Since his playing career at Princeton concluded, I've caught up with former Tiger guard Marcus Schroeder on a pair of occasions - once after a tryout for the D-League's Reno Bighorns and a second time following a trip with the U.S. Basketball Academy for nine games in China.
Knowing that Schroeder had been actively looking to get into coaching since a conversation early this year, I'm glad to be able to share that Marcus Schroeder is now a graduate member of the staff at St. Mary's College.
Finally able to talk publicly about his role with the Gaels, Schroeder spoke to me on the phone tonight while driving from school back to Concord and a transcript of our discussion follows the jump.
How long have you been in Moraga and how long has that been in an official capacity?
It's been official since late September. I was down there all summer working the St. Mary's camps. I was trying to work different summer camps because other coaches told me I should work summer camps to help make connections.
When I was playing at Princeton I would come back in the summer at play open gyms with the St. Mary's guys. I got to know the coaching staff through that and I got to know the coaching staff even better this summer when I was working the camps. It just turned into something where I am now the graduate assistant there.
Were there other camps you worked at this summer?
No. I was going to work at Georgetown and talked to Scott Greenman and Coach Brennan over there but I was dialed in to St. Mary's. It is close to home and I thought I had a chance there. That was it.
As a graduate assistant, are you taking classes as well?
Right now I'm taking two classes. One of them is Pro Sports Organization Management and the other is a Kineseology class looking at sports movement. I'm in the Kinesiology department. St. Mary's has an MBA program with a Sports Management portion. I would like to eventually transfer over to the MBA but it was easier to get everything figured out and get into school going into Kineseology. We'll see.
It allows you to do more things when you're in grad school in terms of being in practice as a coach. You can't instruct but you can actually rebound shots, pass during defensive drills and stuff.
How long a program is it, potentially?
If you're going full bore at it the Kineseology program is 14 months but I am trying to lighten the course load a little bit so I can be around the program as much as possible. Right now I'm set for two years but we'll see with all that.
For people who last read about you on the site following your trip to China, can you update what you've been doing between then and when you began at St. Mary's?
My dad owns a small company. He distributes cash management equipment and money safes. I was honestly just working for him. I wasn't full time, just helping him out. I had a lot of free time and I was actually pretty bored. I was making a lot of calls for him, doing a little bit of cold calling, updating the entire client base for him.
I was doing some youth coaching to make some extra money. There's a program my high school coach's son called Advanced Skills Academy and I was helping coach that.
I knew I wanted to get back into basketball right around January or February. Before then I thought I was going to move to San Francisco and try get a "normal" job. I realized "I don't think that's for me." That lightbulb came on.
Can you give me an idea of what your responsibilities are on the staff?
You're basically like a manager. My position is really graduate manager, but I like "grad assistant" better.
In practice I am able to handle the ball. If I was just a volunteer assistant and I wasn't in grad school, I wouldn't be able to be in practice. I would have to pretty much just stand on the sidelines.
During the day in the office I handle a lot of the video stuff. My responsibilities aren't greatly defined. I oversee all the managers. I do a little bit of the recruiting mailouts. Whatever needs to be done, but it is mainly the videos.
Does any of this give you a greater appreciation for all the things (undergraduate and then graduate manager) Lawrence Schuler was doing when you were playing at Princeton?
Oh, for sure. It is amazing being on the other side. It gives you greater appreciation for what every coach did to help us prepare for a game and to help us hopefully win the game. I'm doing a little bit of the editing for scouts in advance of our first scrimmage on Saturday. When you're a player you get eight minutes of clips that you have to watch. For the coach it takes four hours for them to clip all that up plus a couple other hours to study all the film and give you the scouting report. Just the time all those coaches put in is unbelievable. Lawrence for sure was unbelievable at all of that.
What's Randy Bennett like to work for?
He's great. It is cool. I don't know how it is at other schools but I have a good relationship with him and get to talk to him pretty much every day. I don't sense that would be the case at other programs. Knowing how he got to where he is now, he has been at every level - he was a volunteer assistant, he's done Director of Basketball Operations, he's done the assistant stuff. He knows what I'm going through trying to get my start in this business. It is a great learning experience to learn a different style at a different program. I am learning a lot. Definitely.
You mentioned Coach Greenman and Coach Brennan. Have any of the other former Princeton players in coaching provided you with advice?
I talked to pretty much the whole family. Coach Johnson and Coach Newsom and I have developed a good relationship. All those guys said anywhere you can get your foot in is great. You have to go from there. Get in somewhere. It doesn't have to be a place where there's a "Princeton guy." They all said St. Mary's is a great place to start. They've had a lot of success the last four or five years.
Finally, I noticed St. Mary's has what for you should be a pretty interesting matchup on November 23rd at Denver!
Yeah. That will be a good one. It will be fun to see Coach Scott, Coach Fitzgerald and A.J. Kuhle. Maybe I'll be called upon a little bit to give some preparation and insight for that game.
An NIT participant a season ago with a 25-9 record and a Sweet 16 team the prior year, the Gaels were picked second in the 2011-12 West Coast Conference preseason poll behind Gonzaga.
Former Northwestern center Kyle Rowley joins St. Mary's in 2011-12 after sitting out for a season due to transfer rules.