by Dave Spahn / @davespahn
Networking has become the foundation of the college basketball business. Ask any college basketball coach, and they will tell you how the coaching profession relates to a fraternity. Whether at an AAU event, coaches clinic, or games during the school season, coaches never stop interacting with each other. Support staff members (those on staff who aren’t allowed to recruit) find networking even more important in hopes to establish a relationship that may lead to a bigger job in the future.
Founded in 2010, Rising Coaches Elite is a company that hosts networking opportunities for support staff members throughout the country. The company started as a small idea among a few friends that blossomed into a full-fledged operation. Andy Farrell, Trey Meyer and Adam Gordon all held support staff roles at Clemson and saw an opportunity to help other young coaches in the profession meet each other and expand their professional Rolodex. They believed an event in which younger coaches can learn from the veterans in the business and also meet new people would be beneficial to all parties involved.
“When we started talking to our friends within coaching, we got the same reactions from everyone: It was a no-brainer for us to take it to the next level,” said Andy Farrell, now the current Director of Basketball Operations at DePaul. “This profession is all about relationships, so we thought we could make a huge impact on the hundreds of aspiring coaches that we’ve never met.”
Rising Coaches Elite hosts its annual Rising Coaches Conference every July in Las Vegas right before the live recruiting period starts. This year, the three day conference runs from July 24-26 at the HardRock Hotel. The conference will host a bevvy of head coaches from major college programs as the guest speakers. Coaches such as Steve Lavin (St. Johns), Buzz Williams (Marquette), Josh Pastner (Memphis), Anthony Grant (Alabama), Kevin O’Neill (USC) and others have all made speaking appearances at past events. The coaches touch on subjects that will help the young coaches as they make their way up the basketball food chain.
“I think the most important thing Rising Coaches does is that we give them an organization where the young guys get the opportunity to learn directly from Assistant Coaches & Head Coaches,” Farrell said. “The young coaches learn what it takes to get to that level and what current head coaches expect from people in our current positions.”
Farrell said the goal of Rising Coaches is to have every support staff member to be a part of the conference. Every young coach should take the opportunity to better themselves professionally while learning from the best in their business. Farrell thinks the attendance numbers this year will greatly surpass those of the past two years and hopes the numbers don’t stop rising.
“Ideally, we would like Rising Coaches as a platform to develop the next generation of college coaches. We think that every young coach would benefit from a networking conference in which they can learn form the current rock stars in our profession.”