ESPN analyst calls Mike Summey a home-run hire for NC State
ESPN college basketball analyst Richie Schueler worked as a coach at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C., for 10 years, first as an assistant and then four seasons as head coach. In that time, St. Andrews was part of what was then known as the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference. One of its rivals in that league was Queens University in Charlotte.
Meanwhile, in 2003 Mike Summey was hired as an assistant coach for Queens, just as Schueler was getting started in his second year at St. Andrews. The two began a friendship that now extends more than 15 years.
When Summey returned to his alma mater and was officially announced as Kevin Keatts’ new assistant coach, Schueler took to Twitter to call the move a “home-run hire,” further illustrating his approval by attaching a GIF of Leonardo DiCaprio in a well done-style clap while acting in his role as Jordan Beflort in “Wolf of Wall Street.”
“In my tweet, I put he is a home-run hire because he is balanced in all areas,” Schueler noted. “It’s hard to find a guy like that.”
Schueler added that in the coaching profession you will find some who are good teachers but not recruiters or communicators. Conversely, you might find some who are the opposite — coaches who are good in the office but not in the gym.
“Mike’s a great recruiter,” Schueler said. “He’s a guy that’s been a head coach. He knows how to be a technician. He’s great with people. He’s a likable guy. I think he’s just balanced.”
Summey’s head coaching experience came in 2008-09, when he went to Bethany College in West Virginia, a Division III program. Despite losing four starters, Summey went 17-12 and posted the best first-year record for a coach at the school. They finished second in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and made an appearance in the conference title game.
What caught Schueler’s eye was not how well Summey did in his head coaching debut but rather what he did after that. Summey left to become the director of basketball operations at Miami in the ACC.
“That told me everything I needed to know about him,” Schueler said. “This guy has got a good job, a good-paying job. He’s going to leave because he wants to grind and climb the ladder, and he’s done that. Now look where he’s at. Now he’s at North Carolina State and a chance to compete in the ACC as an assistant coach.”
Summey left Miami to become an assistant for a second time at St. Francis (Pa.) before spending the past five seasons at Bowling Green. When he settles in at NC State, Schueler is confident that Keatts will discover he hired a tireless assistant on his staff.
“He is all basketball,” Schueler said of Summey. “He is 100 percent in. It’s obvious with his progress.
“You’ll see him at any basketball event. He’s a guy that’s going to work 12 to 15 hours a day. He’s kind of insane about it, which is not a bad thing when you are looking for a guy that’s going to work hard for you.”
When it comes to recruiting, Schueler sees no reason why Summey will not be effective. He listed several qualities that Summey possesses and should translate to the trail: persistent, likable, funny, personable and trustworthy.
“I think when he talks to players that he is recruiting, their coaches, the people that are around them — their parents and family members that are important in helping them make a decision — he can win them over just because of who he is," Schueler added. “Recruiting is all about communications and being persistent. If you are likable and you’re persistent, often times you land the recruits. He’s got that ability to do that.”
From Schueler’s perspective, Summey is taking the next step in a path that will at some point lead him to being a head coach again, but at a much higher level.
“There are a lot of coaches out there that are coaching lower levels, not just college but high school, that’d be outstanding coaches at the highest levels of college basketball, but they choose to stay at that level because they have more of a balanced lifestyle,” Schueler explained. “Mike had that and elected to leave that when he left Bethany College to go back in the Division I circles, and it’s landed him now at North Carolina State.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he is a head coach. It’s just a matter of him being patient and waiting for the right time, and waiting also for the right opportunity for him.”