With the 2013-14 Cal State Fullerton women's basketball season just over a month away, FullertonTitans.com caught up with new assistant coach Steven Fennelly in part one of a five-part mini series that will introduce each one of the new members of the Titan coaching staff.
FullertonTitans.com: So it's been a little over four months now on the job, how's it been so far?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: Definitely a 360-degree turnaround from Iowa, that's for sure. But, I absolutely love it. I love the weather, and just really love everything about it down here. The traffic is probably just the biggest thing to get used to.
FullertonTitans.com: This is a young staff, with you actually being the youngest when it comes to coaching experience. How's the transition been for your first full-time assistant coaching gig?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: It's been great. Obviously my dad and my brother have been coaching for a while, so I've been around basketball my entire life, and I spent a lot of time around that Iowa State program as an undergraduate and graduate assistant, that's definitely helped me. I just really appreciate the opportunity coach Park has given me here at Cal State Fullerton. We've got an excellent staff here, and I'm just looking forward to getting the season going.
FullertonTitans.com: Is it weird being on your own without your dad (Long time Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly and brother (Iowa State assistant coach Billy Fennelly)?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: Oh its definitely a little different. Maybe down the road I could see myself going back to Ames, but I really just wanted to learn under someone else and experience new things. My dad has known coach Park for a long time and said he would be a great guy to work under. My older brother Billy worked with coach Park at the University of Maryland, so I really got to know Daron a little bit throughout the years. So yeah its definitely a little weird, but absolutely worth it.
FullertonTitans.com: With all that being said, what will it be like for you going back and playing at Iowa State on Dec. 8?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: (Laughing) Boy won't that be something? I'd be lying if I said that wasn't going to be weird, but I think more than anything it will be surreal at first. I think it will be a fun experience though. Me being on the Iowa State sidelines for six years and now all of a sudden I'll be coming back as a visitor, that's going to be a little different. But it's going to be cool to see everyone, but most importantly it's going to be great for ours kids. Iowa State is blessed with great fans and awesome crowds, so it'll definitely be a tough road test for us.
FullertonTitans.com: What are some things you enjoy doing for fun when you're not on the basketball court coaching?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: I pretty much live and breathe basketball and I'm really just passionate about sports in general, so I'm not sure. I can definitely say being in California now, going to the beach is something I've really come to enjoy because that's certainly something you don't have in Iowa. My girlfriend lives out here with me now so I definitely go to a lot of movies. Oh and I just got Disneyland passes too, so I go there a lot. That place is awesome!
FullertonTitans.com: Logically you have to know what the next question is now. Is Disneyland really the happiest place on earth?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: (Laughing) Well, it's definitely pretty close. I've noticed you've got a lot of little kids running around there, but heck I feel like a little kid when I'm there. If that place isn't the happiest place on earth, then I'm not sure what is. Well, expect for the basketball court, that probably takes for me, but Disneyland is a close second.
FullertonTitans.com: So rumor has it you are a St. Louis Cardinals fan. With the Angels being right down the street and former Cardinal great Albert Pujols being on the team, where do you come out on that?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: Oh man. I'm not going to lie, at first I was definitely a little bitter, like most Cardinals fans were, but it's weird now that I'm here, the Angels are what everyone talks about, so I was almost forced to follow them being the big baseball fan that I am. It was a slow transition; at first I didn't hate them as much anymore, and then all of a sudden I started to actually root for them. I mean look; behind me I have a signed Albert Pujols jersey in my office. But let's not get this mistaken; the Cardinals are still my team, no doubt about that. Hopefully they can play the Dodgers in the postseason and I can head out to some games.
FullertonTitans.com: As a new coach coming in, what would you say your coaching philosophy or coaching style is?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: I think the biggest thing with us and what I try to preach to the kids is just for them to come in every day ready to work with high enthusiasm. Obviously there's still a lot of work for us to do, but the exciting thing about the Big West is really it's anyone's conference. There's no one team that has just dominated year in and year out. Coach Park is one of the best x's and o's guys out there, so if we continue to work hard, we're going to see good things as a team this year.
FullertonTitans.com: What's one thing about you people may not know, but they should know?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: I'm a huge fan of the show Big Brother on CBS. Fantastic show.
FullertonTitans.com: When people think of Cal State Fullerton women's basketball this season, what is the one thing you hope comes to their minds?
Assistant Coach Fennelly: Just that we work hard man. Win or lose, we always left everything we had out there on the court for all 40-minutes. It sounds cliché, but it's so true. If we give it all we have every night, that's all we can ask as a staff. When you do that you can sleep easier at night knowing there's nothing more you could have done.