They say teamwork makes the dream work, and that's definitely proven true for at least one former K-State basketball player.
Ever since he was a high school freshman at Blue Valley Northwest, Mason Schoen has dreamed of one day becoming a basketball coach. A walk-on with the Wildcats, he sought out pathways toward that goal.
“It’s been a long time coming for me, wanting to be a basketball coach,” Schoen said. “I took it serious. I had a lot of passion for the dream. I became like a sponge to absorb knowledge … I was lucky enough to have coaches that saw that.”
K-State assistant Chris Lowery played high school basketball with Clemson’s head coach, Brad Brownell, at Harrison High in Evansville, Ind. Lowery heard Brownell was looking for a new graduate assistant, and he and K-State head coach Bruce Weber saw an opportunity.
Weber, who knew one of Clemson’s assistant coaches, Dick Bender, helped get Schoen’s name in the mix.
“We knew Mason wanted to coach," Lowery said. "We called him (Brownwell) and said, ‘We've got a guy that’s great.' From then on out, it was basically back and forth. The basketball community is small.”
Two months, 150 applicants and a two-day interview process later, Schoen landed the position.
In May 2017, Schoen completed his first bachelor’s degree in finance at KSU. A year later, he received a second degree, in marketing. At Clemson, along with being a graduate assistant, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in athletic leadership.
Lowery isn’t worried about how Schoen will adjust to life at the ACC school.
“Mason will fit in," Lowery said. "He’s adaptive; he’s (going to be seeing) a different game of basketball … His biggest challenge will be getting into Clemson's football games."
Schoen, 23, has taken pieces of the coaching philosophies of the coaches he's had over the years.
“In coaching, I truly do not feel like there is only one personality," he said. "Coaches come from all different backgrounds. My father taught me a long time ago to put my head down and get to work. There’s no reason to not be successful."
Schoen's family is excited to see what lies ahead. He has told his siblings, Dalton and Chandler, they’ll have to come to South Carolina for a visit. Younger brother Dalton is a receiver at K-State and will be a junior this fall; older sister Chandler is a nurse in Kansas City.
As he looks back on his years of involvement with the K-State basketball program, Mason Schoen has been able to see himself grow in terms of both in basketball and leadership. In 2018, he received the hoops program's Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player award.
Spending his entire life in the state of Kansas is something Schoen will always carry with him. His new life at Clemson starts July 1.
“I think it will be interesting," he said. "It was my first time in South Carolina when I went out for the interview. It’s a change of pace, but I noticed the similarities there: the family aspect and willingness to help out people.”
Count Lowery, who has been at K-State since 2012, among those who are excited to see this next chapter unfold in Schoen's life.
“I look forward to seeing him in a suit and how he responds to people not listening,” Lowery said, laughing. “I’ve never seen him lose his cool — nothing fazes him. I’ve never seen him be too high or too low ... he’s always been just right.
“He kept the players grounded. That’s a good habit to have, especially when you want to be a coach.”