We sat down this week with SJSU basketball coach, George Nessman, and he gave us his "vision" for the SJSU mens basketball program.
Let us clearly state up front, that Coach Nessman is a man who want's to be heard. He has had some expereince with web sites and their associated message boards dating back to his tenure at CAL, but he is still not afraid to tell it like it is to the cyber-world.
Thanks to Coach Nessman in advance for his open attitude and willingness to speak to the number one SJSU fan site on the internet!
Coach Nessman made a sound decision to keep the Seniors he inherited in his first year at the helm. This delayed progress of the squad due to the mindset that had been instilled via the "old regime" that preceeded Coach Nessman's tenure as head coach.
Coach Nessman made an early and ethical decision to keep those Seniors on board simply because he wanted them to know that he respected them as individuals. The general rule of thumb applied in this case, and to re-iterate the Coach in his own words..."Treat people like they want to be treated, and vice versa".
Coach Nessman has instilled a philosophy of recruiting high school players "NOW".
The next class of Spartans will be freshman focused, and many holes will be filled with new incoming faces.
Coach Nessman was quoted "Some players have sit out to learn the system, and some of these Freshman are eligable right now".
This shows that Coach Nessman is working on the "future" of SJSU basketball, and has a game plan that he hopes that will yield success "sooner rather than later".
In our interview with the Coach, he stated that he is looking to move the program into "class balance". Basically, in the past the SJSU program recruited mostly JC players with 2-3 years of experience on the hardwood.
This resulted in a "mass exodus" of players that graduated all at once, which left the program in a constant state of rebuilding year after year.
In the past, optimistic thoughts about the success of SJSU basketball has been very low. This has translated into a poor fan attitude as well.
Coach Nessman hopes to change this attitude by simply thinking positive about the program, and then changing attitudes of both the players and the fan base simultaneously.
A fine example of the coaches loyalty comes from this story that he told us during our interview.
Coach Nessman thought back to a time when SJSU player, Jared Cozad, applied for a sixth year of eligibility. He was denied this sixth year by the NCAA.
Cozad's brother had just died in an accident, thus Cozad dropped out of tenure with a Junior College and thus lost his eligibility.
Coach Nessman was quoted as stating "It was an injustice in regards to what happened to Cozad". Coach Nessman was thoroughly disappointed with this result and now assesses daily as to what he can do better with his staff and player mentoring as to ensure such things do not happen within the SJSU hoops program in the future.
This really shows you that Coach Nessman is a man who cares about his players and the future of SJSU basketball.
Infrastructure changes are also part of this process, and Coach Nessman worked with Athletic Director, Tom Bowen, to save the old building on campus labeled "building BB" which now houses the SJSU basketball staff.
Coach Nessman was proud to point out the new "Spartan blue" carpeting, hip new chairs and desks, and an over sized LCD monitor in his office. There were players of the team huddled around this monitor when we entered the coach's office, and the mood was all about business upon our entrance for our pre-scheduled meeting.
THE NOW, THE FOLLOWING SEASON, AND THE OFF SEASON:
Coach Nessman stated "this year will be big due to the team finally being together and on equal footing". Strides have been taken to instill a process and mentality that is driven by the coach's desire to success "now rather than later".
After making progress in 2007 over this previous year, the goal is to move the program to the middle of the WAC, and Coach Nessman states "this year will clearly be better than the last".
One thing we noticed in this interview is that Coach Nessman stated that he is just simply trying to get better. This is also a mantra that head football coach, Dick Tomey, and his staff preach as well. You can call it the "Bowen factor" from our perspective.
A MODEL PROGRAM:
Coach Nessman brought up that the WAC's premier team, the University of Nevada Wolfpack, is the team to model success after. The Wolfpack continues to improve and get better, even after winning the WAC title. Coach Nessman likes how UNR has built it's program, and hopes to mimic this model of success at SJSU.
Many other model programs have a foreign tour every four years. Did you know that SJSU has never been on such a tour in many, many years?
Did you also know that with such a tour in place, that SJSU now get's to practice ten times over the summer due to this European tour? This will help yield a more disciplined team, as SJSU will be practicing when other WAC teams are not.
Good thinking by both Coach Nessman and Athletic Director, Tom Bowen!
THREE YEAR GAME PLAN:
The "old way" of coaching at SJSU has been to instill a heavy JUCO presence on the court. A philosophy of riding a few star players- which has failed miserably.
Over the next 2-3 years, Coach Nessman will look to grow a "family of players", and then leap frog other WAC teams when those players from the other schools simply move on. Again, Nevada-Reno is the model program that Coach Nessman looks to mirror. Getting thru the rough patches and the learning curve is something that he feels SJSU has indeed accomplished, and it is now time to take the program to it's next logical level.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that SJSU has not won a conference title in 56 year's. This in regards to the jump to D1A athletics. The focus thus is to get better "now", and the urgency is to do so "now" according to the Coach.
Did you know that since SJSU joined the WAC, that the team has not won on a consistent basis? Well, the game plan is now in play according to Coach Nessman, and the loyalty of his players towards the staff and the program itself is unrelentless.
THE SPARTAN WAY:
A simple message has been created in order to move the program to the next level. It is called "The Spartan Way".
What this essentially means is that there are no short cuts any longer, and everything from practices to how the team travels are done properly and in everything that the program now does. A team first ethic has been instilled along with a great work ethic.
Positive energy and outlook, plus academic progress are what this Coach is all about!
The "Spartan Way" is essentially a business plan for success. Call it a blue print or a strategically divuldged pre-IPO mantra. Whatever you want to call it, the Coach states that the players, fans, and alumni have "got to believe".
The SJSU basketball staff has been assembled by Coach Nessman hand picking some of it's members, and some have been inherited.
All fans need to remember that the staff is currently in a growth mode. The staff is young and energetic, yet fiercly loyal to each other and the "Spartan Way".
Coach Nessman is very proud of his staff and stated that they represent San Jose State University in fine fashion.
Coach Nessman welcomes all inquiries from fans, students, alumni. So feel free to call him, E mail him, etc.
Contact Coach George Nessman at the following:
Voice: 408-924-1245, Fax: 408-924-1694, Email: George.Nessman@sjsu.edu