Former coach thanks Simpson for opportunities

by Seth Nailor

Chad Buchanan experienced Simpson College from every angle, and now he is using those experiences as a springboard to accomplishing his goals.

Chad Buchanan has come a long way since his days as a high school standout athlete at Valley High School. Buchanan was an All-Metro selection in basketball and baseball, a tradition of excellence that he would continue at Simpson.

Buchanan attended Simpson College knowing he wanted to play basketball, and was talked into playing baseball as well. “I chose to attend Simpson because I felt like coach Wilson had a great program and it would be close to home so my family could see me play,” said Buchanan. “Coach Sirianni talked me into giving baseball a try and I ended up really enjoying playing for him and stuck that out for my four years as well.”

On the basketball court was were Buchanan’s heart was and that is where he seemed to excel the most. During Buchanan’s time in Head Coach Bruce Wilson’s basketball program, the team won a conference championship and played in the NCAA National Tournament, which Buchanan calls the highlight of his basketball playing career.

With all the team’s success, Buchanan garnered individual notoriety. During his senior year, Buchanan received all-conference honors and was among the national leaders in free throws and three-point percentages. Buchanan also would have led the nation in free-throw percentage but was one attempt short of qualifying.

When Buchanan’s playing days were over, it was obvious that he wanted to become a coach. Dr. Tom Davis at the University of Iowa gave Buchanan that chance when he worked for him as a graduate assistant. From 1995 to 1997 Buchanan honed his coaching skills under Davis while attending graduate school.

When his time at Iowa ended, the road led back to Simpson. Buchanan came back and began another chapter in life and at Simpson. In his second stint with the Storm, Buchanan was head men’s golf coach and assistant men’s basketball coach. Along with those duties he also helped freshman students-athletes become acclimated to their new environments as the First-Year Student-Athlete Liaison.

Buchanan took to his role at Simpson with a unique understanding of what players need. “I believe that there are two aspects to coaching, the art of coaching, and the science of coaching. The art of coaching is motivating players to perform and making them comfortable with you and what your beliefs are as a coach. The science of coaching is the X’s and 0’s of the game. I believe that I was more focused on the art of coaching while I was at Simpson and tried to focus my efforts on being a support system for the basketball players. Someone that they felt comfortable with to sit down and discuss things related to the team and their role on the team. I realized pretty early that there is no coach out there that can match Coach Wilson’s X’s and 0’s so I figured if I am going to help this program, I need to focus my efforts on each individual student-athlete. I had such a great experience at Simpson that I felt it was my job to try and help each player enjoy the same experiences that I had,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan had success as a player, as a coach, and in his career here at Simpson. He even met his wife here. So why would he leave you ask?

“I just felt that it was time for a change in my life…I want to coach basketball at the highest possible level and this opportunity arose and it just felt like the right time to move on,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan is now Assistant Coach and Director of Operations for the Kansas City Knights, a semi-professional basketball team that boasts an amazing 11 players that have been called up to the NBA in the last two seasons.

Buchanan’s responsibilities include scouting players all over the country, helping in negotiating player contracts, acting as the teams offensive coach, being in charge of youth camps, team travel, and all other basketball related operations.

One would think that with Buchanan’s new job and all of his new responsibilities that he would be satisfied. “I would like to coach at the highest possible level and work with the best players in the world,” said Buchanan. “Being that I am not a former NBA player, my career climb in professional basketball will be a challenge but ultimately I would like to be and assistant in the NBA and from there become a general manager some day.”

Through it all, Buchanan keeps a level head and thanks his wife Melanie. “None of this would ever happen without her support.”

It may seem to some that Buchanan has lofty goals for someone from Des Moines who played Division III athletics in Iowa.

Buchanan however just looks forward to his new job and his new challenges but also doesn’t forget to remember how he got to where he is. “I owe a lot to Simpson, especially the people of Simpson for helping prepare me for what I face everyday here.” Buchanan said.

“Melanie and I both miss Simpson and will always look back on our time there with fond memories.”