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 Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk about coaching Dwyane Wade in college.
You return four of your five starters from last year: how big a factor do you think your team’s experience will be this season? We have a deep and athletic team and a full roster for the first time in awhile, so we are excited to have the chance for a successful season.
Your non-conference road schedule includes trips to Boston College and Kansas. Which of these two games do you feel will present your biggest test? There are a lot of tests on our schedule, but those two are against team from high-profile leagues.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? We expect to compete for a championship.
You played basketball at Minnesota–Duluth, how good a player were you back in the day, and how did you get into coaching? My dad was a high school coach so I knew from a young age that I wanted to get into coaching. My coach at Duluth also helped prepare me.
In the 1994 NCAA tourney as an assistant under Coach Kevin Bannon at Rider, Ray Allen scored 12 points in a win by UConn. How were you able to hold the future Hall-of-Famer to 4-12 field goals? Ray is a great player but was only a freshman at that time.
In the 2002 NCAA tourney as an assistant under Tom Crean at Marquette, Dwyane Wade scored 18 points in a two-point loss to Tulsa: how close did you come to pulling out the win? Tulsa was a very good team and we had a hard time defending their three-guard lineup.
Wade has said that he would not be where he is today without your help: what makes him such a great player, and could you tell back in college that he was going to become a star? That is very kind of him to say that. I knew he would be an NBA star, he had a tremendous work ethic and would seek out criticism in order to get better.
In 2005 as head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay your team went 12-1 in single-digit games: what is the key to winning close games? It is a lot of things: you need veterans, talented guards, good preparation, and a lot of confidence.
In the 2010 CBI Willie Reed had 21 points and 10 rebounds in a six-point, two-overtime win by eventual runner-up St. Louis: where does that rank among the most exciting games of your career? It was certainly a great game that we thought we had won in regulation but could not pull it out.
You were hired as head coach at Toledo in 2010, why did you take the job? I just felt it was a great opportunity. I had heard so much about the potential of the university and the community here is great.