It’s been a whirlwind weekend for Tad O’Had, the new Kansas City Mavericks head coach, who made his first trip to the metro area since being named the head coach.
He replaced John-Scott Dickson, who was relieved of his coaching job midway through the 2019-20 campaign. Assistant coach Kohl Schultz served as the interim head coach until O’Had was named coach on April 15.
O’Had, who had not been able to visit yet because of the COVID-19 pandemic, arrived in town Friday afternoon and returned to his home in Florida Monday afternoon.
“It’s been a great few days,” O’Had said early Monday morning as he sat in president and general manager Brent Thiessen’s office inside the newly named Cable Dahmer Arena. “I met with Kohl and (trainer) Nick Potter, have had some great conversations with Brent and took a lot of notes.
“This is the first time I’ve ever really seen the arena – the home locker room, the training facilities, the new video boards – and man, are they something. And we've been driving around Independence, Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, Grain Valley, the downtown area and we’ve been meeting a lot of people.
“And a lot of the folks we’ve met are Mavericks fans. Just being here a few days I can sense what this team – what this organization – means to the fans, to the community, really, to everyone I’ve met.”
O’Had did a bit of homework before coming to town and listed so many of the outstanding area sports the metro area offers.
“You have a couple of world championship teams from the past few years with the Royals (2015) and Chiefs (2020), the (College) Basketball Experience downtown, I can’t wait to get to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the NAIA is located here, the Big 12 Basketball Tournament downtown – what a great sports community.
“And I can promise you, Brent, Kohl, Mr. (Lamar) Hunt (the team owner) and I are going to work hard to give our fans a team they can be proud of. You know, so many of the college kids we are talking to were captains on their respective teams and that tells me a lot about a player.”
O’Had believes the success of the Mavericks and the lure of the community will help recruit players to the ECHL team who will get the job done both on and off the ice.
“It’s equally important looking at their character, along with looking at their skill level,” O’Had said. “We’re looking for quality players who have a great deal of character, guys who want to interact with our fans and become a part of our community.
“Character and pride are two important qualities I look for in a player.”
Thiessen nodded his head in agreement.
“We’re both on the same page there,” Thiessen said. “The past few days have been so beneficial to me, Tad and our entire organization. We have spent hours on the phone since we hired Tad and it’s great to get face time.”
Schulz soon entered the conversation and added, “The past couple of days have been great. We’ve been on the phone, two, four, six hours a day and we got so much accomplished here in person. Our offices are back open, we go to our office in the locker room and we can’t wait to get back on the ice with our players.”