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Tobin Anderson, Iona Men's Basketball Head Coach

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2023 8:14 pm

Tobin Anderson, Iona Men's Basketball Head Coach

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb

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March 23, 2023 8:14 pm

Tobin Anderson joined Zach to discuss how FDU was able to upset Purdue and his goals for Iona moving forward. 

Zach Gleb Show
Zach Gleb

Alrighty, welcome back in our number three of our radio program. That's right, it is the Zach Gelb Show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. We were on the air for the historical upset last week on Friday where Fairleigh Dickinson became the second ever 16 seed to take down a number one seed with their victory up against the Purdue Boilermakers.

The man behind that history was Tobin Anderson who was the coach at Fairleigh Dickinson and now has a new job as the head men's basketball coach at Iona and he's kind enough to join us right now. Coach, first off, thank you for just what is a wonderful memory last week. Congratulations on the new gig and how are you? Of course Zach, thanks a lot.

Appreciate it. So how has life been for you? If you take a deep breath because I know you probably haven't had time to really process a lot of this with how much it's been moving so quickly since Friday to now with the job change as well. How has life been? It's been crazy like just so crazy like just non-stop and I haven't had a chance to take a deep breath and hope for two maybe this weekend but it's just from going from the high of the tournament the win to success you know and then all of a sudden you come home and you're you know new job and you know meet the players, meet the people, say goodbye to your old team.

It's just been an incredible last you know week or so so I'm trying to slow down a little bit if I can but it's been it's been pretty crazy. What you guys did on that Friday night people are going to talk about forever. Let's just say in 10 years from now someone that didn't see your team says coach what was it like to coach that Fairleigh Dickinson team?

What would you tell them? Well I mean I don't think any team could play harder than we played that night like we just are more connected more focused more able to just go through the ups and downs of the game. We were so locked into what we had to do. The most impressive was us being on that bigger stage not being used to it and we acted like a team that was you know used to being there. We played like a more veteran team a more experienced team a more you know team ready for anything so I just thought you couldn't play any harder any tougher any more together and that's what I was most proud of.

The last few years I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to Shaheen Holloway after his team was able to have that great upset with the 15 beat in a two same with Paul Mills at the time at Oral Roberts. They always had confidence they knew they belonged clearly you guys knew you belong where does that confidence come from that your group was able to have? We just have tough kids like our point guard you saw Demetri Roberts who ended up being one of the best I think one of the best guards in the tournament so far. He just has that that feel to him he's a battle burning kid from outside New York City that he thinks he belongs with anybody you know you put him in an NBA game you put him in a Knicks Lakers game tonight he'll play like he should be the starting point guard and so he didn't back down for anybody that's just the way he's been and he's our leader so when he when he brought it like we knew he could that gets across the rest of the team so yeah it's just a bunch of tough guys that could play and I think me me running my big mouth before the game and saying we had a chance to beat Purdue probably got us more excited because we knew we had to play well just because we didn't want to look like a bunch of crap but idiots you know. Well coach it's the biggest boss move in the history of the tournament you basically guaranteed the victory and then you did so when everyone thought you were crazy that was awesome. Yeah I mean I was worried about getting beat by 40 I'm like if I say that and they come out they beat us by 40 I'll be the biggest clown of all time so it ended up but I have I have tremendous belief in our team I really did and we don't think we played so well in the first four and that kind of got us a chance to get off to a good start of the tournament and play and get some confidence and some some juice to us and that just kind of carried over to Purdue. Did you really not want that speech that you gave to your team to not get on camera just wondering?

