By CHARLIE HOWARD
The majority of the Samford fan base was deflated after another disappointing season from the men’s basketball team, with the Bulldogs going 13-20 and yet again missing an opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament.
Flash-forward a year, and Bennie Seltzer, the Bulldogs’ head coach of the past 2 years, was replaced by former assistant coach Scott Padgett. Padgett won a national championship while playing for the Kentucky Wildcats, and he also played in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets, the New Jersey Nets, and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Before Samford, Padgett was an assistant for John Calipari for his alma mater, Kentucky. After a year under Calipari, he was the assistant coach at Manhattan College in New York City.
“We’re going to play an exciting brand of basketball here at Samford, similar to the style I played under Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith at the University of Kentucky,” Padgett said. “We are going to press, get up and down the court for 40 minutes and wear down the opposition. It’s going to be a playing style that recruits, current players and fans will love.”
Padgett wants the Bulldogs to be a more defensive team this season and want to focus on recruiting, having an alumni week, going to play in the Bahamas and the NCAA tournament. .
Padgett has three senior veteran players: senior forward and exercise science major Tyler Hood, senior center and economics major Mike Bradley and senior guard and accounting major Brandon Hayman. Hood is now playing under his third coach as a Bulldog and Bradley formerly played for the University of Connecticut.
“Tyler obviously has played a lot of games and has a lot of experience, he’s a guy that I can count on everyday, he is going to bring his best effort, and he knows what to do on the court. Mike is going to have to stay healthy and be a dominant rebounder and Brandon fits our style very well,” Padgett said.
The three letters FOE have become the team’s motto. Padgett is the originator of the phrase.
“F.O.E means Family Over Everything,” Bradley said, “We wanted to cover the family atmosphere, and everybody buying in. As a family we all understand that we have to keep each other accountable, we all have to pitch in, we have to go all in and give 100%. When we work out, when we go to the Caf, when we play board games; we are all together. That’s what is going to take us a long way this year.”
The Bulldogs open up Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. with an exhibition against the Clark Atlanta Panthers in the Pete Hanna Center.
To keep up with the men’s basketball team follow them on Instagram and Twitter, @SamfordHoopsFOE.