March Madness is upon us and Bobby Andreasen almost wrote his own Cinderella story as an assistant coach with the Chico State men's basketball team.
Andreasen is the head assistant coach at Chico State and one of his responsibilities is developing the scouting report for the Wildcats' opponents. Andreasen must have developed an effective scouting report on Hawaii-Hilo for the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament last week.
Hawaii-Hilo came in as the Western Region's No. 2 seed and ranked No. 8 in the country. But Chico State gave Hawaii-Hilo all it could handle before falling 83-81.
"We had our chances," Andreasen said. "We didn't have everyone with their A game that day unfortunately. We go 10 deep and we need all 10."
It was still a satisfying year for Andreasen and the Wildcats, who ended the year 18-10 and made the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
"As far as talent-wise we're not on the same page as a lot of teams we play," Andreasen said. "But we've got a really tight family."
Andreasen has just finished his fifth year as Chico State's head assistant coach. Along with the scouting reports, Andreasen is the Wildcats' main recruiter, helps develop the game plans and his other duties include helping to run summer camps and fund-raising.
With his Northern Nevada ties, Andreasen watches this area as much as he can. "Obviously I'm keeping my eye on the talent there in Northern Nevada," he said.
Among the players he's recruiting is former South Tahoe player Curtis Johnson. Another player Andreasen recruited out of high school was 2002 Carson High graduate Vince Inglima.
"We were looking at him," Andreasen said. "We had some interest in him out of high school."
But the out-of-state tuition costs were an obstacle, Andreasen said, and Inglima ended up going to Cabrillo Community College. Two years later, Inglima really didn't fit into Chico's plans and he ended up going to Sonoma State where he started and played against the Wildcats this year.
"We didn't really have a spot for him," Andreasen said. "it wouldn't have been fair to him. That's pretty much why we didn't go at him hard."
Andreasen said the key to Division II recruiting is staying in contact with players who have hopes of playing at Division I. "All kids have those DI aspirations," he said. "But if you just stay involved with them..."
But Andreasen said it's not that difficult to recruit players to Chico. "It's a great community here, a great school," he said.
Andreasen noted that many Division II teams have "Division I kickbacks," players that came from Division I programs. Division II power Cal State Bernardino for example had three former Division I players this year. But for the first time in school history, the Wildcats were able to sweep Bernardino.
After playing basketball at Carson for Pete Padgett, Andreasen went on to play for San Francisco State where he earned a bachelor's in psychology in 1997. He went on to be a counselor for abused children and taught sixth grade along with earning his master's in physical education at Chico State.
The experience with counseling abused children helped prepare him for his coaching career, Andreasen said.
"Just as far as patience as far as working with them," he said. "You've got to treat everybody different. Once you establish the discipline, then you get the respect of them."
Andreasen was obviously influenced by his father, Tom, the longtime Carson coach and athletic director.
"He taught me the game," Andreasen said. "He taught me how to watch the game. His influence on and off the court - how to be a man, how to be a team guy."
Another huge influence in his life was Padgett, Andreasen said. There has also been the longtime Chico State coach Puck Smith, who Andreasen serves under. "He's my real mentor," Andreasen said. "It's been an unbelievable experience here."
Andreasen hopes to follow in Smith's footsteps and become a head coach of a Division II or NAIA program some day.