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05/09/2023 01:36 PM

Wettemann Worked the Ranks as UConn Men’s Director of Basketball Administration

Guilford native Paul Wettemann III has worked his way up within the ranks of the UConn men’s basketball program and now serves as the Director of Men’s Basketball Administration. Photo courtesy of Paul Wettemann III

A young Paul Wettemann III grew up in Guilford idolizing UConn men’s basketball. Now an adult in his current role as director of men’s basketball administration with the Huskies, when Paul watched UConn rout Gonzaga in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament en route to an eventual national championship, his childhood dream became real.

“I was looking around like ‘wow, I’m at UConn and we’re going to the Final Four,’” Paul says. “It’s crazy that I’m a part of this.”

Paul is an integral part of the Huskies, efficiently carrying out behind-the-scenes functions of his job to enable coaches and players to focus primarily on hoops. Due to his success, Paul has been named Sports Person of the Week. He says that at UConn, no two days are the same.

“I have my hands in a lot of different areas, the non X’s and O’s,” Paul says. “Anything that’s not coaching, the behind the scenes stuff. I’m organizing our team travel every year, contracting with every hotel, choosing a charter plane company for the year that takes us on every trip, all of our buses, I’ll assist with some scheduling, some non-conference scheduling, the daily team scheduling, practice scheduling at home and on the road, assisting with academic support for student-athletes, financial aid paperwork. It’s wide-ranging and goes by the time of the year.”

During the NCAA Tournament, the workload is heaviest, according to Paul.

“Nobody’s sleeping that much, you’re just going day by day, these long days, just executing,” Paul says. “I’m doing whatever I can in my job to make the team run smoothly so everybody can focus on the game and scout, and the game plan. Everyone is so locked in on their responsibilities, sometimes you don’t appreciate the moment of what you’re in and (the Gonzaga victory) was the first time I looked around and was like, ‘this is crazy.’”

Paul’s path to a full time job within the 2023 national champions’ staff was uncommon, according to the Guilford native. He says he started with the program as a student manager after asking people with the program around campus how he could join. When Paul joined the Huskies’ staff, Kevin Ollie was the head coach. When Ollie and the school parted ways, Paul says he didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately for Paul, Head Coach Dan Hurley decided to keep the Guilford native on staff.

“A lot of coaches, when they get hired, they want every person on their staff to be one of their hires and for him to be open to (keeping me on staff) doesn’t happen often,” Paul says. “It was really cool.”

Hurley did not stop at keeping Paul on the men’s basketball staff, but he even went a step further.

“Coach went out of his way to create a position for me to stay in an assistant basketball operations role for two years,” Paul says. “This past May I got the opportunity to start in my new role since the person in my position left for another job. I was promoted and the coach trusted that I could do it.”

Since capturing the program’s fifth national title after a comfortable 76-59 victory over San Diego State University, Paul has been hard at work helping to keep Hurley’s packed schedule manageable.

“Post championship, he’s had a bunch of requests for speaking engagements and autographs, so I’m trying to organize and help him stay organized,” Paul says.

Paul also adds that he is grateful people around the program have recognized his hard work and continued to believe in him. Staff vouched for him during the Ollie-Hurley coaching change, too, as his focused approach to his job has paid dividends.

“I’m more on the quiet side,” Paul says. “I make relationships with people, but I like for people to recognize the effort and time I put in and once people have trusted me and feel like I’m an important part of the group then those relationships can form organically.”

Although Paul describes himself as quiet, he used his networking skills to land in Storrs with the Huskies. He says he knew when he was a high school student that he wanted to pursue a career in sports management.

“I applied to schools that had great teams, the dream school was UConn men’s basketball,” Paul says. “But I never thought it was possible.”

The college application process was new for Paul and his family at the time, as he is the first one in his immediate family to graduate from college.

“I had no connections, both of my parents, neither got a college degree,” Paul says. “I kind of had to learn everything myself and I had a chance through meeting students on campus who worked with the team on how to apply and what they look for, and once I got in and got the opportunity I had to do everything I could to make the most of it.”

After successfully getting into UConn and landing a job as a student manager, the Guilford native says he was in awe when he staffed his first men’s hoops practice.

“I thought, ‘oh God, I’m really in this,’” Paul says.

It was the realization of a dream he had dating back to his days playing basketball with friends around Guilford.

“My friends and I were always big basketball fans, we always played at some of the courts around town, at the middle schools and the police courts in Guilford,” Paul says. “In high school and on summer break in college we’d always go back and play there. (When we were in high school) we always thought, man, imagine if we ever got to (UConn). I never really thought it was a possibility.”

After UConn wrapped up the program’s first title since 2014, Paul says it was a full-circle moment.

“It didn’t feel real at first. It was also kind of emotional for me personally, having been with the program,” says Paul, who also has a Bachelor of Science degree and Master’s Degree in Sport Management from UConn. “This was my eighth year with the program having been in a variety of different positions. It felt like a full-circle thing, that’s what I hoped for in a dream scenario. I’m full-time staff with the UConn men’s basketball team and we just won a national championship. It checked off every box.”