Feb. 16, 2009
Arizona women's basketball assistant coach Chance Lindley recently sat down to answer some questions and give an inside look to Wildcat basketball fans. Below are the questions and answers that came out of that interview.
How did you get your start in coaching and what brought you to the University of Arizona?
"I started coaching when I was still a student at Wichita State University. I actually started off coaching boys...I was the head coach of the junior varsity boys team and the varsity boys assistant coach at Wichita Independent, which is a private school in Wichita, Kansas. The year I graduated from WSU, the head coach position for the girls varsity position opened up at the same school. I wasn't sure since it was "girls" but it was a head coach position and they did offer me the job! So, I took the job and I'm so thankful I did. I truly love coaching young women and I've never looked back.
I was at Wichita Independent for two years and then I was offered a head coaching position at Wichita Collegiate, which is a larger private school in Wichita. I coached there for four years. (Lindley finished his tenure at Wichita Independent with the best record in program history, then completed his time at Wichita Collegiate with another milestone for season record that included the first undefeated season in school history and a state championship.)
At that point, I was offered a junior college head coaching position in Kansas and also an assistant coaching position at a different junior college in Kansas. I decided to take the assistant coaching position instead for three main reasons: 1) The school had more respect and was a place where you could be successful, 2) The head coach who I knew for years was going to "move up" soon and, 3) I wanted to learn how junior college "worked" before I took a head coaching job. I was an assistant for one year and then Coach Lord took a job at a NCAA Division II school and I was named the head coach at Barton County Community College. I was blessed my first season to have the best record in the school's history, win the conference title, qualify for nationals and finish in 4th place. I left there with the highest winning percentage as well.
While I was at Barton, I was blessed to have some great kids who were recruited by a lot of NCAA Division I schools and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of coaches and truly "look" at a wide variety of programs across the country. I met a lot of quality coaches, but one in particular stuck out the most. Niya Butts was at Kentucky and she was recruiting two of my kids. I had the opportunity and the privilege to meet her and get to know her as a coach and on a personal level throughout the season. I could just tell that she was a quality person and that she was going to be a head coach someday. We talked and stayed in touch all season some because she was recruiting my kids and some because we got along real well and had developed a good friendship.
That Spring she told me she was named the new head coach at Arizona. She then went on to offer me an assistant coaching position and to join her staff. I of course was not planning on leaving Barton after only being the head coach there for one year, I had a great team coming back, and I had to factor in my wife and two-year old daughter! But after talking with my family, and they were completely supportive, and looking at the opportunity to coach with Niya and at UofA, it was not a hard decision!"
What things do you like best about the University of Arizona?
"The people! Every person that I have met in administration, every coach, faculty member, and everyone else that I have the privilege of working with on a daily basis is so professional and nice and they are all just quality people who want to be here. They have all been amazing to myself as well as my family. Oh...and the weather is nice too!"
Is there a coach either still active or from the past that you model your coaching style after?
"I would have to say that I do not have that one coach in particular that I look up to or model myself after. I have a lot of coaches that I respect at the high school, junior college and NCAA Division I level. I have been blessed to meet, be around and/or coach with a lot of quality coaches whom in which I stay in touch with and have learned a lot from all of them. I just continue to try and keep learning, improving and getting better everyday."
What makes the UofA so special and unique?
"I have only been at UofA for less than a year and this is my first NCAA Division I program that I have worked at, but the professionalism and quality of the coaches, staff, and administrators, the high expectations for academics and athletics, the amazing campus and scenery all make this a very special place."
Is there one game you've watched or attended that was memorable?
"Unfortunately, nothing "memorable" that I would consider. But, I have had the opportunity to watch Michael Jordan play a few times and to see some good college games like men's Final Four games, etc."
If there was one game you could have attended in history, what would it have been?
"I can't think of one in particular...maybe Michael Jordan's final game, John Wooden's final game or Jimmy Valvano's final game."
Do you have a favorite team, player or coach you enjoy watching?
"This sounds crazy, but I really don't! I just enjoy watching quality basketball (teams or individuals) at the college or pro level who play hard, compete, and play the game fundamentally and with passion."
What are your favorite movies?
"I like all kinds of movies! I don't have that one favorite, but I like action movies, any of the sports-based movies like Remember the Titans, Glory Road, etc. A few of the "old" ones that come to mind that I have always liked for some reason are Days of Thunder and Stripes!"
If you could invite four people to dinner, who would they be and why?
"In no particular order, it would be John Wooden, the current President of the United States, Michael Jordan and Angelina Jolie. They are all for most of the same reasons....to learn from them, whether it be about basketball, our country, philosophy, success stories, work ethic, etc. It would be great to just be able to ask questions and listen to them talk about what they are good at and why they are successful and how they made it. And yes, Angelina Jolie to learn about her work and time that she spends and devotes to humanitarian causes.