Support Staff Q&A: Fresno State Graduate Assistant Erik DeRoo

This is the second installment in a series of Q&A’s with women’s basketball DI support staffers.  Hopefully this can be helpful for young coaches trying to climb the coaching ladder.

This edition is with Fresno State Graduate Assistant Erik DeRoo:

What is your title? How long have you been in your current position?

I am the Graduate Assistant at Fresno State University in the Mountain West Conference. I am currently finishing my second year with the program.

Where did you attend college?

My first two years I attended and played basketball at the University of Texas at Tyler, before finishing my playing career at McPherson College in Kansas. I am now finishing up my Graduate degree here at Fresno State, studying Sport Psychology.

How did you get your job at Fresno State?

Two years ago while I was living in Kansas, I had the opportunity to attend the NJCAA national tournament in Salina, KS. I really wanted to get into college coaching, but did not know anyone on the women’s side, so I figured why not go talk to people that have already made it. I went to every game of the tournament, sat next to different coaches over the course of each day, and just asked questions. Towards the end of the first day I met Jaime White, who at the time was the Head Coach at Northern Colorado. The school had decided to give her a GA position for the following year, so she was actually looking for someone to fill this position. We spoke over the next couple of days and then after a month or so I drove out to Northern Colorado to meet with her and see the campus. Everything went great; I was going to have the position as soon as I was admitted to graduate school. The very next day, Coach White accepted the Head Coaching position here at Fresno State and about a week later I got a call from her asking if I would move out to California and be her Graduate Assistant.

During this whole process I had spoken with other coaches about similar positions, but after I met Coach White and saw how she is just a genuinely good person, I did not want to work for anybody else! I am very fortunate to work for a Head Coach and University that has the bigger picture in mind! Fresno State has a great tradition in women’s basketball and is always competing for championships! Our coaching staff really instills a culture that strives for excellence in the classroom, on the court, and in life!

What are some of your responsibilities in your current role?

I am extremely appreciative of Coach White as I believe she has offered me some roles that range a little deeper than most resumes of other Graduate Assistants. I currently oversee all aspects of Team Travel (itineraries, flights, hotels, meals, transportation), Video needs, Male Practice team, Compliance, Practice Film and Statistics, maintain multiple facets of the budget, Team Technology for communication and scheduling, Team Camp, compliance needs, and help with on-campus visits. My main responsibility is to make sure to keep our program running smoothly within the areas that I can control so our coaching staff can focus on coaching basketball and winning games!

Any challenges between working for a basketball program and being in Graduate school?

As anyone who has been or currently is a Graduate Assistant knows, it is not only important to manage your time well, but also to find a way to set your priorities. When you have multiple obligations pulling you separate directions, being able to decipher the most important pieces to tend to first will help you relieve the burden between school and work.

What are your goals as a future coach?

I love where I am starting at in my career, as I get to work with a great staff that is helping me grow and learn. I understand the journey in this profession is different for everybody, so while I have plan in place to become a successful Head Coach one day, that plan might change as I take each step. Doors open and close for a reason, I believe if I follow my intuition and have a strong inner circle by my side, I will be able to reach all of the goals I have set ahead of me.

Any advice for young coaches looking to enter college athletics?

Networking is a key element in any profession, but it is heightened even more so in college athletics. Constantly build your network and relationships with the people in this field. Coaches in women’s basketball want this sport to continue to grow, so take the step to reach out to coaches whether you know them or not. You will be surprised how much people like sharing their stories and experiences, especially when they know it will help another person grow.

Once you make it onto a coaching staff, it should be a given that you need to work hard, but there are a couple of things just as important as working hard. Those are to be trustworthy and loyal to your Head Coach. If they know they can trust you and always have their back, they will go out of their way to help you grow in your career.

Lastly, continue to learn, but also share the knowledge that you have! To be a good coach means to be an even better teacher, so share the knowledge that you have to develop other people!

You can get in contact with Erik DeRoo via email at ederoo@csufresno

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