The Observer is running a story on Saturday looking at coach Alan Major's first month on the job as head of the Charlotte 49ers program. Here is a Q&A with Major on a variety of issues.
Q: The team went almost a month with no one on staff aside from (director of basketball operations) Rob Perron. How did you think they handle the transition period?
Major: I think an unbelievable amount of credit goes to Rob Perron. For more than a three week period, I think what he did was phenomenal and I don't even know what all he did. I haven't been in that position before where I was the only guy around and had to probably field a boatload of calls. I can't imagine. Then checking the kids academically and then managing kids' emotions. He deserves a medal for it. He's the guys kids were coming to during that period - a guy who was frustrated or just need to vent. Change never makes full sense to kids because they develop attachments. Rob understood because he was here and as a result it was a no-brainer to keep him because of his dedication and commitment to this program.
Q: What will Alan Major-type basketball look like next season?
Major: We're still putting that together. I think we'll be a team very committed to the defensive end. We want to develop an identity on the defensive end and want to build that mentality that we are a team that is tough to score against. That type of helping, and toughness and unselfishness on defense often times spills over to the offensive end. We'd love to score off our defense as much as we can. Then on the offensive end I hope we can have a team that has an inside-out mentality. I think we can have a base of being able to throw the ball inside.
Q: Do you have objectives recruiting-wise that you hope to address for next season?
Major: We're looking at that. It's tricky because timing-wise we came in April 12 and the recruiting period started on Friday the 16th. It ended on Wednesday, April 21. It was during those days when you could do off-campus recruiting. That Friday-Sunday major AAU events were held that we are prohibited from going to in the spring. So basically you had to catch kids on Friday morning or on that Monday when they got back to school. It looked like six days but it wasn't really. In addition to trying to bolster the roster for next year we're also trying to knock down doors in the 2011 class and rising seniors. Kids have been pretty good, they understand there has been a coaching change. We're just trying to knock some doors down and be ready for the month of July.
Q: Give us a run down on your three selections as assistant coaches (Ryan Odom, Orlando Vandross and Desmond Oliver).
Major: Outside of the basketball part, all three guys have one thing in common - they are great husbands and they are great fathers. I know those guys and the way they treat their families, that is going to spill over into this office and the way they treat our guys. I've known Orlando the longest. I met him back in 1998 at the Final Four. Orlando is a phenomenal friend. Recruiting-wide he has a tremendous grip in the Northeast, which is advantageous to us. I also know that being that long at one place (Boston University), he has had opportunities to go and he showed tremendous loyalty. I don't know how many times you hear of assistants these days being any place longer than three or four years. We will never have to have a conversation about academics being important because he was at he was at a big-time academic institution.
Desmond was at Rhode Island back when I was at Xavier so we actually got to coach against each other. He knows the league and knows a lot of the programs. He was also at Georgia for four years and has a great feel for the Southeast. We've already tapped into that with DeMario (Mayfield, who is transferring from Georgia).
Ryan I've known in the last year or so. He has an unbelievable pedigree with his dad (Dave Odom) and was at Virginia Tech for seven years and there again, there is that loyalty. He has a great of the Carolinas and Virginia with recruiting. We hope that we have a pretty good balance. We would love our base to be Charlotte but we felt we needed some arms to reach out to some other areas.
Q: Any progress on next season's non-conference schedule?
Major: We're getting there. That was one of the many things we had to address. Between myself and working with Rob Perron a little bit, we've been making some calls. We have time on our side and we're not in a mad scramble mode, yet. We got about two or three more games to go. The game against Tennessee is in place and I believe it's in December at Bobcats Arena. A game like that is a way to kind of pick the campus up and show it off someplace else.