Badgers retain Brad Rootes as Head Coach
Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
Brock University has concluded its national search for a permanent Men's Basketball Head Coach, choosing to retain former Interim Coach, Brad Rootes.
Rootes accepted a four year contract that will keep him at the helm until at least the 2014-15 season, with the option for renewal. The promotion made Rootes, 26-years-old, the youngest bench boss in the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (C.I.S.) basketball system.
Coach Rootes had a exemplary playing career at Brock, winning a national championship in 2007-08, while being named a five time OUA First Team All-Star. He is also one of only four Brock Men's Basketball players to have his jersey number (#4) retired.
Chris Critelli, former Interim-Athletic Director, was thrilled to make the May 26 announcement.
"I was excited to be able to announce his appointment as acting A.D. I am convinced he'll become one of the best coaches in the country," she said. "I know he'll do a great job with the team not just because of his coaching, but because of type of person he is. He has been an engaged community member and excelled both as a student and player, and I'm sure that will be reflected in our basketball program."
As Interim Coach last season, Rootes led the Badgers to a 14-16 record, missing the playoffs amid a campaign plagued by injuries. On May 27, Rootes agreed to a Q & A session with The Brock Press.
Brock Press: How did you find out the good news?
Brad Rootes: I was offered the job in person the day that I had my third interview. I was so eager to say yes that I accepted the job before they could finish stating the whole offer.
BP: What were the main topics discussed in the selection process?
BR: They asked about my vision for the team, my coaching philosophy, as well as my approach to areas such as recruitment, fundraising, game strategy and teaching.
BP: Were you concerned that your age, in the context of coaching experience, would be a detrimental factor to your candidacy?
BR: I can understand why it would be a concern, but there's no reason to doubt yourself when it's something that I can't change. Being a young coach does have advantages though, as I can get on the court and physically show what I'm teaching. I've just recently gone through what they're experiencing as student athletes, so the ability to relate to them is really helpful for recruitment and development. I am lucky, however, that the guys still with the team that I've played with have showed great maturity in understanding the change in my role from player to coach.
BP: What do you feel set you apart from the other candidates?
BR: I think the connection to both Brock and the Niagara region was something that I bring to the position that is hard to duplicate. I first started coming to basketball camps at Brock when I was nine, and have been active in the Niagara basketball community for a long time. Being from the community goes a long way for recruitment in the region as well as forming external partnerships.
BP: Now that the appointment to head coach has been made official, what does this mean for your off-season plans for the team?
BR: Up until the announcement, we've been focusing more on training with our returning players. The Head Coach is a big decision factor for recruits, and the uncertainty makes it difficult for players to commit. We do have a few recruits that we've talked to and now that it‘s official, it will go a long way towards attracting them to commit to Brock.
BP: What type of team can fans look forward to seeing this year?
BR: We're a young and athletic team with good depth and talent. Our defense and rebounding is improving and we're very balanced offensively.
BP: What are your primary areas for improvement heading into next season?
BR: Staying healthy has been our biggest challenge. We had to deal with a lot of injuries last season. Being able to finish out close games, and bringing a stronger mental approach to the game is also an area I'd like to see us improve.
At the conclusion of the interview, Rootes spoke to the importance of fan support.
"We have 17,000 students here at Brock, and 400,000 people living in the region. There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to sell out every game at the Bob Davis Gymnasium. Although it's on us to put a quality product on the floor, I believe we have the tools to do this night in night out this upcoming season. Having the crowd behind you is great motivation for our players and can only contribute to our team‘s success."
The Badgers men's basketball team will begin playing in August, with two unnamed NCAA teams confirmed for pre-season action. The schedule for all varsity teams should be released this month. Stay tuned to gobadgers.ca for more details.