The New Guy at Maples

A fiery coach from a storied lineage will lead men's hoops.

May/June 2016

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The New Guy at Maples

Photo: Julie Bennett/ via AP

The discussion was about future championships and the NCAA tournament from the first moments of Jerod Haase’s introduction as the new men’s basketball coach. But fair’s fair, noted athletic director Bernard Muir at the March 28 press conference: “I’m not putting him on the clock today.”

It took less than two weeks after the dismissal of Johnny Dawkins—who got the Cardinal into the tourney once in eight seasons—for Muir to choose Haase, who has four years’ head coaching experience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Haase, 42, a protégé of Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams, is an ex-player who was a potential Stanford recruit before landing at Cal and a family man who said his dedication to the job will be total.

“We’re going to grow roots in Palo Alto, within the Stanford community as best we possibly can,” said Haase, accompanied by his wife, Mindy, and their three young children at the press event. “Anytime I’m somewhere, there’s probably going to be one, two, three of my kids, my wife, and we’re going to jump in all the way.”

Haase’s UAB teams won more games with each season he was there and captured the Conference USA tourney in 2015. That squad went on to March Madness, upsetting Iowa State before being eliminated by UCLA. This year’s team ended up in the NIT, losing in the first round.

But if results are the bottom line, the selection of Haase highlights how closely they can be linked to personality. Haase’s identity as a guard at Kansas, where he transferred after a freshman season in Berkeley, was about the intensity he demonstrated by constantly diving for loose balls. That’s what Muir observed in the UAB players. “You could just see the drive, the competitive energy.”

Haase played for Williams at Kansas, worked in operations for him there and continued with him to North Carolina, eventually focusing on assistant coaching. Haase didn’t get a scholarship offer when then-Cardinal coach Mike Montgomery was considering him, but he saved all the recruiting paperwork and said Stanford “was always a dream of mine.”

Having finally arrived, his chief promise was in character. “When I was a player, I was known for an attack mentality with everything that I did. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that attack mentality is part of our culture, part of our program, and get our players to attack the academic side, which I already know they do, and attack the basketball side so that we compete at the highest level.”

Jerod Haase

Age: 42.

Hometown: South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Family: Wife, Mindy, and children Gavin (9), Garrett (6) and Gabrielle (4).

Previous job: Head coach for four seasons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Reached NCAA tournament in 2014-15 season.

Mentor: Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams. Spent 13 years on Williams’s operations staff, and as an assistant coach at Kansas and then North Carolina.

Collegiate play: Starting freshman guard at Cal; transferred to Kansas, starting 99 of 101 games.

Pro experience: 15 games in Macedonia.

Authorship: Co-wrote Floor Burns: Inside the Life of a Kansas Jayhawk.

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