Daily 49er

Jeff Cammon returns to Long Beach after successful stints at Cal and Colorado

With years of success as an assistant under his belt, Cammon hopes to transfer that success as a head coach.

Long+Beach+State+women%27s+basketball+head+coach+addresses+his+team+during+a+game+this+season+at+the+Walter+Pyramid.+
Long Beach State women's basketball head coach addresses his team during a game this season at the Walter Pyramid.

Long Beach State women's basketball head coach addresses his team during a game this season at the Walter Pyramid.

Jose De Castro | LBSU Athletics

Jose De Castro | LBSU Athletics

Long Beach State women's basketball head coach addresses his team during a game this season at the Walter Pyramid.

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With Jody Wynn leaving the Long Beach State women’s basketball program, newly-appointed head coach Jeff Cammon has culminated a family culture for his players and staff.

Junior guard Martina McCowan immediately noticed the different coaching styles that Wynn and Cammon implement.

“With Jody [Wynn], it was like intense, kind of up and down,” McCowan said. “But here, everything is pretty lovely. Everything’s fun.”

After four years as an assistant coach at Cal and Colorado, Cammon returns to Long Beach State.

Since leaving, he has seen success with Cal and Colorado as an assistant coach. Now, Cammon is returning to Long Beach in hopes of replicating his previous success.

Despite the challenges that have arisen during his short tenure as head coach, he says that being back in Southern California has been a dream come true.

“Coming into the program, we had to rebuild,” Cammon said. “Despite the challenges, it’s good.”

It’s rebuilding season for Long Beach who currently sits at 2-20 and 0-8 Big West Conference. The 49ers have lost 13 straight games, but even with the difficulties, Cammon says morale hasn’t been affected due to the family-like atmosphere and the industrious, gritty attitude of the team.

“I see a foundation being built that’s going to lead to something really, really great,” he said. “The biggest thing is to establish the culture the way I want it, and I think we’ve done that.”

While away from Long Beach, the coach saw different philosophies and thought processes at Cal and Colorado and decided to implement them into his own coaching style. But one constant remained: how important laying a foundation was to building a culture of success.

Senior guard Jessica Gertz can attest to the fact that Cammon is laying the foundation for future success.

“He’s [Cammon] focused on, not just right now, but long term,” Gertz said. “Right now with this new team, we’re just not really worried about wins and losses anymore. We’re just focusing on how can we get better each day, I think he definitely focuses on the future and the long term.”

Cammon says that being a part of Wynn’s staff from 2009-2014 has taught him a lot and prepared him to be a head coach, such as recruiting and organizing. More importantly, Wynn gave Cammon the room to grow during his time as an assistant.

“She taught me and she mentored me, to a certain extent,” Cammon said. “But she allowed me to make mistakes and challenge myself.”

Cammon always had a view of what he wanted his team to be: selfless, unified and playing with fire, effort and passion. Not only that, he says he likes to give his players the freedom to be who they are and play to their strengths.

That said, building a sustainable culture for the future is what means the most to Cammon. The technicalities of the game don’t matter as much as long as a culture is being built.

“It’s just about getting them [the players] better and developing them,” he said.

With eight games left in his first season as head coach, Cammon’s approach is similar to the first eight, with effort and grit. Moreover, the growth of the team is one of the more important factors going into the final stretch of games.

“Are we ready to turn the corner or aren’t we?” he said. “Can we stay disciplined enough to do the things we have to do to win a game?”

McCowan says that the team’s inexperience during close games is holding the team back from taking that next step.

“It’s just the experience; we lack experience,” McCowan said. “I don’t think we really know how to close out games…I just think we have breakdowns and we have a lack of focus at the wrong times.”

Cammon understands that learning from mistakes is how the team can get better and show the growth that had been building throughout the season.

“The big picture is we have young team; they don’t know how to win,” he aid. “We’re learning how to win.”

Though it has been a long season, Cammon sees that the team is making strides and getting better. Not only that, he says that the team is playing for the seniors, as the 49ers are looking to start off their upcoming three-game road trip at 7 p.m. at Northridge Feb. 8.

“This is their last year,” Cammon said. “We talked about ‘hey, these next eight games, we’re going to play for them.”

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