WATERTOWN — Tim Lamay will begin his college women’s basketball head coaching career in Watertown, but he’s far from a stranger to the game.
Jefferson Community College’s new women’s hoops coach most recently served as assistant coach of the women’s basketball team at North Country Community College, along with head coach of the school’s volleyball team. But Lamay’s love for women’s basketball began at SUNY Canton.
“I went to SUNY Canton to help the men’s team there, that’s where I truthfully fell in love with the women’s game,” Lamay said. “I met a lifer in coach (Bruce) Tallon, who had been the women’s basketball coach for a really long time. He had a lot to do with me falling in love with coaching women’s basketball, the game and the differences and the similarities with the men’s game.”
Lamay, coming from a coaching family, began his coaching career as the modified coach at Franklin Academy straight out of high school. He then served as head coach of the varsity girls basketball team at Potsdam Central School before holding various college coaching positions in the north country.
Above all else, Lamay’s diverse coaching experience taught him how to deal with different types of people.
“I think what I’ve learned over the years, truthfully I’m a big believer that coaching is coaching,” said Lamay, whose father, Tim Sr., has coached the Malone boys basketball team for 25 years. “But one of the things that I’ve learned a lot about coaching and having that diverse resume, is that every student-athlete that you coach is different. And they should be coached in that aspect.”
Building a strong connection with his players will be an early goal at JCC. Because he doesn’t want JCC to be solely a basketball destination, Lamay looks to have his athletes use the school and the women’s basketball program as a jumping off point for the next part of their life.
“I talked a lot about my vision for what the program could look like and what I can do as far as creating a really great student-athlete experience,” Lamay said. “Giving those players, whatever their goals are or points of importance to them, really making sure that those are my goals and show that they’re important to me as well. I want to help any athlete that comes through our program to get to whatever their goal is.”
For Lamay, this head coaching position is a major advancement in his own career. And he believes JCC meets all of the criteria necessary to be a successful women’s basketball program.
“I really think for me, and I heard another one of my coaching mentor’s say once, and it really stuck with me, when you go to a new place and you take on a new job and a new program, try to focus on three things, and those three things being people, place and potential,” Lamay said. “I really saw a lot of all three of those things, Jefferson checked all of those boxes.”
An early conversation with JCC athletic director Jeff Wiley affirmed those beliefs.
“I think any time you have really good location, place, facilities, whatever, the potential is always going to be there,” Lamay said. “I was really drawn into that. And throughout the whole process, before I even applied, I reached out to athletic director Jeff Wiley and I said ‘hey, here’s my thoughts, would love to know a little bit more about your vision with where you want this program to go.’ And we just had a conversation before I even applied for the job and when I did that, I think I was able to solidify those thoughts that this is what I think it could be.”
Lamay is very familiar with the basketball scene in Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, but less so with Jefferson and Lewis counties. Part of his goal as a first-year head coach is to build up relationships with area coaches.
“I think that’s going to be one of the bigger things,” Lamay said. “To have any type of recruiting success, you have to be able to be able to develop those relationships and hone in on them. Early on I think those are going to be some of the bigger steps.”
When Lamay eventually steps on the hardwood for the Cannoneers’ first game of the season next fall, it will be the first college basketball played in Jefferson County in over a year. The 2020-21 season was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.