By: Kiera Morgan, Sports Marketing Academy Intern
Let's be real. It's not too often that you get a chance to interview Miami's well-known hockey Head Coach Enrico Blasi. So, when I had the opportunity to get to know Coach Blasi a little bit better, I have to admit I was pretty excited! Before our meeting, I decided to compile five serious, hockey questions along with five more light, personal questions. I was nervous about meeting such a big name on campus, but I was ecstatic to ask him my questions.
I started with the five serious questions. I first asked him, "Rico, what would you say is the best part about being a coach here at Miami University?" He replied with, "The best part is probably working with the guys. Developing them to be the best they can be." I thought this was a good answer to this question. Maybe it's typical for a coach to say they enjoy working with their players, but, in my opinion, Rico's answer reached a deeper level. Rico not only stated he liked working with the players, but the developmental process involved as well. As good as our hockey players are, it's good to know that they have a coach that constantly pushes/challenges them to keep improving themselves.
Next, I asked Rico how he got into coaching. He told me there was a point where he tried playing and it didn't happen. He told me that he didn't have the skill or the size to play at a high level, and he wanted to get back to the game, so he started coaching and "kind of fell in love with it." What a neat way to take what could be looked at as a "discouraging situation" and make the best of it! I admired the fact that Rico was able to take a dream that didn't seem do-able; and still live it, even if it wasn't how he originally pictured doing so.
I became intrigued about Coach Blasi's coaching philosophy. He told me, "My basic philosophy is that the team comes first. Try and be a big family, while instilling the values that we've learned as young kids: to trust people, be honest, and hardworking." Surely, a true statement when thinking back to the hard work was put into Rico's most memorable hockey game thus far as a coach: when Miami beat Duluth and went to the frozen four, making it to the top. Lastly, I asked if Rico would name an occasion when he was proud to be able to infuse a sense of motivation into one or more players. He laughed and informed me this happens everyday. "That's a part of my job. So, anytime I see one of our players, do something that we talked about or something that pushed them a little bit, it's a pretty good moment."
Very cool. At this point, I decided to move onto the lighter, more personal questions. I first asked Rico what was his most embarrassing moment. He replied with, "Well, once we scored two goals in 22 seconds, and I might have got a little excited and kind of climbed the glass." I'm not going to lie, picturing Rico climbing the glass was pretty funny. I couldn't help but laugh at this image of this renowned coach in front of me scaling a hockey wall. Next, I asked what the number one most song played on his ipod was. He told me that it was more of a group, not a song: Maroon 5.
Moving on to the next question, I asked him what was his favorite quote. After thinking a minute, he said, "It's never too late to be what you might have been." I liked this quote because in a way I found it to say that you should never give up on your dreams. Our dreams make you who you are, so don't let anything hold you back from them. I also thought this quote spoke to change, in a way saying, "It's never too late to change in a way that you want to change." If you don't like something about yourself, change it! Always strive to be the best you can be. Next, I asked Rico if he could still choose to be a certain age what would it be? He replied matter-of-factly, "Oh, I'm still 21." Maybe this is why he is such a good college hockey coach. The fact that he tries to relate to his players and in a sense, "be one of them" not just act like a paternal, authority figure to them probably allows for a great coaching/player connection.
Lastly, I asked the question, "If you could witness any event: past, present, or future, what would it be?" He thought a minute and then stated, " Well, I'd like to be there for my daughters' weddings one day." What a sweet answer from a rough and tough hockey coach. It was nice to see our Miami hockey coach in a more personal light.