Fred Connors is the fifth guest joining “On Guard For Three”.
Fred coaches the St. Thomas Tommies, the seventh-ranked team in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.
The national Coach of the Year in 2013 joins us fresh off clinching the 1st seed in the upcoming Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association playoffs.
We ask Fred when he fell in love with the game, (3:00) and he discusses his love for Cape Breton Capers basketball (6:00).
We hear about his first connection with St. Thomas (9:30), and why he’s stayed connected through 22 years as a player and coach.
We ask him about the challenges of recruiting at the small college level (16:30) and the unique nature and popularity of basketball in the provincial capital (19:30).
Fred shares how he feels he let down the program a little in the aftermath of four straight national tournaments (28:00) and later on, (50:30) the change he made to ensure it didn’t happen again.
We get into the impressive year for the ACAA as a whole this season (31:00) and the mathematical gymnastics that goes into picking teams for the CCAA national championships (32:30).
Fred recounts those four trips to Nationals in perfect detail and speaks to the lessons learned (36:00) and talks about adapting to new teams year after year (40:00).
He talks about what makes this years squad special (42:30) and looks forward to next year by talking to us about Moncton product Celine Sterkel (48:00).
We get into how in the name of time a defensive pylon of a player like him became such a lights-out defensive coach (51:30) and why it’s necessary for ACAA teams to become juggernauts on that end (54:00).
He sets up this Saturday’s grad games at STU against Mount Allison (57:00) and talks about remaining close to his players after they leave the school.
Fred gets into the evolution of coaching his daughter Emma (60:30) and brilliantly brings up how wonderful his wife is before I can even get there (62:30).
We continue our ongoing discussion on BNB basketball and the state of the sport in the province (64:00) and Fred unveils his unnatural hatred (and not for the last time) toward the sport of volleyball (69:30).
We have a frank discussion about the state of basketball officiating (76:00), how we could better support them (79:30) and Brock humble-brags his way through a story about working opposing coaches and officials (82:30).
We get Fred’s thoughts on Celtics and Jayson Tatum (84:00) and the status of his Raptors fandom (76:00).
Finally, we make Freddie commissioner of basketball for a day (77:30) and I quell Brock’s feelings about the Raps loss to the Bucks.
Coach Conners on twitter: @STUWBB and on Instagram fred.connors.
Check out @acaa_aasc on twitter and www.acaa.ca for info on the small college men’s and women’s teams and where to live stream this weekends games AND the upcoming playoffs.