No secret: Flint at home at Drexel
By Mark Murphy, The Boston Herald, 1/14/2002

Bruiser Flint's surroundings are decidedly quaint.

In exchange for the right to bring his entire coaching staff to Drexel, Flint had to forfeit one of his most valuable resources at UMass: a basketball secretary.

So instead of having the irreplaceable Bonnie Otto to take his calls, Flint and his assistants now man the basketball office switchboard themselves.

And that, for what it's worth, is the extent of the former UMass coach's discomfort right now. He pulls heartily for his Minutemen, is as perplexed as anyone by their four-game skid, but doesn't have much time to worry about it.

Not now that Flint is caught up in a renewed love affair with his hometown, Philadelphia.

The 7-8 Dragons, after taking some early lumps from crosstown foes such as St. Joseph's, La Salle and Penn, have run off a 4-2, second-place start in the Colonial Athletic Association - despite Saturday's loss to struggling Towson.

But the new conference was expected to pose a tough step up in competition for the Dragons, whose problem was complicated by the fact that there wasn't a returning player who averaged more than four points a game last season.

And yet Drexel is averaging 72.5 points per game with a four-guard, less athletic version of the Boston College offense. For those accustomed to Flint's defense-intensive, offensively challenged UMass teams, his present strategy is a shot out of the blue.

It was good enough for a 70-58 win on Dec. 23 over Hofstra, a team the Dragons hadn't defeated in three years.

``I did this because of the personnel we have,'' he said. ``I can't pound you inside now. But I knew the team couldn't score at UMass. We didn't have those kind of players. It was more a case of putting the guys under the basket and rebounding (Monty Mack's) misses.

``But here, everything we do is in transition. And I don't mind if we come down and shoot (3-pointers) out of transition.''

The players, as a result, aren't the only ones having fun. Gone, for Flint, is the anxiety and tension that marked his last two seasons at UMass, when his job was on the line.

``I'm excited,'' he said. ``People are constantly saying that we play the most exciting ball in the city with our style. Before the season, there was one guy who wrote that we wouldn't win five games all season.

``But on the other hand we had to laugh, because even when we started off 2-6, we had a lot of fun coming to work. We weren't worried about the people down at the other end.

``It's been even better than I thought to come back here. I go out to restaurants, and people will say, `Bru, we're happy to have you back.' One guy told us, `I'm a Temple grad, and I always booed you when you were at UMass, but I'm glad to have you back.' ''

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