Daily 49er

Q&A with women’s basketball head coach Jeff Cammon

In his first year, Cammon looks to create something special.

Jeff Cammon was introduced as the women's basketball head coach in May.

Jeff Cammon was introduced as the women's basketball head coach in May.

Alex Manfredi

Alex Manfredi

Jeff Cammon was introduced as the women's basketball head coach in May.

Alex Manfredi, Staff Writer

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Though newly appointed Long Beach State women’s basketball head coach Jeff Cammon has yet to lead the 49ers onto the court in 2017, he is looking forward to making a difference with the program. LBSU won the Big West Conference championship last season and made the school’s first NCAA appearance since 1991-92. The Daily 49er sat down with Cammon to talk about the transition and his plan for this year’s team.

What has the reception been like so far from the team, community, fans, etc. ?

JC: It’s been nothing but love. The five years I spent here, you know, sometimes you don’t know the impact you’ve had and the relationships and here in Long Beach it’s a close-knit community. It’s genuinely a family environment, so even if you leave here, you never leave here. I feel like nothing has ever changed, it’s like I’m just starting where I left off, so to speak. The community, donors, boosters, fans — they’ve all been supportive. Ex-players have contacted me and they’re excited about the future and my journey here and taking over the program. It’s been positive and there’s been a lot of love.

What are your thoughts on the coaching staff you assembled and what do they bring to the table?

JC: In this business you interact so much when you’re on the road recruiting, going to high school practices, talking to club coaches and it’s a small network. You get to know people and I like to build relationships, it’s not just about going to talk to get the player, to me it’s about genuine relationships. I’ve been able to do that and you kind of get a feel for the people who are trying to coach at this level or coach in a place where they want to follow a certain philosophy. I’ve known Brian (Camacho) for eight or nine years — since I’ve been on the women’s side of basketball. As soon as I started coaching high school, we met and automatically clicked. We’re both competitors and both love impacting lives. He has a great defensive mind and I think he’ll help us a lot.

Kevin Adams, I’ve known him since we started scrimmaging his teams at Cal Poly Pomona when I was an assistant here [Long Beach State]. Their teams were always disciplined, played hard and carried themselves with integrity and he was a big part of that. He brings some things behind the scenes, he’s really good with social media and video. He’s a jack of all trades.

With Laura (Dinkins), she just fell in our lap and I thank god. We had someone in mind but in this case Laura was someone that I always thought would be a good fit. I didn’t know she would be able to leave Fresno (Fresno State) just because she had a great role there but she wanted to be closer to home. Laura has played college basketball, played professionally and she’s very good with people. She’s had so many different experiences so she brings a wealth of knowledge as a player and as a coach. She’s someone the girls can come to and directly relate to.

Behind some of the returning players, is the starting five/rotation wide open?

JC: We have six returners and the other seven are new, so it’s wide open. Obviously Jessica Gertz, Cece Wilson and Martina McCowan all played major minutes and have won a lot of games since they’ve been here, so they’re veterans and have that experience competing against some of the best competition in the country. They’ve been great as leaders and have kind of set the precedence and the tone for how we want things done. But, there’s competition [for this leadership role], we have some really talented kids coming in, but they’re freshmen and they’re still going to have to figure out how to transition into being a student-athlete. There’s no starting lineup yet, but I do expect the older players to carry themselves like they’ve been here before, I expect them to be ahead of the game. We’re about competing and doing what you have to do to earn minutes so hopefully we’ll play a lot of our girls. We want to play as many as we can but the young ladies have to earn that.”

What does a new coaching staff do for players and coaches as far as offering a fresh start?

JC: Well, the transition is familiar to them because we’re gonna do a lot of things that they’ve done in the past — and I think that’s huge, because there’s less anxiety and less thinking. The other thing is that there’s new opportunity which is special and unique. Collectively, the thought and mindset that we’re going to create something special is there. We’re going to build on the tradition and success that has been established here. I think the players are excited about the new beginning.

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