Czepil takes next step

Michael Czepil (Bob Solorio/Sacramento State Athletics)

Tara Murray

From the basketball courts in Wyndham to the head coach of a division 1 college program, it’s been a journey for Michael Czepil.

Czepil, who is from Hoppers Crossing, was recently appointed the interim head coach of Sacramento State’s men’s basketball program.

He had held the role of associate head coach for the past two seasons.

Speaking while back in Melbourne following the college’s tour of Australia, Czepil said it was a pretty exciting time.

“It moves fast,” he said. “You lose track a little bit of the seasons and it does feel like one rolls into another.

“I’m in Melbourne right now it doesn’t feel like… It’s been six years since I’ve left the Basketball Victoria job, it’s definitely gone fast.

“It’s very exciting, you don’t know if you’ll ever have the opportunity but you’ve got to be ready and just give it a really good crack.

“I’m really excited to get a chance at it, we have a really supportive administrator on campus, completely invested in athletics but also the basketball program.”

Czepil has been appointed to the role for the 2024-25 season.

As it wasn’t advertised, the role is an interim one for the full season and gives Czepil the chance to earn the role longer term.

He said he could have never imagined getting an opportunity to take on a role like this.

“It’s definitely on my mind it was something that I wanted to do but you just don’t know if it will ever happen,” he said. “I’m excited to have a chance. You prepare and you work for it, try and due a diligent job with the relationships you have, up skilling your development as a coach.

“You do all that without, a promise that it’s ever going to happen For me to get the chance, couldn’t be more thankful.”

While the new season is yet to get underway, Czepil’s first task was to bring the team out to Australia.

He said it was really nice to bring the team out to his home state.

Czepil wasn’t able to make it out to Wyndham Basketball Association, where he started his career and coached its men’s side for three years, due to recruiting periods restrictions.

”I don’t get home enough and when I get home, it’s not long enough,” he said. “So it’s been a good one to be able to do an Australian tour team over for 10 days and then I’ve been able to tack on a few days at the end.

“We do have five Australians on the team this coming season, that helped steered us to make the trip here, so they can play in front of friends and family and help us with recruiting in the future.”

He said being able to coach so many Australians was exciting and reminds him of his journey when he played college basketball.

Czepil will take charge of a young side this season. Last season, the Hornets were one of four division 1 teams in the country to play their freshmen more than 40 per cent of the team’s total minutes.

“We had a lot of guys play minutes early in their college career, which isn’t normal now, ” he said.

“College athletics has changed and athletes are a lot older. I think this will aid in their development, to have an even larger role this year and make a bigger impact on games.”

Having been a player and now coach in the college system, Czepil said it’s where he sees his coaching future for the moment.

He said he hadn’t looked any further than this year.

“I love college sport, I really enjoying the 18-22 year olds and I’ve been on the university campus last 18 years outside of my role in Melbourne,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed coaching these college age kids.

“I haven’t thought too much past figuring things out with this team. I do really enjoy the collegian sport world that is over in the USA..”