Veggie Tales: The Cale Jefferson story

Veggie Tales: The Cale Jefferson story

Postby 3manweave » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:47 pm


Starting Year: 2015
Full Name: Cale Bryan Jefferson
Age: 32
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 200
College: UMKC '07
Dream Job: Missouri
Playing Experience: VL Pesaro, Italy, 2007-2010
Coaching Experience: VL Pesaro, Italy, 2011-12; Head coach, Johnson County (KS) CC; 2013-14
Division I Career Record: 0-0

Synopsis: Coming off a six-year stint overseas in Italy; with four of those as a player and the last two as the head coach, Cale Jefferson landed a coaching job with Johnson County CC, which is just outside of Kansas City on the Kansas side of the state line. In addition to winning two league titles in Italy as a head coach, he won two conference titles and a national championship this past season at the junior college level, so he has known nothing but winning the last handful of years. He used a relentless transition game and up-tempo defensive style to win over 85% of his games in his two head coaching stops. As with my Wil Kasten story, it will be written from Cale's POV in a stream-of-consciousness style with occasional thoughts from others. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This is a fictional account. Real player names and likenesses are not used.
Last edited by 3manweave on Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Cale Jefferson, Head Coach at Johnson County CC

Postby 3manweave » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:56 pm

[March 24th, 2015 - Cale's office, Kansas City, MO (8:45 AM)]

The last three days since I won the national junior college title have been a blur. With several appearances on local radio and a piece in the Wichita paper about my time in Italy and my travels abroad in the last few days, it was tiring juggling recruiting and the day-to-day operations of the program. It never stops, I tell you. In fifteen minutes, I was scheduled to have an end-of-season meeting with my lead assistant, Gene Splicer, and exit interviews with players getting their associates' degrees. But right now, I just wanted to eat my Taco Bell breakfast, watch some TV, and then start my day.

I flipped on MLB Network (I'm a big Royals fan) to catch spring training highlights. I had unwrapped the breakfast burrito from the packaging and was preparing to take a bite when my phone rang. It was Sharpe, whom I haven't heard from since he left me a congratulatory voice mail after the championship game a few days ago. It was my agent, Sharpe Speer. "Sharpe, my man, what's going on at this hour?" I said, picking up the phone.

"Cale, you're not going to believe this, but there's an opening on the Missouri staff with their lead assistant taking a year off to help care for a very ill child," he said. "They've been calling around to see if there would be any interest, and so far, they're pretty light on interest. Would this be something you'd be interested in?"

I pulled the phone away from my ear and began fist-pumping. "Of course, let's make it happen," I said as I put the phone back to my ear. I knew I wasn't going to get the head coaching job there at this point, but it has been a dream of mine to coach at Mizzou in any capacity -- I grew up in the shadow of the university, following the program religiously. I had an offer to walk-on there after high school, but UMKC came calling with a fully paid-for education -- there wasn't going to be any saying no to that coming from a small mid-Missouri town, but remained a fan and still followed the program throughout my college career.

"Good. I'll get back with them, and I'll let you know later today what they say." He said. "No guarantees, but this may be the break you've been looking for. You and I have talked about this for a long time."

"You got that right, thanks. I have a meeting right now, so call back around eleven to noon. I should be free by then," I said. "Thanks, Sharpe."

As we exchanged good-byes, today's spring training scores flashed across the screen. "Damn, they lost 5-4," I muttered under my breath; referring to the Royals as I took another bite of my burrito. Just then, I heard a knock on the door. Seeing it was Gene, I motioned for him to come in and he took a seat in one of the chairs in front of the desk. Always smiling and enjoying life, he didn't have his usual sunny disposition when I took a look at him.

"You okay, Gene?" I said. Gene was actually the guy I took over for two years ago; he's an older gentleman in his late sixties that didn't want to deal with the head coaching grind anymore. However, he still wanted to contribute, and thought a younger guy could take the reins while he took on a "mentor" role. He also was the one who interviewed me for the job. He's been an assistant at the D-I level, so he's a wealth of knowledge for me and has become a good friend also.

