So on Monday we talked about how Bruin legend Ed O'Bannon is making all of us proud by shining in real life. Ed O in a long story published in Washington Post talked about manning up and walking away the daily grind of a faltering professional basketball career so that he could be together with his family and get on with his real life. While Ed O has been doing really well in his second career as a professional car salesman (moving up to management spot after four promotions in four years) he did say how much he would love to get back in basketball. Looks like he has gotten his wish!
The man who led UCLA to an NCAA national championship in 1995 officially takes over today as the coach of the Henderson International School boys’ team.
"I’ll get a chance to go in and learn from them, and they’ll get to learn from me," O’Bannon said. "I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t have a whole lot of experience, but I’m fired up.
"Hopefully, I’ll make a difference in some of these kids’ lives, teach them the game of basketball and really be involved in the game again."
Henderson International athletic director Mike Ostrowski sensed enthusiasm from O’Bannon when they first talked.
"I couldn’t believe how excited he was to get back into it," Ostrowski said. "He was genuinely stoked."
Well the entire Bruins Nation is "stoked" for Ed O. He sounds like he is fired up and ready to go:
"I’m looking to do as many things as I can," said O’Bannon, 36. "I want to accomplish the world. This is definitely a step for me. I never really dreamed of being a coach, but Rich is behind me 100 percent." [...]
"I’m looking to go in and do pretty well," O’Bannon said. "If I go in and be lackadaisical and take it as a small-time thing, then I’m cheating the kids."
Monday, O’Bannon spoke with Harrick, who lives in Southern California, and Harrick invited his former ace over for a round of golf and some coaching tips.
O’Bannon will make that four-hour drive to Orange County within the next week.
"He wants me to stay with him for a day or two," O’Bannon said, "and he said he’ll clear out his closet and give me all of his coach (John) Wooden things, game plans … everything.
"I have no idea what to expect, but I at least know the basketball and the hoop are round. And I know the game. In that sense, I’m comfortable with it. But I better have my speeches ready."
Perhaps Coach Howland himself can think about reaching out to Ed and let him know if Ed O wants to pick his brains regarding coaching young kids, he will make himself readily availble for one of the greatest players ever to put on a UCLA uniform.
Given that this is his first job as a coach, I am sure the folks who hired him will be giving him to room to grow. Patience will be especially important on their part given Ed O is taking over which had a mediocre 15-14 record last season (although according to the Sun that "included a 9-1 record in the 1A South League and the program’s first playoff victory"). Either way I can't wait to hear how the next chapter of Ed O's career unfold. As always we will be supporting him every step of the way. As we said on Monday, nothing but love for King Ed in Bruin Nation.