Sunday, October 27, 2013

Interview with Joe Pereira

Former Terrier captain and current UConn assistant coach Joe Pereira sat down with us recently and answered some questions about his new coaching gig. Can't thank him enough for taking the time to talk to us. Hope everyone joys some gems from the Bulldog.

                                          -Photo credit to the Boston Hockey Blog/DFP

JP- You guys watching the Sox right now?

Us- Yeah of course. You a Yankees guy?

JP-Yeah, that's why I got the Jeter stall when we played at Fenway(Frozen Fenway 2010).  I was the best looking guy on the team. Somebody had to do it.

On how his coaching career got started:
I think it's something I've always wanted to do. You know growing up, prep school, and college. It's something that keeps you doing something that you love. It is so fulfilling that you get to recruit a kid, bring him into your program, win with him, and hopefully watch him play pro hockey. It's easy to sit at a desk and work 9-5 but it's awesome to do something that you love and have a passion for. Nobody is getting rich coaching college hockey unless you are a head coach.  You got to have the passion and it's a pretty neat job.

On how this opportunity arose and working for a former rival:
I really didn't know Coach Cav much. I talked to him when my brother (UMass senior Michael Pereira) played at Avon. That's probably the first time we ever talked and we had a good conversation. After BU/BC games, we always shook hands and talked after the game, say 'Good game Coach', ' Good game Joe'. A lot of it was looking him in the eye and having respect for one another. At the end of the day, BU or BC guys, for those 60 minutes we really don't like each other. You grow up with a lot of these kids so it's a little different. We joke around about BU-BC stuff but I keep quiet since he has a few more national championship rings than me. At the end of the day, we're not BU or BC guys anymore, we're UConn guys. That's the most important thing.

On Coach Parker and his advice on coaching Sacred Heart's club team last year:
He was great. Him and Coach Bavis were great at the time. They said it was a good idea to get a foot in the door to get a little experience behind the bench. I know it was only club hockey. It was still a good year to learn.  I wasn't sure I was going to get a college job. I was hoping for a prep school job or a high school job, or even a junior job. When this [current] opportunity presented itself, I was privileged and honored that Coach Cav picked me. It was one of those things where a lot of guys were more qualified than me. He had a vision and he thought that we shared the same vision. We are building something at UConn that will be pretty special. As for Coach Parker, I still do talk to him. Anyone who has played for BU and Coach Parker is going to be a part of that family. I think he is a great guy and he is doing his own thing now but I still wish I could talk to him everyday. He is a guy that I look up to and he will always give me an honest answer.  He put me in a position to be a coach. He taught me how to work hard.  He taught you how to win on and off the ice. That's what you take away. That's he has instilled in anybody who ever played at BU. He taught how to work hard and win. That's not just in hockey, that's guys who are attorneys, doctors, and businessmen. You don't just wake up one morning and say 'Hey I'm going to be a lawyer'.

On Coach Quinn being hired at BU:
Tell you what. If he coaches the next 5 years with no gray hair, I'll be pretty impressed. I always tell him that he is the best-looking guy in Boston now that I left! That's why he came back (laughs). He is going to great there. He is a great guy, great personality. I think he is going to get the most out of those kids. He commands respect when he walks in the room and I think that is what it takes to be a head coach, especially at BU. That is one of the toughest places to be a college hockey coach. You have to go into the room and demand respect.  That's what he brings. I'm not worried about BU. He is going to do a great job up there.  Now I'm going to steal recruits from him though (laughs).

On Quinn as a recruiter:
Like I said before - he goes into a room and commands respect. Just his personality, he makes you feel comfortable...If that guy makes those kids want to play for him. I think half the battle is making a player believe in you and then he'll believe in the program. From what I've learned from Coach Quinn and Coach Cav I think they are two of the best in the game [at recruiting]. Just look at who they learned from - Jerry York and Coach Parker - two of the best guys in the game. It's not something that just happens over night - you can see why they are so successful as recruiters - because they were taught well.

On role as an assistant coach/recruiter:
I think the biggest thing I've learned for recruiting is you don't want to recruit a kid and have him be "your recruit" or Coach Pereira's recruit or Coach Souza's recruit or Coach Cavanaugh's recruit. I think the really great programs that take it to the next level, they recruit with all three coaches. They don't commit just to Coach Quinn, they commit to all of the coaches and the whole program. I think that's what we've been able to do so far at UConn. If you look at what we've done in the last two months, we've landed a lot of good recruits because I think they've felt comfortable with us as a staff and have almost said so in their interviews. For me, I do go out on the road - I don't have a wife or any kids. Coach Souza has a wife and two girls, but I don't mind spending a week or two out in British Columbia or in Calgary. As far as coaching, I just try to motivate the kids and keep them positive on the bench and give them my knowledge of the game that I've learned over my career.

