Primesport NABC Next Generation is an interview series with assistant coaches and support staff from across the country, highlighting their career experiences and future goals. Today's feature is Delaware Valley coach Mark Seidenburg.
Why did you decide to become a coach?
“People, basketball and teaching are my three greatest passions aside from my family. While working for Fortune 200 Company Automatic Data Processing as a Sales Director, I had a change of heart and wanted to pursue a career in teaching and coaching high school basketball. Through this change I had the chance to coach at the small college level after being a high school coach as a volunteer, and I was hooked. The relationships with the players, the intensity in preparation and the people I met recruiting sold me on what I wanted to do with my life. From that point on a DIII head coach was my goal, and I was lucky to have much support along the way.”
How would you describe your coaching and leadership style?
“I believe being open, direct and honest has incredible long-term benefits. In the moment, it can be tough for players to accept and some coaches to give. However, from honesty comes growth and that’s the ultimate goal.”
Aside from knowledge of the game, what skill do you feel is most important for coaches to possess?
“To be coachable. Coaches are selfish - I know I can be. We want things done the way we want them; precision, communication, defense, offense and all other aspects of the game. We stick to what we know and what is comfortable. Listening to assistants, being a lifelong learner and allowing player feedback are ways coaches become coachable. Expect of yourself what you expect of your players. This is an area of needed improvement for myself.”
How do you handle setbacks in your career? And what have you learned from them?
“Setbacks are walls. You can stop at them, take your time and go around them, or you can go through them. I try and accept where I am with a situation or what the situation is, and then attack it head on. Procrastinating in life leads nowhere. I have learned that perseverance is key. The ability to accept rejection, regroup and move forward is a skill any can possess and should possess. Life, a game, practices – they’re all full of setbacks. Some dwell, others move forward. I hope to be in the group that moves forward.”
What kind of impact – both on the court and off – do you hope to have on your student-athletes?
“We want them to be overachievers. We want to graduate young men that are willing to be uncomfortable, put others first and remain competitive people. Fathers, husbands, business owners, employees – they all need certain skill sets to survive as an individual in their worlds. We work to provide our student athletes with them.”
If you were told to craft a mission statement for your team, what would it say?
“To mold young men into uncommonly committed individuals through the sport of basketball so they can become committed fathers, husbands, employees and employers. Being able to have our graduates succeed as an individual as well as a member of a professional organization or family is our focus for these young men.”
What’s the one piece of advice you would give a first-year coach?
“Less is more. They won’t be perfect and they won’t meet your expectations. Don’t lower your expectations. Work with the team to get as close as you can to them.”