DM: We're in the thick of the basketball season. I feel very blessed to coach basketball and to be able to talk about basketball. It's a tremendous honor to get paid to do that for a living. Right now the tournament season is coming up for our high school team. The district tournaments begin on Thursday. It's obviously the most exciting time for our basketball team. We just wrapped up our regular season Friday night. We ended up 24-3 and 14-0 in our district and won our league title.
GFP: Who or what inspired you to get into coaching?
DM: You know, growing up I just loved the game of basketball. It's always been so good to me. I've grown up working at camps and clinics. I just love kids and I feel that God really wired me and instilled a passion to teach kids. I'm just glad I get to do it through the game of basketball, a game that has been so good to me.
When I got done at Vanderbilt I ignored the call to coaching for many years. A lot of people close to me including my parents told me I was gifted in the coaching area and to pursue that because I had a passion about it but I ignored it. CPA four years ago gave me an opportunity to coach a seventh and eighth grade basketball team. I just loved it so much and God really used it to and soften my heart and made me listen to him about a calling to coach. One thing led to another and through God's hand He led me to where a door opened up where I wanted my kids to go to high school anyway. I ended up coaching at CPA and I am in my second year now and I just love it. I actually can't believe that I get to drive to work every day and coach and teach kids and get to be involved in basketball.
GFP: How did you get started working for 104.5 the Zone?
DM: When I was playing basketball at Vanderbilt George Plaster was on play by play and Willie Daunic was the color commentator. George always complimented me on my ability to carry on interviews and communicate with the media. When I got done playing he always said when I got done playing he could foresee me as an asset on his show. 3 years later George and I started doing a basketball show on 104.5 and it just took off from there. Now I do hundreds of hours of radio for 104.5 a year.
GFP: It wasn't because you had a face for radio?
DM: (Laughs) No that's the main reason. No actually I'll leave that for George he has more of a face for radio more than mine. That's what we laugh about on the TV show on Sunday night. We just kind of laugh and say we should have stayed on radio.
GFP: Now you're local guy. Who were some of your favorite Commodores growing up? I'm a Barry Goheen guy myself.
DM: Absolutely, there are so many guys just being close over the years with my father and grandfather playing there. It's an important part of the DNA in our family. I grew up going to the games and my first memory of watching Commodore greats was Phil Cox. I even got my haircut like him because he was my first basketball hero. Then it moved into the mid-80's with Barry Goheen, Barry Booker, Scott Draud, and obviously Will Purdue. Those were great teams and great comebacks with all those buzzer-beating shots by Barry Goheen. Then I had the privilege in high school when I had more knowledge of the game it was great to watch Billy McCaffrey, Ronnie McMahan, Kevin Anglin, and Bruce Elder that won the SEC championship in 1993. Those were the guys who really stick out to me when I think about guys who were definitely heroes of mine at Vanderbilt.
GFP: All right, let's talk about your recruitment to Vanderbilt. I heard Bob Knight was trying to recruit you to Indiana. Tell us about being recruited and why you ultimately decided to come to Vanderbilt.
DM: I guess I always wanted to come to Vanderbilt if I was good enough to play college basketball. Vanderbilt was really where my heart had decided on when I was five or six years old. I even wrote it on a sheet of paper. I wanted to play basketball at Vanderbilt there was no other place for me. I committed to coach Fogler when I was in the ninth grade. He offered me a scholarship at the end of my freshman year and I accepted but when he left to go to South Carolina it really threw my recruiting into disarray. It really opened my recruitment up. I remember visiting Indiana and visiting with coach Knight with my father and Ron Mercer being in the room and meeting with him. I loved coach Odom, he used to be at Wake Forest in those days. I looked real hard at Wake Forest. Lon Kruger at Florida was another coach at Florida I got real close with. I like the University of Florida. There were a lot of different places and coaches that I would've had the privilege to play for. I just felt that playing at home and having the opportunity to play where you are a third generation player and your family can continue to watch you play and playing in the Nashville community where I grew up was just to good to pass up. I'm thankful every day that I had the opportunity to play there. Not only playing there but for my degree. Not one day has gone by since I graduated that I haven't benefited from my experience there.
GFP: What are you most proud of from your career at Vanderbilt?
DM: The NCAA team; that year was my junior year and we felt we were good enough to make the NCAA tournament. The year before a lot of people don't remember but we had a great team that beat UCLA in Maui but we had two severe injuries to Malik Evans and Howard Pride. We would've been an NCAA team that year as well. My Junior year we were dedicated but we really struggled in the middle, the early part of the conference schedule. So when we got to 11-8 or 11-9 we reeled off six straight wins in a row to close out the year. In the first round of SEC tournament, which was in Memphis, it was really one of those bubble type games that we felt we had to win if we were going to punch our ticket to go. We played Mississippi State and we were down about 10 or 12 points with eight minutes to go and came back and beat them in overtime. When we walked out of the gym that night we knew we had solidified our berth in the NCAA tournament.
GFP: You scored the last five points in regulation then a few more in overtime didn't you?
DM: I know from the 9:50 mark on I scored 20 points
GFP: Being a third generation Commodore what does it mean to you being tied for the school's all time steals record and being placed on the All-SEC team your senior year?