"Cale, before we get started, I have to level with you...I'm retiring," he began. "For the past few years, I've noticed some things about my thought processes in daily and coaching life. Recently, I've been going to doctors, and after running various tests, they believe I'm in the early stages of Alzheimer's. It's not a solid diagnosis at this point, but I just want to enjoy whatever time I have left with my wife and grandkids regardless of how it turns out."

He paused before continuing. "You're a great young kid and you're going to do great things in this business." He began to choke back tears. "I sat in my car for the past twenty minutes, still trying to decide it's what I want to do. It's a decision that I've been grappling with for weeks now." He's hidden his pain well, I had no idea. He continued on.

"It's not fair to not only myself and my family, but to you as well. You need a guy that's going to be here. But I'd like to help you find another assistant...that will be my parting gift. I know some people around the area that would love to get a start in this business that I can call."

"I'd like that," I said. "Would you like to stay and have a cup of coffee...just talk about life, anything in general? I've always considered you a good friend. Look, before you go...I have to tell you something too. There's a chance I'll be interviewing at Mizzou for their open assistant job. From what I've been told, it's not the lead assistant job, but it's a start. I feel like I'm a longshot for it."

"What do you mean, open job? What happened?" he asked. "When did you find out about this?"

"My agent called me right before you came in. One of their assistants is taking a leave for this year to help care for one of their sick children. They're doing a search for someone to take over," I said. "I don't know if it's just for one year, or if it has a chance to become something longer term. He's apparently been an assistant under their head coach for awhile, so I'm leery of taking it if I'm offered. But it's Mizzou...I've made it clear that's a goal of mine, maybe THE goal."

"Well, best of luck to you kid...with how bad they've been the past handful of years, I'd be wary of going there, no matter how bad you want to be there." He said and then paused before going on.

"I had better get going, my wife is in the car. Here's my letter of resignation," he said as he handed me an envelope. "Make sure it gets to Tom, and he can sign off on it. He's the only other guy that knows, so he's expecting it later on." Tom was our AD, Tom Myers. "We're flying out to Hawaii this afternoon. Let's get that coffee when I get back, OK?" I nodded and shook his hand. "Gene, you've been a great friend and a hell of a coach. Best of luck to you in fighting this terrible condition, if it's indeed what it is." He nodded as well, and turned and left.

A few moments after Gene walked out the door, my phone buzzed on my desk. It was a text from Sharpe. It read:

"I got you an interview w/Mizzou April 5th in Indianpolis at St. Elmo's. 8 Pm. Also Mcgee resigned as an assistant at Umkc." That could only mean one thing -- I was going to the Final Four!
Last edited by 3manweave on Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Cale Jefferson

Postby 3manweave » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:53 pm

[April 6th, 2015 - Cale's apartment, Kansas City, MO (6:45 PM)]

I just arrived back at my place after the flight home from Indianapolis this morning. Looking back on last night, the interview went really well. I met with both their head coach and their brand-new AD. He's a really sharp guy, and I found them both to be pretty affable and open.

However, one thing with Mizzou I'm hung up on is their recruiting strategy -- they only want to recruit kids that are highly-interested in Mizzou. That's great and all on the surface, but in recruiting you have to SELL your program, not just look for marginal kids that are die-hards who will quickly accept an offer with minimal effort. That means recruiting kids that won't give you the time of day at first. Basically, it sounded more like a cost and effort-saving measure than anything.

It also didn't speak well to the total budget, which is a big con. I understand there's not a lot to sell in terms of wins-losses; but they play in a fantastic arena, play in a Power 5 conference, and play against great coaches like John Calipari, Bruce Pearl, Ben Howland, and Rick Barnes. They sold the program short in some ways.

However, I had to get some more information on the UMKC opening, especially if I'm the first choice. Now, I played there and it was a great four seasons, but it's hard to recruit there. It's largely an urban commuter school and there isn't a big on-campus presence with fancy dorms, a wide selection of off-campus activities, big rec centers and student unions, and the like. If you're looking for the full college experience like you would get at a big state school in a smaller town, it's probably not for you. If you like nice facilities and big arenas playing against the Dukes, Michigan States, and Kansases of the world, it's not for you. For me, I was drawn to the urban setting, close to home, and there was always something to do in downtown KC. It's also a pretty solid academic institution and I was able to play a ton all four years.

