Catching Up #4: John Motherwell Head Coach at Finlandia University

John Motherwell (Coach Mo) is in his first year as the Head Coach at Finlandia University. Coach Mo has a wealth of coaching experience including stops at Valparaiso University,  The University of Minnesota, Detroit Mercy, West Florida, The University of Milwaukee, Minnesota State-Morehead, North Dakota, Concordia St. Paul and St. Scholastica. Coach Mo is an old friend of The Coaching Assist and is one of the first coaches that was willing to share his advice with us! We caught up with Coach Mo about his first year as a Head Coach below, for his previous interview click here.

Q:  What has been most surprising during your transition from assistant to head coach?

A: The number of different constituencies you deal with. For me, at this level, they are primarily on-campus, but it has been the biggest difference by far especially because I don’t have a staff to delegate some of it to.

Q: Would you have done anything differently in your years prior to becoming a head coach to prepare more or differently?

A:  I would have asked my head coaches for some time to talk about being in that chair and what it entails. As an assistant you want to do your job well, make the head coach’s job easier, and more, but I worked for some super people and good friends in Stephanie Lawrence Yelton (West Florida), Karla Nelson (MSU-Moorhead), Gene Roebuck/Travis Brewster (North Dakota) and Autumn Rademacher (Detroit), where I would have had a lot of access and time to learn more about being a head coach, and undoubtedly would have received some great insight and been even better prepared. The irony is when you are an assistant for people like that, you enjoy your job so much that you don’t think much about being a head coach.

Q:  During your first interview we talked a lot on recruiting. Has anything in your recruiting philosophy changed since we first talked (especially in light of all of the transfers that women’s basketball has had)?

A:  Not much has changed.  I think all of us adapt, whether with foresight or reaction, to the changing landscape. How we feel about how it is changing can’t factor into it much and I’m sure every coach has opinions on it. But I have learned a valuable lesson the past three or four years and realize that I am much better and more effective when I am in control of my recruiting and execution of my philosophy. I feel more like I did the first dozen or so years of my career again in this current position, with regard to recruiting, which is huge for me, but it is still about personal relationships, genuine relationships, and embracing and enjoying the grind!

You can follow Coach Mo and Finlandia Women’s Basketball on twitter @coach_mo or @FinnUwbb


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