I had a chance to catch up with Tim O’Toole prior to tonight’s UConn-Stanford game.
O’Toole, who is an assistant coach with the Cardinal, is very familiar with UConn and its history. O’Toole has played against UConn (while at Fairfield), been an assistant coach against UConn (Syracuse) and also a head coach on the visitor’s bench (when he was the head coach at Fairfield).
Check out all of what O’Toole has to say in Thursday’s Journal Inquirer but here’s a taste:
He had plenty of positive comments on second-year UConn coach Kevin Ollie.
“I was at Syracuse when Kevin was playing. I remember him as a fierce competitor and a player. Now you see that same tenacity he had as a player that’s coming through on his team,” O’Toole said.
The 49-year-old O’Toole is in his first year with Stanford, and the team just happens to be making two trips to play four games around O’Toole’s old stomping grounds.
Two games in Brooklyn last month (against Pitt and Houston), a game in Hartford Wednesday (against UConn) and another game in Brooklyn (against Michigan) on Saturday are a nice treat for the White Plains, N.Y. native.
“My ego would tell me one thing but no, this thing was done long before I got here,” O’Toole says with a laugh.
O’Toole thinks Stanford is on the verge of being a very good team.
“We’re very talented and yet at certain points and times we have to come together as a team,” O’Toole said. “You have to make tough plays. Nothing is easy. Nothing comes easy. There’s not an easy basket to be had at times. That’s one of the lessons we’re trying to learn.”
O’Toole took six years off from coaching after being fired at Fairfield. He did some television commentating for ESPN and SNY. He did some radio work at St. John’s. He even taught a graduate level class at Fordham.
He got back into the game last season, taking the director of operations job Syracuse under his old friend Jim Boeheim, and would obviously like to be a head coach again.
“One day I would like to have that opportunity again,” O’Toole said. “As you get older, you realize how fortunate you are to work with great people.”