Donnie Tyndall feeling welcome at Chipola, says first few weeks have been productive.

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:35 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -The new head coach of the Chipola men's basketball program says his transition into the job is going well.

I spoke with the new coach, Donnie Tyndall, Tuesday evening about his first few weeks on the job, he was hired by Chipola in late June.

I started with how he's been received by the extended Chipola community?

"Well everyone has been unbelievably welcoming to myself and our staff." the coach replied. "My parents came in for a couple of weeks, helping us get the house organized. You know you go out to eat, people are coming up, introducing themselves and excited for us to be here. So it's been fantastic to this point it really has."

The coach hitting the ground running, working to replenish the roster, just two or three players return from last year's team.

Having been pushed away from the NCAA ranks, Tyndall spent the last few years as an NBA assistant and D-League coach. So

I asked him if all that has left him even hungrier for the grind of recruiting and other things involved in running a program?

"You know I've always said this about this profession Scott, there's not one day that I have ever worked in my life." coach Tyndall told me. When you do when you do what you do in coaching, it's a passion, it's a love. And so you get up and you go to your job but it's not work. We love doing what we're doing. I did learn a ton in the NBA. I'm telling you there were some parts and components in the NBA game that I fell in love with and learned a ton about the game, and a different way to kind of approach things. So I think it really did help me grow as a coach. But I'm excited to be back in the grind of recruiting every day. And speaking to the optimist club tomorrow night. And doing interviews with people like yourself. That's all part of things I've enjoyed in the past and certainly looking forward to doing again here in the future."

As for how recruiting is going, given he's been at it just a few weeks, well he says with only two or three players returning, there is a lot of work on that front, but so far, he says, it is going as well as he could have expected.

“I tell you what we’ve been very well received.” coach Tyndall said. “I think first and foremost Chipola kind of sells itsel. With the tradition, the facilities, the conference that we playing, the leadership that we have With Dr. (Sarah) Clemmons and (A.D.) Coach (Jeff) Johnson. It’s second to none. People understand that we are trying to play for a national championship and that’s the goal. I think the second part of that is me having been out of college basketball for four or five years now, there’s a lot of people that really want to help. Guys that are in the division one ranks, high school coaches, prep school coaches that say hey we want to help this guy. So I’ve had a ton of guys reach out and want to help us with players as we are moving forward.”

And perhaps the coach is getting an unexpected boost, because of his ban from the NCAA back in 2016!

“Well it’s very humbling. the coach told me. “I think it’s well documented what I went through with the NCAA and the five years that I’ve been out of the college game. And I don’t think there’s any guy in our profession that agrees with what happened. But at the end of the day it did happen and those guys want to help a guy that they feel was may be treated a little bit unfairly. And I don’t like dwelling on that anymore but I do think it’s human nature to maybe want to help a guy that they respected or were friendly with before that’s been through some tough time.”

Tyndall adds this is a particularly big week for his recruiting efforts, with some players coming to Chipola to try and prove they are worthy of Panhandle play.

”Well we’ve got some good players coming in in the next couple of days. At this level they get to work out a little bit in front of you, play some pick up bar which is which is great. And you get to evaluate them in person. A lot of time this late it’s just kind of from video or film and that makes it tough because you don’t always know how good the competition is that they’re competing against. So from that standpoint, getting to see some of these guys live is important. And of course if their parents are with them you’re building those relationships, showing them the beautiful campus we have. And the great facilities, trying to sell our program and that’s exciting to me.”

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