MUNCIE, Ind. Bill Comar has been a part of Shows that has hosted the NCAA Championship 12 times throughout his career.
The Chicago-area native has been part of some excellent Midwestern college basketball team during his 28 years working in the sport. He found his way to Ball State last season and will stay there As Special Assistant to Coach Michael Lewis.
Kumar has worked with a few first-year coaches, or coaches who are early in their prime, and will do the same alongside his former UCLA assistant.
“I had a lot of experience with the players who got their first (main coaching) opportunity,” Kumar said. “Some of the things I look at, my strengths, kind of help supplement the coach, who will be locked up on players, training, recruiting, a few other things. The experience I bring could be very useful for my first time coach of the year.”
So how did a moon end up in Ball State? And where is this program heading for new employees?
When Indiana fired Archie Miller on March 15, 2021, Kumar had to figure out what was next.
Kumar worked on various programs – Miami, Dayton, Xavier and Indiana – after graduating from Kenyon College, where he played collectively for three seasons, in 1993.
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From 2011 to 2021, he worked alongside Archie Miller in Dayton (2011-2017) and Indiana (2017-2021). He also spent seven years at Xavier, where Thad Matta and Sean Miller, Archie’s brother, were the head coaches.
A few weeks after Archie, Sean was kicked out of the Arizona Show which has been under the umbrella of NCAA violations since 2017. Matt was an AD assistant at IU. Oliver Burnell and Charlie Coles, who worked with Kumar in Dayton and Miami, respectively, were out of training and Herb Sendyk was in Santa Clara, where he remains.
The main coaches that Kumar worked with were either out of college basketball or unemployed. Kumar has been looking for work all summer. In August, there was an opening at Ball State and Kumar was in a relationship with then-head coach James Whitford. They both worked in Miami and were on the same staff at Xavier.
The season was fast approaching and the chances of finding work were shrinking. Kumar looked at some other opportunities but did not see them as long-term options. He also does not want to move his family across the country. Moving from Bloomington to Muncie? It was manageable.
Kumar served as Ball State’s director of basketball operations last season. The Cardinals finished sixth in the Mid-American Conference and lost in the first round of the League Championship. after few days , Whitford was fired after nine seasons.
This time, Kumar felt better prepared. He went through the same situation a year ago and felt that some of the coaches he worked with previously were “on the cusp” of getting jobs. However, there was uncertainty. And Kumar had to explain to his daughters, Camille and Emily, why they might move again.
“There is a good degree of uncertainty,” Kumar said. “I have two daughters, one for six, one for four, and she goes home and kind of explains to them, ‘Hey, maybe we’ll move in again. “…it’s the business side that is the hard part.”
But Kumar contacted Ball State management to see if the new coach would be interested in keeping him on the staff. On Lewis’ first day on campus, Days after being appointed head coach on March 25Kumar shows him on a tour of the facility. during Lewis’ introductory press conference on April 6Make it official – Kumar was here to stay in Muncie.
“I feel that Bill is fully qualified for his position,” Lewis said at the time.
“You just look at where he worked, it’s incredible, you know, the different places he’s been, the people he’s worked with, the great minds of basketball,” Lewis said. “He will help me manage the day-to-day tasks of this program. He will have his hands in every aspect of this program.”
Like Lewis and the rest of the coaching staff – assistant coach Lou Godino along with his assistants Jamal Mix and Ben Potts – Kumar has seen a lot of success in his career.
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Comar was part of the programs who made 16 post-season appearances and qualified for dozens of NCAA tournaments.
During his first stint at Dayton, the Flyers earned their first national rating since 1974 during the 2001-01 season. Dayton’s second stint saw him advance to the Elite Eight (2014) and win 10 consecutive Atlantic titles (2016, 2017).
At Xavier, where Comar served as Director of Operations, the Knights played six NCAA championships, won four conference regular season titles, three conference championship titles, and reached the Elite Eight twice.
Kumar saw what it takes to succeed. He said he feels the key pieces from last year’s team will continue to improve, and like Lewis, he feels the Cardinals are a few possessions away from competing against the best in Al Mutawa and Al Qadi.
“The way we do business every day on the show reflects what he (Lewis) wants this culture to be,” Kumar said. “…part of this article, you know, is dealing with working with management, working with academics, working with compliance, working with Beth (Goetz) and her leadership.”
When asked what it takes to be successful, Kumar said it is about building relationships with players, creating a recruiting class in its place and establishing a culture. Kumar also said that the teams he worked with previously were successful because they did the little things right every day. This is where Kumar comes in.
Lewis said, “Like I said, he’s going to have his hands on everything we do here.”