New coach Jeff Kaminsky probably won’t be too worried about any criticism he might receive from the local media as he steps into his new job as the Wayne State College men’s basketball coach – not while his mom is watching, anyway.
“After each game whether mom is here or watching the game on the internet, she’ll give me a scouting report and ask why I didn’t play this guy more or that guy more. I try to explain to her that I can only play five at a time,” he joked as he introduced himself as the Wildcats new coach Wednesday afternoon at Rice Auditorium.
Kaminsky, who was hired last month after three-year coach Brian Dolan did not have his contract renewed after last season, has been coaching for 29 years and has 450 wins to his credit. He has spent the last years at NAIA school Valley City State University, where he went 22-11 last season and earned a trip to the NAIA Div. II national tournament. He was 183-144 in 11 seasons.
Prior to his time at Valley City State, he coached for 11 years at Wisconsin Superior and had his first head coaching job at Mid State Technical College in Wisconsin.
Kaminsky said he likes the nucleus of returning talent to a program that won just five games last year, and is hopeful to develop that talent and make the Wildcats more competitive in the Northern Sun Conference.
“We have a good nucleus of young players, and our success is going to depend on the development of these players, and I’m looking forward to working with those guys and the new guys coming in,” he said.
Kaminsky said he wants fans to come away from watching his team knowing that they competed hard every time they hit the floor.
“To think we’ll have more talent than the other teams in this league is a hard mountain to climb, so we have to compete at a high level,” he said.
Kaminsky said he will stress a hard-nosed aggressive pressure defense and run a lot of motion on offense to take advantage of their defensive opportunities, and he said he will look at the talent available to see how exactly to best take advantage of what they have to work with this season.
He and assistant coach Nathan Stover – who worked as a graduate assistant under former Wayne State coach Greg McDermott when he was at North Dakota State in 2001 – won’t get to ease into the new job, as eight of their first nine games will be on the road, including exhibition games against South Dakota State and Creighton.
Kaminsky was especially excited about the Creighton game on Friday, Nov. 4, as it pits his team against the Bluejays out of the Big East, coached by the former Wayne State coach who brought the program its greatest success in the late 1990’s.
“I don’t know who set this schedule up,” he said with a laugh. “We have those (exhibition games) and we start with Northwest Missouri State to open the season, and then our first conference game is against the defending national champions (Augustana). It will be a great barometer to start off the season and see where we’re at.”
In introducing Kaminksy as the new coach, Wayne State athletic director Mike Poiwicki said he was happy to hire Kaminsky as the new coach and looks forward to the future of the program.
“Of the coaches we interviewed, Coach Kaminsky was the one who was able to not only communicate his vision for our men’s basketball program, but the road map for how we’ll achieve that success,” he said. “He was an excellent fit for us and I couldn’t be more excited having him as our next basketball coach.”
Kaminsky and Stover will be joined by graduate assistant Jordan Holdsworth, who played at Wayne State and is in his second year as a graduate assistant; and Tanner Cooke, who is in his second year as a student assistant coach.”
Wayne State’s first scheduled contest is an exhibition against a team of Wayne State alumni on Saturday, Oct. 22. Their first exhibition will be on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at home against Midland University, followed by the Nov. 4 game at Creighton. Their first regular-season contest will be against Northwest Missouri State on Friday, Nov. 11 in the Missouri Western Tip-Off Classic in St. Joseph, Mo.