Relationships define new UWM coach's role

Posted at 7:23 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 21:07:21-04

"You buy the people before you buy the product."

Those words run across many meanings for new UWM Panthers men's basketball coach Lavall Jordan. They define his process in the school hiring him for the job he inherits from controversially-fired coach Rob Jeter.

They now define his role on selling himself to players whom have - in some cases - the journey from an NCAA Tournament to a one-year academic-related ban to the emotional loss of their coach.

"It's a process to build any relationship. That's what this is going to be about. I think the one thing I've been impressed with the guys is they are in it together. That part is easy. They like each other. We just have to get to know each other better," said Jordan on 620 WTMJ's "Sports Central."

"It's just time spent. I've had an opportunity to meet with them on a couple of occasions as a team. We have a couple who are not in town. I've sat down with just about all of them individually. I've told them 'I know I only have maybe five percent of your trust right now. As we get to know each other, I know we'll get along great.' "

There is much discussion on how well his new boss, Amanda Braun, got along with Jeter previously. Jordan talked about what his discussion was Braun and chancellor Mark Mone when they first met at the Final Four in Houston.

""Demanding integrity, doing things the right way, doing things here that are the right thing to do, demanding that from the department, our university, our players, our team, having a passion for it," he said.

"A team mindset, an athletic department as a close knit family, the community is close knit. The campus is close knit. Those things line up. The vision for Milwaukee Basketball, doing something really special and sustaining it. Those things kind of matched as we started conversation."

Then, after coming to the campus, he explained "coming to campus, getting an even better feel for the people, and it just lined perfect with who I am as a person, who I am as a coach."

One other thing that lines up perfectly for the Butler alum and former University of Michigan assistant: Experience with Milwaukee. His mother Karen lives here.

When she found out he got the job on Wednesday, her emotions spoke to a mom who followed her son's boyhood basketball dreams.

"All I could was scream and cry. I was just full of joy. 'Thank you, God,' " she said.

She's lived here for 12 years, and they visited the Brew City in years previous to that. She has plans for her son.

"I want him to see Summerfest. He never really got to attend Summerfest except for when he was a kid. He doesn't remember that."

One thing she wants to warn Panthers fans about: Few people will offer a louder voice than her at games.

"Even my co-workers know I have a very big mouth, and my voice carries."