Mid Major Madness sits down with Kevin Easley, one of the top mid major assistants in the country and North Carolina coaching veteran.
MMM: What do you plan to bring to High Point this season?
Kevin: Soon after joining the High Point family, I was overwhelmed by the growth and vision of the University. The vision starts internally from the leadership of Dr. Nido Qubein, the President of High Point University. He and his staff have done a wonderful job of providing an ideal environment for the student athlete of the University. HPU was recently voted by News and Report as the "#1 Up and Coming School in the South." Craig Keilitz, Director of Athletics, also has a strategic plan to take HPU Athletics to the next level. I knew with Mr. Kelietz's plan, I would have an opportunity to bring energy, enthusiasm, and a winning attitude to a distinguished and notable University. There is no doubt to me that the men's basketball program has a lot to uphold at HPU therefore, I try to be better than I was the previous day. This is truly a promising situation for me because this is the first time I have been on a new staff. I believe that finding a niche' and blending in with the rest of the staff is key.
MMM: Everyday coaches are learning from one another, what do you hope to learn from Coach Cherry?
Kevin: It was an honor for Coach Cherry to ask me to be a part of his staff for his first head coaching job. I have known Coach Cherry for a few years, and have always respected his knowledge and passion for the game of basketball. He has been a part of a National Championship team as a player, helped lead a mid-major program to a final four and sweet sixteen. He has been around a numerous amount of quality coaches (Dean Smith, Jim Larranaga, Darrin Horn). With that being said, I knew that High Point University would be an opportunity to advance my knowledge of the game and take another step as a coach.
MMM: What has been the most life changing experience in your time so far as a coach?
Kevin: I wouldn't say I have had a life changing experience yet, but I have had very fulfilling moments. It's great to know that the knowledge that you have passed on to another student athlete has been taken in. You work every day to instill lifelong lessons to your players, in hopes that they listen. To me the most fulfilling aspect is receiving feedback from former players, telling you thanks for the lessons you tried to provide over the years. I still talk to many of my former players and try to serve as a strong role.
MMM: What do you think is the most important value you can pass on to a player?
Kevin: I firmly believe that there is nothing better than being a student athlete, especially at the Division I level. You have the opportunity to build lifelong relationships, travel to different cities, and most importantly receive a free education. I have been blessed to have many opportunities that I contribute to the game of basketball. Basketball enabled me to earn two degrees, build relationships with life-long friends, and meet my wife. However, you have to make the most of your experience and not take it for granted. Many young players want to play professional basketball. I applaud the work ethic and aspirations for achieving goals but if you look at the percentage of athletes that actually make it to a professional league it is unlikely that it will actually happen. My advice to young players that I took from a mentor is to "use the game, don't let the game use you.) Meaning earn your degree and take your education seriously without doing just enough to pass. Collegiate basketball can last a maximum of fivr years but education will last a life time.
MMM: What do you do when you are not working hard at coaching?
Kevin: Believe it or not, I am a big DIY(do-it-yourself) guy. My wife and I recently purchased a home, so I love finding new projects to do around the house. They always don't turn out like I want but I really love to put together different things. When I'm not using my drill or hammer, I'm spending time with my family. Family is very important to me. We have a 3 year old, and a two month old, so they keep me very busy. My wife is a warrior because she holds down the fort for months while I'm chasing my dream.