His first day on the job was not much different from many others, albeit he is the newest member of the University of New Mexico men’s basketball coaching staff. Brandon Mason is right back where he started in his career of working in a Division I program – this time as an assistant coach for the new-look Lobos.
And to be quite frank, Mason said, “I’m feeling good, man.”
The first contact Mason made with new Lobo head coach Paul Weir was that of two friends making friendly chatter and what Mason thought was Weir joking around – that is until, Mason said, Weir was serious about asking him to come aboard.
“It was kind of weird, because I do talk to him frequently,” Mason said of his relationship with Weir. “He kind of mentioned something to me about it, and we kind of joke a lot, so I didn’t know if he was serious.”
But in the end, Mason said taking the position is, “a no brainer.”
Mason, after that initial conversation, said that he kept coach Weir’s text messages full.
“He did reach out to me, and after that he probably couldn’t get rid of me,” Mason said with a laugh. “He probably got tired of me texting him as well.”
Mason has made a round-trip of sorts to places most Lobo fans have heard of and, to some extent, might even have a disdain for.
Post-Lobo trip No. 1, Mason joined the coaching staff as an assistant at New Mexico Highlands under head coach Craig Snow where he spent one season with the Cowboys. From there, he spent one season in Aggie Land and one with UNLV, both under Marvin Menzies. New Mexico State, Mason acted as Special Assistant to the head Coach, and at UNLV, he acted as the Director of Player Personnel.
All of those stops, Mason said, helped him get to his current position. And for that he exuded his thankfulness to a list of those he considered worthy of his praise.
“Well first, of course, my father is my main focal person that drives me every day,” Mason said. He also credits Steve Alford for “getting (him) in the business” and “Craig Snow, because he’s the first one to get me an assistant coaching position, and without him allowing me to be an assistant coach I wouldn’t be prepared for what I’m walking into right now.”
But, after all this time, Mason is here – he’s in Dreamstyle Arena, The Pit, as a coach. And now that he’s made his presence known, Mason doesn’t want to settle for anything less.
For Mason, not settling means recruiting the best of the best, and, in turn, elevating a program that has never been to the Sweet 16 to goals of that standard and much more.
“One of my main focuses is getting the right players in here and getting the best players possible that can perform at the highest level, to take us to where Lobo basketball has never been, which is probably the Sweet 16,” Mason said.
But with success, Mason added, that process takes time; still, Mason wasn’t ready to waste time on his first day. He said he has already started the recruiting process for the future players.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.