Perspectives from SEMO’s Ray
(St. Louis, MO) – Rick Ray is outspoken about the way programs ought to work and the coaches he respects. In Part One – ‘SEMO – Building a Solid Foundation‘ Ray told us about his current roster and how he’s building the Redhawk program.
The third-year coach at Southeast Missouri was very outspoken during the college basketball scandal outbreak. So I wanted to find out what makes him tick, something about his coaching background and how he views the current state of college basketball.
With assistant coaching jobs at Indiana State (under Royce Waltman), Purdue (under Matt Painter) and Clemson (under Brad Brownell) and working as a head coach at Mississippi State, Ray is excited to be building a program in the Ohio Valley Conference.
However, the 47-year-old Ray is concerned that people will begin to think that all college basketball programs are dirty. He also told me the transfer situation in the college game is truly threatening the mid and low major programs.
Ray’s affection and respect for other coaches is palpable. He spoke glowingly of his time in the Big 10, ACC and Missouri Valley Conferences. His appreciation for Missouri State’s Paul Lusk and Eastern Illinois’ Jay Spoonhour is tangible.
His highest praise though, belongs to former Indiana State head coach Royce Waltman. The late coach won 134 games with the Sycamores and took them to, two NCAA Tournaments (2000 & 2001).
Ray took time to praise his former mentors Waltman and Painter, adding that he hopes his team will continue to make progress this season, and that people ought to be aware of Eastern Illinois as a dark horse team in this year’s OVC race.
This interview was conducted just before the Redhawks’ opener against Missouri Baptist. SEMO is 2-3 including a one-point overtime loss at Conference USA’s Louisiana Tech and a six point loss to Montana State.
Sophomore Denzel Mahoney leads the team in scoring (18.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.2 rpg), while freshman Ladarrius Brewer (14.2 ppg) is their three-point shooting leader with 14 long distance conversions and junior Jonathan Dalton is handing out six assists per game.