Q&A: Coaching one of many jobs Pioch balances at Waynesburg

Waynesburg University women’s assistant basketball coach Matt Pioch is a versatile and busy man. Between his days he has to balance coaching with his duties as a professor, a resident director of Thayer Hall, and director of housing for the entire campus. 

QUESTION: Is Waynesburg your first stint coaching basketball?

ANSWER: “At the collegiate level, yes. I have coached younger kids like middle schoolers before for summer camps and AAU, but this is my first time for a school and at the collegiate level.”

Q: Why did you want to be an assistant coach at Waynesburg?

A: “For one, I just really love the sport of basketball. I love kind of how the game transpires and the drama that’s created in basketball [through] scoring, back and forth [action] and going at one another, but in addition to all of that I think it’s a great opportunity to invest in the students here on campus.

One thing that is really unique about Waynesburg is that a lot of the staff here has the capacity to reach students at different levels and so already being involved in the classroom, as well as in residence life, student services and athletics is just another way for me to invest in students in a different way. Combining that with the sport of basketball, which is a sport I love really makes sense to me.”

Q: Is it difficult for you to balance coaching basketball, teaching, being director of housing and a resident director?

A: “[You] definitely have to put your priorities together to make it work. I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t difficult on some days, but at the same time there is a lot of joy that comes out of being incorporated in so many different venues with students. It just comes down to really scheduling out your day and making the things that need to be a priority a priority and getting those things done first.”

Q: Would you say that you have a versatile skill set?

A: “I would like to think so. Just being a college professor, a director of housing and residence life for a while and now coaching, it would appear that I have skills in a lot of different areas.”

Q: What do you want the players to learn from you in basketball and in life?

A: “One of the biggest things about sports in general is that there are always times of adversity. There are always times that you’re going through something difficult and really it’s a mindset to get through those hard times to turn it around and get something, get different results out of that and in some ways in sports you want that to be victories.

For me personally, I think it is more about giving your all every second and every minute you’re on the court, win or lose knowing that you put in everything you had into that game, but I think that translates to life. You are going to face adversity. Everyone faces adversity, and so are you going to be able to step up and put all of your will into something for better or worse through it and I think that’s a major crossover just from sports to life in general.”

Q: What are the differences between coaching your RA’s to coaching the women’s basketball team?

A: “I think [the] coaching environments are a little bit different. In some ways all of the principles are the same. You’re teaching skills and you’re asking individuals to act on those skills. Being an RA is a little different in the sense of as an RA, you are always an RA, and you have to be ready and prepared to react and respond in any situation you are in. When it comes to sports, in some ways you’re always an athlete. You need to be minding what you’re eating, putting in your body, as well as getting sleep and really taking care of your body.

Beyond that, it’s really a two-hour time when it’s practice anyway where you have to be focused in and all dialed in. So, the intensity level of coaching in that two hours is probably greater in the coaching level per-say [then that] of a resident assistant is. What you’re coaching for is a little bit different in that manner.”