Anticipation is building for first-year coach Chris Ogden as UT Arlington men’s basketball tips off in less than a week.
On April 6, Ogden was given his first opportunity to lead a program as he became UTA’s eighth men’s head coach.
“Exciting, but also nerve-wracking at the same time,” Ogden said of his coaching transition. “You start thinking of what you are going to say at your press conferences, and then what you want your program to really believe in.
“You write down thoughts along the year, but when it becomes a reality you really start to hone in on them.”
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Ogden has embodied himself as a basketball fanatic from Day One.
He played four seasons at the University of Texas and went on to spend 12 seasons as an assistant on Rick Barnes’ staff in Austin.
He was a part of numerous NCAA appearances and played a crucial recruiting role with the Longhorns.
“Personally, I am really excited to call my first timeout,” Ogden said jokingly.
“The biggest difference between being an assistant and a head coach is the constant demand of time in your day. There is something that rolls across your desk that you need to pay attention to.
“As an assistant those things are in two or three boxes, and you can keep them like that. But as a head coach, they’re in all the boxes. So it’s the time and demand of your time that is really different for me.”
With the coaching changes and the loss of five seniors, it’s hard to not call this a rebuilding year for UTA.
But Ogden said regardless of the circumstances, his goals have not wavered for the Mavericks, who have finished in the top four of the Sun Belt Conference the past three seasons.
“My goal will always be to make the NCAA tournament, it will never change,” he said.
Ogden says he’s planning an aggressive style and wants the Mavericks to be balanced on offense and defense.
“Both ends of the floor,” Ogden said. “I believe our identity, and really the identity of any great team, is to be multiple to a certain degree. You have to have a couple of things you believe in and you’re great at, and we will do that on both ends of the floor.”
The Mavericks hit the court Tuesday at 7 p.m. against UT Tyler at College Park Center.
“There are some nerves,” Ogden said. “But I think with any competitor and excitement, nerves are to follow.”