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January 31, 2014
Catching up with...Andy Assaley
Andy Assaley is the University of South Carolina's director of basketball operations and in his second season at USC. As such he handles team travel, recruiting visits, oversees the managing and equipment staffs and has responsibilities both with film study and on the bench during games.
Assaley met Frank Martin while at Cincinnati and has been with him both there and at Kansas State. Gamecock Central caught up with Assaley, a Cincinnati native, last week before the team left for Missouri to talk about the program, Martin and the life of a director of basketball operations.
Gamecock Central: What's an example of a typical day for you?
Andy Assaley: Guys finish up class at about 11:30 in the morning. We'll practice from 1 to 3, then be at the airport by 4, wheels-up by 4:15 then on to Columbia (Missouri).
Today I'm running around making sure everything is set for the trip, making sure managers have everything, the equipment is packed and the coaches have what they need. Before practice, we had film at 12:40, so I make sure everyone is there on time, trying to make certain everyone is on schedule.
Gamecock Central: How did you meet Frank Martin?
Assaley: I was with coach (Martin) when he was an assistant in Cincinnati. I worked on staff there, and then when coach (Bob) Huggins went to Kansas State, the two of us along with a couple of others went with him. I was with him at Kansas State up to now, and it's been great.
Gamecock Central: What are the differences from K-State to here as far as your job is concerned?
Assaley: Not much is different for me from here to there. The administration here is great to work with, and having a good administration makes it easy. My job is, I pay attention to the budget, I pay attention to academics, I pay attention to the compliance, all those things. Those department were all good there, and they're all good here. There's a lot of communication.
My first year or two, I'm new to the job so I made mistakes. I still make mistakes today, but learning from those over time makes it nice. I used this analogy today with my dad - level one mistakes, that happens in your first year or two. Now I'm on level nine mistakes. Those are a little more in-depth than just absent-mindedness.
Gamecock Central: Is Frank as demanding with his staff as he is with his players?
Assaley: Frank isn't more or less demanding with his staff than with players. He just wants us to do our jobs. It's great. He gives you the room to do your job, and he expects you to do your job and gives you room to do it. If I don't, I'm falling short. If I do, things are great.
The pressure he puts on himself carries over to all of us. So we put that same amount of pressure on ourselves to do well. I want to be a perfectionist at my job. Maybe it's my OCD personality that shines through.
Gamecock Central: What are other aspects of your day-to-day routine?
Assaley: Yesterday, good example, I worked on our Auburn trip down the road and our Tennessee trip. I made sure everyone was where they needed to be, I helped index some film for Perry Clark's scout coming up. He has the Texas A&M scout. I helped clip some film from when we played them last and we can get together and share notes.
Gamecock Central: What are your specific basketball responsibilities?
Assaley: It's a little bit of everything. Outside of the weight room and on the court, it's a little bit of everything. During the game it's keeping track of timeouts and fouls, who's got fouls and how many.
Gamecock Central: Do you handle the travel or does the school do it?
Assaley: I handle all of it. I book the hotels generally in July. We get our schedule put in place, and I contact the hotels as early as May. Once w have our game times I'll be in touch to let them know what meals we'll need. This trip today, we'll be at the airport at four o'clock with our players and staff. Then we land, we'll eat dinner right away, I've talked to the Columbia hotel four times today, making sure of the room count, making sure all our room and meal needs are met. Then we'll head over to the arena, have a shoot-around, I'll talk to their head of gameday operations and get that all set.
We'll then have a meeting then lights out. The next day it'll be a shoot-around, we'll grab lunch, it's a pretty rigid schedule. After the game, we'll get out of town as fast as we can. Most trips are 24 to 30 hours. It's quick, and there's a lot that goes on on a trip. If you don't pay attention, it can get away from you and get chaotic.
Gamecock Central: Do you feel like you get to make an imprint on the team?
Assaley: Yeah, coach allows me to. The guys all know me, and it's nice to be involved. If they're not happy with the menu, the guys will come tell me. I also communicate with a lot of people who want to be managers or G.A.'s. Coaches clinics, I relay a lot of the information out that we do. Earlier in the season, before all the travel gets heavy, I'll communicate with coaches what we do for a shooting drill or defensive drill that maybe you can use in your practice, just sharing information.. And kids are contacting asking about being managers or grad assistants. It's good because it keeps me involved.
Gamecock Central: How did you get your start?
Assaley: I was a high school coach in Cincinnati. I pestered coach Huggins enough that I think to keep me quiet he brought me on. I volunteered for a couple of years just working around the office, then I became video coordinator at Cincinnati. I did that for a couple of years, then when he left and Andy Kennedy became the head coach, I wore the video operations and assistant coach hat all at the same time. I was sort of in the fire quickly.
Gamecock Central: What do you like best about your job?
Assaley: Really, the on-the-court stuff. I really want to see us do well. When we execute on of the assistant coaches' or coach Martin's game plan well, I'm ecstatic about that. When we mess it up, I get miserable. That's what's most exciting, the wins and losses. The rest, when it goes well, the travel, is a relief.
Gamecock Central: You're married with four children, three girls and a boy. What's that like with your travel schedule this time of year?
Assaley: I've been married 10 years this May to Sarah, and our kids, 13, 8,8 and 6, they're great with my travel. My wife played volleyball at West Virginia, so she understands. It helps out a lot that she's familiar with it.
It still puts a lot of pressure on her, but she has a great understanding. The kids love seeing me on TV. My youngest daughter, for some reason marketing chose to do a big-head of me, and my daughter saw it and said, 'Daddy, you're finally famous.' So we have fun with it.
That family aspect, coach Martin is really big on if you can do your work at home, do it. If you can watch film with your kids, go home and watch film with your kids. Don't sit in your office and lock yourself in there. It's a great environment to work in. I love it.
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