By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
Coach Hal Wissel came on the podcast to talk about a wide array of topics. From his humble beginnings as the head coach of Trenton State to working out Kobe Bryant as the Director of Player Personnel of the New Jersey Nets, there was a whole lot for me to ask as the host and so much was still left on the table (possible part two some time down the line). We chatted about him being a part of the first three-coach staff with the Atlanta Hawks, a whole lot of Hubie Brown, the numerous successes and victories of his career, and more.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
01:40 – Baseball as his first passion, being a multi-sport athlete, being persuaded to attend Springfield College, scouting for Branch McCracken, landing the Trenton State job;
14:20 – Turning the NAIA Trenton State program around after it having eight straight losing seasons, interviews for Division I jobs, moving on to the Lafayette Leopards;
18:40 – The connections which led him to scouting Tracy Tripucka, a hard worker and better shooter than his brother Kelly Tripucka, Fordham University as his next head coaching gig;
25:30 – The coaching trio of Hubie Brown, Frank Layden and coach Wissel at the Atlanta Hawks organization, the first NBA team with two assistant coaches, outside forces preventing work with youngsters Bill Willoughby and Mike Sojourner;
30:45 – Hubie Brown as the most organized person he has ever met, his Knicks with Bernard King as their leader and the move towards TV announcing;
36:00 – Willis Reed hiring him as the Director of Player Personnel of the New Jersey Nets, Nets ownership situation, being convinced by a Kobe Bryant workout that they had to draft him, John Calipari’s role in the decision, the organization making the Kerry Kittles pick;
42:50 – Hearing a remark by Harold Katz and using that to make the Derrick Coleman – Shawn Bradley trade, Don Nelson initiating the eight-player trade which landed the Nets Sam Cassell, the nucleus which made it to the playoffs;
49:55 – The Nets coming apart in the lockout year, the organization not signing Sherman Douglas, New Jersey’s former practice spot that they shared with truckers, memories of Yinka Dare;
56:10 – Working with Pau Gasol in Barcelona, receiving the call from Hubie Brown about the Memphis Grizzlies job, Hubie’s generosity and their friendship which stretches way back to the Lafayette days, Larry Costello as coach Brown’s mentor;
1:10:10 – How the Atlanta Hawks gig came to an end, winning the NCAA Division II National Championship with Florida Southern, being named Division II National Coach of the Year [Keith Valentine is the Virginia Union guard that we couldn’t name].
The media related to the podcast:
Notable snippets of the interview:
Thanks to Hal for coming on the show and dedicating so much of his time to the show!