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The Scarlet & Black

Arseneault Jr. to take over men’s basketball and women’s golf

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Arseneault Jr. is a 2009 alum with a decorated career as a player and coach. Contributed photo.

It’s safe to say that for the Arseneaults, coaching really is the family business. Recently, Grinnell College undertook a nationwide search to find a new men’s basketball and women’s golf coach to replace retiring David Arseneault. Last week the College announced that Arseneault’s son, David Arseneault Jr. ’09 will fill the positions, following in his father’s footsteps.

In addition to these coaching positions, Arseneault Jr. will hold an athletic department faculty post as assistant professor.

Arseneault Jr. is far from unfamiliar with the athletic programs at Grinnell College. During his time as a Grinnell student, Arseneault Jr. was a member of the basketball team and also picked up a couple of athletic awards. He was a three-time finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award and NCAA Division III all-time leader in career assists, with an average of 9.4 per game.

Arseneault Jr. saw success not only as a player, but also as a coach. He served as the coach of the Reno Bighorns in the NBA D-League for two seasons. The team not only won the Western Conference, but also clinched the Pacific Division title while setting a D-League title.

Arseneault Jr.’s expansive and successful history with basketball as both a player and coach helped him stand out as a candidate. The hiring process was a complex undertaking spanning from early July to late October.

There were approximately 13 to 15 applicants for this position. The committee then narrowed the search to three finalists who were brought to the College for interviews and presentations. Students from the Athletics Student Education Policy Committee and captains of the men’s basketball and women’s golf teams were given the opportunity to interview the candidates and give their input, but were not involved in the deliberations.

“He really met all the criteria. We needed someone who could coach golf and basketball and then someone who would understand the liberal arts and understand the faculty side and be able to contribute to teaching in our department,” said Andy Hamilton, director of athletics and recreation. “For us to be able to get a candidate like David Jr. who was a strong background in both sports, we really felt good about that.”

Not only is Arseneault Jr. athletically gifted as coach and former player, he also has an engaging personality that has helped him to make an impression on current and prospective students. In the last academic year, Arseneault Jr. was able to recruit 11 student athletes, a much higher number than is seen in the typical recruitment.

As a Grinnell graduate, Arseneault Jr. has a unique advantage that will enhance his coaching abilities.

“I feel that my experience at Grinnell as a student-athlete gives me a better understanding of what current student-athletes are going through on a daily basis. This helps me relate to a variety of things that are going on in a student’s life outside of athletics. In turn, I can adjust my coaching and teaching style to meet the needs of each individual team member,” Arseneault Jr. wrote in an email to The S&B.

“I think Grinnell graduates really understand the processes, the schedules, and the demands, and the rigors that the students go through and that their approach to the education is much more empathetic,” Hamilton added.

After over two decades of losing seasons, Arseneault Sr. revitalized the basketball program using his highly successful high-octane “System.” Arseneault Jr. acknowledges that the bar is set extremely high.

“Certainly, trying to follow in [my dad’s] footsteps is a big challenge. On the plus side both of the programs are in a very good spot, so it’s a matter of trying to keep some things consistent, add my own flavor to it, and build on the success,” Arseneault Jr. said.

Although Arseneault Jr. is taking over his father’s position, he does not plan to continue everything his father did. Arseneault Jr. plans to take his own approach to coaching styles, and to revise the programs by implementing new changes as necessary.

Arseneault is confident that his son is the right person to take the job.

“People say this to me facetiously, but there is some truth to this. My son seems to have inherited my better qualities and avoided most of the others,” Arseneault Sr. wrote in an email to The S&B.

Arseneault Jr. is excited that these coaching opportunities have allowed him to return to his Grinnell roots.

“I’m thrilled for this position at the college I went to, where I had such an amazing experience as a student athlete … I just feel really fortunate about that.”

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