Taking his first head-coaching job, SVSU’s new head basketball coach is looking to bring consistency, success and a winning culture to campus.
Randy Baruth was hired May 17 after the resignation of former SVSU head basketball coach Frankie Smith. Smith had led the Cardinals for five years before resigning due to personal reasons.
Looking to continue his success, Baruth said the primary focus in the off-season is going to be building a winning culture and groundwork from which to recruit and work from.
“We need to find out who we’re going to be and who we’re not going to be,” Baruth said.
In laying the foundation for the program, Baruth said that focusing on consistent success is critical to the team and school.
“A lot of teams are hot and cold,” Baruth said. “We really want to maintain a steady amount of success.”
Beyond building the culture, Baruth said recruiting was the primary focus of his coaching staff. Between 40 and 50 potential student athletes have visited the school since Baruth’s hiring in May.
“The campus, the facilities, they really help us in recruiting,” he said.
Baruth said the number one focus in recruiting was to take care of the Great Lakes Bay Region, which includes Saginaw, Bay City and Midland. From there, he’s looking to branch out to Flint and other areas within the state.
Of course, Baruth further described the rich recruiting potential of Ohio, Chicago and Detroit, as well.
“The first priority is taking care of our own backyard here in the area, but we want to expand as much as we can,” Baruth said. “We’ve been spending most of our time getting some of these guys signed and filling out spots in our roster.”
Due to not knowing the overall quality of SVSU’s past teams, Baruth said that he wasn’t looking to come in and make changes immediately. Evaluation and finding out what the roster had to offer were key in helping with recruiting and going ahead.
SVSU is the first head-coaching job for Baruth, who in his ten-year career in coaching has held two positions in Division-II basketball, one with Northern State University and North Dakota State University. Baruth spent 2011 as the University of Utah’s Director of Player Development.
Baruth enjoyed success during his tenures at Northern State University and North Dakota State University. While serving as top assistant at Northern State, Baruth’s team made four NCAA Division 2 tournament appearances in five years.
While recruiting for North Dakota State University, Baruth brought in many of the players that later helped the team make their first NCAA Division 1 tournament.
Despite his success, the call to be the head-coach of a team brought him to Michigan and SVSU.
“I really wanted to be a head coach,” said Baruth. “I made some phone calls and did some research into different places before I was lucky enough to receive a phone call and get the job.”
Baruth credits the campus itself as being a huge recruiting tool not only for potential players, but for him as well.
“You come here and see the campus and facilities and it’s incredible,” said Baruth. “It’s really a campus that needs to be shown off.”
Baruth also credits the individuals who helped him and his staff adjust and feel welcome.
“I really just want to thank everyone who went above and beyond to help us feel welcome, help us figure things out and really get things going here,” said Baruth. “I really hope that we can pay the school and everyone who helped us out back with what we’re doing here with the program.”