Feb. 7, 2007
Scott Sanderson's father, Wimp, was a college basketball coach. Both of Scott's brothers are college basketball coaches, as well. So, it's not surprising that Sanderson is a college basketball coach. He's the guy who took Lipscomb through the difficult transition from the small college ranks of the NAIA into NCAA Division I.
Now Sanderson is trying to take the program to another level. He wants to get the Bisons into the NCAA Tournament. They came close last year, but an overtime loss to rival Belmont in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship sent Lipscomb to the National Invitation Tournament instead. The former South Carolina basketball player sat down recently with The Tennessean's Mike Organ to discuss his program, Bear Bryant, his golf game and his new fondness for jazz.
On Lipscomb's progress in its step up from NAIA to NCAA Division I:"We're probably a little bit ahead of schedule, being that this is only our third year of actually being eligible for the conference tournament. But we're still working at it every day to continue to improve."
On the NBA:"No defense. It is not interesting to me. I watch it before college basketball starts, and I watch it during the playoffs, but besides then, that's it."
On being the leading free-throw percentage shooter as a player at South Carolina and any tips he has for free-throw shooters today:"Have a routine, do the same thing every single time at the free-throw line. And you've got to think that you're going to make it. Missing can't even enter your mind. You've got to be surprised if you miss a shot."
On following his dad into coaching, having two brothers who are coaches, and what he would be doing if he weren't coaching:"Probably TV commentating. There are those people who are giving analysis of the game and breaking down the games, and I enjoy that part of it."
On how often he and Belmont Coach Rick Byrd cross paths on the recruiting trail:"We see each other from time to time, but not a lot. Not as much as you would think that we do, even when it comes to some of the local kids. Every year it's needs-based, and sometimes our needs might be different than theirs. Sometimes that predicates who you recruit."
On having six players currently on the roster from Middle Tennessee:"I want to recruit kids that are close by, that are in Tennessee and in our general area. At the same time, I think you can make a mistake by recruiting guys in the area that are not good enough to play."
On Tennessee men's coach Bruce Pearl:"I love his passion for coaching and for the game of basketball. As far as painting himself (orange for a women's game), I wouldn't go there. That's just me personally."
On living in Music City and his favorite type of music:"I've gotten to where now, believe it or not, I like to listen to a lot of jazz. Just because it's relaxing. I actually listened to 58 songs the other day going down to Macon, Ga. on my I-Pod. It's just relaxing, and it takes my mind into another world that it doesn't go into a whole lot of times."
On legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant:"Many people don't know he's the one that actually hired my dad as the head coach there for the men's team back in 1980. (My dad) never will forget when Bear sat him across his desk and said, 'I want you to know I'm hiring you as the head basketball coach here, but I also want you to know that I can stop it if I want to.' ''
On his golf game:"I enjoy playing. I understand Rick (Byrd) is a scratch golfer. I am not a scratch golfer, but I'm probably a seven or an eight."
On being a baseball fan:"When I was young I liked the Braves, back when they had Phil Niekro and Hank Aaron and all those guys, but I don't keep up with it as much as I did when I was younger."