Jill Morton

Depending on the team, there can be a lot of conflict between coaches and players, but that is not the case on the UND men’s basketball team. Most of the players get along with the head coach, Brian Jones.

There are 14 players on the team with four coaches. This is a pretty large ratio of coaches to players compared to track for example, where there are 34 athletes with only four coaches.

“The player coach relationship depends on the culture of the sport,” Deputy Director of Athletics Daniella Irle said. For example, the size of the team, the level of the team and other variables can change the relationship as well.

There can always be drama and conflict when a group of people work so closely together. This is even more so the case when this group is passionate about what they are doing. Emotions can get in the way at times.

“Coaches and players just need to be able to put all the differences aside to reach the end goal,” Irle said.

Depending on the individual, some players want a more professional relationship with their coaches, whereas others prefer a father figure.

Sophomore guard Cortez Seales said he thinks of his coach more as a mentor. He said he likes how Coach Jones can help him grow both on and off the court. Since many athletes don’t live close to home, it’s nice to have that father figure at school.

“Coach Jones is definitely a mentor, which is more common at the D1 level,” Irle said. She said Division 1 coaches have a lot more influence on their players than Division 2 and 3 coaches, simply because of the amount of time that is spent together.

“I think the guys on our team are close with all of the coaches,” Seales said. He also said that he thinks that the close nature of his relationship with the coach is similar to the rest of the players on his team.

“I think Coach Jones has a good relationship with the players,” said Bailey Strand, a women’s basketball player who sees practices and games and knows some of the men’s team.

“I’m a close with our coach because we’re from the same town, so we already know a lot about each other,” said Seales.Tez pic

UND sophomore guard Cortez Seales shoots at the Eastern Washington game  Fe.b 9. He had a field goal percentage of 44 percent for the 2016-2017 season. Photo By: Matt Schill, UNDsports.com