DM: Those things are obviously just a product of playing with great people and playing for great coaches. I never set out saying I want this record or I want to be in the top 5 in this or that. It's a product of being on great teams and I was blessed to have great teammates. I know it sounds cliché. I'm not trying to show false humility. I really believe that. What really meant the most to me was just putting on the uniform and having the Vanderbilt across my chest because it was such an important part of our family. I cherish those days of getting to do that. I look back now and can thankfully say there wasn't a day I regret. I really tried to soak up those four years. I can't even articulate how much it meant to play there.
GFP: Do you keep in touch with your former teammates?
DM: Yeah, you know it was great just last week they honored the top 3-point shooting Commodores over the years and I had a chance to reconnect with guys like Frank Seckar who lives out of town. It's kind of cool because there's a lot of former Commodores still coaching high school basketball. Guys like Kevin Anglin and Ronnie McMahan are over at MBA. I talk to Austin Bates frequently, Sam Howard. Matt Freije lives two houses down from me. There's a lot of guys who have continued to live here in Nashville. It's amazing what happens when you see those guys because you just fall back in line to ten years ago where you just had such a great relationship with those guys. You really live life with those guys and you have so many memories with each other.
GFP: Who was the best player you ever played against?
DM: Tim Duncan, unquestionably; we played Wake my freshman year over there and I just remember thinking this guy was one of the best players in the world. You just knew he was a pro and was going to be a Hall of Fame type guy. He was just that much better than everybody else on the court.
GFP: Where was the toughest place to play?
DM: We had the unfortunate opportunity to play at Duke my junior year in the preseason NIT. It was not a fun experience at all. It is everything they say it is. It's that hard to play in that environment. If I had to pick a place to play in the SEC I would have to say Florida. That to me was always the toughest place. We never really played good there. We never got into rhythm. The fans were very educated and were on us from the moment we stepped onto the court.
What a lot of Commodore fans don't realize is that the 3 point streak almost ended my sophomore year down there. We didn't' hit a three pointer until there was 20 seconds left in the game. I'll always say that was the hardest place to play.
GFP: I saw that you had a streak of 32 straight games with a three-point basket.
DM: Yeah, I think it was my senior year I got into a pretty good rhythm. I hit a 3 pointer with 20 seconds left my sophomore year that kept the streak intact. If not the streak would've ended that night.
GFP: So, every time they throw out T-shirts at the home game after we make a 3 pointer to keep the streak alive we should thank you right?
DM: (Laughs) I don't know about that but I'm thankful we weren't the team that ended the streak.
GFP: What do you think about the Commodores this year? Do you think they can make another run in the NCAA tournament?
DM: Absolutely, I think this team is a special group. They have four special Seniors, and a very talented player in Shan Foster, who will wind up the all-time leading scorer at Vanderbilt. I just think there is something about this group that there is an intangible that starts with the coaching staff and the seniors. You can't put your finger on it. They are just so tough and it's measured by the way they finish games. If it's a close game and it's inside two or three minutes most of the time, if not all the time they win. That's the sign of a special group of guys that have come together to do something pretty cool. It was very evident the other night when Ogilvy went through a little adversity missing free throws. They never stopped believing they would win and Jermaine Beal hit that shot to beat South Carolina.
GFP: I want to ask you about some of the games you played in. You alluded to it earlier, your sophomore year you scored 19 points in the Maui Invitational to beat the defending NCAA champions UCLA. That's got to really stand out.
DM: Yeah, that was one of the games that looking back I am the proudest of to get a win. They were just coming off a National Championship the previous year and they had all that talent back. A lot of those guys went on to play in the NBA. That was a great win for us because just 48 hours earlier we had played North Carolina and lost by a few points. It was Vince Carter and Antwan Jamison's first game so we bounced back and beat UCLA.
The other game that sticks out to me, as far a significant win was the first time we went to Arkansas to Bud Walton arena my sophomore year and we beat them on their court. If I'm not mistaken it was either the first or second time and SEC team had won at Bud Walton arena.
GFP: The Kentucky game your Senior year was a heartbreaker.
DM: It was on ESPN classic today.
GFP: Was it?
DM: Yes, and I don't need to see that tape anymore because I still don't think that shot should've counted. That was the night I thought I was finally going to get a chance to pick them off. They were obviously ranked pretty high and went on to win a National Championship that year. We were back and forth with them the entire game and after I made that shot and we went onto the time out I thought we'd go onto overtime and then we'd ride off into the sunset and beat them. Nazr Mohammed obviously had other plans. I still dispute it especially again after seeing it again today that that shot should not have counted.
GFP: The NCAA game you mentioned earlier against Xavier, you had 16 points. You came up a little bit short but you said that that game was the highlight of your career.
DM: That was just a lifelong dream fulfilled for me personally and a collective dream by our team getting to play in that game. Obviously Xavier was a really good team. I think we were just a little satisfied with just making the NCAA tournament instead of going up there really thinking we could win. That experience is something I will never forget. The day we were called on Selection Sunday and our name appeared on the screen, the week in practice, traveling to the site to play, all the hype surrounding the NCAA tournament was something I'll always remember. It's the neatest sporting event that goes on in our country and I'm priviliged enough to say I played in it.
GFP: OK, last question is there anything else you want to say to your friends and fans?
DM: A great big thank you. The Vanderbilt fans and playing in Memorial Gym is unlike any experience I'll ever experience for the rest of my life. The support and unconditional love is something I'll always cherish and never forget so I want to say thank you to all the Vanderbilt fans who have supported us over the years.
For more Glutton interviews please visit his blog at: http://www.vanderbiltsports.blogspot.com/