With a basketball coach for a father, it's no surprise that Bubba Jennings was attracted to the sport at a young age.
"He really encouraged me to play when I was two or three years old, he cut the bottom out of a Folgers coffee can and we'd tape it up on the wall, and he gave me a tennis ball and I'd shoot the tennis ball into the coffee can," he said. "As I got older, we moved it up the wall, and continued to do that. He strongly encouraged me to play and really helped me with my basketball."
The Folgers can must have been effective, because Jennings went on to star at Clovis High School, where he was named New Mexico State Player of the Year. After his high school career concluded, he went to play at Texas Tech for coach Gerald Myers.
"I learned more my freshman year at Texas Tech than I did my whole other career in high school about defense, you know, guarding the ball the influence you have the ball, where to force the ball, and help-side defense," said Jennings. "I've taken kinda his defensive philosophy and I've always applied that when I've had a team to coach we always use that defensive philosophy that he had."
After a successful career in which he led the team in scoring three times, Jennings played in London for a short time, before beginning a career in coaching at the high school level. He started at Artesia High School, where he won two state titles. After that he coached Coronado High School as well.
"It was really enjoyable to go out and get a chance to work with kids and have a chance to influence them not only on the basketball court, but influence them academically and socially and just try to make a better future for some of those kids and teach them some lessons that would help them for a lifetime," Jennings said.
While he was at Coronado, Jennings got a chance to come back to Texas Tech, first as a video operations manager, and later as an assistant.
"Coach Knight came in, got a chance to get on his staff, and that's where I was with Chris Beard, and Stu Robinson and Pat Knight, we were there on the staff together and it was just really nice to learn from Coach Knight," he said. "I was really happy for the opportunity to do that, and I really miss those days of being with him and learning basketball and watching how he operated."
With his coaching days now over though, there are still aspects of the sport that he gets to use in his everyday life.
"After my coaching career, I got really really lucky and I have really really enjoyed it and really love working with the people that I get a chance to work with every day," said Jennings. "Just getting a chance to work with people and help people just like you are as a coach or a teacher, you get the opportunity to meet people and develop a relationship with them and to help them."
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