Change Of Pace

Change Of Pace

At basketball media day, GoldenEaglePride.com had a chance to hear from Coach Tyndall and his expectations for the season. One thing is for sure, it is going to be a fun ride as the Eagle's new head man has high expectations and hopes for the program. Here is part one of what he had to say about the year ahead.

Here we are early in November and a majority of the talk around campus is about the basketball program.

You read that right.

It is a new day and new era for Southern Miss basketball.

The excitement starts with the head man, Coach Donnie Tyndall, who has created a buzz around the program that hasn't been around basketball in recent memory.

There is a lot of reason for the anticipation, starting with his creditials.

Coach Tyndall since 2006 has amassed a 114-85 overall record, including 70-40 in the Ohio Valley Conference with Morehead State.

The Grand Rapids, Mich., native has led the Eagles to postseason play three of the past four years, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2011.

It should be noted that happened with a program that had gone 4-23 before he took over.

At basketball media day, GoldenEaglePride.com was there to talk to Coach Tyndall about the upcoming season. In part one we'll talk about his expectations of the season as a team, then in part two we'll dive into talk about the players themselves.

Coach Tyndall is taking over a program that had success in its last year with Coach Larry Eustachy. Last season was special in making it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991.

Coach doesn't see a lot of difference in this program and the one he took over at Morehead State.

"It's very similar," he said.

"Hattiesburg is a little bigger than Morehead, but it's a small-college town, which I enjoy. Honestly, it's one of the reasons that I decided to take the job.

"I'm very, very exciting about the opportunity and the fact that all the people that I have met; from the administration to the people that we work with on a daily basis have been welcoming to our staff and I and they're excited about us being here, which always makes you feel good. The transition has been smooth and I'm very excited about the opportunity."

Coming off an NCAA tournament appearance, fan expectations are certainly high. Coach is excited this is the case and believes the team can feed off of that.

"I think that it's a good thing that expectations are high," he said. "Obviously, that means that there's been success. Last year, they obviously had a very good year. But we're a whole new team.

"My expectation is to, while I'm here, to take Southern Miss to a Sweet Sixteen at some point in time. But our team this year is the least experienced team in all of Division I basketball.

Coach Tyndall knows there could be some growing pains to this season.

"We only have six years of experience on our team and only four guys who have played a minute of Division I basketball," he added.

"So with that being said, you have to be a realist and understand that it could be bumpy, especially the fact that we only play three home games in our first 13. With all that being said, I love expectations. My expectations would be very high. But on the flip side, you're probably going to have to tweak your goals, especially in Year One."

High expectations, excitement about the new staff, and a challenging schedule have led to increased fan support. In fact, in the exhibition game against St. Catherine's college you saw something that was hard to see at all last season, student support.

Coach Tyndall was hired to generate buzz and he's accomplished that with time in the community and with the students.

He hopes it all pays off for the season opener against Western Kentucky.

"From the day that I took the job, I talked about wanting to sell out the season opener," he said.

"We want to Fill it To The Top. I want there to be overflow in the walkway. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to every game. But we want it to be electric in the Green House for Western Kentucky."

In part two Coach Tyndall will talk about the individual players and the outlook of the team itself.

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