Passionate pursuit of coaching career leads Newbauer to Belmont

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 2:55pm

Charlie Newbauer always knew his son wanted to be a college basketball head coach.

But it took just one sentence for Cameron Newbauer to show his father and others how serious he was about setting that plan in motion.

After Cameron graduated from college, he sent out more than 400 résumés to be an assistant on someone’s staff.  When he emailed the men’s basketball coach of Siena College in New York, he took his devotion to the extreme.

“He put on his résumé, 'I will clean toilets if you need me to' — that is no joke,” Charlie, said. “Rob Lanier, who was the head coach at that time, read that and he told us when he went up there and interviewed, 'That was the only reason I called your son.' He said, ‘I want to see this guy.’ ”

Cameron was hired as a volunteer assistant. Twelve years later, his ultimate dream has come to fruition.

On Monday, Belmont officially introduced Newbauer as the fourth women’s basketball coach in program history. Newbauer replaces Brittney Ezell, who left on April 29 for the same job at East Tennessee State after three seasons. Before Ezell, Betty Wiseman and Tony Cross accounted for the first 42 years of the program.

Newbauer has worked on both the men’s and women’s staffs at Georgia in addition to four years at Siena. He spent the past season as an assistant coach Jeff Walz at Louisville. The Cardinals knocked off top-ranked Baylor en route to reaching the national championship game.

“He was a big part of that and that has to help in recruiting,” athletic director Mike Strickland said. “One of the things you try to do is look for people that have been successful at successful places and then that carries over into your program. Hopefully that will help us out.”

With his parents, his in-laws and his wife, Sarah, on hand, Newbauer became emotional several times and fought through tears to thank his mentors along the way while also acknowledging the basketball foundation at Belmont.

“I’m a passionate person,” the Fort Wayne, Ind., native said. “Sometimes I wear my emotions on my sleeve. To have a dream come true at such an incredible place as Belmont is a very, very special time for my wife and I. To have this opportunity to coach and be a part of a community that is so much bigger than we are is a very special opportunity.”

Newbauer, 34, even broke into tears when talking about forward Molly Ernst, who hadn’t talked to him before Sunday.

The Louisville native will be the lone senior on the team next year. She was recruited by Cross and played three years for Ezell. In his first season as a head coach, Newbauer is determined to make Ernst’s final season as a player a special one. 

“It means a lot. I got kind of emotional, too,” Ernst said. “It just shows how much he cares and how genuine he is. I’m excited, and I think I can speak for everyone else on the team that we’re very excited for what Coach Cam has for us.”

Newbauer said he altered his demeanor and became a better listener when he switched over to women’s basketball.

He was also learning from one of the best. Along with four years in the men’s program, he spent his last five seasons at Georgia on the staff of Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Andy Landers. In that time, the Bulldogs reached five NCAA Tournaments and two Sweet 16s.

“I just kept hearing the same thing [during the search] — ‘This guy is the most passionate, tireless worker,’” Strickland said. “ 'He works night and day. He almost works too much. But he is extremely balanced’. … I kept hearing that. I couldn’t find anybody that had a negative word to say about the guy.”