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Season Preview: CHD sits down with new Pacific coach Ron Verlin

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with new Pacific coach Ron Verlin about taking over the head job after spending almost two decades as an assistant coach.

verlin

What are your expectations for the upcoming season? Number one, I want all of our seniors to graduate. Number two, we also want to play on Tuesday night (in the WCC tourney title game).

Your team lost seven seniors from last year but you have seven seniors on the current roster, how do you balance the loss of experience with the return of so much experience? We definitely lost some leadership, which is the biggest area where we need someone to step up, but our juniors from last year will step right in after working their tails off this summer.

You spent the past 19 years as an assistant under Coach Bob Thomason at Pacific (the all-time Big West leader in wins), what made him such a great coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He had great attention to detail and was a smart basketball coach. I learned to be patient in developing a team and to stick to your guns. We constantly improved and got better.

After Coach Thomason retired in the spring you were named as his replacement, why did you take the job, and are you worried about following in his large footsteps? I took the job because I have wanted to be a head coach for a long time and am excited to run my own program. Bob had a great career here as a player and coach, so I just hope to win a lot of games and make it to the NCAA tourney. The staff is intact and we return 11 players from last year’s team.

Your twin brother Don is head coach at Idaho, who is the best coach in the family?! Absolutely…100%…me!

What are your memories of the 2004 Big West tourney title game (Miah Davis scored 11 points and made a pair of free throws with five seconds left in a two-point win over CSUN)? We were beating them up pretty good early before they made a comeback in the 2nd half. Miah was a 90% FT shooter, so we knew he would make them. We refused to lose.

What are your memories of the 2004 NCAA tourney (Davis scored 19 points in an eight-point upset over Providence)? It was one of the best games I have ever been a part of at Pacific. We executed and played so well together: it was a great bunch of guys. We just took apart their 2-3 zone and forced them to play man-to-man.

What are your memories of the 2005 NCAA tourney (Christian Maraker and David Doubley each scored 17 points in an eight-point win over Pitt)? Mike Webb made three after three for us: he had a great run during his entire junior year.

What are your memories of the 2006 NCAA tourney (Maraker scored 30 points in 49 minutes in a two-overtime loss to Boston College)? It was the most frustrating game I have ever been in. We got a horrible foul call down the stretch that cost us the game.

In March your team lost to two-seeded Miami in the NCAA tourney: what did your team learn from that loss that you think can help you in the year ahead? We know there are big and strong teams out there, which has encouraged us to get in the weight room over the summer and hire a new strength coach.

JonTeitel