Walters settling in at Mesa State
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – Meagan Selvidge thinks Roger Walters might just be the best coach she’s ever had.
While others have viewed the Mesa State College guard as nothing more than a three-point specialist, Walters has done his best to help Selvidge develop a broader skill set.
“Because of him, I’m driving, posting up, which I’ve never done in the past,” Selvidge said. “He’s the first coach that ever looked at me and told me I’d be more than just a three-point shooter. He’s very patient with us. He wants us to do good – for us, not just for him. He wants us to be good as a team. I’ve never had that before.”
It’s that delicate approach with people – and a wealth of knowledge in the X-and-0 department – that’s made Walters a popular man in his first year as the women’s basketball coach at Mesa State.
“He is probably the best coach I’ve ever had, personally,” Selvidge said. “I know everyone loves him.”
Walters, who carved out a wildly successful prep career coaching boys at Rifle and Roaring Fork high schools, is slowly settling in at his new job. With his family’s home sitting idle on the market, he still lives in Rifle and is becoming an old pro at the 60-mile commute to Grand Junction.
Figure in time spent traveling to away games and Walters spends nearly as much time behind the wheel as your average trucker. It’s a price he’s more than willing to pay to have a day job built around the sport he loves.
A positive work environment also goes a long way in making the long hours palatable.
“I really like the people I work with,” he said. “The administration, the staff of people, the other coaches are all just awesome. My assistant coach, [Mary Doane], is a great lady. As far as work environments, it can’t really get any better. As far as the basketball, basketball is basketball. There’s not really a change there.”
Changes have surfaced elsewhere. Building a team through recruiting is certainly new to Walters, who assumed control of the program last spring and didn’t have a crack at a full recruiting cycle.
“It’s been a learning process,” he relayed. “I haven’t really had a full year to recruit. My first one is coming up. I’m really excited about the prospects we have lined out.”
Walters says recruiting heats up in the spring time, when he and his staff will comb the western United States for basketball talent.
And it’s talent Mesa will need to turn things around. The Mavericks, who’ve endured their share of injury troubles, currently own just three wins in 2009-10.
Taking over a team that went 6-21 in 2008-09, Walters suspected the Mavs would take their licks in the early going.
“We’re trying to get better every day and improve on the floor with each game,” he said. “I feel, for the most part, we haven’t taken any steps backwards. We’re getting a little closer, but we still have a long ways to go.”
It’ll take innumerable hours spent recruiting and coaching to bridge the gap to success, but it’s a process Walters seems eager to embrace.
“There’s never any down time,” he said. “You’re either recruiting, watching your own film or you’re breaking down film of who you’re going to play. Or you’re practicing or practice planning. There’s a lot of time involved, but it’s fun. It goes by fast. Every day goes by so quickly. It’s unbelievable how fast time goes.”
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