Um I didn't mind it you know it is what it is like you got to kind of you know I've been the most important thing was for our players to hear it you know so it was on camera off camera whatever it was I wanted our players to know we were going into that game um the middle of the ring ready to fight ready to go battle and play our best and and we did. Tobin Anderson here with us you talked about how dominant your guards were also down low on Edie down late in the game you guys just did not let him breathe was that the biggest approach your guards to dominate the game and then just have guys all over Edie at all times? Yeah for us to win we had to play it that we had our I thought we had better guards which is something saying something crazy they have you know they have big 10 guards I thought we had better guards we had to make Edie uncomfortable which he was and just keep him you know surrounded by double teams help you know the the constant constant uh traps half traps things like that then our bench ended up being better than their bench they were afraid to sub at one point and our guys off the bench were playing so well and I just you know it's like and most of those games against 16 versus one at some point the one the number one seed just kind of pulls away and puts their fists down we just kept we got down by six at one point and never went away never flinched never blinked and uh just kept coming I'm just just so ill and I thought the next game against Fort Atlantic did the same thing too it's almost harder because after a win like that would have been easy for us to kind of go away go home and just celebrate the Purdue win the Purdue win I thought we played just as well not better than the next game and had a chance we could be playing tonight in the sweet 16 and that's that would have been great too but I just just proud of our guys and how they handle themselves I'll tell you Tobin Anderson my favorite part of the game was when you guys were up three with like 10 or 12 seconds left and they were trying to inbound the ball to Edie and then they had to settle for that jumper in the corner which was was an air ball that had to be their third or fourth look you guys just did not give them any space yeah it was crazy we just did we did a great job our guys are so locked in so so focused at a certain point we just and we kind of knew we got that confidence we knew we're the better team and we played that way and they got and they got tentative it's hard being the number one seed it's tough you know you get a lot of pressure you're kind of playing for the most part of in the midwest you're playing a home game and you know the crowd had turned to us about I don't know halfway through the first half the crowd started getting into us a little bit and then we almost had our own home court advantage so it was uh it was a surreal experience and I was at that Florida Gulf Coast game against Georgetown in in Philly a few years back and to hear the entire stadium just root for FGCU when the when the crowd is chanted FDU that's just got to be a surreal moment where you pinch yourself and you're like look where I was a year ago this team had four wins and you come in and now you guys are on the verge of taking down the number one seed yeah we just I told them one time Madison tells look around and so just look around there's 20,000 people here and they're almost all for us like their whole the whole world they're all behind us that's not counting the people on tv to keep people in other arenas right I saw some videos of other arenas putting the game on the big screen and the other arena's chanting FDU too so it was a uh just an unbelievable experience and uh that's the beauty of this tournament is it takes a team like ours an underdog it makes us into a to a big story that was great I know it's a blur but what were you thinking about Tobin Anderson when you're walking off the court oh you know a little bit everything anything about your family obviously you basically sacrifice how great they are and they could journey from being a division three coach and like you know I'm walking up we've won a lot of games because you walk up the game there and don't really cares they're just like you you go back you get your you get your pizza you get your subs you hop on a hop on a bus and go home no really cares so it's just to be in that experience to walk up that court for 20,000 people they're all going crazy and you know I was thankful I walked up with my athletic director Brad Hurlbut and to be there with him he took a chance on me hired me and who would have thought we had done this in 10 months so pretty special well the emotion you showed really did resonate with me when I think it was Jamie Urdel who asked you about your father and what this would mean if he was able to see it just tell me a little bit more about your dad who was a coach obviously and Steve yeah my dad was my obviously I was very close to him and coach and I grew up I love basketball I got my basketball the whole way I can't do much else besides coach basketball so um I was in a gym I was old enough to walk like I went to every one of his practices me and him so we used to fly to our drive to clinics coaching clinics the two of us together I was probably eight or ten years old so I spent an unbelievable amount of time as I played for him obviously uh which is not easy to do sometimes playing for your father so he was my assistant coach at division three he retired and became my assistant so we we spent so much time together so much time around basketball um you know our whole life is basketball so um obviously to have that opportunity you say to yourself man I wish he was here to see this I'm not sure he could handle the whole thing he'd been going crazy but uh you know I know how proud he's been and obviously I I miss him all the time and but you know he's he's still his voice and his his how he handled himself and how he coached his guys and taught his players uh still lives on with me I hear his voice all the time. Tobin Anderson wrapping up with him the star of the NCAA tournament at Fairleigh Dickinson now the new head coach at Iona um also when you look at this grind and this journey that you've been on when you got the job at Fairleigh Dickinson a year ago coach like what were you expecting to do in year one just wondering? Just try to be somewhat competitive honestly like we're just like we had a you know we and we lost some good players off the team that before they they had three or four guys that ended up being pretty good division one players this year so we lost some good players so we were just hoping to get maybe get you know to 10 wins show some fire show some competitiveness establish a culture a way of playing and no way in anyone's wildest dreams we think we have a chance to to go to the NCAA tournament and then go to the NCAA tournament win two games and be the number one seed and the biggest win in school history or the NC tournament history just that was you know we just wanted to compete so um yeah I mean I told the guys I thought this could happen I thought it would take us four or five years to make this happen we just kind of sped the process up and did it in 10 months which is pretty unheard of that that takes more than just a head coach that takes a great staff a great support staff and administration and obviously our great players. A lot of people nationally just know you for these last three games what is Iona getting though in their next head basketball coach since you're replacing Rick Pitino?

