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Coach Tim O’Shea

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bryant chapter.


Winning 2 games in the 2011-2012 season, the Bryant University Men’s Basketball Team has been kept in the shadows.  However, something changed in the 2012-2013 season that swept the nation onto its feet and brought this team out into the spotlight.  Winning 19 games, Coach O’Shea (the basketball coach) has been deemed to orchestrate the team in college basketball history for the best turnaround ever seen.   Stands that were once filled with a few parents and the one or two student spectators were now shaking with the student body decked out in the infamous Bryant black and gold. Finishing 12-6 in the NEC in the recent season says a lot about these Bulldogs.

President Machtley once said, “To have a winning season and qualify for the postseason in our first year of eligibility, speaks volumes for the type of experienced leader Coach O’Shea brings to our program.  As a recruiter, Tim brings high quality student-athletes to our campus who represent our institution in a first-class manner both in the classroom and on the court.” I had the chance to sit down with Coach O’Shea and ask him questions about his past, this season, and what the future will bring.  For anyone who has not had the chance to formally meet Coach, please try to before summer rolls in.  I was completely taken back by his humbleness, genuinity, and laugh.  He is truly a great “team member” to Bryant University and on behalf of everyone, I think it is safe to say we are lucky to have him.  

Thanks for sitting with me Coach, it was great to meet you and I am happy you enjoyed the buzzer shots I sent you from the recent Lauralton Hall vs. Mercy CT State Championship game.

Name: Coach Tim O’Shea

Job: Coach Bryant Men’s Basketball Team

Favorite Thing About Bryant: The quality and character of the student body is what I like the most. The type of kids that go here possess tremendous work ethic, honesty, and have real character.  It’s a pleasure to be around that every day and I believe my team reflects that—the players, managers, spectators, everybody here, they are all continually impressing me.  I have worked at Yale, Ohio University, Boston College, and The University of Rhode Island.  None of those kids compare—if I owned a company and had to hire talent, it would come from Bryant.  In relation to a student body, I have not seen anything finer.


HC:  How long have you been at Bryant and what attracted you to coming here?

Coach: I have been at Bryant for 6 years next year.  Prior to Bryant I was an assistant coach at URI, BC, Yale, and head coach of Ohio U for 7 years before taking this position.  My wife and I have always loved Rhode Island so when the opportunity came for Bryant, it was a chance to live back here.  President Macthley and Athletic Director, Bill Smith, also had such a positive outlook and patience to see the transition from D2 to D1 and were more than willing to see it through with me on board.  They understood it was going to be impossible to win anything early on because our players were recruited to play D2, not D1.  We weren’t eligible for anything.  There were a lot of milestones to meet.  I knew it was going to be difficult, and so did they.  When I interviewed, I was comfortable that they understood that.  They were going to provide support and patience that was needed to see this through.  Our jump never would have happened without a realistic approach.  All of that was definitely an attraction.

HC:  If you had to describe this season in 3 words, what would they be?

Coach: We made it. 

HC:  This year has been different from the rest, no doubt, but what has stayed the same?

Coach: As coaches, we’ve stayed the course.  It’s not as if I went out and said, “we have the magic offense and defense”.  Our problem wasn’t lack of effort or motivation, we had plenty of that, but what we didn’t have enough of was talent. Once the right talent was recruited, the season was just a product of not panicking and staying the course we’ve always had.

HC:  What do you think is the main cause for this team coming out on top?

Coach: I think it was the fact that we upgraded our talent.  The program was brought up to a level where we were able to get the talent that was needed.  We had the complete set this year.  We had a great 5th year senior, Frankie Dobbs,  and another fantastic player, Alex Francis, who had just the right talent to get us over the top.   

HC:  After this season, do you think your recruiting efforts have changed?

Coach: What happens when you have success like this is it allows you to recruit more effectively.  For example, we are now eligible for post seasons.  Most good players don’t want a school that isn’t eligible for that—we have the chance of being in the NCAA tournament.  The strategies we use to recruit have always been excellent but now we are getting the effectiveness and results we want.

HC:  What were some challenges you and your team overcame this year?

Coach: It’s always hard, in any athletic situation, when you have built up a culture of losing and try to now have a mindset of winning.  That was the hardest challenge, to not stay torn down.  We now expect to win.  We aren’t wondering if we can win, we’re expecting we’re well-prepared to win.

HC:  What was it like getting so much media attention?

Coach: The media attention was and is great because 100% of it is positive.  It was a big reason the university chose to pursue D1 atheltics-to bring positive attention.  Everyone now has a positive view; from how the players represent themselves on TV to the crowds in the stands.  Anyone who went, or goes, to Bryant and follows our athletics knows how far we have come.  Five years ago, the biggest game to play was a team like Bentley.  Now, now we play BC and end up winning-for us to get that one win; it was huge psychologically.  BC represented something special because we’re like neighbors—it’s like Sacred heart beating UCONN.  Now that we have established that winning, the players have a bit more energy in their step.  I think that is clear to see through the media. 

HC:  Lastly, Coach Geno Auriemma of the famous UCONN Women Huskies once said going into a season with the idea that this team has enough talent to play in the championship was crap.  He said you have to go into it knowing you are going to win.  What do you think the future of the Bulldogs looks like?

Coach: Geno has a distinct advantage by having the best players.  We know that we are now in a position to be in the pathway of the NCAA tournament, and we know we have an attainable goal to get a bid.  Nobody in this league is like the UCONN women and know they have, maybe, 2 or 3 games to compete with.  There is so much parody behind that.  We have to have enough talent, health, and game in the right place and the right time.  We didn’t play poorly towards the end of the season; we just didn’t quite get those breaks down to the stretch like we did earlier.  It’s funny how a season turns out like that.  The future of the Bulldogs has very attainable goals to be in the NCAA tournament.  I cannot wait to see this team grow.


Image from Spokeo.com

Jessica is a senior at Bryant University where she is majoring in management and double minoring in marketing and communication.  She holds the position as Editor-In-Chief of Her Campus Bryant and was actually one of the first founding members!  Beyond Her Campus Bryant, she is the Vice President of the Bryant Marketing Association and a MyPath Mentor.  She loves working at the Amica Center for Career Education where she manages their marketing and social media efforts but also enjoys her time at the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership and the school's bookstore. When at home in Connecticut, she loves to watch movies with her family, play with her dog, have bonfires with friends, sleepovers with her sister, and scrapbook! Jessica aspires to one day manage her own department of a fortune 500 company, or even run her own company with a little bit of writing on the side!  Upon graduating this coming May, she will jump-start her career at EMC as a Marketing Development Associate in the Marketing Development Program.