Boylen excited for the future

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Pacers Assistant Coach Jim Boylen spoke with Brooke Olzendam and explained that it was out of fear that he got involved in coaching. Boylen also discusses the expansive coaching tree that he's been apart of including Rudy Tomjanovich, Jud Heathcote, Tom Izzo and Tom Crean.


Brooke Olzendam: First of all, how did you get involved in coaching?

Jim Boylen: Well my story about coaching maybe isn’t really a glamorous story. I just didn’t think I could live without basketball and my playing days were over. It was really out of fear, just fear of not having the game in my life, fear of not putting my hand in the huddle, with a group of guys trying to fight for something. I love that part of the game and to support people. The other thing too, is in the locker room, everybody’s the same. It doesn’t matter what your background is, doesn’t matter what family your from, what side of the tracks your from, it doesn’t matter because your all wearing the same uniform and all going for the same goal. It just felt right for me.

Brooke: Take me through your journey, how you started.

Jim: Well, I was actually a football player, so I played football in high school, but I loved basketball. I was a little bit of a late bloomer, size-wise and all that. I ended up going to Maine to play basketball and my only Division One scholarship and I just loved it and just fell in love with the game. I started working camps in college. I worked Five-Star and worked some camps and liked teaching the game and seeing kids develop. It’s fun to see a guy grow in the game and to have a part in that. When I was done, I interview with Jud Heathcote at Michigan State for a graduate assistant position. I got the job and it kind of started from there. I was a roommate of Tom Izzo’s, Tom Crean and I were roomates at Michigan State, Brian Gregory. So, we kind of had this coaching tree of guys that wanted to coach. I was there five years and then I went to the NBA and kind of worked it from there.

Brooke: What’s the transition been like going from coaching at the collegiate level to the professional level?

Jim: The opportunity to be a Pacer and to be part of this organization has been just awesome. It hasn’t really even been an adjustment for my family and I. It’s just been a smooth transition to Indiana. I’m a Midwestern guy. So, that’s been neat to come back here. You know, my wife and I have been to the Big Ten tournament here. We’ve been to Final Fours here and she always said “This would be a great place to live.” All of a sudden, we’re living here. It’s been great. The ownership and leadership are so strong here. It just kind of makes it feel right.

Brooke: Let’s talk about your coaching style. What would you say your philosophy is?

Jim: It changes a little bit. My basic philosophy is to support the organization, to support coach Vogel and his system, and develop our players in that system. I think that’s what you do an NBA assistant, whether it’s game planning, and preparation. You know, I think I’m going to have a little bit of a role with our big guys, more of an offensive role, with coach. So, just do that job to the best of my ability, with my experience. Obviously, we all work hard at this level, that’s part of it. Just help our guys grow in this system and support coach any way I can. I think we’ve got a strong staff. We’ve got good people on this staff. I really feel in my heart, the future’s bright.

Brooke: What do you think about Frank Vogel, as a coach? I know he’s a great person, but he’s young, kind of full of energy. What do you think he’s like as a coach?

Jim: Well, I love his energy and passion. I think those are things I believe in. I think he’s a grounded guy who reaches for the stars. It’s a great story; his path. I love that part of him, but he’s very humble. He has a quick mind and very intelligent. I think the other thing that’s impressed me is he knows how he wants to play, but he’s open to suggestion. I think great head coaches have great filters to maybe take in what they need and kind of push aside what they don’t need. I think his filter is very strong. I think that’s a big key to being successful at this level and I’m really thankful to be one of his assistants.