Interview: Mike Muse

Recently, Wake Forest University hired Mike Muse to become the school's Director of Basketball Operations. DeaconSports sat down with Muse recently to get his thoughts on the position and the basketball program.

Michael Jennings: Well Mike, you have been here for several weeks now so what do you think so far?
Mike Muse: It has been great so far. This is a great staff and everybody associated with Wake Forest has welcomed me and my family with open arms. We are very proud to be part of the Deacon family.

MJ: Has this, college coaching, been a long-range goal of yours?
Muse: (Slight hesitation) Yes, ever since I watched the 1974 NCAA finals where NC State defeated UCLA and then Marquette, with my Dad. I was thirteen years old at the time and my Dad was a coach and I always knew from that time on that I wanted to be in college coaching at some level in order to get to the finals and win a national championship. Being here at Wake Forest, with this staff, in this league, and with the wonderful fan support, I think this dream is possible.

MJ: Is accepting the position as Director of Basketball Operations a way for you to get into coaching at the Div 1A basketball?
Muse:At this point I don't worry about that because my job here is to facilitate the behind the scenes things that will enable this staff to concentrate on the x's and o's, recruiting, and developing these young men as student/athletes. My job here is to help these guys achieve their goals by doing whatever I can to make it easier for them. If it happens that a coaching position is available to me, I will cross that bridge when I come to it and this is not a situation where I have one foot in the door and the other one out the door.

MJ: Briefly describe what a Director of Basketball Operations duties involves.
Muse:Pretty much the day to day operations, behind the scene stuff, like dealing with the camps in the summer and the travel during the season. Other things include helping keep track of the budget and anything else deemed legal by the NCAA and required by the staff.

MJ: You've been here long enough to see the players play some, so what are your general impressions of this team so far and how do you feel about many people selling this team short and relegating them to last place in the ACC?
Muse:Potential is a key word here and I hate basing things on potential but what I have seen so far is that this is a very good staff. They work extremely hard, are tireless, do things the right way and they have a great reputation amongst the HS coaches, college coaches, and recruits which makes it exciting for me to be a part of that. I have seen a group of players who are enthusiastic, have worked very hard, are close to each other and who love Wake Forest University and this staff. They have an attitude and a sense of great pride already that they represent Wake Forest and are ready to show what they are capable of as a team. Hopefully that will equal wins during the season and for sure, they will play with great effort.

MJ: With 11 of the players being sophomores or freshmen, we will be extremely green in experience. That said, how much does the good chemistry help offset the relative lack of experience on this team?
Muse:These kids have great chemistry and the attitude of refusing to lose. They all came from winning programs and have been winners all their lives so they have an attitude of we will win. This season will depend on how well they get along together, how hard they are willing to work, and other things which will hopefully allow them to overcome the inexperience factor. If those things take place, there have been other young teams that have been successful such as the Fab Five from Michigan and last years UNC team as examples. You can not use your youth as an excuse because there are still other things it takes to win for anyone at whatever level.

MJ: Your father is a well known coach and your brother Andy is the head coach of Mt Tabor HS here in W-S, so you seem to have a pretty good support group on hand.
Muse:Well I grew up as a gym rat and my Father always encouraged me in the sport and I have been breaking down film since I was about 4 years old. I learned a lot from my Dad and continue to lean from him and Andy. Andy is not just my Brother, he is my best friend so we are always there for each other and he has helped me a great deal. The most important things my Father taught me were in how to treat people, how to work hard, and how to do things the right way by treating people the right way.

MJ: How does your wife feel about this move for you?
Muse:My wife was a flight attendant for 18 –19 years and she was the one doing all the travelling and I stayed home and now we have kind of reversed roles with her staying home and me travelling a lot. She is retired from the Airline and is excited to be home and excited for me to have this opportunity as well. You just can not be in this coaching business without having a fantastic support group at home and she is mine.

MJ: So far how would you describe your Wake Forest experience?
Muse:Extremely good. Everyone, from the faculty, Administration, staff, players, fans, and Wake employees have welcomed me with open arms and helped me in every way. I want to be a part of the entire Wake family, not just basketball, because this is a close knit university that is a little different than some other bigger ones. To me this university is a lot more than just basketball and which makes it a very special place and hopefully I can give some things back to the people here. I am proud to be able to wear the name Wake Forest across my chest.

MJ: Any last words for the fans?
Muse:Wake Forest has a great fan base who make the Joel a very tough place for others to play. Give us your support and this team and staff will deliver the same to you. This team will play hard and will be a credit to the fans and supporters of Wake Forest University. We need the people of Winston-Salem to take this team to heart and give them the kind of support that will help these young kids when opponents do come to the Joel. We will give them a team that will play hard, play well, and be a credit to the city and Wake Forest University. Be loud and be proud!

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