May 14, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorPat Rafferty has a plan of attack for keeping the Central Wyoming College men's basketball program at a high level.
Rafferty was named coach of the Riverton-based junior college program on May 8. His first official day on the job at CWC is June 3.
Rafferty spent last year as the director of basketball operations at the University of Texas-Arlington.
He has an overall junior college head coaching record of 291-196.
"As each hour goes by, I just get more and more excited," Rafferty said.
"It's like when you are coaching a game, it doesn't matter how many games you have had in the past. The next one seems like it's the most important and the most exciting one. I can't remember feeling this excited about an opportunity."
Rafferty was selected over CWC interim coach Shelby Lindley, the other finalist.
Lindley was moved into the head basketball coach position in October of 2012. Lindley coached the Rustlers to a 23-7 record this past season.
CWC officials took almost two weeks before making the final decision on the head coaching position.
"I knew that they wanted to have their process and take things into consideration," Rafferty said. "I also knew that the administration and the committee had other things on their plate. I kind of understood all that going in. My main thing was that I didn't care how long they took, I was just hopeful to get the opportunity."
Rafferty has had head coaching experience at Grayson College, Midland College and Casper College.
"In my mind, I don't have all the answers, I have been really lucky to work with great people and be in situations that were terrific opportunities to learn," Rafferty said. "My own experiences of being a junior college coach for 16 years all have been great learning opportunities."
"Recruiting is a high priority right now. I want to make the right men aware of our situation to bring them into the fold," Rafferty said.
Current CWC freshman Roozario Wiggins told Rafferty last week that he wanted to stay in Riverton and play basketball his sophomore season.
"I'm very excited that he is giving me a chance ," Rafferty said. "I have really appreciated his attitude."
Last season, Wiggins was one of the first players off the bench for the Rustlers. He averaged 6.2 points per game.
"I want to be open with any of the guys who want to return and give them a chance," Rafferty said.
Rafferty has close to a dozen of former players who are now coaching in either Division I, Division II, NAIA or on the junior college level.
"The best thing about it is that they understand me," Rafferty said.
"They know about the culture that we want to create because they come from that culture themselves."
Rafferty said having a balanced team is a key for success.
"I want our teams to defend and rebound," Rafferty said. "You can always take that on the road and still win, but I also want us to be balanced. I want us to play at various tempos. I think that championship teams can play at different tempos."
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