By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Juggling logistics for basketball camps and benefit golf tournaments is no sweat for Chad Prewett, Auburn’s director of basketball operations.
Before joining Bruce Pearl’s program three years ago, Prewett coached boys and girls high school teams – at the same time. One team had the gym from 2:30 to 5 p.m, the other took over from 5 to 7:30.
Talking to the athletic director about being overloaded wouldn’t have made much of a difference back then. Prewett was the AD, too.
“You’re juggling not only your own agenda but the agenda of many teams and people,” Prewett says. “You’ve got to find a way to be organized where everybody around you reaches their potential.”
Prewett’s teams reached their potential, all right, winning multiple state championship at Escambia Academy and Lee Scott Academy, including twice on the same day.
“That’s hard to beat, knowing you’ve won two championships on the same day,” he says. “Those are some of the best moments of my life.”
When Pearl arrived at Auburn in 2014, he wanted a high school coach from Alabama on his staff.
“Typically you hire a high school coach to get a player,” says Pearl. “I hired a high school coach to get a man.”
While Prewett did not bring along an SEC-ready blue chipper as part of a package deal, he did deliver a relentless work ethic and a passion for people, Pearl says.
“Chad Prewett is like my MVP,” says Pearl. “He truly is my right-hand man. Everybody in recruiting focuses on those five-stars. Sometimes, you sign a three-star and he winds up being your MVP. We’re blessed to have Chad, in all he does with his responsibilities.”
“That’s humbling to hear him say that,” Prewett says. “My goal is to be able to make a difference every day. You do that by loving others. If you summarize everything you do into loving God and loving people, putting other people before you, it all kind of pays off.”
With Prewett’s help, Pearl’s Fore the Children Golf Classic has raised more than $800,000 for Children’s Harbor, which benefits kids with serious illnesses and their families. Prewett has also championed Pearl’s AUTLIVE efforts, Auburn basketball’s fight against cancer.
“They hired us all to win basketball games,” Prewett says. “What we decided to do early on was to try to win off the court, as well. What we’re doing off the court, we’re really making a difference in somebody’s life. That’s hard to beat.”
On the court, Prewett hopes to help Pearl return Auburn to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years.
“That’s the goal. That’s what drives us every single day,” Prewett says. “I really like the way Coach and the staff have built this program. I like where we are at this time. I like our talent. The way we’re developing, we’re starting to see some real progress. We know we need to win games. Nobody is working any harder than we are to make that happen.
“As we’re more successful, we’re going to be more successful off the court as well because we’re going to bring attention to what we’re trying to do. That’s the exciting thing, because we feel like we’re on the cusp of something great.”
In his nearly two decades as a high school coach, Prewett developed an approach that leans more toward encouraging educator than drill sergeant.
“We’re going to be able to get more out of our players by loving them than we are by downgrading them or treating them harshly,” he says. “We’re trying to win games, but at the same time, build young men. And I think we’re doing that.”
After receiving a promotion to his current operations job from his previous position as special assistant to the head coach, Prewett is next in line to be an assistant coach at Auburn, Pearl says.
“Blessed and thankful that I work for a coach who values integrity and character, and building character in young men,” Prewett says. “As we’ve become really good friends, joining forces to try to change young people is exciting and very rewarding.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer