In his seventh season at Colorado State University, head basketball coach Dale Layer has the Rams' program aimed toward success entering the 2006-07 basketball season with a blend of experienced returning players and a mix of talented newcomers.
Layer and his staff have worked diligently with a commitment toward building a program that reflects consistent success has he enters his seventh season at the helm.
Colorado State's program is based upon a foundation Layer has implemented in the program, including:
Attracting talented individuals who are students first, athletes next. Several of the Rams' past recruiting classes have been ranked among the top 40 nationally by various recruiting publications;
Instilled a sense of pride that runs through every facet of the program by doing things properly and with great effort and passion;
Focused all energies toward developing a great program rather than trying to have a good season;
Emphasized the importance of education above all other aspects of the program.
Layer was named the Rams' head basketball coach on April 11, 2000, and following the 2003 season he signed a new five-year contract that runs through the 2008 season.
Colorado State's program reflects a combination of hard work by the program's student-athletes in the classroom and on the playing court, sound evaluation and analysis of prospective recruits and administrative support, a return to national prominence would be forthcoming.
Layer and his staff daily have a set of goals for the program that include:
Recruit great players to compete at the highest level in the nation.
Develop those players each day to strive for excellence and improve skills to play at the next level.
Emphasize academics in such a way as to ensure maximum commitment to having each student-athlete graduate from Colorado State University.
Layer led Colorado State to the NCAA Tournament in 2003, just his third season at the helm - quicker than any coach in school history with the exception of Boyd Grant.
Colorado State is aiming to duplicate the success shown in the past, including winning the 2003 Mountain West Conference Championship and playing Duke in the NCAA Tournament's West Region.
When Layer put his first Colorado State squad on the floor in 2000-01, that team reflected the same characteristics that the Rams' title team in 2003 possessed and the same traits future Ram squads continue to reflect: Unrelenting defensive pressure, opportunistic offense including an up-tempo style of play, student-athletes who have character and toughness, and team chemistry.
Academics remain the focal point of the entire program. Student-athletes at Colorado State are exactly that: Students first, players next. Layer and his staff emphasize the importance of academics. To succeed as a player in the program an individual must first succeed as a student.
Honesty. Hard work. Passion. Toughness. Defense. Teamwork. Unity.
Those are the tenets that Layer inserted when he took control of Colorado State's program and remain prominent to date.
"The student-athletes in our program accept the responsibility to represent this university in a first-class manner in everything they do: On the court, in the community, and in the classroom," he said of the foundation that the Rams have built in his four seasons at the helm.
"We have excellent individuals in our program as student-athletes and on our staff. We're excited about the things that we have accomplished so far, but just as excited about the continued growth of our program into the future."
Prior to becoming Colorado State's head coach, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Rams after having been the head coach at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C. for 10 seasons.
Time as an assistant coach at Colorado State in addition to his success at Queens prepared Layer for his charge as the Rams' head coach.
While Colorado State continues to work on achieving success in all facets of the program, everyone associated with the program fully realizes hard work and dedication remain key ingredients to CSU's success.
Layer, his staff, and the student-athletes instead have squarely set their sights on the continued growth and success.