The following Q&A with NABC president Charlie Brock appears in the Summer 2018 edition of NABC Time-Out Magazine. To view the entire Summer 2018 issue, click here.
Q: When callers get your voice mail at Springfield College, you make sure to let people know that it is the “Birthplace of Basketball”. How meaningful is that fact to you, your student-athletes, your school and the city of Springfield?
"It’s so unique and special that Springfield College is the place that Naismith invented basketball. Personally, I see it as something that takes a conscientious effort to represent well, from my actions, our coaches’ actions, and our teams’ actions. There is a great deal of pride on our campus about our history, from faculty and staff past and present, our current students and alumni, as well as the city, about the fact that one of the world’s most popular sports was started and spread from right here."
Q: With the great history of basketball at Springfield, tell us about your mentors?
"My most immediate mentor at Springfield was Ed Bilik. He was my coach at Springfield, but as time has gone on, he has become so much more. He coached, administrated, and spent years as the NCAA Secretary/Editor of the rules of basketball. Springfield College has a rich history of involvement in basketball from a global perspective."
"Throughout my coaching career, I’ve always tried to get involved. I spent time on the NABC Committee on Academics, the NCAA Rules Committee, was a member and Chair of the Division III Basketball Committee, and most recently the NABC All Star Game Committee."
"Much of what Springfield stands for is related to service, in whatever area one chooses. In coach Bilik’s case, besides being a great teacher, his choice was to serve the game of basketball. I hope I have adopted the same road and accomplished something. When I went to college, I had no intention of being a basketball coach and because of Dr. Bilik and other coaches and teachers, here we are 40 years later. One of my most poignant moments was to have Coach Bilik at our semi-final game at the Division III Final Four this past March."
Q: In the tradition of Springfield College basketball, tell us about overseas trips you have taken with and without your team.
"One of the professional attributes instilled at Springfield is to teach, as all full-time coaches are also faculty members, and many of us take our knowledge internationally to help people in their chosen field. The former Springfield College basketball coaches did amazing things, teaching and coaching around the world. Each of the clinics and camps I did were just more of the same. It is amazing that basketball allowed me to go to Estonia with the YMCA and help write a book, to Taiwan with a youth foundation and to Venezuela, teaching coaches with the Olympics Committee there."
"In 2014 the team was invited, along with our president, Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, to Japan by the Japanese Basketball Federation. It was a celebration of 100 years of the YMCA in Japan, and we played against future basketball Olympians. It was another incredible memory for all of us, with basketball being the common denominator to meld two very different cultures together."
Q: As a NABC board member, tell us about the very engaged group of Division III coaches from across the country promoting the game in your division.
"It still amazes me that I am even on the Board of Directors of the NABC. Before that occurred, I was on an NABC Committee, the Committee on Academics, with some true icons in the coaching profession. We started a reading program for elementary school kids that went national through the NABC and was a true labor of love."
"I am fortunate to be surrounded by guys from around the country, whose primary intent is the best interests of the game and the players, true Guardians of the Game. We are always trying to get guys involved, know how and when our processes take place, especially the young coaches entering the profession."
"As a Division III member of the Board, my colleagues on the Board and I try to represent the interest of the great game of basketball and what is pertinent to Division III. Each conference across the country has a representative on the NABC Division III Congress. This body speaks in the fall and meets at the NABC Convention in the spring and is responsible to distribute information and promote the core values of the coaching profession and the value of membership in our professional organization. This endeavor takes constant focus and attention. Over the years, the communication and relationship between the NCAA Basketball Committee and the coaching fraternity has been greatly enhanced, in large part because of this group."
"The most recent event created over the last 10-12 years or so is the NABC Reese’s Division III All Star Game, held in conjunction with the Division III National Championship. It is a weekend of activities for the 20 best seniors in the country, brought to the site of the Division III Final Four, with a service endeavor, participation in a clinic, recognition at the NCAA banquet and playing a game prior to the national championship. The game and the weekend are completely funded by the NABC and is directed by another great group of Division III coaches, something that we all really enjoy being a part of."
Q: The NCAA Division III men’s championship is moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana for 2018-19. Tell us about the move and the new venue.
"First, I would be remiss if I did not thank the great city of Salem, Va., and all of the people there who so graciously hosted the championships for so many years."
"Fellow board member Pat Cunningham and I, as well as several others on the All-Star Game committee, visited Fort Wayne, the venue, and the tourist association this past spring. We came away very excited about our new challenge and the new site for the Division III Championship. We are going into the heart of basketball country in Indiana, the arena is perfect for us, and the people are working very hard to see to it that the NCAA Championship and the All-Star game is memorable for all involved."
Q: Having spent your entire career coaching in Division III, what is it that is so special about Division III basketball?
"That’s a tough question to answer, primarily because the answer is different for different people. Like Division I and II, Division III schools are very diverse, from the standpoint of size, cost, academic rigor, and whether they are private or public. I have been at four great institutions in four different parts of the country, which allowed me to create some great relationships. For me, it’s always been about teaching and on the floor coaching. My situation is unique in todays’ environment, being a tenured full professor as a member of the faculty at Springfield, and teaching a sport history and sociology course, which I really enjoy. Division III coaches teach and coach players who pay their way, truly want to be there, and have a love of the game of basketball. We have had kids be late, miss practice, or even miss a game because of a class conflict. For our kids, if there is an academic conflict, there is no conflict- they go to class."
"The rewards are in competing, the relationships the players create while doing so, and seeing their success stories as they move on. The self-motivation skills fostered in the Division III student-athlete are life lessons and help with addressing the future challenges faced in life."
Q: This past season, with a young squad, the Pride reached the Division III Final Four in Salem. Tell us a little about this past season and your outlook for 2018-19.
"We really had a blast. Going into our conference schedule and the NCAA tournament, we were playing great team basketball. It was a true melting pot, with guys from each class having a crucial role and really embracing it. The end was disappointing, as it always is unless you win your last game. But we have some great ingredients returning, have withstood some pretty good challenges, and hopefully know how to better handle things, if we can get back to that stage."
"Maybe the best part of the run was the bringing together the Springfield College community. With social media today and streaming of all our games, our fans, students and alums, faculty and administration, parents and friends really jumped on board. It was great fun and a really special group of guys made the experience unforgettable!"
Q: As the NABC president for 2018-19, please describe your role as president and any particular areas you and the NABC board will focus on this year?
"One of my first exposures to the role as president was to present the National Championship trophy to Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats this past April. What an unbelievable moment, at nearly 1:00 AM on the San Antonio Riverwalk, the amphitheater rocking with Nova fans and faithful, the team and entourage arriving in riverboats, and presenting the title trophy to a great NCAA champion Villanova team. It was a point in time I will never forget."
"I am greatly humbled by the presidency. Pretty big shoes to fill, as is true for all previous NABC presidents. The game is great, as indicated by the popularity of March Madness, but there is always room to improve."
"The NABC board is a dedicated group of men totally committed to doing whatever it takes to better the game of basketball and all who are involved in it. With the present need for proposals and legislation, board members and many others are making the time and effort to be on different advisory committees and taking part in ongoing weekly conference calls to do the right thing for the game. It has been made clear by the Commission on College Basketball that the same old is not going to be good enough. I am always in awe of the people I have been associated with on the board and the committees, but never more so than now."