My philosophy of coaching is what I refer to as The Total Program. It goes beyond simply basketball, encompassing attributes such as dedication, commitment, discipline, respect and love of learning. All of these are necessary for success not only on the basketball court but in the classroom and every day life. My hope is that my players will become well-rounded, purposeful individuals—that they become a total person. The Total Program consists of four cornerstones: Teaching Values, Building Dreams, Formula for Success, and my role as the Head Coach.
Teaching Values is comprised of six steps: discipline, work ethic, communication, education, compassion, and decision making. Discipline should be a way of life, providing the ability to focus, organize and set priorities. It is the backbone of success. A self-disciplined person is one who has pride, balance and control in all aspects of his life. Another key to achieving success is a strong work ethic. There is no substitute for hard work and sacrifice. I also believe that the ability to communicate effectively is central to a player becoming more confident and more marketable in life.
Education—whether in the classroom, on the basketball court, out in the community, or in life—helps develop a well-rounded person. It must be approached with an open mind and a willingness to go beyond what's expected. It must be ongoing throughout a person's lifetime. When you stop learning, you stop growing as a person.
Every player should care about and show a sincere concern for his family, friends, teammates, coaches, and others. By doing so, a close-knit, supportive family atmosphere will emerge. It is important to tell those you love how much they mean to you. You also need to be willing to give to those less fortunate than you through community service. We find out a lot about ourselves when giving back to others and we receive so much more in return.
Throughout the learning and growing process, my players must be responsible and accountable for their actions. They must understand the importance of making sound decisions and the consequences that poor decisions may bring upon them, their family, and the team.
Building Dreams, the development of a successful basketball program, has six steps: gain respect, build tradition, earn campus and community support, graduate players, and develop championship teams.
My program would be characterized by class, integrity, good people, and success in the classroom and on the basketball court. We want to be respected for our work ethic, the type of young man in our program, the way we conduct ourselves, and the way we play the game. We want to establish our own traditions while building on the success of the past, embracing it and working to make it better. By putting a good product on the floor, we hope to earn the respect and the support of the entire community. By being visible in the community, we would build an audience and gain their support. Excellent performance is expected in the classroom and will enhance the commitment to the true meaning of being a student-athlete. I expect 100% of my players to graduate. Excellent performance is also expected on the basketball court with the goal of advancing to post-season tournament play.
Formula for Success includes seven steps: recruit good people, develop a strong work ethic, emphasize academic achievement, enhance basketball skills, cultivate broad-based support, be active in the community, and create a family atmosphere. Without question, the lifeline of any program is recruiting. It is imperative to recruit quality young men who take care of their responsibilities, understand their priorities, and who are dedicated to being successful. I would evaluate each player's academic potential, overall attitude, athletic ability, and basketball skill level. I want my players to compete as hard in the classroom as they do on the basketball court. I want them to make academic all-star teams both in the conference and in the NCAA.
An important part of the equation is the ability to develop our players to their full potential, to see them grow and improve during their four years in the program. Emphasis would be placed on developing their fundamental basketball skills while teaching them how to play the game the right way. We will work to improve daily to become the best we are capable of becoming. I believe in an up-tempo style of play with emphasis on execution, conditioning, team play, and commitment to our goals. Sound team defense provides the foundation for success on the court. We will employ a multiple defensive system with emphasis on man-to-man. This system would recognize the strengths of our players, and it will be a fun system to play in.
The key to broad-based support is to get the students, faculty, administration, alumni, and the surrounding community to rally behind the team and to take pride in Owls basketball. Perhaps most important to developing a Total Program is the constant effort to create a family atmosphere. The most important people in my life are my family. The members of my team would become members of my extended family. I will care about them, help and support them, and always be there for them.
As the Head Coach, it is my responsibility to ensure that our players are doing everything they can to enjoy success in all aspects of their lives. They need to enjoy the college experience and prepare themselves for the opportunities and challenges of life beyond college. My role in their lives is that of coach, mentor, teacher, and as a positive role model. I have passion for what I do and I have the experience, enthusiasm, knowledge and success necessary to bring The Total Program to the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
-- Owls' Head Coach Jim Casciano