One-on-One With Coach Hawkins

Shortly after it was announced that Coach Hawkins was hired as the new head coach of the Broncos men's basketball team Broncos Illustrated had the opportunity to talk to him. Coach Hawkins talked about the direction the team is heading in, about why he chose to stay in Kalamazoo and about what it would take to have him leave Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo.

What direction are you planning on taking this basketball team in?

"I think one of the biggest things is, I mean we're on the right track, we have to continue. As I mentioned in the press conference I honestly believe that the fun has just begun and we're excited about the future. We're excited about the kids that we have back in the program and we're excited about the kids that we've recruited into the program."

When Coach Mac left to take the job in South Florida, what made you stay here?

"The biggest thing was I honestly felt it was the right thing to do. We had kids; we were getting ready to go on the final exams. Certainly I knew that I wanted to put my name in the hat for the head coaching position. As I mentioned again earlier we love living here. Lana and I love living here. We love Western and I knew I was going to put my name in the hat for the permanent position, but rather go to Florida and try and work to that end from down there. We also had some kids that were a bit shocked by the decision, also were getting ready to go into final exams and I felt strongly about the fact that they needed some direction."

I asked Coach Mac this question at a press conference, about what it would take to keep a coach, this was like back in November or December time frame. What would it take to keep a good coach here in Kalamazoo?

"It's tough to answer that question. I can answer it based on me. If your asking me what it takes to keep me in Kalamazoo, it's a lot. I could probably answer the question better by saying what it would take to get me to leave and that would be an extraordinary and extraordinary opportunity. Because it's once again, I'm really high on quality of life. It's something that's very important to me and we have found it here and stability means a lot to me. The last school that I coached at I was there for ten years. I had other opportunities to move on. So for me to leave I've found what I want and for me to leave it would take something unbelievable at this point."

Now we're seeing a lot of movement among the coaching ranks in Division One basketball. Coach Williams out in Kansas coached the National Championship game and then moved on North Carolina. Should you develop a program here in Kalamazoo that's along the line of a Kent State to where the continuous NCAA Tournament appearances, makes an Elite Eight appearance. Would you stay, see it through to be able to where there's eventually a Bronco team competing in the Final Four?

"Yeah, that would be the goal. I would love nothing more than to stay here and accomplish those kind of things. That would be a very special opportunity for me to do that and to bring the Kalamazoo community that sort of attention and Western that sort of attention. Yeah, it would take an extraordinary situation to get me out of here at this point. I'm very, very happy."

Now with the coaching changes here, I noticed in the recruiting process, I guess we lost the opportunity to be able to have one student come here because on the day it was announced that Coach Mac was leaving, he chose Toledo. None of the other players have thought about or talked about leaving or anything? They're all coming back next year, right?

"Yeah that's true. Everybody is, all of the current players again as all of the recruits have indicated to me that they'll be here and I'm excited about that."

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