Jeremy Case: Ready to Roll, KU!
When I made the decision to return to the University of Kansas in 2016, I took a bit of a leap of faith. I knew that while it may feel like taking a step back now, it is going to help me take two steps forward in the near future.
I was essentially going from a more hands-on job as an assistant coach to a different, albeit important, role as a video coordinator. But I was fine with that decision because the opportunity to come back home with this staff was too good to pass up. The chance to come back and work at my alma mater was the dream job. Period!
Now, five years later, I get to take those two steps forward as the new assistant coach. It still hasn’t completely sunk in yet, to be honest, but I do know I’m ready to hit the ground running.
I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure the winning culture of this program is upheld.
I remember the days
I know what it’s like to walk through those doors as a student-athlete. When I talk to recruits, these young men can see the passion I have for this program. I can vouch for everything I’m talking about based on my own experiences.
I did win four Big 12 Championships with Coach Self.
I did win a National Championship with Coach Self in 2008, overcoming a nine-point deficit late in the second half to win in overtime.
I can share everything about those memories with players around the country, and they know I’m not just referring to stories from other people. No man, I was right there.
KU is a special, special place.
For me, as a recruit, the tradition and history of Kansas basketball was second to none. It just sort of spoke for itself.
A calling to coach
One of the many things I love about being a coach is the opportunity to build strong relationships with the guys.
I feel like this has been my calling all along. Yes, I dreamt about playing in the NBA for a while, and I could have continued to play professionally overseas. But that never really stoked that fire in me.
I knew I loved the game of basketball and wanted to be around it. I also felt like I understood it to the point where I could teach it. That’s when the switch really flipped from player to coach for me.
I remember some of the guys I was teammates with were still on the team when I started my coaching career as a graduate assistant at KU. That was an interesting balancing act.
But at the end of the day, I was there to do my job. I’ll always be thankful for that first experience because it propelled me to assistant coaching jobs with Southeast Missouri State and Houston Baptist.
Those two stops really shaped me into the coach I am today. Both programs allowed me to do far more than I thought I’d ever be able to do. And that was critical for my own professional development.
I got to run the offense at Southeast Missouri State, while the Houston Baptist staff trusted me to coach the defense. I just started seeing the game better and became a better teacher overall. It helped me understand how to get guys into certain spots at certain moments. Getting to coach on both sides of the ball was tremendous for my career.
You always make way for yourself by taking advantage of the opportunities you are given in life, and mine eventually came after running into Coach Bill Self on the road while recruiting in Dallas.
The place where it all started
A video coordinator position had just opened up, and I blurted out that I’d probably be interested in coming back. So that started the conversation, and two or three weeks later, Coach Self picked up the phone and gave me a call.
That was my response when he asked if I was still interested in returning. The timing just felt right to come back home, even if it wasn’t for a coaching position, initially.
Just being on this staff at Kansas and revisiting history—man, it was really exciting. And thankfully, it was enough to keep my hunger for coaching in check. It allowed me to be patient and wait for my turn.
You don’t really ever think about people leaving KU. Those positions are in high demand, and it was just one of those situations where I wasn’t expecting a spot to open up. So everything that happened sort of came out of the blue.
When the assistant coaching job did open up, I just remember saying to myself, “What now?” So I had a sit-down with Coach Self to tell him face-to-face I wanted to do this. I wanted to tell him I knew I could do it.
And he believed in me.
Sometimes that’s all you need in life—someone that believes in you enough to take a chance on you. Coach Self gave me that opportunity, and I haven’t looked back since.
Two steps forward
After serving in an interim role, I’m ready to continue building long-term and sustained success within the KU basketball program.
I couldn’t be more appreciative of the opportunity. There have been times when certain guys didn’t believe in me, and I didn’t get a shot. So, for Coach Self to give me this opportunity means everything to me.
I will do everything in my power to make him proud and ensuring I take care of the history and tradition of the program while in this position.
This is my home, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make you all proud, including the alumni and all of my former teammates. The program is in good hands as far as I’m concerned.
KU fans, let’s roll!
Bill Self on Jeremy Case:
“Jeremy has been with us since the 2016-17 season, and I’ve had a chance, along with our entire staff, to watch him up close and watch his growth, not only as a person but also as a coach. I’m very excited about his abilities to not only coach on the floor but also to be a tremendous recruiter. He has done a terrific job since we put him into the interim position back in April, and I anticipate him being a star within our profession. I’ve known Jeremy since he was a baby and had the opportunity to coach him at KU. Then I had the chance to watch him one year with us as a graduate assistant before he went off to cut his teeth elsewhere in the coaching profession. He’s sharp. He’s personable and he’s prepared. Kansas is fortunate to have him represent this university.”