Fred Quartlebaum, who worked for Kansas University assistant basketball coach Norm Roberts six years at St. John’s University, for the past several months had planned to bring his wife, Christy, and sons — Trey (12) and Mayson (11) — to Lawrence for Bill Self’s KU basketball camp.
The Quartlebaums, who remained in New York following the firing of the SJU staff in 2010, were looking forward to an early-June reunion with the Roberts family as much as anything else.
“Probably about three days prior to our visit, I received a text from coach Roberts asking if I had any interest in joining the Jayhawk staff if the opportunity presented itself,” said Quartlebaum, who on Wednesday was named KU basketball’s director of student-athlete development.
He’d worked the past two years as associate director of PACT (Personalized Achievement Contract), a leadership and mentoring program at Mercy College in New York and since 2010 has owned the company 212 Hoops, which combines his experience developing collegiate athletes to youth basketball.
“The five days (June 9-13) really struck an interest in a lot of different things basketball-wise. It was an unbelievable connection and opportunity to meet the staff and players and get a feel for Lawrence,” Quartlebaum added.
Blown away by the atmosphere, Quartlebaum was quick to say yes when Self offered him the position that hasn’t been filled since Danny Manning was promoted to assistant coach at KU (2007-08).
His hiring at KU was reported on the same day as Brennan Bechard’s promotion to director of basketball operations. Bechard, who played for KU’s 2008 national-title team, had been assistant director of basketball operations since the summer of 2011. Also, it was announced Jeff Forbes would continue in his role as video coordinator.
“I feel fortunate that we have guys in place, with Brennan and Jeff, who have been here for a while and have had a chance to do things to enhance our program,” Self said. “Now we add a person like Fred Quartlebaum, who has been around big-time college athletics having worked at Notre Dame, Iowa State, North Carolina and St. John’s as a full-time assistant. Fred played a huge role in the recruitment of the Carolina team that went on to win a national championship (recruiting players on 2005 title team). He brings a ton of energy and organization, and we feel Fred will be a perfect fit here at Kansas.”
Quartlebaum has attended one game in Allen Fieldhouse. He was an assistant under Iowa State’s Wayne Morgan in 2003-04 when the Jayhawks needed overtime to beat the Cyclones, 90-89.
“It was an unbelievable environment and great experience. It was one of the remarkable places I’ve ever been in terms of a college basketball game,” said Quartlebaum, who played at Fordham from 1985-89. He’s been an assistant at Fairfield, Holy Cross, Towson and Navy, as well as the schools mentioned by Self.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity. To reunite with coach Roberts, a dear friend of mine who I’ve learned a great deal of basketball on and off the court ... obviously to be part of the historic basketball program of Kansas and work under coach Self’s leadership and direction is definitely a thrill,” Quartlebaum said. “As a basketball coach, you want to learn from different levels. Working with PACT … has really given me a huge confidence boost working with student-athletes in different capacities of their lives.”
Bechard takes over for Doc Sadler, director of operations during the 2012-13 season, who recently was named assistant at Iowa State. At KU, Sadler succeeded current Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson.
“I couldn’t be happier to be back with the program another year. I’m so thankful to coach Self — how good he’s been to me over the years — giving me this opportunity. It’s exciting,” Bechard said. “I definitely thought I had a chance (when Sadler left for ISU). But coach knows so many people over the years in the business ... so many people have been in high-level coaching. When he did give me the promotion, I was thankful, and I can’t wait.”
Bechard still plans to be an assistant coach, then a head coach someday.
“Growing up a Jayhawk fan and having the unbelievable opportunity to walk on (as player) and be on a national championship team and play with so many great players and work with so many great guys ... it’s been a dream come true over the last seven years,” Bechard, a former Lawrence High guard, said.
Planning on attending: Self told the Journal-World Wednesday night he will be attending tonight’s draft in Brooklyn, N.Y., to support Ben McLemore.