By Ray Hamill — New Humboldt State men’s basketball coach Tae Norwood met the local media on Thursday morning and says he is looking to return the Jacks to the top of the CCAA.
Norwood, whose hiring was announced last week, was chosen from a pool of more than 120 applicants and takes over from long-time HSU coach Steve Kinder, who was reassigned within the department earlier this year.
“The tradition is here, I’m familiar with Humboldt state, I’m familiar with some of the successes that the program has had in the past when coach (Tom) Wood was leading the program,” Norwood said. “And I hope I can accomplish a tenth of what he’s done … Because he really had this thing rocking and rolling.”
Playing in the California Collegiate Athletic Association will be a challenge, but one the new coach is looking forward to.
“The CCAA is an unforgiving conference. They will kick your tail and not think twice about it,” Norwood said, adding “I want to make sure that we can compete at the top of the CCAA on a yearly basis.”
Norwood arrived in town just a few days ago and has spoken with all of his players and their families since being named the new coach.
He says he has been checking out game film of the players throughout the hiring process.
“I’m looking forward to getting the chance to work with these young men,” Norwood said.
The new coach will play an up-tempe style of play and says he has the scholarship funds to add a few more players to the current roster.
He also said he likes the talent already here and believes the team is better than last year’s 9-18 record would suggest.
“When I really assessed where this program was at last year, and I look at some of the losses, those games went down to the wire,” he said. “Winning games, you’ve got to be lucky and you’ve got to be good. It’s a combination of staying healthy and doing some different things.
“They were right there in a lot of those games and those games could have gone either way. So that tells me we’ve got some talent in the program and it’s all about me getting the best out of those guys.”
This is Norwood’s second collegiate head coaching job after he spent one season in charge of Keiser University in Florida.
And he intends to run a similar style and push the ball as much as possible.
“I look for how many more shot attempts we have than our opponent,” he said. “Because the more shot attempts you get, the more chances you get to score.
“We’re going to play with great effort and we’re going to play with great cohesiveness. That’s just been a staple of what I’ve been around. But we really want to push that ball in transition.”
The new coach says he will be recruiting locally, as well as around the state and throughout the West Coast, and is confident he will be able to attract top talent.
Norwood will retain Rich Mendoza as an assistant coach with the program.