On Monday, former Colorado men’s basketball assistant Jean Prioleau officially was introduced as the new head coach at San Jose State.
Promoted to associate head coach by CU head man Tad Boyle in 2013, Prioleau’s seven-season resume in Boulder includes four NCAA Tournament appearances, two NIT berths (including a run to the Final Four in 2011), and the 2012 Pac-12 Conference tournament championship.
This past weekend, Prioleau sat down with BuffZone.com to talk about his new job on the eve of his departure to California. Here are a few extra thoughts that didn’t make the original story.
On why he believes SJSU is a good fit:
“The school is located in the footprint of where we’ve recruiting for the last seven years. We’ve been able to pull several players out of the state of California that have impacted our program. Especially during the quote ‘golden years’ when we went three straight years to the NCAA Tournament and we went to the Final Four of the NIT. More importantly, it’s the science and technology capitol of the world. I’m looking forward to working with the president (Dr. Mary Papazian) and (athletic director) Marie Tuite, and Spartan nation and the student body.”
On excitement of first Division I head coach job:
“There’s no question. I’m overjoyed. I’m really excited. I’ve been a coach for 18 years now and I never got in it to be a career assistant. I’m not saying that arrogantly. If you ask any assistant coach, I don’t think anybody wants to be a career assistant. And I’m saying that in respect to every coach I’ve worked for, because I’ve learned a lot from them. I think all of them have groomed me for this moment. I think coach Boyle especially has given me, especially giving me the associate head coach title, he allowed me to delegate. I thank him immensely.”
On discussing the move with his family:
“My wife is overjoyed. My son is six-years old. As long as he gets to play Minecraft and Legos and Batman, he’s just fine.”
On taking over a program that jumped to 14-16 last year after six consecutive seasons of single-digit wins:
“When we got here at Colorado, they hadn’t won for the last four years either. Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to do that at San Jose, but it’s going on an upward swing. I think that’s a culmination of coach Wojcik (previous SJSU coach Dave Wojcik) getting guys he needed to get in there and starting to build it. I’m just going to take it from there and I’m appreciative of the opportunity.”
On the challenge of taking over a program in August:
“I’ll re-recruit the players. Getting on the phone with them and their families. Putting a staff together as soon as possible. Hopefully we’re able to retain the guys. It’s a pretty quick turnaround. School starts in like two weeks. I’m just trying to talk to the players as much as possible. I’ll be out there the whole week starting Monday and I’ll have a chance to work those guys out. We’ll be able to get on the floor. I think when you get on the floor. I think when you get on the floor, especially when things happen like this, it helps everyone. I think it helps players being on the floor and having some type of direction. And then me as a coach getting to know them, I think that’s the best way. We can call and talk on the phone, but I think once you get on the court you just feel different.”
On CU football coach Mike MacIntyre, formerly from San Jose State, offering advice through this process:
“He helped me out a lot during this process and he was big in this process as well. He knows a lot of people back there.”