Gee Introduced To The Longwood Community

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

FARMVILLE – Nearly a week after Longwood University announced that Jayson Gee would be the next to lead the school's men's basketball program, the school introduced its new leader to the Longwood and Farmville communities in a Wednesday morning press conference at Willett Hall.

It didn't take long for those in attendance to see what got Gee the job, as his intensity turned a normally mundane press conference into a pep rally.

“I got this overwhelming feeling and saw how much they wanted basketball to be successful here,” said Gee on what sold him on Longwood. “They want to use basketball to bring exposure to the school…to me, this opportunity became a no-brainer.”

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“During this process you conduct reference checks, and you also have various coaches call you,” said Longwood University director of athletics. “When I talked to [VCU head coach] Shaka Smart, I asked the question about what type of coach he is. Is he a defensive coach, but Shaka said to me that before we get into all that, Jayson is one that will build quality relationships first, and through that they will play extremely hard. That's when I knew that [Jayson] would be great for us.”

Gee, who replaces ten-year head coach Mike Gillian, who resigned last month, spent seven years at Cleveland State as the associate head coach. During that time, the Vikings reached the postseason four times (three NIT bids and an NCAA Tournament appearance).

Prior to arriving at Cleveland State, Gee, 47, served as the associate head coach at St. Bonaventure (2003-06). He was also the head coach at the University of Charleston (WV) from 1996-2003, where he posted a 160-55 record, had five 20-plus win seasons and reached the NCAA Division II Tournament four times.

“We're going to work hard,” said Gee, who said that he would implement his system and then recruit to fit it. “I mean work HARD. We are going to stress pressure and making our opponent feel uncomfortable. I call it pressure. Not a press, which can be broken, but we're going to apply pressure all over the floor. When you apply pressure to something, it's eventually going to break.”

Gee didn't put forth a time table or make promises on when Longwood would be hanging a championship banner, but he has stated that he wants the program to get to that level as quickly as it can without taking short cuts.

That may or may not come quick enough for rising senior Tristan Carey, but the guard from Colonial Beach is on the same page as his new head coach.

“We've been talking to one-another for the last couple of weeks, and we've shared with one-another what we want. We've grown closer through our conversations, and I feel he's a really great guy, and this is something I'm really looking forward to.”

Gee met with ten returning players on Tuesday night, seven of which were in attendance on Wednesday morning. Three were unable to attend the introduction due to class responsibilities.

“The mood going in was good for me, but for the players it was a little bit of a shock, because they didn't know how he was,” said Carey on the mood in the locker room during Tuesday's meeting. “But after the meeting, it was something that they wanted. The discipline we need, the focus the attitude, the hard work – everybody bought into what he was saying. Afterwards, everyone was excited about it.”

Carey admitted that it was quite a shock when told that there would be a change in coaches, but over the past few weeks, he has become more excited about his upcoming senior season.

“His attitude, and how he wants to change the program and the ways he's going about doing so,” said Carey. “It's something that I need. It's something that we all need on this team. The way he handled it, was very positive. It opened my eyes to see that we have the potential to win this championship. He's given us that faith, support and positive attitude that we need.

“He tells me all the time that he understands that I'm on a short time table, and that we're going to get things done as quickly as possible for me and for the program.”