By Jose Chatham
When you know what you want and are passionate about what you do in life, you succeed. With a career record of 161-95, and two straight KCAC championship game appearances, Matt O’Brien, head coach of the men’s basketball team, was hired at SC nine years ago. Since then, he has continued to have a great winning formula and is becoming one of the winningest Builder coaches. SC is off to an undefeated start on the season. O’Brien gives credit to his players, while acknowledging his odd methods.
“I feel like we’re distinctively different from teams of years past. I think the one big thing is our leadership group. I also have the ability to make a player feel bad for not trying their best, because if a player doesn’t listen, then I’m not coaching,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien is no stranger to the KCAC. “I played in the KCAC and always knew the tradition. Whenever I played in Stewart Field House, it was always such a great opportunity, and I knew the players were always good,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien coached at Friends University, where he graduated with a degree in physical education in 2000. He completed his masters in management in 2003. After graduating, O’Brien was an assistant coach at Friends University until 2006. In 2006, O’Brien was head coach of Central Christian College for three years. In 2009, O’Brien was hired as head coach at SC.
Dan Falk, vice president of student affairs, also comes to SC from Friends University and appreciates the passion O’Brien has for the players he recruits.
“The players are involved on and off the court, and even in the classrooms. He’s done such a great job finding guys that fit in with what he wants for his team. I just think that students, staff and players look up to that and appreciate that. It’s his winning passion that gets through to the players,” said Falk.
Every great coach has a great assistant. In this case, Tim Miser, assistant head coach, believes in what O’Brien brings to the program and to the players.
“O.B. is a player’s coach. He really stresses to the players what they need to do to move on, and not just on the court, but in the classroom. When they graduate, he helps people get jobs and to help get their life together after ball. Players always know they can come to him and ask any questions they have. He’s very open and honest,” said Miser.
O’Brien has a motto about success: “Do what is right. Do the best you can. Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Despite his coaching success, O’Brien makes time for his 9-year-old daughter, Macy, who is number one over everything.
“Macy is a priority. We like to play video games, especially the Lego games. We both like to dance and have occasional dance parties in the house. We like to eat and watch Netflix. She’s very easy to deal with and so supportive of me, which is really nice and makes my life fun,” said O’Brien.
Jose Chatham is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at email@example.com.