Earlier this week, new Colorado men’s basketball assistant Rick Ray indulged BuffZone.com with a lengthy phone interview discussing his role as the latest addition to head coach Tad Boyle’s staff. Ray spoke openly, and there was too much material to squeeze into a single feature story. So here are a few more thoughts from Ray in Q&A form. Ray officially begins his new duties on July 20.
Q: Colorado is expecting to have a competitive team once again. Especially after having some tough seasons as a head coach, are you excited about the opportunity you’re stepping into?
RAY: “I’m super excited. I couldn’t be stepping into a better scenario as far as coming into a place that’s already built to continue to win. I’m so impressed with the way they built this program. I think there’s a difference between teams that win and go to the NCAA, and the teams that actually have a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament every year because they’ve actually built a foundation and built a program. That’s what I think coach Boyle has done. I can’t wait to get an opportunity to come in and work with the players and learn from coach Boyle, and also the assistants that are already there. I have great respect for Mike (Rohn) and Billy (Grier) because obviously they played a great role in the success of the team.
“I’m just coming in with a certain attitude. I just want to be able to help coach Boyle and the current assistants already on staff and, more importantly, help our players on and off the court.”
Q: Recruiting-wise, you have a much different geographical background than the other coaches on the staff. In what ways can you make that an asset?
RAY: “I believe first and foremost, recruiting is about relationships. I have some pretty good relationships with some people in the Midwest. Obviously in the south. Some prep schools. But I was also born in Gardenia, California, and I still have a ton of family that’s still out there. My daughter lives in L.A. It’s all about, what does coach Boyle want on his team? I think so many times people get wrapped up in areas, or recruiting rankings and things like that. But to me, it’s can coach Boyle coach this player, and is he a good mix with the current players we have on our team? And if you know that information, you can go anywhere in the nation to get the right players. But if you’re just going to specific areas or chasing after stars, you’re not going to have the right people. To me, it’s just really important that I attain that information from coach Boyle — from Mike, from Billy — and then you go out and see where it goes from there. But if I’m out there just chasing stars and chasing players without knowing what it is that will be the proper mix for this team, and what type of players that we need, then to me I’m not doing my job.”
Q: Have you been able to be on campus or was this process handled virtually?
RAY: “I actually was able to come in for an interview. I’ve been to Denver many times, but I’ve never been to Boulder. I’ve just heard people, when I talked to a couple confidants about the job, they just gushed and raved about Boulder. And I’d never been there before. But after coming out there on the interview, I understand what everyone is talking about. It’s just an unbelievable situation I think as far as the community, and it’s just a majestic place with the mountains. It kind of reminds me of Portland or Seattle where it’s a clean environment. I was really blown away with everything. My wife was able to come out with me and start looking at some homes. I’ve got a nine year-old son and a seven-year old son, so she was able to look at schools. I was just really, really impressed. Not just with the campus and how beautiful the campus is and the nice facilities and the surrounding area. I’ve always been in smaller college towns, so this is really new to me going to a place where it’s expansive. I’ve been in small places like Starkville, Mississippi and Clemson, South Carolina and West Lafayette, Indiana. I’ve never been in more of a metropolis that you have here. This is a new experience for me, too.”