With the 2013-14 Cal State Fullerton women's basketball season now just under a month away, FullertonTitans.com caught up with new assistant coach Tammi Reiss, as we continue with part two of a our five-part mini series introducing each one of the new members of the Titan coaching staff.
FullertonTitans.com: What what made you decide to come to Cal State Fullerton?
Assistant Coach Reiss: To be quite honest with you I was very happy at San Diego State, but after Beth Burns retired that kind of changed things up a bit. Coach Park called me around the time of the Final Four, and really it was a no brainer. He is the main reason I came here. His history speaks for itself. I'm an East Coast girl and I played in the ACC. His stint at Maryland was extremely impressive, he started in Utah actually while I was there playing for the Utah Starzz at the time. So I definitely knew him before I took this job and I knew he was a great x's and o's coach. So for me, out of all the job opportunities I had, coming here was really an easy decision.
FullertonTitans.com: You were an extremely successful player at the University of Virginia. Was coaching something you always knew you wanted to do?
Well I knew I wanted to be involved in sports in some capacity. I majored in sports management, and I knew from a very young age that sports was where I wanted to go, whether it was commentating, teaching, training, or whatever. But I realized coaching was in my blood. In college is where I really figured that out.
FullertonTitans.com: What would you say your coaching philosophy is?
If you play for me I expect you to give 110 percent at all times and leave it all out on the floor. We'll play pressure defense. Defense always comes first because if you play good defense, that will transition into easy offensive possessions and getting easy buckets in transition. My mentality has always been to be hard-nosed, you're either Rocky or Rudy. Always see yourself as the underdog and work 10 times harder than anyone else out there. Most of the time if you do that, things will take care of themselves. Nothing takes to the place of hard work.
FullertonTitans.com: The Big West is wide open this year. What are your expectations for this season?
The first expectation is obviously for all of them to improve from last season. I want them to be able to walk away from this season knowing they got better. But honestly our expectation for the team as a whole is to win the Big West Championship. That needs to be stated. You have view yourself as a champion if you're going to compete. You can't come in and say "oh I just want to compete and finish in the middle of the pack", that's just not how I do things. Bottom line is, we want to be the Big West Champions and we want to do it this year. The girls have already really surprised me as far as their work ethic and their all-in mentality. It's refreshing that they don't complain and they just do what they're asked with no questions asked. I'm not always used to that from where I came from, so as a coach that's something I don't take for granted.
FullertonTitans.com: This is a very young, energetic coaching staff. How has it been working with them so far?
I think Daron did an excellent job of meshing personalities and he knew exactly what he was looking for. He picked people with high energy, people with strengths in different areas, and most importantly he picked people that believe in what he believes in so he has to be commended for that. This staff is just absolutely great. I can genuinely say I show up to work every day and I enjoy what I do and I love the people I do it with. From the coaching staff, to the team, all the way through the athletic department, it's just a great family atmosphere.
FullertonTitans.com: You mentioned before that you're from the East Cost, but you've been out west for a while now. How do you like it?
Oh I love it, I've actually been in Utah since 1997, and so I've been out on this side of the country for a while now. I'm a sun girl, so any time I can be outside is a plus. The only downside of being out here is being away from my family because they're both back east. But I love the people I've met out here.
FullertonTitans.com: So rumor has it you've done a little bit of acting back in the day? Talk about that.
Well once I got into college I took a Drama 101 class and I totally got into it. I just absolutely loved. But it made sense, because I've always loved talking. I love the big cameras, the interviews, and the spotlight. So once I started acting in college I really thought it was something I wanted to do. It was really something I thought I wanted to make a career out of. Of course my parents told me to stick with the whole basketball thing, but I after I graduated, sure enough I went to New York City, got myself an agent, and landed my first commercial gig. But as I got older I realized coaching was something I really wanted to do. There was just too much basketball in my blood to give it up.
FullertonTitans.com: Would acting be something you would ever go back to?
Who knows, it's something I would definitely consider. I do miss it, but you can't be a coach and act at the same time.
FullertonTitans.com: What are some things you like to do for fun when you're not on the basketball court?
I love to workout. I love the outdoors and I love training. I also watch a lot of movies. But honestly now that I'm here, I absolutely love theme parks, Disneyland in particular. I actually went to 12 theme parks in 12 days once; I mean I'm crazy about them. They just take me back to when I was a kid.
FullertonTitans.com: What's one thing people don't know about you that they should know?
I'm a huge dog lover. I have four dogs myself and I actually wanted to be veterinarian growing up. If I could have 25 dogs and live on a ranch, I would. I treat my dogs like someone would treat their kids, so people think I'm just that weird dog lady. And honestly, I am and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
FullertonTitans.com: When people think of Cal State Fullerton women's basketball this year, what's the first thing you hope comes to mind?
I hope they say "wow, this is a different team or "wow this is a much better team than last year." Hopefully they won't be able to say anything because they'll just be in shock.