TAHLEQUAH — Basketball is basketball, regardless of who’s playing it. That’s how Jason Tinsley views it.
“Here’s the difference in the game: guys play above the rim, girls don’t. That’s it,” Tinsley said during a press conference Friday that introduced him as Northeastern State’s ninth men’s basketball coach in school history.
“Basketball is basketball.”
That’s the mindset Tinsley is bringing with him after leaving his post as the women’s coach at Louisiana College. In Pineville, La., Tinsley racked up 89 victories and three NCAA Division III tournament berths in four seasons.
All that after delivering an introductory message to his players when he arrived at the Division III school in Louisiana.
“Probably for my girls it was even tougher, because when I got the job, I walked in the room at Louisiana College — there were 11 girls in the dressing room — and I sat down and I said to them, ‘I’ve coached men 18 years. I don’t know any other way to do it. No clue,’” Tinsley said. “I said, ‘I’m going to coach you the same way I coach men. Not going to coach any different. Same drills, same expectations.’”
Now Tinsley is back in his comfort zone, replacing Larry Gipson, who retired after his 17-year reign at Northeastern State. And Tinsley knows the void he’s trying to fill from the outset.
“This is a great opportunity. The success here is unprecedented,” Tinsley said. “Coach Gipson is a legend in Oklahoma. He’s a legend in the Midwest, and I’ve known him through other people for years.
“...I know I’m replacing a guy that’s highly loved, highly respected not only in the community but in basketball circles. I mean, he’s good.”
But will Tinsley replicate Gipson in every shape, form or fashion? Absolutely not, Tinsley said.