Well we had practice this morning already at 7 am right so so um you know I'm a hard worker I'm a grinder I'm gonna do what it takes for us for us to be successful like our players are gonna work hard but so great staff and do it the right way you know and I'll you know nothing will change for me like I mean you know my wife always makes fun of me you know I love what I do so um we're just gonna go right back to work and try to make Iona basketball you know it already is pretty good let's make it even better and do things that have not been done before. What was the holy crap moment for you everyone in the sports world everyone outside of the sports world is talking for you what was the the message or the tweet that you got that you're like I can't believe this person is talking about Tobin Anderson? Yeah there's been so many like the the tweets the text all that kind of stuff there's one obviously Bill Belichick texted me one night was great and I get that the funny part is like Frank Caliendo you have a guy who's been pretty wise fighter but you know he sent me a a direct message he wants to do a fast talking basketball coach to the next thing I I couldn't stop laughing about that so I was that was uh that was pretty crazy too. I know you have the Wesleyan connection is did uh did you ever have a conversation prior to a few nights ago with Belichick before that?

Nope nope not at all nope I had not a chance that I obviously admired him and thought the world of him and and then yeah we have heard the text being you know the night after the Purdue game was pretty was pretty awesome. That's unbelievable well coach it's been surreal it's been great the only thing I want to ask you before we let you run you've been on this grind since 1996 you've done it at all different levels and now you get in the big national spotlight just if there's a a young coach that's 22, 23 just getting into this just what type of advice would you give them? You know just just keep working and get yourself ready like you know my dad always told me like you know at some point you'll get a chance make sure you're ready and so I think I was definitely ready when I got my chance it took me a little bit longer to get that chance on the national stage but I was definitely ready like get yourself ready like do all you can like prepare yourself like do all the work uh find yourself with good people like keep keep working keep keep winning and like having success don't take any shortcuts because you know at some point you know if you do all the right things and work hard you will get a chance and then we get the chance you gotta take advantage though we definitely took and I told our players that this is a great opportunity very few people have this opportunity let's go take advantage of it so I think our team did I think I did so that was special. I know you're a student of the game of the game is it a little bit crazy for you when you hear that you're taking over a job that Rick Pitino just had last week? Yeah for sure but you know I think I think more so in my mind Iona basketball's been so good for so long with so many different coaches so obviously Pitino's been a Hall of Fame coach but the guy before him Tim Cluse did an unbelievable job too he won the five straight NCAA tournaments you know and Kevin Willard and Jim Valvano and Tim Wells I mean there's been so many Kevin you know all those guys have been there so I'm following the legacy of great coaches that have won for a long time so it's not you know obviously I have great respect for coach I still a lot of things we he does we do defensively with the press we have tempo style but I'm taking over a program that's you know one of the most one of the best winning programs on the whole east coast and so a lot of pride a lot of excitement. Well coach we really do appreciate the time thanks so much congratulations thank you. My pleasure great talking to you take care. Nothing's better than feeling comfortable in your own shoes.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-23 22:42:04 / 2023-03-23 22:48:48 / 7

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