On his return to BU as a Coach(November 17th @ 5:00pm):
Oh absolutely! I can't wait to get back to Agganis. Hopefully it's a sold out arena and we've got the place bumping. I think it's always going to be pretty cool to go back [where you played in college]. Coach Powers, Quinny and Bavis recruited me for BU and now Quinny is the head coach. I think it's going to be pretty great to go back as a coach to a place where you had a lot of great memories as a player. Hopefully we go there and grab a win.

His relationship with refs:
(Laughs) I'm an assistant coach. I sit back and keep my mouth shut. I don't want to be one of those guys. The referee isn't going to change his mind. You can yell all you want but he isn't going to change his mind. Hopefully if you talk calmly to him, he will give you a call later in the game. There is always two ways to look to everything though. If you have won a lot hockey games [in your coaching career], it is a little different. You command that respect. For me, where I'm at, we are just going to play hard hockey, UConn hockey and hopefully that translates into some wins.

On UConn moving into Hockey East:
UConn's never had scholarships - we're going into Hockey East next year with only five scholarships, the following year we get ten. So we're not fully funded for the next four years so it will definitely be a grind. It's almost better if we do win. You have to want a recruit really badly because we don't have the scholarships or the money to spend. You have to pick the kids who will come to work for you, who will compete for you for the next four years, and I think that's what we've looked at for players. Everybody wants the top end players but are they going to give you the full sixty minutes? I'd rather have a guy like a Johnny McCarthy and those type of players who will be really hard to play against for the full 60 minutes. You just have to pick the right players, work hard and make the players buy into your system. At the end of the day, anybody can win. You drop the puck, that's why they play the game.

On his memories of playing at BU:
Obviously the national championship game - I didn't get to play because of my spleen injury but those guys treated me like I was a part of that team. That national championship team, we still talk everyday. There's a group text message that we still talk on and I think that team will always have a special bond - all of us, all twenty seven players. What we went through, and then having guys like Zach Cohen play a huge role all year, Smo [Steve Smolinsky] stepping in for me when I went down, was in the hospital. Matty Gilroy stayed two weeks with me in the hospital. What type of player, what type of captain spends the night with me for two weeks? Guys like Johnny Mac, Yipper, there wasn't a day that one of the guys didn't come visit me and that went from the coaching staff down to those players. It shows what type of band of brothers we were. A team that was that close can come back down 3-1 with a minute left in the game. You gotta be pretty special, believe in each other and have a special bond with each other to do that.

QQ: It still gives us hope every time BU is down two goals late in a game
(Laughs) We'll see if Coach Quinn pulls the goalie as quick as Coach Parker though!

On the 2009 Team:
We were good in the community. People read an article in the Boston Globe and think a BU hockey player is something that he's not. Anybody that was apart of that 2009 team or knew that 2009 team, will tell you how close and what a great group of guys that team was. To this day, we would be there for each other. I would go to war with any of those guys still. That 2009 team was pretty special. Not that I wouldn't go to war with the 2010, 2011 or 2018 guys either. There is just something else about that 2009 team that all came together. That's what pretty special about winning a national championship.

On his career plans:
I think, at the end of the day, you don't get into this business to be a lifetime assistant coach. You want to be a head coach someday. You can look at it as a microscope and a telescope. My microscope right now is to be one of the best assistant coaches in hockey and be a good recruiter and build relationships and win an Atlantic Hockey championship this year, move into Hockey East and compete for home ice and compete for a hockey east championship and then compete for a national championship. Down the road, my telescope goals - you want to get better and become a head coach and I think if you don't have that, you're not in the business to be successful. You have to put it in perspective - you don't wake up one day and say hey, I want to be a head coach. You have to learn everything you can, be a sponge and learn from great people and I think I've surrounded myself with great people. Like Coach Souza - I think he's going to be a hell of a head coach one day. He's one of the best assistant coaches in the game. He's taken me under his wing. Coach Cav, look at what he's done at BC. Plus the BU network - Coach Bavis, Coach Quinn. Just that circle right there, it's a pretty good group.

1 comment:

  1. Nice of Joe to take the time! Good job boys with the interview...