Espinosa reflects on season
By Julynne da Silva Sa
Bridge contributing writer
Published Monday, April 27, 2020
Coach Jeremy Espinosa took over coaching responsibilities for the men’s basketball team, following the absence of coach Joel Taylor. On the transition from assistant coach to calling the shots, he talks about the challenges he overcame in order to be seen differently by his players.
“The biggest challenge was changing the vibe of the team in a positive way,” Espinosa said. “At the same time not being too soft on the players. Creating that balance took time, but now it’s at a place where I can have fun with the players off the court and be strictly business once it’s time to get to work.”
Before he started coaching, Espinosa played junior college ball in Oklahoma and finished his career at Newman University, in Wichita, Kansas. He described his coaching career as a “roller coaster,” moving through winning and losing seasons. It also took him places where those experiences helped expand his coaching knowledge.
“I have learned to take losses as opportunities to grow and be better,” he said. “I have also learned how to be a professional in winning.”
Since he took the reins, the team dynamics changed. He thinks the team adapted well and shows it through hard work as they transform efforts into wins.
“I felt like it took the guys a little bit to get used to a different dominant voice,” Espinosa said. “In games, I see that they really want to play hard for me, which means a lot. Now we have to translate playing hard into winning games and figuring out how to win games together.”
Calvin Fugett, a junior from Denver, says Espinosa’s character helped the team build chemistry and learn how to work together. He thinks this opportunity showed the coach’s passion for the game but also his care for his players.
“Coach E is a very caring and hard-working coach,” Fugett said. “We can see that he wants the best for his players on and off the court. He’s a fun guy, and a very family oriented person.”
He is not the only teammate with a positive opinion on Espinosa’s work. Freshman Adrian Nosa of Madrid, Spain, also feels confident about his coaching performance.
“Coach Espinosa works really, really hard and really cares about us,” Nosa said. “He always makes sure that we all feel good with whatever situation we are in. He’s definitely made me feel more comfortable playing basketball and he brings confidence to the team.”
The Dustdevils experienced a season of ups and downs. They continued working and making adjustments as the season continued on. Espinosa believes even though they won few of their games, the season was full of learning experiences for the team.
“It’s been a great year even though the scoreboard doesn’t always show [that],” he said prior to the end of the season. “I appreciate the hard work that the guys bring to the table. I plan on finishing this season strong and build some great chemistry leading into next season.”
The 2019-2020 season ended for both men’s and women’s basketball teams during the annual Senior Night event. With Taylor’s resignation from coaching at TAMIU, the spot opened up for applicants.