On Monday, Jerod Haase was formally introduced as the Stanford Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball by Athletic Director Bernard Muir in an introductory news conference. Haase was named the 18th head coach in Stanford history last Friday, just 11 days after former head coach Johnny Dawkins was fired after eight seasons.
Haase brings 17 years of coaching experience to The Farm, including four years at the helm of UAB’s program, from 2012 to 2016. Haase went 80-53 with the Blazers, winning the Conference USA tournament and reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2015, and clinching a conference regular season title in 2016.
Before his coaching career, Haase was a successful collegiate player, playing at Cal for a season before transferring to Kansas. Haase was an immediate contributor for the Jayhawks, averaging 15.0 points per game as a sophomore starter and earning Big Eight Newcomer of the Year honors. He started in 99 of 101 games during his Jayhawks career, winning three conference titles and leading his team to the Sweet Sixteen or further each year.
After graduation, Haase joined the coaching staff at Kansas as an assistant under legendary head coach Roy Williams for four years before following Williams to UNC in 2003, where he stayed until receiving the head coaching job at UAB in 2012. As a coach under Williams, Haase reached five Final Fours and won two National Championships.
Stanford’s new head coach will look to bring his wealth of success and experience to the Cardinal, who have experienced March Madness just once in the last eight years.
“One of the things I’m going to do is explain what it’s like for the guys that haven’t been in the NCAA Tournament. Explain what it’s like to cut down nets and win championships,” said Haase on Monday.
“We’re going to be led by our dreams. I believe that can be a great motivating force, and we’re going to push that way.”
While Haase was vague about specific changes he will make to the Stanford program, he discussed the “attack mentality” that he will seek to instill in the team extensively. As a player, Haase was known for his tenacity — he co-wrote a book called “Floor Burns” about his time at Kansas, borrowing the book’s moniker from the name of a stat Kansas coaches began tracking every time Haase dived on the floor for a loose ball.
Offensively, Haase champions an “unselfish” style of play that will emphasize ball movement over individual scoring ability. This style was apparent at UAB, where the Blazers finished the 2016 season ranked 3rd in the country with 18.4 assists per game.
Above all, Haase made it clear that developing long-standing relationships with his players — whom he met for the first time before the conference — was his top priority.
“When I played for Coach Williams, I always felt every decision he made was based on what was best for his student-athlete,” he explained. “My goal is to do the same thing here and make sure the players here know that we always have their best interest at heart.
“I do believe there is going to be a great deal of buy-in from the team and a belief from the team that we can achieve great things. I would not be here if I didn’t think we could compete at the highest level and do it fairly quickly.”
Haase will have his hands full in his first months as the Cardinal’s head coach: In addition to offseason training with the team, he will hit the recruiting trail almost immediately and look to build his assistant coaching staff after the Final Four.
“This job is going to be challenging. Being in the Pac-12 is brutal,” said Haase. “It’s also something I’m excited about and I think there’s great opportunity as well.”
For Haase, coaching at Stanford is the realization of a 25 year-old dream: As the Nevada AAA Player of the Year his senior year, Haase wanted to play at Stanford, but was spurned by then-head coach Mike Montgomery.
“It didn’t work out the first time,” he admitted. “This is a situation where I have a second chance at something very, very special. The goal right now is to take advantage of that opportunity and build something the best we possibly can as I lead this program.”
Haase brought a folder containing his high school Stanford recruitment letters to his interviews with Muir, impressing the Athletic Director enough to be chosen over other qualified candidates such as Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle and Warriors assistant Jarron Collins, according to Jon Wilner of the Mercury News.
“We want to build a sense of community. This is everyone’s program,” said Muir. “It’s really important that the coach not only has to coach and win games, but they also have to be a great ambassador. I think Jerod brings that to the table. He’s ready to hit the ground running.”
Contact Neel Ramachandran at neelr ‘at’ stanford.edu.