Men's College Basketball

Notteboom soaking in Lipscomb's magical run

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 10, 2018 9:55 pm Updated: Mar. 10, 2018 10:33 pm

Adam Notteboom couldn't remember what his reaction was or how it looked when the final seconds ticked away on the Lipscomb men's basketball team's Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship and first-ever berth to the NCAA Tournament.

"I'm not going to lie, I lost my composure for a second," Notteboom said. "You're taken over by emotion at that point."

Thankfully, he had friends adept enough with social media to make his reaction and the fist pump he delivered live on.

"(Former Quincy University women's soccer coach Dave) Musso made sure to have that on SnapChat for me," Notteboom said with a chuckle.

Musso wasn't alone. Countless friends Notteboom made during five-year stint working with the QU men's basketball program reached out. So did friends from his undergraduate days at Xavier. More people sent him congratulatory messages than he ever thought possible.

"I don't think my phone has ever worked so hard in my life than it did right there," Notteboom said. "I thought I'd have a couple of texts from my family and obviously some guys I'm close with. I had at least 100 text messages and SnapChats. Twitter was blowing up. Even people I haven't talked to in years were like, 'Hey, man, I saw you guys on TV, congratulations.' I think people realize how big of a deal it is to get into the NCAA Tournament."

Notteboom has a front-row seat to see it all.

In August, after two years as a graduate assistant at Quincy and three years as a full-time assistant, Notteboom resigned to pursue an opportunity at the NCAA Division I level. He became the Bisons' director of basketball operations and has been taken for an incredible and indelible ride.

He was sitting on the first chair on the Lipscomb bench last Sunday as the Bisons built a 32-point lead in the first half of the Atlantic Sun title game at Florida Golf Coast. In the second half, the Eagles fought back, closing to within five points before the Bisons finished off a 108-96 victory in Fort Myers, Fla.

It was the first conference championship for the private school in Nashville, Tenn., since its days in the NAIA. People far and wide have been taking notice.

The team returned to Nashville on a commercial flight Monday night, arriving at approximately 11:30 p.m. Notteboom estimated 500 or 600 students, faculty and fans were there to greet the team.

"It's been non-stop people coming up to you and saying, 'Congratulations,'" Notteboom said. "It's not always people who are fans of Lipscomb. It's people who have heard our story and are excited by it."

Most people are. Some still overlook the school with an undergraduate enrollment of 3,000.

Wednesday morning, when ESPN's Joe Lunardi unveiled his latest NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, he left Lipscomb out of the 68-team field even though the Bisons have an automatic bid.

The error was corrected, but it provided a light-hearted moment for a staff still soaking in the moment.

"I didn't think success like this would happen so fast, but it's incredible to take it on," Notteboom said. "There are a lot of other things we could be doing right now like not playing. So it's something I don't take for granted."

Nor is this opportunity. Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander and assistant coaches Roger Idstrom and Steve Drabyn all either worked on the staff or played at Belmont, and to gain knowledge from their experience is invaluable for Notteboom.

It's what made him appreciate their reaction at the end of the game even more.

"The embrace Coach Alexander, Coach Idstrom and Coach Draybn had as we won the game was unbelievable," Notteboom said. "I almost got sandwiched because they were coming at each other so hard. Their expressions were tremendous. They deserve it more than anything. I'm just happy to be a part of it."

And he's happy the relationships he built at Quincy have thrived.

"Quincy is so special," Notteboom said. "It's not like you go there, spend time there and then you're forgotten. You remember that community for a long time."

It's impacting the coaching path he takes.

"It was never an easy decision to leave Quincy," Notteboom said. "Professionally, it was time to go. I was never going to leave Quincy unless I felt comfortable. I wasn't leaving for a program or players or a head coach I didn't feel comfortable with. I don't have the right to be picky with my job selection by any stretch of the imagination, but I think standards are important.

"As I learned about those things at Quincy and other stops in my past, I really want to carry those things forward."

Now there's a new standard to apply to everything. It's the feeling of getting into the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

"Incredible," Notteboom said. "This experience is incredible."