Coach Jarred Samples has been the men’s basketball coach at the University of Dallas for almost nine seasons. He is a student-athlete alumnus of UD who graduated in 2001 with a B.A. in history. Coach Samples has guided the Crusaders to many victories over the years. This season, the team has 13 freshmen preparing to play in their first collegiate basketball season, as well as five seniors playing their final games as UD Crusaders.
TF: Coach Samples, you are on your ninth season as the men’s basketball coach. How have you seen changes in UD’s athletics’ programs since you have been here?
JS: I think there have been positive changes. Obviously President [Thomas] Keefe and Dr. [John] Plotts have come in and made a positive impact on UD athletics. Their support and the changes that they have helped to make have definitely changed things in a positive way.
TF: You lettered four years in golf and basketball at the University of Dallas. How have your experiences here as a student-athlete influenced the way you coach?
JS: I tell people I had a great experience here. It was the right fit for me. I met some lifelong friends here. I met my wife here and I received a great education. My goal is for the guys that I recruit to look back after their four years and say the same thing.
TF: How are you preparing for the upcoming basketball season?
JS: Nov. 15 is our first game. We are practicing hard to prepare for this upcoming season … trying to get some guys healthy as well. We are pretty banged up right now, but we are putting in offense, defense [and] baseline out-of-bound plays. We are trying to get things put in that we are actually going to run, but we are also trying to focus on fundamentals and just get the new guys acclimated to college basketball. I think there is an adjustment period and we are trying to bring them along as fast as we can.
TF: You had a big recruiting class this year. How do you go about recruiting players for your team?
JS: I tell people recruiting is probably the most challenging part of the job because of the academic standards here at UD. [The academic standards] narrow down the pool really quick[ly], but on the flip side, the guys that we do get in recruiting are good guys. They work hard in the classroom. They work hard on the court, so they’re fun to coach and it makes my job more enjoyable. From a basketball standpoint, we try to go out and identify guys that can play and guys that have the grades to make it here at UD. Hopefully by the end of the process we are able to get some guys who are able to help us win basketball games.
The last couple of years we have been able to get more guys than we thought we could get, so our roster has been larger than it has been in the past, but you just never know with recruiting. You might get 50 kids to apply and [they all] get accepted, but you might get only get two out of 50, five out of 50, or eight out of 50.
TF: Does the basketball team have a lot of guys walk on to the team?
JS: There are a few guys that we didn’t spend a lot of time recruiting that have come here, and they are currently on the team. As long as guys work hard and do what [the coaches] are asking them to do, they are more than welcome to stay a part of the team.
TF: You are also the assistant director of athletics. What does that job entail?
JS: I am in charge of the work-study students here in [the] Athletics Department. I schedule the home matches for athletics. I am in charge of scheduling new coaches to interview for any coaching positions that are opened in athletics. I am also in charge of the facilities here in the Maher Center. When people want to have practice or rent out the facility, they have to come speak to me. If there is another campus group that is looking to schedule gym time, I deal with that as well, which is tough when we only have one gym on campus. There are plans and drawings going forward, down the road, for a new facility.