I called Sharpe to let him know how the interview went. "I was beginning to think you were hungover or something, Cale. How did last night go?" He asked.

"I'm less sure about it now than I was before. I'm not sold on their recruiting seems a little lazy and I think they're selling themselves short. Mizzou can do better," I said. "I mean, if the money's right I'll take the job, but there's no telling when they'll offer."

Sharpe paused before continuing. "I'm hearing it went well on my end too, but here's the deal. Based on what I've surmised, you're a fallback plan to them. Their AD called last night. They're talking to some guy named Steve Shields today in Indy, who was the head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock for a number of years, and he's likely their guy," he said. Damn, damn, damn. "However, I just heard that the UMKC head coach has decided to step down with all of the McGee crap going down. They told me that you're their top choice at this point."

"Wait, what? What happened with Richardson?" I asked.

"He knew details about McGee's issues before they hired him as an assistant, unbeknownst to the UMKC administration," said Sharpe. "They found out that he knew and didn't say anything. Needless to say, they weren't happy at all. They gave him a chance to walk away and save face, and bought him out to sweeten the deal because he really wanted to continue to coach the team. Now, I'm not sure what he'll do. He's a good recruiter....he'll land somewhere, but that's a big if for right now."

"Why do they want me, though?" I asked. "I'd have to think they can get someone a little more experienced than me."

"Well, that's the thing," Sharpe went on. "They can't afford someone more experienced. Reading between the lines, I think it was also a bit of a cost-saving move since the state of Missouri is cutting funding to higher education around the state. It was a convenient out for them. You make about $56K per year coaching at Johnson County. Despite the looming cuts, they're willing to more than double your salary, give you four full years, and give you full control of the program from recruiting to choice of assistants. You could bring your guys from Johnson if you want. All within a budget, of course."

I stopped for a moment, thinking about Gene. "Sharpe, I have some bad news...Gene is retiring and it's due to health reasons, and he's going to do some traveling with his wife. If I took this job, I'd love for him to come along, but that's not going to happen," I said. "He may have early stage Alzheimer's. I don't wish that on my worst enemy."

"That's too bad, Gene's a good man," Sharpe lamented before going on. "Look, UMKC wants to talk to you tomorrow. They have only two guys signed for the upcoming year from the early signing period, and ten juniors and seniors. So you'll be able to make your mark quickly. But they want someone to come in and start getting a jump on the next class and putting their mark on the program. Can you come down to my office tomorrow at 3 for a conference call with their representatives?"

"Sure, set it up. I'll see you tomorrow at 3."
Last edited by 3manweave on Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Veggie Tales: The Cale Jefferson story

Postby PointGuard » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:51 am

3manweave: Great start!

One minor suggestion...make the font bigger so it's an easier read.. :)
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Re: Veggie Tales: The Cale Jefferson story

Postby CoachC » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:16 am

also draw some pictures! PG likes pictures!
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Re: Veggie Tales: The Cale Jefferson story

Postby CoachC » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:17 am

Seriously though, Pointguard's point is valid. You have a great idea for a dynasty, but I would never follow it in that type font because it would give me a headache no matter how interesting it was.
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Cale Jefferson

Postby 3manweave » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:15 am

[April 7th, 2015 - Sharpe's office, Kansas City, MO (3:15 PM)]

"....Look, we're going to cut the bullsh*t here and get right to the chase," said a male voice over the speakerphone. "Our client is impressed with what your client has done in your short amount of time. I know a base offer of $175K with incentives to reach $225K was expressed to us yesterday. That's more than they are willing to pay at this point, not without some incentive here." There was a pause, and some inaudible chatter before continuing. "Mr. Speer, on behalf of our client, we're prepared to offer your client, Mr. Jefferson, $150K guaranteed base, with incentives. $15,000 if you win a league tournament title in any year and go the NCAA Tournament. $5,000 for each twenty-win season. $2,500 for five public or television appearances, and $500 for five radio interviews throughout the season on local radio for a max of $173K per season. You have to do at least five of each to get the appearances incentives."

