On Wednesday, Arvin Mosley took on the job title he likes most.
He became coach.
Mosley, after being out of coaching for two years, is the new men’s basketball coach at Evergreen State College. He talked with his team for the first time Wednesday afternoon, sharing his goals and coaching philosophy.
“I’m a teacher. And coaching is teaching,” Mosley said. “That’s what I like most about coaching. I’m excited to be back coaching.”
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Mosley finished 46-88 in five years as head coach at Tacoma Community College, going 4-22 and 7-17 in his last two seasons.
It wasn’t Mosley’s record at TCC that convinced Evergreen athletic director Sarah Works that he was the right choice. It was Mosley himself.
“He’s a leader,” Works said. “People look up to him. He’s not a green coach. He’s a better coach for having gone through what he did. He has a lot of supporters.”
In her reference checks, Works said that she spoke with Seattle University head coach Cameron Dollar, who helped sell the Evergreen athletic director.
“He spoke highly of Arvin,” Works said. “He said Arvin deserves this shot. He said Mike Krzyzewski was nearly fired after three years at Duke. Arvin is ready for this.”
Mosley replaces Jeff Drinkwine, who isn’t returning after finishing 60-31 in three seasons and leading Evergreen to two NAIA Division II national tournaments.
Since leaving TCC, Mosley has worked as an academic specialist at Evergreen for two years, giving him an insight to the school.
“I think that helped separate me from the rest of the crew, understanding what Evergreen is all about,” Mosley said.
As coach at TCC, Mosley plotted how to stop many of his new Evergreen players. He said that gives him insight into how they play.
“I know most of the guys,” Mosley said. “I recruited a lot of them. I coached against Josh Troyer, Jonny Sarysz. That helps me.”
In his five years at TCC, Mosley said he learned to delegate and “to trust my assistant coaches.”
“I was a new coach and I wanted to do everything,” he said. “I learned how to trust my assistants.”
Marcus Whittaker was a forward on Mosley’s first team at TCC when the team won 16 games. Whittaker was TCC’s MVP his sophomore year before transferring to Evergreen.
“I liked him as a coach,” Whittaker said. “He was a coach who if something was wrong he’d help you any way he could. He was definitely a good guy. He has a good heart. He’s going to have to some big shoes to fill at Evergreen.”
Mosley’s first challenge will be to make sure the six players Drinkwine recruited remain committed to Evergreen. Getting the job late left Mosley no time to recruit.
But Mosley inherits a team with six seniors, including Marice Tolliver, Troyer, Sarysz, Gerrod Jenkins and Ben Wilson. With no head coach in place over the summer, Tolliver acted as player-coach during the summer league.
Wilson was impressed with Mosley in his first meeting.
“He seems like a great guy,” Wilson said. “He’s a very knowledgeable coach. I think we can go far with his leadership.”
Wilson was disappointed not to have Drinkwine return, but the 6-foot-6 senior forward wants to make the most out of his senior year.
“After Coach Drinkwine had been so successful, I was surprised he wasn’t coming back,” Wilson said. “But we can’t dwell on that. It’s time to move on and make the best of the situation.”