In a basketball family that is now going into the third generation of coaching with son Michael on Eric Musselman’s staff at Arkansas, Father’s Day on Sunday will usually have the same story line.
“We’ll probably end up talking about recruiting and our depth chart,” Eric said Friday Morning to Tye Richardson and Tommy Craft (The Morning Rush) on ESPN Arkansas. “Maybe we can get out on Beaver Lake and go for a little boat ride and enjoy some sunshine.”
Eric grew up with his father, Bill Musselman, coaching at the college level, the NBA and just about everything in between.
Now Michael is the director of recruiting with the Razorbacks. It creates a different dynamic growing up for coaches’ kids.
“When I came down the breakfast table, for most kids it was cartoons, for me it was game tape,” Eric said. “It was normal for my mom to pick me up from school and drop me off at practice for me to hang out with my dad, watch practice and dribble on the sideline, then go up to his office and watch game film.”
Michael has done pretty much the same thing, but Eric at least had a little experience being in the son’s role before.
“He does a really good job of separating work and family life,” Michael said. “When I go over to his house we talk a little about recruiting or this, that and the other, but it’s really family time. We’ll go to dinner or lunch every day and that’s just family talk.
“In the office it’s just down to business as usual.”
No other coach in any sport with the Hogs has really managed social media the way Eric has and it’s an area Michael has to deal with in terms of dealing with the recruits.
Eric has done some social media videos that are, well, entertaining and different to say the least. Sometimes the son disagrees, other times he’s suggesting things but it’s clear who has the final vote.
“At the end of the day he is my dad so at the end of the day if he wants to put out a silly or goofy idea, I may want to nix it but he’s got a pretty good feel for what people think is funny,” Michael said. “There’s just a little bit that goes both ways and we’re able to settle on a pretty happy medium.”
The videos are apparently not dun on the spur of the moment. Call it a mini-version of a TV show that almost has a script.
“We have a little think tank every day where support staff and I sit around and we throw ideas,” Eric said. “We put a lot of videos that are funny out on social media, but we have a pretty good library of stuff that never gets put out.
“We’re just try to do stuff that’s a little bit different.”
Eric does have an assistant spot he’s got to fill after Chris Crutchfield left for the head coaching spot at East Central Oklahoma.
He’s not rushing to fill it,.
“No. 1, we just want to have patience,” he said. “We’re kind of in a unique time frame right now where we’re not allowed to work with our guys. We have guys that are in town that are doing voluntary weight-lifting, but the gym lights have been off for three months.
“From a recruiting standpoint, the group we have in here right now has done as good of a job as anybody in the entire country doing virtual presentations.”
Anthony Ruta, the director of basketball operations, has taken over Crutchfield’s role.
“We feel like we have a guy on staff that understands what an assistant coach would need to do right now,” Eric said. “Putting together our playbook, putting together offensive and defensive schemes, breaking down film of NBA teams.”
Then he talked about a change in the Hogs’ offensive approach that may provide a different look this season.
“We’re trying to mirror a little bit of what the Milwaukee Bucks have done,” Eric said. “We’re trying to study how they utilize their spacing and their personnel.”
He’s not going to get in a hurry in June to fill the spot.
“We certainly want to try and find the right fit to blend in with myself, coach Corey Williams and coach Clay Moser,” Eric said.
But for this weekend, it’s Father’s Day, getting out on the lake … and probably talking basketball.