Eric Musselman is the head coach of the University of Nevada men's basketball team. He is the former head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. Between head coaching stints in Golden State and Sacramento, Musselman served as an assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies under Mike Fratello. He moved to the college coaching ranks in 2012 as an assistant at Arizona State. Coach Musselman was kind enough to give us some time and provide insight on his time as a player and coach and offers some sage advice for youth athletes today. This is Coach Musselman's Y1 on 1:
1. What have you learned from sports that have helped you most in life?
I have learned things like being on time, discipline, and work ethic from being associated with sports. All of these aspects are extremely important for any team to be successful at any level whether it is college or NBA.
2. Who helped guide you on your path to become a college athlete?
The number one guy that helped me guide me on my coaching path during my time at the University of San Diego was my college coach Hank Egan. He was a really good coach and a great mentor for myself and our players. When I earned my first NBA head coaching job with the Golden State Warriors, Coach Egan was the first hire I made as an assistant coach.
3. What is the greatest moment(s) in your sports career and what do you recall most about it?
The greatest memory of my sports career was making two NCAA tournaments with San Diego during my collegiate career as a freshman and as a senior. Both NCAA tournaments will forever be engrained in my mind and will be moments that I will not forget.
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4. Whether it be good or bad, share a pivotal memory from your time as a youth athlete.
I will always remember as a kid going to Minnesota Golden Gopher practices with my dad. They are some of my greatest memories and some of my favorite memories.
5. Would you advise youth athletes to play multiple sports or specialize and focus on only one? Why so?
I think youth athletes should play as many sports as possible because different sports require different ranges of motion. For instance, there’s things that an athlete does in a lacrosse game that are different than a basketball game. I think the more sports youth athletes can play will only help them in the long run with range of motion / hand eye coordination.
6. What advice would you offer up to coaches who want to make the jump from coaching youth sports to higher levels?
I think the biggest thing for young coaches trying to get into the business/move up in the business is you need to make connections. It is so important to get in with a coach that is well connected even if it is a position on the low end of the totem pole because the best way to advance in this business, outside of having an unbelievable work ethic, is to work with/for people that have big networks.
7. What specific advice do you have for youth athletes?
My advice for youth athletes is that whatever sport they decide to choose- they must be willing to work at it. From a young age, you have to invest in your sport(s) of choice and work at them every day for at least an hour. For instance in basketball, it’s not good enough to just shoot in your driveway or go to a basketball clinic- you need to be able to play pick up and play against people older/stronger/better than you so that you are constantly improving.