TAHLEQUAH — “I’m Jason Tinsley, I’m not Larry Gipson,” Tinsley said at a podium set up in the middle of the men’s locker room at the NSU Event Center. “I’m obviously going to pick his brain and lean on him, and we’ve already talked a couple of times, and I’d be a fool not to lean on him.”
Tinsley started off his coaching career as an assistant coach at Georgia Southwestern State University, and he later logged two assistant gigs at Missouri State University-West Plains and Northwestern State (La.) — where he served on the staff headed by J.D. Barnett, who was once the head coach at the University of Tulsa.
After leaving Northwestern State in 1999, Tinsley landed his first head-coaching job at Bossier Parish Community College. That later led to him becoming the head coach at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2003.
But Tinsley fell on hard times at UNC-Pembroke, where he logged a record of 22-91 during his time from 2003 to 2008. And looking back now, Tinsley recognizes where things went awry and how to prevent those issues from resurfacing.
“[I] probably wasn’t the right guy at that time for that job where the program was,” Tinsley said. “There was a transition phase there, and I think I left the program in better shape then when I got it — that I do know. It was rock bottom, man. They had been 3-56 the two years combined prior to me getting the coaching job.”
Scholarship allotment is what Tinsley pinpointed as his greatest learning curve at UNC-Pembroke.
“I probably learned to be wiser with my money,” Tinsley said while addressing other shortcomings while with the Braves. “Evaluating the needs of the conference. I was trying to do it with more high school kids in the Peach Belt, and that’s not a league where you want to load up on high school kids, while everyone else was loading up on JUCO transfers and Division I transfers.”