‘Coach Kat’ gives chat
Charlie Katsiaficas grew up in Maine, played basketball at Tufts, and all things considered, had a pretty normal Division III student-athlete experience.
In 1984, however, the Division III experience began to have new meaning to Katsiaficas, who relocated to Southern California and found a home in the Pomona-Pitzer athletics department.
After two years serving as an assistant men’s basketball coach under Gregg Popovich, coach Kat took over the program in 1986 and has since assumed duties as director of athletics, chair of the physical education department and associate professor of physical education.
On Wednesday afternoon, Katsiaficas took a few minutes out of his schedule to be featured on Campus Connection, a regular podcast on the Double-A Zone (www.doubleazone.com).
Q What are some of the challenges for Division III institutions out West?
A There just isn’t as much of a Division III culture out on the West Coast. Back in the Northeast, New York area and Pennsylvania, Division III just has a longer, more historical and traditional reputation. I think luring students to DIII schools out here can be a little bit more challenging.
Q What are some of the differences in the overall student-athlete experience?
A One of the bigger things is maybe your nonconference schedule. When we’re not in conference, we really struggle to try to find Division III opponents. So we end up playing a lot of NAIA teams and a lot of Division II teams. While the competition is very good, it’s not necessarily the types of schools you would associate yourself with in terms of tradition and rivalries.
Q How do you make sure your student-athletes have their priorities straight?
A That’s really not that much of a challenge. By the time the student-athletes sift their way through and choose to come here, they’re all so well prepared to step into this environment academically, that we’re very fortunate as coaches and educators. That’s not something we have to spend a lot of time with.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association