Roughly a week after being named as the 10 th men’s basketball coach at USC Upstate, former Ohio State associate coach Dave Dickerson was formally introduced Thursday. The native of South Carolina sat down for a 12-minute interview for the school’s official athletic YouTube channel.
After losing his job with the Buckeyes when Thad Matta was fired last summer and new coach Chris Holtmann brought in his own staff of assistants, Dickerson has spent the last year working for the Utah Jazz and dealing with a serious health issue for his wife. Now, after a career that saw him enjoy stops at the likes of Gardner-Webb, Radford, Maryland and Tulane, he described his first head coaching job in eight years as a great fit.
“This was a really good opportunity to get back to a state that I’ve always loved, that I’ve always identified myself as a part of,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better situation for this juncture in my life. I think people sometimes identify me as being at Maryland or Ohio State, but that’s not who I am. I’m a South Carolina boy, born and bred. I have the same values as I had when I grew up here.
“I cherish those moments I had at Maryland and what we did at Ohio State was unmatched and the experience I had at Tulane, coaching those resilient guys who brought a program back from one of the worst natural disasters in this country’s history, those are moments I cherish.”
He also pointed to some early years working for Gardner-Webb and Radford as having been particularly memorable.
“A lot of people don’t know that my best five years of coaching were my year at Gardner-Webb, which was my best year of coaching, and I had a chance to work at Radford for four years,” he said. “Those five years made me who I am right now as a basketball coach. I got a chance to coach basketball and work in programs at the ground level that didn’t have a lot of resources. I was a resident director, I proctored study halls and I washed practice gear and set up for the basketball games. That gave me the appreciation for the things that coaches do to help their teams be successful.
“We are who we are right now (at USC Upstate), but nothing about who we are right now has made me flinch.”
He inherits a team that is moving from the Atlantic Sun to the Big South Conference and one that went 7-25 last season with four of those wins coming against non-Division I teams. The best win for the Spartans last season came against Abilene Christian, which was ranked No. 262 nationally by KenPom.com.
Dickerson said his teams will be recognized for “Relentless effort in everything we do, because we don’t want to have a lot of disconnects. Everybody’s got to do their jobs. I’ve got to be a great coach and they’ve got to be great players.
“I want everybody to be all-in.”