The 2013-2014 men’s basketball team has started off a successful season. They’ve gone 3-1 so far, with their only loss 62-65, coming in a hard fought battle against a strong Clark University team. The Brewers quickly rebounded and have since defeated Roger Williams University, The State University of New York at New Paltz, and Western Connecticut State University. After going 7-18 last year, statistics have definitely shown strong improvement this year already. In an attempt to create a competitive coaching staff, part of this year’s improvement has been the addition of strong assistant coaches. An important part of this staff is new assistant coach Seth Eisner.
Coach Eisner came to Vassar from Oswego State University in New York. At SUNY Oswego, he handled the program’s recruitment and was the academic coordinator. He also dealt with administrative duties, scouting, game preparation, video exchange and on-court instruction as well as working on his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Eisner spent two years at Oswego with a 45-12 record. He was a part of their first undefeated conference season in school history and their second NCAA tournament appearance. He was named the top assistant to the 2011-2012 SUNYAC Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches East Region Coach of the Year. Eisner graduated in 2011 from Allegheny college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Managerial Economics with a minor in Religious Studies. While at Allegheny he was a part of the men’s basketball team for all four years.
When Vassar College Basketball Head Coach Dunne called to offer Eisner the job, Eisner was thrilled to accept. The Vassar atmosphere was exactly what he was looking for. Eisner explained, “I chose to come to Vassar because I really wanted to work at a highly academic and prestigious institution. So when Coach Dunne called me and asked me to come work for him, I took the offer.”
Vassar has been a very different but positive change of pace for the young Coach Eisner as compared to his last job at Oswego, but he indicated that he is incredibly happy and excited to be a part of Brewer Athletics. He said he is particularly impressed with the way in which the department treats its student-athletes as well as the facilities available and the rest of the coaching staff he works with. “There’s a great appreciation for the whole idea of the student-athlete rather it just being focused on nothing beyond sports. I feel that we have incredible facilities and everything here is top of the line so we’re able to care of our guys,” Eisner explained.
He continued, “I really enjoy being a part of such a complete athletic department with such a legitimate administration. It’s amazing how we have such great young and motivated assistant coaches to work with as well. It really provides a great atmosphere.”
The men’s basketball team itself as well as the Vassar student-athlete in general has been a high point for Eisner since joining the Brewers. “I have a lot of respect for the student-athletes here. Just the workload they handle on top of practice and everything else and I feel they’re all very intelligent which is so beneficial while coaching them,” said Eisner.
Another positive note Eisner has found in coming to Vassar has been the coaching staff he’s able to work with. Head Coach Dunne and the other assistants have created a strong, confident atmosphere to work and play in. “One of my favorite things about Vassar and the men’s basketball team is the ability to work with one of the youngest and best up-and-coming coaches in the country. As well as being able to teach and learn from some of the smartest, young basketball minds in the country.”
Eisner has dove right in, making himself an invaluable part of this coaching staff already. His duties and responsibilities are numerous. He said, “I’m very active in recruiting and very involved in the every day, on-the-court coaching. I thoroughly enjoy working with and for Coach Dunne. I think he does a great job in keeping me involved and coming from a successful program like I did, it’s something our players really respect.”
This year, Eisner has many goals for the men’s basketball team, but in his opinion the most important thing is creating a lasting culture to surround the team. “I want to help rejuvenate a successful basketball culture and to help our program contend for the league title every year and reach the NCAA tournament. I also hope to bring in future Brewers that are not only good basketball players, but also good people all around.”
The commitment to culture and future recruiting is reflected in Eisner’s views on Vassar College as a whole and he wishes to uphold the values he feel espoused by the school. “My favorite thing about Vassar is the prestigious feeling I get from being here and being able to represent a college with such tradition and academic focus as well as integrity.”
In terms of changing the culture surrounding basketball at Vassar, Eisner feels he and Coach Dunne have so far had remarkable success. “We’ve taken really great steps in the past month and a half. Our guys are really buying into what we’re trying to teach. I feel like they want to be a part of a successful culture and that’s what will make the difference. The concept of culture is really important in college basketball and that’s important for me and Coach Dunne to establish for years to come.”
Beyond the culture, one of the reasons Eisner feels the team has already found success is due to their togetherness. “We have 13 guys and from number one to number 13, each are equally important. Establishing a concept of togetherness and watching us all come together as a group is the most important thing right now. Our success is going to be obtained together, not by any single one of us.”
Looking forward Coach Dunne and Eisner hope to establish one of the best high academic basketball programs in the country. Eisner knows this isn’t going to be easy but holds immense optimism for his team. “We have a lot to accomplish and I feel like we’re really going to be a contender in the Liberty League. Our guys have been learning and growing together very well and that will continue to progress into a successful, winning season.”
More explicitly, the team has high hopes for this season. First off, they really believe they have a chance to make the Liberty League tournament this year and, more importantly, they have a chance to contend for the title. Eisner is ready to lead his team forward. He’s fully optimistic about their chances this year. “We hope to make the tournament this year to have a chance to contend for the title and from what we’ve shown so far, we really believe that’s possible,” he concluded.