DSU coach candidate Austin would stress defense, intangiblesFor the past seven years, Bob Austin has been the basketball coach behind the coach. It’s no wonder he’s a fan of intangibles.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
For the past seven years, Bob Austin has been the basketball coach behind the coach.
It’s no wonder he’s a fan of intangibles.
“I like the small things that aren’t going to be seen necessarily in the stat line,” Austin said.
The 32-year-old who spent the past seven seasons as an assistant women’s and men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division I Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., interviewed Friday for Dickinson State’s vacant head women’s basketball coach position.
Austin is the first of two candidates to interview for the position. DSU will interview former Hannibal (Mo.) LaGrange University head women’s basketball coach Caleb Harrison on Monday.
Austin said he wasn’t thinking much about taking the next step and becoming a head coach until April. That was when he found himself without a team.
He was an assistant coach for three seasons under head coach Jennifer Graf. Northwestern State, a NCAA Division I school in the Southland Conference, did not renew Graf’s contract following the 2011-12 season.
Graf became an assistant coach at Troy (Ala.) and Northwestern State’s new co-head coaches, the husband-and-wife duo of Brooke and Scott Stoehr, brought in their own assistant coaches.
That sent Austin searching for the next step in his career.
“I think every coach has dreams of being a head coach at some point or another,” Austin said. “I wasn’t out job searching and spending half my day in the office looking at who’s moving and who’s doing this. I was at Northwestern State there and was loyal there.
“Then this happened and caught everyone off guard.”
Now, Austin is looking forward to an opportunity to build a program of his own — one that begins, he said, with strong fundamentals and defense.
“I’m very big on teaching the kids the game of basketball,” Austin said. “I think a lot of times, nowadays, they want to come out and shoot 3’s, half-court shots. That’s not going to get you a lot of wins.”
Though Austin never crossed paths with Ty Orton prior to being named a finalist for DSU’s head women’s basketball coach job, the two were assistant coaches at the same school — Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo. — and ironically have similar coaching philosophies.
Like Orton, Austin said he stresses defense.
“I’m a defensive coach,” Austin said. “I like to pick you up full court, I want to make it as difficult as possible. … I want to play at a high tempo, have people dive all over the floor, take some charges.”
Though Austin has been in Louisiana since 2005, he is right at home in the Midwest. He was born in Duluth, Minn., and grew up in Superior, Wis., Kansas City, Mo., and Denver.
If he was hired at DSU, Austin said there are several areas of the country he would like to recruit. He said his time at Otero gives him insight into upper Midwest junior colleges and he’d also like to continue pursuing players in Louisiana and east Texas, a competitive area where he built contacts during his time at Northwestern State.
But most importantly, he said, would be getting recruits from North Dakota.
“If you’ve got kids who are from the surrounding area — obviously it’s a little bit broader here, you can consider those (North Dakota) kids locals — it brings more people into the gym, more families come and support the university,” Austin said.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.
Personal: Bob has been married to his wife, Kalie, for three years. They do not have children.
College: Northwestern State University (Masters), Alaska-Anchorage (Bachelors), Otero Junior College (Associates)
2009-2012: Assistant women’s basketball coach, Northwestern State (Natchitoches, La.)
2007-2009: Assistant men’s basketball coach, Northwestern State
2005-2007: Graduate assistant men’s basketball coach, Northwestern State
2004-2005: Assistant men’s and women’s basketball coach, Otero Junior College (La Junta, Colo.