Nothing is easy. Taking over something that never worked right in the first place and trying to fix it is even harder. Bob Boldon has accepted the challenge of reviving a deflated YSU Women’s Basketball program with open arms. In fact, Boldon expects to win, as soon as possible. Hard to believe that the Sophomore girls on this team have never won a game. In fact, going into this season it will be almost two full years since the team’s Juniors can recall what it was like to win. Boldon is refreshing. I was ready to suit up for him after our talk, he will provide motivation and technique that this program has sorely missed.
Paneech: Let’s start out talking about where you have been and what you have picked up to help you become better prepared to be a Division I basketball coach.
Boldon: Lambuth was my second head coaching job. It was good, because it helped me realize all of the things that I did wrong at my first head coaching job. We played in a National Championship game, which was a great experience. My first job was at Monticello, a team that only won one conference game the year before I got there, it was complete rebuilding project. We finished in third place my first year. Every team I ever coached could score, offense comes easy to me, but I realized that I needed to become a better defensive coach.
Paneech: Presently, you have taken on the “Bill Parcells” role of taking a mess and making it happen. Will it work at YSU?
Boldon: I want to be successful, and there are going to be people who say it can’t be done. I have a staff with expectations to be successful. It’s hard to make any real predictions until I get to know the players. I expect to win every game we play. My staff and I have watched almost all of last year’s conference games, and defense is an issue. Offensively, the shooting percentages were horrendous. We are going to be a good three-point shooting team, and that is something that can’t just happen, magically. The players have to take responsibility and games are won on days like today, not on the day of a game.
Paneech: What kind of player will you go out and look for? A three-point specialist, a defensive stopper, a good rebounder? Where is the biggest need at right now?
Boldon: We are looking for shooters and want to improve the offense immediately. We will get better defensively by working hard at it and learning proper positioning, but the shooter is something we want. As far as I know there will be 14 girls here on the first day of school ready to go. Anything less than that number would really be a surprise to me. Shooter is on the top of the list.
Paneech: How demoralizing is it for a player on a team to go 0-30 and can they be turned into winners after that?
Boldon: I think they have embraced the fresh start. They know that this new staff has set forth different expectations, and at least those expectations are coming from a different person, if nothing else. Going through a year like that had to be tough and moving forward I’m sure it is something that none of them want to experience ever again.
Paneech: Have you adjusted to Youngstown yet? Are there things here that you like already?
Boldon: We are here now and we have been ordering in a lot trying to get the house in order, it is a wreck. I keep hearing about how I have to get to the Canfield Fair and how much my kids will enjoy it.
Paneech: Yeah, the Canfield Fair is pretty unique, it is one of the few places you can go pet a pig and be eating a sausage sandwich five minutes later.
Boldon: (laughing) Yeah, that is a little bit ironic I guess. I like the community and the people are very supportive. My staff and I try to go different places and have lunch, it’s been really good so far. The community is really buzzing about the football team and that new staff, and their season comes first, and I am excited as it is one of my favorite sports. The football team at any college set the tone and can get people geared up for the Winter sports.
Paneech: You go through the interview process with Mr. Strollo (above), does he tell you that you have to win and win now? Does he want you to build from the ground up? Or does he want anything better than the last few years to be the band-aid for now?
Boldon: Mr. Strollo showed the same expectations as I did in that we both want to win ball games. There is nobody in this administration who wants to win more than I do, and I say that for my staff as well. They all left jobs to come here and turn this around, and they did not come here to lose. The idea that it is going to take three, four, or even five years is something that we are not going to lean on.
Paneech: Do you ever play those little nightmare scenarios in your head where you are coaching that first game and look around to see about twenty people?
Boldon: Not really. If there is nobody at our first couple of games, I can’t say I blame them for not coming. I’m not in a rush to get to Jacob’s Field these days. After we win a couple of games, I would expect the interest to grow.
One Word Answers
Favorite Beverage: v-8 Splash.
Worst Habit: Biting My Nails.
Favorite Meal of The Day: Lunch, but I like ‘em all.
Best Basketball Movie Ever: Hoosiers.
Biggest Phobia: Snakes.
Best Show On Television: The Mentalist.
Favorite NBA Team: The Cavs.
Game You Want To Make An Impression With: Opener vs Pitt.
Favorite Fast Food: Subway.