Terry Focused on Task at Hand
11.11.11: Terry, Bulldogs Set to Tip Off
2011-12 Fresno State Men's Basketball Virtual Team Guide
Nov. 11, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. - New Fresno State men's basketball coach Rodney Terry knows how he wants to develop his basketball family and return the Bulldogs to postseason play.
"This program will never be about me - it will always be about our student-athletes," Terry said. "No one is guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Everything that you do - on and off the floor - prepares you for the postseason."
And by everything, Terry means everything - from sitting in the first two rows of class, how you dress, getting stronger in the weight room and making good decisions in all facets of your life.
"We want our guys to be the complete package," Terry noted. "When they come here, we expect them to earn a quality education and receive a degree in four years. They are going to grow as young men in a diverse setting socially, but they must be ready to do what it takes to compete at the highest level on the basketball floor."
Terry, a 43-year-old Texas native, helped lead the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament for the past nine seasons as an assistant coach under Rick Barnes before becoming a Bulldog. He quickly assembled his coaching staff with significant experience in successful programs.
Terry hired Jerry Wainwright, his longtime mentor and an accomplished head coach, to be his associate head coach, along with assistant coaches Michael Schwartz and Byron Jones to work tirelessly recruiting, coaching and developing the 'Dogs for the upcoming season. He also added Nick Matson as the men's basketball assistant to coordinate day-to-day operations.
"One of the most important things I have learned is that we are only as good as the people we have in the room," Terry said. "As a staff, we want high character guys who are serious about their education, competing at the highest level and growing as young men."
That mentality requires confidence and a complete commitment to a simple vision.
"We want our program to mirror our community - a hard-working team that competes night in and night out," Terry said. "We are going to hang our hat on being a great defensive and rebounding team. Our defensive efforts will help give us an advantage on offense, but we have to be physically fit enough to play such an exciting style of play. That's why we put so much time into strength and conditioning during the offseason."
While Terry noted that the competition for playing time will be fierce, Kevin Olekaibe - the Bulldogs' returning leading scorer (12.0 ppg) - made significant strides to get in even better shape for his sophomore season.
"K.O. worked his tail off and will be someone that our opponents will game plan any time we play," Terry said. "He really spent a lot of time preparing for this year."
The Terry brand of conditioning and effort also involves ownership and having both feet in for the team dynamic.
"Our philosophy is that no one individual is bigger than the team," Terry said. "Basketball is the ultimate team sport. Everything you do on and off the floor, and how you do them, can create a winning culture."
The past success of the Fresno State program intrigued Terry, who waited patiently for the right opportunity to accept a head coaching position.
"Fresno State has a winning tradition and a fan base that wants to support this team," Terry said. "This program has won an NIT championship, made seven postseason appearances under Tark and plays in one of the best venues on the West Coast. The Save Mart Center is a basketball-friendly facility where every seat is a good seat. Not many people know, but the design is the same as Ohio State - which is an electric environment every night. Our guys are looking forward to feeding off the energy from the Red Wave."
"Our Town, Your Team" - Fresno State opens the 2011-12 regular season at home on Nov. 11, when the Bulldogs host Illinois State at 7 p.m. at the Save Mart Center. Admission starts at $11 for the general public and will be free for veterans, active duty military and Fresno State students.