"Secondly, Mr. Jefferson will also have full control of the program from recruiting to choice of assistants, and will also be free to negotiate for more funds for facilities or recruiting yearly," he continued on. "However," Oh, here we go... "In exchange, he will only be guaranteed three years' salary instead of four." Agh. "I know this was discussed as four years yesterday, but our client is trying to mitigate risk while still showing good faith, and Mr. Jefferson is also free after the first season to re-negotiate your salary if you see fit."

"Your buyout will be any money from your base that has not yet been paid to you. As of this time, you have forty-eight hours to accept. After that, we're moving on to the next candidate, as this is our final and best offer. You'll be receiving a faxed copy of the contract to your office soon." I looked at my watch. It was 3:30.

"Thank you, gentlemen, we'll have an answer shortly," said Sharpe, and the call ended. "It's a solid offer," he continued on. "You gotta take this, Cale. So what if it's only three years guaranteed instead of four. You're a good'll be in a position to re-negotiate anyway in a year or two. You know what they say, a bird in th...." I cut him off.

"Yeah, I know what the saying means, Sharpe," I stated bluntly. "I need some time to think."

"You mean, wait for Mizzou to not call you back? Well, don't take too long. Sleep on it for the next two nights, and give me an answer that next morning," Sharpe shot back. "We need to move on this...either way."
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Sharpe Speer, Cale's agent

Postby 3manweave » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:14 am

[April 7th, 2015 - Sharpe's office, Kansas City, MO 5:15 PM)]

"Good night, Mr. Speer," my secretary, Francine, said as she walked by my office door with her belongings in tow. "I will see you tomorrow."

"Yeah, good night. See you tomorrow."

It had already been a long day, and I still had work to do. Richardson was out of his job, I'm trying to convince Cale Jefferson to take the same job, and I was trying to think of places to go to get away from my job. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but sometimes I wonder if I got into the wrong line of work.

I poured myself another cup of coffee and proceeded to sit down at my desk when my phone rang. It was Missouri coach Kim Anderson's agent.

"Have a minute, Sharpe? We need to talk," he said. "Kim wants to hire Cale Jefferson; he's real impressed with him. Says that the things he said regarding recruiting made him re-think some things, some strategies. I think he understands recruiting is the name of the game and needs a young, fiery guy like him to help out," he said before continuing on.

"He and Mack are willing to give him a two-year deal, which is rare in this business for assistants. However, he's going to take a small cut. $50,000 per year. That goes pretty far for a single dude in Columbia, though. No incentives, and he's not going to be the lead assistant. In fact, he'll be the second assistant. But it's what they're willing to do."

I grimaced and paused for a moment before replying back, "Sorry, but he's already accepted another job. Thank you for your time." And I hung up. Did I really do what I think I just did?
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Cale Jefferson

Postby 3manweave » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:30 pm

[April 8th, 2015 - Cale's office, Overland Park, KS 11:00 AM)]

It had already gone by several times, but I sat in my chair and watched again as the ESPN scroll went by. "Missouri has announced the hiring of former UALR head coach Steve Shields as an assistant." It was frustrating, but not really surprising. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, though.

I shut the TV off, and began to send out a group text to the players - "Team meeting for returning players at 3 today. Don't make any plans." A few asked what it was about, only replying back that it was an "important team matter". I hadn't gotten around to submitting Gene's resignation letter; it was a convenient cover. I replaced the envelope that Gene had given me a few weeks ago and re-wrote the current date on it.

So, with nothing else to do and nowhere to go until 3, I began making calls. First, to tell Sharpe I was accepting the job, and to get ahold of UMKC's representation to let them know.

