his favorite days of the year.
Robert Allen: Cowboy fans will want to know what your commitment is to Oklahoma State for the long haul?
Boynton: I'm 35-years-old and I've never been a head coach before, Coach Holder and the Board of Regents have just named me as the head coach of Oklahoma State University. What kind of person would I be to dismiss that. That means a lot to me. I'm as committed to this place and I am proud to lead this program. I am not thinking about anything else than doing the job really, really well for as long as they will have me here.