By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 4, 2005
Miles Simon, Reggie Geary could take spot
Arizona men's basketball assistant coach Rodney Tention said yesterday he has accepted the head coaching job at Loyola Marymount and will officially announce his acceptance tomorrow.
While attending the Final Four in St. Louis, Tention said he received a phone call from LMU athletic director William Husak, who offered Tention the job.
"This was no April Fool's joke," Tention said. "I'm really happy. It was a real emotional time because this has been a goal in life for me."
Tention spent eight seasons at Arizona after taking over for Jessie Evans, who is now the head coach at San Francisco.
As the recruiting coordinator and coach in charge of perimeter players, Tention proved to be a standout, developing All-Americans Miles Simon, Mike Bibby, Jason Gardner, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Terry, as well as current Arizona guards Mustafa Shakur and Salim Stoudamire.
Tention, who served as the main West Coast recruiter, was able to snatch Marcus Williams out of Washington State for next year's recruiting class.
Tention follows Arizona assistant coaches Jay John (Oregon State), Phil Johnson (San Jose State) and Evans to receive head coaching opportunities.
Arizona head coach Lute Olson "gives his assistant a lot of responsibility," assistant coach Josh Pastner said, as one of the main reasons Arizona assistants are able to reach the next level of coaching.
"He makes you think and act like a head coach," Pastner said of Olson.
Other than receiving the news from Olson about becoming an assistant at Arizona, Tention said receiving this job has been the best feeling he has had professionally.
"It's been unbelievable," he said. "I'll never forget all the coaches that have helped me get here."
Tention was able to work with great players at Arizona, many of whom he recruited, and was also able to learn from a Hall of Fame coach in Olson.
Tention said his time in Tucson helped him learn about doing things the right way, and he gained confidence in his ability to recruit and teach.
"When I was here, I was soaking everything I possibly could," Tention said. "Coach Olson always preached doing things the right way, integrity wise."
LMU was 11-17 last year under coach Steve Aggers, finishing last in the West Coast Conference.
"LMU is very lucky to have a guy like Rodney," Pastner said. "He is a great coach and a big-time recruiter."
Tention said that Aggers brought the program to respectability in the last five years and that Tention plans to bring the school to an even higher level of respectability.
Tention said he has not yet seen any of the returning players, but instead plans to watch tape before he meets them tomorrow.
Although Tention is coming into a new program, he said he doesn't plan on changing his coaching style.
"My philosophy is not going to change," he said. "We're going to work. You have to believe in your system and I want to teach."
Tention is staying optimistic despite LMU's struggles in the last decade.
"We'll find a few good players and we'll make them better," Tention said.
Upon learning of Tention's exit, Arizona players were disappointed but understanding, Tention said.
He said he spoke with Shakur and guard Jawann McClellan, who both congratulated him.
Tention said former Arizona star Luke Walton, who was somewhat influential in making the decision, was also very excited for his old coach. Tention said he asked Walton to put in a word with Husak and Walton obliged.
The Arizona coaching staff now has an opening, which is likely to be filled by one of two former Arizona guards, Reggie Geary or Miles Simon.
"Whoever it is, whether it's Miles, Reggie or whoever, they're going to do a great job," Tention said. "They're former players and they know how to work hard."