At Fairfield’s first coaching clinic in 2012, Mike Maker found himself in an unusual position.
Kyle Koncz, the director of basketball operations at Fairfield, had called his former boss Maker and asked him to speak.
The clinic fit into Maker’s schedule on a Sunday. He was joined by Fairfield alum Pete Gillen, who coached at Xavier, Providence and Virginia, as well as Hall of Famer Pete Carril.
“I was flattered that Kyle called,” Maker said when the opportunity worked into his schedule. The only problem was, Maker was scheduled to speak last.
“I said, well obviously Kyle I have no idea how you got in to Princeton to have someone like myself follow two Hall of Famers you’re not very bright, right?” Maker joked. “I’ve learned a lot from Sydney. I think we’ve all learned a lot from coach Carril and coach Gillen on being a Fairfield grad.”
“I can say I didn’t eat very well that morning,” Maker said. “Like a lot of people [Carril] is one of my all time favorites. Didn’t enjoy, as an assistant, playing against his teams or preparing for his teams because they were so well coached and certainly didn’t enjoy following him in a speaking process because he commands so much respect and rightfully so.”
Carril is one of the influences on Maker’s offensive style. For the first time, Maker had to follow the Hall of Famer who won 514 games at Princeton, the last with Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson leading the team with 11 points in the Tigers’ 43-41 upset of fourth-seeded UCLA. It all worked out in the end.
“That was an enjoyable day for our staff at Williams to be able to share some of our ideas with people a lot smarter than us. I learned a lot that day.”
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.