By René Reyes/DFP Staff
For the "Building more than a basketball team the Joe Jones Way" story, I wrote a coaching profile on Joe Jones, Boston University's new basketball coach. I met with him last Friday in his office suite in the BU athletics department. Here are some of the questions that I asked him during the interview and his responses that weren't included in the feature:
Who is Joe Jones, as a basketball coach and as a person off the court?
I would tell you that I’m pretty passionate about people, about life, anything that I’m involved with I do with a lot of emotion, a lot of energy. That’s just who I am. I think I’m interested in people, in the game of basketball, my family. I don’t golf. I’m pretty simplistic when it comes to what I do on a daily basis. I just love the game. I love to coach the game. I love to find out more about the game. I love the recruits. All the things that go into this job I love. I love my family and friends. It’s very simple.
How would you describe your coaching style, specifically in practice?
When I feel that we need to have more energy, more emotion, there are times in practice where I show that and I get out there. There are other times where I talk. It depends really on what our team needs at that particular moment.
Do you think people have an idea of what your coaching style may be like?
I don’t know. I don’t know. My thing has always been trying to say more positive things to one negative thing and just being positive. But there are going to be times where you have to get on guys and get the most out of them. I’d much rather prefer to be someone that’s more positive, reinforcing positive things and getting on my guys when I need to. I’d prefer to be more positive than negative.
What are you trying to get out of your team?
I definitely want to encourage my guys. I want them to have a positive experience every day in practice. I want them to feel good about it. It’s hard being good. It’s hard getting good. It’s just hard. There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into being good. When our guys are not playing at that level and giving the things that are necessary for us to be good and for them to be good individual players, there are ways that you have go about in motivating them. I’d much rather be a positive motivator than to be negative.
Do you want your team to embody your personality?
We want to play with a sense of toughness. That’s the way I was brought up. My dad was very tough and demanding. In terms of doing the right things, working hard, never giving, never giving in, that’s what I got from my dad. I want our guys to know that I can go there, but it really needs to come from them. When it’s not coming from them, I need to bring it out. But when you’re coaching a great team, it comes from them.
How do you adapt from being a middle school coach to a college coach? What’s the biggest difference?
One thing that you learn is that you get old in this profession very quickly. There are things that they are going through because the world has changed, society has changed, so many things have changed in the last 10 years. They’re experiencing things that you never experienced or saw. There are a lot of things that are in common but they’re still living in a different age and I understand that. I try to communicate with my guys, so I can know how they’re thinking and what they’re experiencing. If you don’t do that, you can’t stay in touch with them. I’m always trying to talk to them, ask them questions so I can stay in tune.
Have you made it your responsibility to be really involved in your players’ lives?
Very involved. To me, it’s co-curricular. We coach and we monitor their social behavior as well as their academic behavior.
How were you able to keep the entire group intact once Patrick Chambers left?
You hope that they got a good feeling of what we were going to try to do here. A lot of it goes to Boston University, the type of school that it is academically, the type of people that you have here, the administrators and the support that you have throughout campus and also their relationships with each other. They have a bond. They really like each other. They enjoy each other, and I think they wanted to stay together.
What type of influence did your parents have on you?
I come from two very good parents. They’re very good people, both of them. But my dad’s tough but he’s also a compassionate guy. My dad was always trying to be responsible around his kids and making sure they were hearing the right message. I never saw my dad in a situation where I lost respect for him. He always had a persona about him around us that was always doing the right thing, always talking about the right things. I never saw him in a compromising situation where I would have to second-guess his character. He did a phenomenal job with that.
What has worked for you in your 18 years in the coaching profession?
I’ve been at some very good academic institutions with good people at each place I’ve been to. I’ve been on high-character, hardworking staffs with different guys I’ve worked with. When you have those two ingredients, you can do some great things. I think we all together – the administration and my staff – have worked very hard in terms of trying to bring high-quality young men to each place I’ve been to. I’ve been lucky.