A tour of NBA camps and a year in the Continental Basketball Association confirmed that notion, so Kleinschmidt went overseas to play pro ball. He embraced Japan after stops in Italy and Venezuela.
“The money was good, the people were nice and I had great teammates,” he says. “For a guy who’d never been out of Chicago, it was a good experience.”
But after 11 years of it, Chicago was calling him home. Kleinschmidt landed a job on Jerry Wainwright’s DePaul staff, with no illusions about its entry-level nature. He would fetch sandwiches for the coaching staff while they studied tapes or made recruiting calls.
“Jerry is my mentor, and he believes you work your way up in this business,” Kleinschmidt said.
Thus Kleinschmidt was not “above” taking a high school job when DePaul dismissed the Wainwright staff during the 2009-10 season. He spent two years at York in Elmhurst and left behind a 20-win team and a Kleinschmidt-like gym rat in guard David Cohn when Gordon Tech called last spring.
“Tom belongs here. He gives us credibility,” said Paul Chabura, the athletic director, interim principal and Gordon Tech alum who made the hire.