May 20, 2016
Assistant coach Bruce Shingler may be new to the South Carolina men’s basketball program, but he is no rookie when it comes to understanding the expectations of head coach Frank Martin. Having previously worked with Martin at Kansas State, Shingler is thrilled to be a part of his staff at South Carolina.
“I’m all about winning and growing,” Shingler said. “I want to bring as much energy as I can to the program, to the athletics department and into the community. I am excited about putting in maximum effort. I’m ready to work hard and spend a lot of time with the guys, on and off the court. I want to build great relationships with them, and help Frank continue to build the product he has already been building here. I see a winning future for a lot of years at South Carolina.”
“When you start hiring guys who you gave their first break, it means you’re lucky because it means you’ve been in the business for a while,” Martin said. “We lost someone that was valuable to us in (former assistant coach) Lamont Evans, and we had to find somebody who could come in and understand our culture and values. We’re lucky enough that Bruce was out there, and he was willing to be a part of the family again.”
Shingler had spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at Towson University in Maryland, and he noted that his relationship with Martin goes beyond that of being a friend or a boss.
“He is a mentor,” Shingler said. “He gave me my first job in the coaching business, and he has been a guy who I have leaned on, whether it was for something with basketball or even personal things. Our relationship is really tight, and that’s why I think it will be a comfortable adjustment for me because I know I will be working for a guy who is not only a great person, but a great friend.
“He helped me get the job at Towson. He knew (Towson University Head Coach) Pat Skerry. He made some calls and helped me get the job there. We kept in touch. He wanted me to grow, and my experiences have allowed me to grow and be better as a coach. So when his call came, I was thankful and so appreciative just to be considered.”
“When you have someone fully committed to all the right things, such as work ethic, honesty, loyalty, commitment and all the things that matter, it’s your duty to help them move forward in the business,” Martin said. “It’s the only way they grow. It’s sort of like raising children in that you try to give them direction and teach values, but eventually you have to open up that front door and say ‘go.’ You have to trust they have been prepared to make the right decision, and always know that your home is there for them when they need it. That’s what happened with Bruce. He helped to turn that program around at Towson. They had a long losing streak, and they turned it around to win the conference. He was a big part of that.”
I want to surround myself with people who are willing to share their views and ideas with me so I can continue to grow as a person too.
Shingler fits the mold that Martin has cast in creating a family dynamic within the program.
“Having that family aspect in your program with core family values builds trust,” Shingler said. “When you build that trust, it helps conquer a lot of issues before they become problems.
“Frank has an uncanny ability to bring the best out of his players, and not just from a basketball perspective. There are so many guys who come back after they have graduated and thank him for the impact he has made on their lives. I think that is a major attribute that he has. He builds strong relationships and is a remarkable coach. My strength is making his job easier. I spend a lot of time with the players on and off the court, making sure that they are physically and mentally prepared.”
It was Shingler’s role as a teacher and coach at Bladensburg High School (Md.) a decade ago that first gave Martin some insight into his abilities. Martin walked into a busy high school gym where Shingler was working out a few players amidst many other after school activities going on simultaneously.
“I was coaching high school basketball, and there was a kid that he was recruiting when he was at K-State,” Shingler recalled. “I was teaching ninth grade English and coaching. Frank came in, and right away I think he could see how hard I was working with this kid. Frank came from a high school coaching background, so he appreciates the effort that goes into a teaching and coaching background at the high school level. From then on, we built a relationship, and when he had a position available, things worked itself out in his first year at Kansas State.”
“There were kids who had nothing to do with basketball just flying around the gym,” Martin recalled. “They are throwing balls all around the gym, and there was Bruce putting three guys through drills. He was about 25 years old, and he had the attention of the 16 year olds with all of these distractions. They never missed a beat of what he was saying. That immediately drew me to him because he was so young, but he already commanded the respect of those kids with so many distractions.”
Now that he’s back with his mentor, Shingler is excited to put what he has learned to work for the Gamecocks.
“What I’ve learned from Frank is that hard work pays off,” Shingler said. “When we were at Kansas State, he talked a lot about remaining focused and giving your all in everything you do, whether it is coaching, in the film room, in the weight room or in the classroom. He is all about maximum effort, and that’s one of the things I took with me from a coaching perspective and a recruiting perspective. You have to be the hardest worker on the recruiting trails as well as in the gym with the guys.”
Likewise, Martin noted that he never stops trying to learn from those around him.
“You learn from your players,” Martin said. “You learn from your assistants. You learn from your staff members and your bosses. I don’t have life figured out, and anyone thinks that they do, is in deep trouble. The most important skill that I possess is the ability to listen. Listening makes me think. Thinking makes my brain grow. I don’t want to surround myself with people who think I have all the answers, because I don’t. I’m like everyone else who is searching for answers. I want to surround myself with people who are willing to share their views and ideas with me so I can continue to grow as a person too.
“All of those people aren’t here to say ‘yes’ to me. They are here to challenge me in my thinking every single day so they can help me. If they help me, and I help them, then obviously we’ll help the players.”
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