Humboldt State senior Leland Green moves the ball up the court during the first half of the Jacks' game against Monterey Bay at Lumberjack Arena on January 25. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Lumberjack basketball welcomes a new head coach

Exclusive interview between reporter Jazmin Pacheco and Tae Norwood
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Exclusive interview between reporter Jazmin Pacheco and Tae Norwood

Tae Norwood, brings nearly two decades of collegiate basketball coaching experience to the Lumberjack family as the new head coach of the Humboldt State University men’s basketball team. 

“They are going to get a coach that is honest, that’s transparent, that’s available,” Norwood said. “Who is going to push them to their limits and try to get every ounce of talent I could out of them on the court, but also challenge them mentally to be greater students in the classroom.” 

Norwood grew up in Brooklyn, New York and was the first in his family to go to college. Norwood said he’s an inspiring example for his nieces, nephews, cousins and younger family members to know that if he could be a first generation graduate, so could they.

“I was a measuring stick, as they would say, if I can do it, they [family members] can accomplish the same things,” Norwood said.

Norwood was a natural athlete. He played baseball and football but fell in love with the game of basketball. He started playing at the age of five after his Uncle introduced him to the game and encouraged him to play sports. He played basketball all throughout college and got into coaching after that. 

Norwood completed his undergraduate work at Green Mountain College, a private institution in Vermont, where he received his bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure services. 

Norwood was a four-year letter-winner at GMC, earning two all-conference selections and helped the Eagles win three conference championships throughout his four years there. He was the program’s all-time leader in steals and assists, and was inducted into the Green Mountain Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

He received his master’s degree in health and kinesiology with a focus on coaching from Georgia Southern University.

In 2018, Norwood was a National Assistant Coach of the Year while coaching at Lynn University. He coached there for a total of six seasons. 

As head coach, Norwood has high expectations for the men’s basketball team and plans to gain national recognition.

“This basketball program has a great tradition and a great legacy from the early Coach Wood days to Coach Kinder,” Norwood said. “So I expect our program to be competitive nationally. I expect our team to compete on the top of the CCAA conference on a yearly basis and ultimately have the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament to compete for national championships.”

Norwood recruited 12 new players to the men’s team. He expects the new team to bond and become supportive, family-like.

“We’re not going to cripple them in life by giving them everything. They got to work for everything they’re going to get. We’re going to give them every opportunity they can have in order to grow and be successful,” said Norwood

Norwood says Matt Dempsey, his college basketball coach, made a huge impact on his life and helped him become the man he is today. He hopes to provide that same support, mentorship, and commitment to his own team. 

“So many life lessons are being taught by playing sports and being in a group dynamic that are transparent when it comes to everyday life,” Norwood said. 

Norwood’s philosophy at HSU is all about family, having great cohesiveness and great inclusion. He believes successful athletes require building relationships off the court to understand who they are as people, not athletes.

“My expectations for these young men is that they care about their academics, about their education and about graduating,” Norwood said. “That they play hard with great effort and great energy and when I mean play hard, I mean play hard in the classroom as well as playing hard on the court because winning is a big product of doing those things.”

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