"I'm real sorry about that Mizzou assistant job, but I think this is for the best," he said. "You know you want to be a head coach at a major school someday. Maybe Mizzou. Why not get started now instead of who knows when down the road?" He has a point; I may languish as an assistant for years. I'm not seeing the forest for the trees here. The next call was to my parents, who basically told me the same thing.

I went down the list. Former teammates at UMKC, Tom Myers, Gene, and my other assistant, William Black. By the time I finished my conversation with William, it was close to 3 and the returning players began to file into the locker room.

"Guys, I won't be long. If we're all here, I'll begin - sadly, I must report that Coach Splicer has decided to retire. He put his resignation in just a few days ago. He's been a tremendous asset to the program here and it's been a joy to work with him," I said. Now comes the tough part. I paused before going on.

"I've also called everyone in here to let you know that I am going to be taking the open head coaching position at UMKC. Besides the administration here and at UMKC, Coach Black, and Coach Splicer, and friends and family, you are the first to know." I noticed the player's gazes begin to sink towards the floor. "It's been a great pleasure coaching you and the ride we've had the past year has been amazing. If you have any questions for me, I'll be around the rest of the day and most of the day tomorrow cleaning out my office."

There was a long and uncomfortable silence before guard Ray Thomas, one of the most outspoken players I've ever been around, spoke up. "Wait, so....that's it? Just a few recycled phrases, and it's over?" He paused. "How long have you known?"

"I've only known about the job since yesterday," I said. "Trust me, this wasn't an easy decision. I've wondered if I'm ready for something like this though, and after thinking about it deeply over the past twenty-four hours, I believe I am." I stared at the floor for a moment before continuing. "Look, I'm being introduced tomorrow afternoon at Municipal Auditorium downtown," I said. "At 3 P.M. I know it might be weird, but I'd love to see all of you there. If you want, of course."

Ray got up and walked up to me, stared me straight in the eye with a strange look for several awkward moments before reaching out his hand. I shook his hand, and he then proceeded to bear-hug me. "Coach, you've helped me get back on the right track when I didn't believe in myself. Can't thank you enough," he said as he choked back tears. "Congrats, coach." The rest of the players rose up and formed a line behind Ray to follow suit, shaking hands and exchanging congratulatory hugs.

This right here is why I got into the business.
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Cale Jefferson, Head Coach at UMKC

Postby 3manweave » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:41 pm

[April 9th, 2015 - Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO (3:00 PM)]

"....Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to announce the next head coach of the UMKC Kangaroos, Cale Jefferson!"

*crowd cheers* I rose up out of my chair and made a quick nod and a smile to the crowd as I walked to the podium. Sharpe, my parents, several former teammates at UMKC, & players at Johnson County had made the trip and were in attendance.

"I won't be long; but first off, I want to thank the university president, chancellor, and Athletic Director Charles Roast for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to work at this fine university, one where I am proud to say I spent four amazing years as a student-athlete." *crowd claps* "Unlike many other press conferences like these, I'm not going to stand here and say that everything is going to work out, and that we're going to rise to the top of the conference and make many NCAA tournament appearances. I've never been the type to make promises, and I don't intend to start now."

"I also won't bore you with details about what kind of offensive system we'll run, or if we'll run the 1-2-2 zone press down ten with three minutes to go. That's for a later time, and when I've had a chance to speak with the players, review some tape, and talk to the remaining staff to get a better idea of what we have to work with."

I paused. "Here is what I will bore you with, though." *crowd laughs* "We're going to teach three things in our program, call them "pillars", if you must." I held up my left hand with my index finger raised. "Accountability. We're going to be accountable to each other, and that includes myself and my staff." I held up both my index and middle finger. "Secondly, family. We're all in this together. Family has each other's backs." I then raised my ring finger. "Lastly, scholarship. This really also ties into accountability, the first pillar. I left this university with a 4.0 and a Bachelor's in Business Management. I don't expect all of my players to achieve that level, but I expect them to prepare and work like they intend to."

"It is my hope that not only our players leave here as better players and athletes, but as better men ready for the real world. Thank you all for your support, and turning out today."
Last edited by 3manweave on Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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