Vic Schaefer was introduced as Mississippi State's seventh women's basketball coach Tuesday. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)
A family sticks together through thick and thin.
That's the way Vic Schaefer is going to treat it during his time as women's basketball coach at Mississippi State.
Schaefer was introduced by athletic director Scott Stricklin Tuesday morning as the seventh coach in Lady Bulldog history.
A veteran of almost 26 seasons of coaching and the last 15 as the associate head coach to Gary Blair at Texas A&M, Schaefer said it was the right time to become a head coach once again.
"I'm 51 and whether you think this day should have already come, the bottom line is it's happening now," Schaefer said. "I called my wife (Holly) and told her that here's our opportunity. Whether we are ready or not, let's load up and do it. I can't do it by myself and I'm not going to leave them back in College Station. They are coming with me and we've got to do this as a family. She's been on board from the jump."
Vic said Holly spent a whole day last Tuesday with Stricklin, Stricklin's wife Anne and baseball coach John Cohen's wife Nelle.
Mississippi State left an impression on Holly and she delivered a positive message to her husband.
"When she came back, she said, 'Vic we can win and we can win big,'" Vic said. "Part of it was facilities, part of it was the people and part of it was the town. She kept thinking there might be a road block here, but she never ran into that wall."
Holly was also a coach when she met Vic and he trusts her judgement on such matters and respects her feelings in the matter.
One of the ways Vic Schaefer believes is a key to the success of a program is gaining that same trust from the players.
"They've got to know that you care about them," Schaefer said. "I even hate to mention it because it might help someone else down the road, but that has been instrumental in the success of my career and what has helped in the chemistry of our kids. At the end of the day, they know that I love them, I care about them deeply and that's why they do what they do for me defensively.
"Those parents have got to know when they put their head on a pillow at night, my daughter is in good hands and coach Schaefer is taking good care of them, I don't have a worry. I can close my eyes and go to bed."
One person who can speak first-hand about the treatment Schaefer gives to his players is daughter Blair Nicole.
Blair Nicole, who plays basketball and is pretty good at it in Texas, said her father treats the team like his daughters.
"He is a family person and is always there for them and I know the players go to him for stuff that they can't tell any other coaches," Blair Nicole said. "One of the players went to him the other day and called him dad. Everyone is a family and he lets them know that he is there for them and is like a dad to them."
Vic is looking forward to being at Mississippi State full-time, being able to put together a staff and having the opportunity of coaching both ends of the floor.
There's some unfinished business in College Station, Tex., for him as the third-seeded Aggies take on Albany, N.Y., in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Schaefer has been a part of the Southeastern Conference before as the associate head coach and assistant coach at Arkansas from 1997-2003. He was the head women's coach at Sam Houston State from 1990-1997 and an assistant men's coach there from 1987-89.
On the high school level, Schaefer served two separate stints as the assistant boys basketball coach and tennis coach at Milby High School in Houston, Tex. (1989-90 and 1985-87).
"Vic has got all of the qualities we look for and on top of that, he's had the unique experience of being in our league and obviously a part of a national championship program at A&M," Stricklin said. "He's not a normal assistant. He has more responsibilities than a normal assistant does. I think the time is right and we were fortunate that he was out there and available."
During his time at Texas A&M, Schaefer's defense paced the Big 12 in turnovers caused, steals, turnover margin and assist to turnover ratio.
This season, the Aggies finished first in the Big 12 in turnover margin, advanced to the conference tournament title game and is making their seventh-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Schaefer acquired the nickname "Secretary of Defense" because of the way he gets his teams to play defense.
He doesn't know when or where the name got started, but can identify with how important the defensive aspect is to the game.
"I've earned the right from (Blair) to handle all our defense and to prepare every game plan," Schaefer said. "It's been something over the years that has developed. It's having great players that play their hearts out for you and what they do on the floor. It's really been what we hang our hat on and it's fun to be associated with that part of our team."
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