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Wojcik ready for challenge at SJSU

April 6, 2013
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

Dave Wojcik is spending this weekend where most college basketball coaches are.

He was in Atlanta for the Final Four.

However, you would have had to have taken a really good, hard, close look to notice him.

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"I am dressing with a mustache and a pair of glasses to kind of disguise myself," Wojcik joked during a phone interview late last week.

The Final Four has developed into like a job fair for college basketball coaches seeking employment and newcomers to the business seeking their big break.

And for the first time, Wojcik was one of the guys being sought and not one doing the seeking.

"You definitely get bombarded with guys looking for jobs," Wojcik said.

People are seeking Wojcik as he begins the process of rebuilding the San Jose State men's basketball program in what's his first head coaching job.

"I am very excited about the job and I feel that I am bringing the energy and passion needed to help build the program," Wojcik said. "It's going to be a challenge in terms of rebuilding, but I've done that in all the places I've been."

The Wheeling Central product, who is 44 years old, signed a 5-year deal with the Spartans after spending the last three seasons at Boise State University as the associate head coach. It was just a few days after the Broncos lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Dayton that SJSU Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier.

"It was like the moment we lost, he called me and asked me to come out for an interview," Wojcik said. "Once I interviewed, it just felt right. I've always taken jobs based on my gut feelings. I had any of the questions I might have had answered early and quickly in the process. It just felt right to take this job, but it was still a very difficult decision to leave Boise."

Before embarking on the interview, Wojcik sought advice from the likes of Tom Izzo at Michigan State, Boise State head basketball coach Leon Rice and Broncos' head football coach Chris Peterson. Of course, he also spent time talking to his brother Doug, who is the head coach at the College of Charleston and just completed his first season.

"Everyone thought it was a great opportunity," Wojcik said. "I got a lot of great advice on the whole process."

The biggest hurdle that Wojcik faced before formally signing on the dotted line was his family. He and his wife, Heather, have one son, Jake, who is 13 years old.

"He's going to be going into the eighth grade and I wanted to make the right move for him," Wojcik said. "Once San Jose State offered me the job, I sat down with him and my wife and they were excited and really made it easy for me to say, 'yes.'"

Taking over a program that finished 9-20 and lost in the first round of its final Western Athletic Conference Tournament is tough. The Spartans will transition into the challenging Mountain West Conference, which was the second best conference in the nation according to the RPI in 2012-13, next season.

The process begins with building a coaching staff and then hitting the recruiting trail.

"I feel confident in the guys that I am going after (to work with me)," Wojcik said. "I am looking forward to getting guys around me who will have my back and be willing to go into a foxhole with me. Then, we have to go beat the bushes and start recruiting some players. We have to work harder than everyone else and turn over every rock."

Once he returns from the Final Four, the work will begin almost immediately as the recruiting process heats up as AAU tournaments are conducted coast-to-coast.

The Brothers Wojcik become the seventh duo of siblings to be guiding a Division I men's basketball program.

The two - thought they're on opposite coasts - remain close and in touch regularly.

"We usually talked once or twice a week and that number will probably go up now," Dave said. "I would bounce a lot of things off him and I am sure that will continue and increase this year."

The Wojciks worked together for four years at the University of Tulsa.

He also worked under Yorkville native Dino Gaudio at his collegiate alma mater, Loyola before accepting the head coaching position at Wheeling Central where he guided the Knights to back-to-back state titles in 2002 and 2003 before being hired as an assistant coach at Navy, which is his brother's alma mater.

Though he's been in Boise, Wojcik was well versed on the Maroon Knights' season of this past winter.

"I always keep the Knights close to the heart and follow what they're doing," Wojcik said.

SETH'S SCOOPS

THE OHSAA released its financial report for the 2012 fall sports tournaments. The football tournament generated a profit of $3.6 million for the entire 186-game tournament field. The cross country regional and state tournaments had a loss of more than $50,000. A big reason for the loss is the fact that there's no admission charged at any of the four regional venues.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE product Jesse Machovina is enjoying a solid freshman season for the Ohio State University softball team. She's appeared in 15 games, primarily being utilized as a pinch runner. She's scored eight runs for the Lady Buckeyes.

Staskey can be reached via email at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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