Darius Theus had warned his friend that if his cell phone buzzed with the freshly registered contact a few days earlier, he should step out of the restaurant to chat for a few minutes.
“But I had been out with my best friend,” Theus said, “so he figured out what I was trying to do.”
He was trying to take the next step in his coaching career. The call from Siena College men’s basketball head coach Carmen Maciariello in the early spring was the most pressing issue on the menu that night for 31-year-old Theus.
So Theus headed outside for what he thought was an introductory phone call, lasting between 10 and 15 minutes, and started talking. . . and kept talking. . . and talk. Eventually, he stopped pacing and plopped down on a sidewalk outside the restaurant in Richmond, Va., for the final leg of his 75-minute call with Maciariello.
“We talked about basketball, family, life. It was a great conversation,” Theus said. “The longer the conversation lasts, it’s a good thing.”
That call started a process that led to Theus joining Maciarielloe’s coaching staff as an assistant coach at the end of May, a career step that Theus was eager to take. Virginia Commonwealth University graduate who played for three Shaka Smart-coached teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament – including the memorable Rams team that qualified for the Final Four as the No. 11 – Theus has worked with college coaching teams for the past six seasons, but will be a rookie assistant coach with the Saints. Most recently, Theus served as director of player development for head coach Mike Rhoades’ VCU program for four seasons; prior to that, Theus spent a year as Director of Player Development in Texas for Smart following a year-long stint at VCU for Will Wade as Director of Student-Athlete Development.
Climbing the ranks of college coaches is not easy. It takes time to move from one level to another. There are usually years spent in supporting roles, like the ones Theus played at VCU and Texas, before getting the chance to become an assistant coach and take a more active role with the product and recruiting of a team in the field. Years after making that leap, a coach could – with a focus on power – have the chance to lead a program as a head coach.
For example: Maciariello, the new boss of Theus, spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach before being named head coach of his alma mater’s program in 2019. Those 11 seasons, spread across four programs, came after that Maciariello worked for several years with the Albany. City Rocks AAU program and one as director of basketball operations for Fran McCaffery’s Siena first team. In all, it was 14 years between when Maciariello was hired in his first college coaching role at Siena and when the Clifton Park native became head coach.
Theus had been interested in assistant coaching opportunities, but the opening in Siena was the first time he had been able to interview for a spot. In some ways, Theus had never really interviewed for a job. . . already. Laughing, Theus acknowledged that “there really wasn’t much I had to do but make it happen,” for his previous college basketball jobs, as they involved personal mentors who helped him. were hiring.
In each of his roles, however, Theus demonstrated a strong work ethic and came across as someone who would have the opportunity to take the next step. Theus came highly recommended to Maciariello by Rhoades, and the VCU head coach whose team won 22 games last season had alerted Theus that he should get a call from the Siena head coach.
“I was nervous. I won’t lie to you,” Theus said. “You try to prepare for this stuff, but when he called me it was, ‘OK, here we go.’ ”
So dinner — and this understanding friend — waited a bit that night. A series of text messages, phone calls and interviews followed, and Theus kept walking away thinking he was on the right track to take the next step in his coaching career, a step he wanted to cross since he refused to play with the Boston Celtics. NBA G League in 2016 to begin his coaching journey after a three-year professional playing career.
“I was praying it felt good, when I met Coach Carm, Coach Greg [Fahey]coach [Bobby Castagna], the entire staff – and he did. It was good. When I met the players it was good too,” Theus said.
A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, Theus said it was still not easy to make the decision to leave VCU, a place that Theus says “changed my life.” However, to take the next step in his career, Theus knew that Siena was the right place for him.
“All I know is the VCU method. It’s not a bad thing – it’s a good thing – but as you grow, you also want to learn from different people,” Theus said. “It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down because I felt good – and I felt really at home.”
The UAlbany women’s basketball program recently officially announced its incoming players for the 2022-23 season.
Head coach Colleen Mullen’s squad, which traveled to the NCAA tournament last March, signed guards Taylor Moffat, Karyn Sanford and Marie Sepp.
Moffat (Australia), Sanford (Norway) and Sepp (Estonia) will bring the total number of UAlbany players from outside the United States to seven. UAlbany also have three Swedish players and one Italian on their roster for next season.
UAlbany finished 23-10 last season.
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Categories: College Sports, Siena College, Sports, UAlbany