You won’t find many assistant coaches younger than 22-year-old Jake Heine, as one needs at least a bachelor’s degree to be an assistant coach at the collegiate level.
Heine’s collegiate basketball career began his sophomore year when he initially intended to play as a walk-on. Unfortunately, his plans as a player were dismantled after his third serious knee injury, which occurred two days into practice.
Even though Heine was no longer able to play, he remained close to the program and acted as a student manager for the rest of his sophomore season. He returned to the program during his junior and senior years as student manager with increased responsibility in every season. The responsibilities he took on started slow – writing a scouting report here and there, and helping out with individual workouts – but by the time Heine was ready to graduate, he was leading nearly half of the individual workouts and writing more than just a scouting report or two. As a result, head coach Andy Partee had no hesitation hiring Heine as a full-time assistant coach.
“Jake knows the inter-workings of the program to the extent he does through former assistant coach Nate Broadman,” Partee said. “He’s become a mentor and leader to the players, and by the time graduation came around, it was a simple decision for me to hire him in place of Nate simply because of his ambition, and the fact that the best salesman of Colorado College more times than not will be a product of Colorado College.”
Heine’s co-workers speak of his ambition and passion for basketball, which has allowed him to grow quickly in his leadership role. His experience has been advantageous, as it gives him a thorough understanding of the game, but the (full-time) administrative side is one thing he’s had to adjust to. The biggest part of any assistant coaching job is recruiting, which requires making a lot of phone calls to prospective players, parents, high school counselors, coaches, etc.
Now that the season is in full swing, Heine spends much of his time (when not recruiting) breaking down film, looking at the team’s game tape, and scouting other teams. He’s largely responsible for seeing how the team can improve, then observing what it can do to beat the next opponent. Luckily for Heine, Colorado College prepares its students to multi-task.
“I think he certainly has the acumen for learning and again, his passion is really what allows him to grow and hit the ground running,” Partee said.
And that’s exactly what Heine wants to do: run himself into a lifetime career of collegiate coaching.
“Long term, I want to be a career coach. I realize how lucky I am to have had this opportunity. I’m doing what I want to do, and there aren’t a lot of 22-year-old assistant coaches in the country. On top of it all, we have a great team, and it’s really great to still be at CC. It’s a fantastic gig.” Heine said.
While he would eventually like to make the jump to a Division I program, he doesn’t see himself leaving the Colorado College program in the near future. He has a great relationship with the coaching staff and players, and understands that he’s in an ideal situation to develop his reputation among other collegiate coaches.
“The community of basketball coaches is a lot like that of a fraternity,” Partee said. “Most coaches get their opportunities through networking, which is no different from any other profession, but the more he networks and gets to know other coaches, he’ll develop his reputation among coaches in this fraternity and certainly those will be his contacts down the road and a determining factor in what his future looks like. He certainly has the ambition and ability to have a great future in coaching.”
One aspect of working as a beginner assistant coach is learning the head coach’s specific philosophy of coaching. In order to grow, Heine will have to do his own thinking and develop his own philosophy of what he’d like to see in players and on the court. The coaching staff is very supportive of Heine’s future.
Partee said: “His greatest attribute to go along with his ambition is that he’s a constant student of coaching, and he’s always learning from other coaches and not just me. That’s what’s going to continue to help him develop and grow as a young coach.”