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Long Beach State selects Jeff Cammon as new women’s basketball coach; Fee discusses coaches

Long Beach State reaches into its past in hopes of a successful future. Fee talks about coaching contracts.

Courtesy of Colorado Athletics

Courtesy of Colorado Athletics

Matthew Simon, Sports Editor

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Three days into his new position, Long Beach State Athletics Director Andy Fee announced that he has selected Jeff Cammon as the new women’s basketball head coach.

“It was critical to fill the position [fast],” Fee said. “But at the same time, you want to be careful. You want to make sure you get the right person and not just sprint to fill the position. It was very fast and was a success.”

Along with making sure that the coach selected would work with the team, it was important to make sure that the individual fit in with the department, university and community as a whole.

Fee said that the university had a very diverse group of candidates, but Cammon always stood out.

“Jeff just continued to rise to the top through each stage [of the interview process],” Fee said. “He’s ready to be a head coach, he understands the culture of The Beach.”

Cammon’s name may sound familiar to some, as he was a member of former coach Jody Wynn’s first coaching staff at LBSU for five years. His most recent job was at Colorado, where he spent a year as assistant coach in 2016.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to come back to the Beach family,” Cammon said in the press release. “I feel like I never left because my heart was still there in Long Beach. I’m both humbled and excited to come back and be able to build on the successful tradition and culture established by Wynn, Derek and the rest of her staff.”

Wynn recently departed LBSU after leading its team to its first NCAA Tournament since the 1991-1992 season to take the head coach position at the University of Washington.

Cammon’s familiarity with the team was something that was exciting for the returning players, as well.

“Everybody is really excited that it’s Jeff,” junior guard Cece Wilson said. “We’re glad it’s someone that we’re familiar with and already have a relationship [with]. So, as far as having to build a new one, it’s not going to be hard.”

While Wilson hasn’t had an opportunity to speak to Cammon since the announcement at the time of this interview, she’s excited for what his coaching style will bring to the team.

“He recruited me,” Wilson said. “He’s such a great guy and I know from the other girls previous years, they talked about his coaching and his work ethic and he’s the type of guy that’s going to try and get everything out of you and that’s the kind of coach I want.”

Along with the new hire, Cammon faces the challenge of replacing the five seniors that are leaving and attempting to keep the commitments that Wynn had for the 2017-2018 season.

One thing Cammon will not have to worry about is having returning players that are ready to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke.

“Everybody always seem to count us out,” Wilson said. “We’re always the underdog for something, but we always seem to prove people wrong.”

Just getting started

 While Fee, who signed a four-year contract with LBSU on April 25 and will be paid $215,004 a year, addressed his number one concern when he took the AD position, he will now need to turn his attention to coaching positions in the department.

Fee will be looked to negotiate current coach contracts that are getting close to expiring, as well as hiring a new men’s golf coach after Mickey Yokoi announced that he will be retiring.

Two of those coaching positions that will need attention include baseball coach Troy Buckley and men’s basketball coach Dan Monson’s.

Buckley signed a two-year extension before the 2016 season and is currently in the hunt for Big West title and the prospect of hosting a NCAA Regional and Super Regional at Blair Field. His contract is set to expire after the 2018 campaign.

Fee said that while he and Buckley have talked, Buckley wants to talk contract, but once this season is over. Buckley has his focus on the team’s success this year.

On the men’s basketball side, one topic of concern is the four transfers the team had after a disappointing season.

“In terms of basketball, it’s not uncommon,” Fee said of transfers in college basketball. “It’s just the culture of what it is now and I don’t know whether it’s good or bad. It’d be easy for me to weigh in and say, ‘Well I’m an administrator,’ who am I to say a student shouldn’t transfer. The opportunities to transfer now are so many more.”

“I’ve have some really good discussions with coach [Dan] Monson,” Fee said. “What I do know about coach is a very good coach. You talk about someone that knows the Xs and Os of the game and has relationships across the country and has had a lot of success.”

That relationship includes working with Monson to drive attendance to games and work on a competitive non-conference schedule at home and away. Last year the 49ers had an “overcooked” schedule and it’s something that Fee and Monson discussed.

“It’s about how you bounce back, I’m going to use the cliché of it’s about how many times you get back up,” Fee said. “I believe that coach is getting back up. He’s excited and I’m excited to see what can happen.”

Fee went on to say that he plans to learn and discover each coaches culture and that can’t be done behind a desk.

“In terms of coaches, you want to know what’s going on,” Fee said. “I said in my interview process, ‘If you’re going to manage people – you have to be around. You have to be visible, you can’t just sit in your office,’… So, I’m going to be traveling with the teams. I’m going to be around the teams.”

The 42-year-old mentioned that while wants to see what the coaches are doing, it’s not about himself.

“I’m going to be off to the side, I don’t want it to be about me,” Fee said. “But, I do want to be able to make good decisions moving forward.”

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