The calendar says it is fall, but for University of Cincinnati basketball fans October means only one thing: The season is about to tip off.

UC, which finished 27-7 last year, sharing the American Athletic Conference regular season title with Louisville, starts practice in early October and opens the season Nov. 14 at home against St. Francis University.

The Bearcats are entering their ninth season under coach Mick Cronin, who grew up on the west side as the son of successful high school coach Harold “Hep” Cronin.

Cronin, who has rebuilt UC’s men’s program to national prominence, was named AAC coach of the year last season and was a nominee for national coach of the year. With an overall 162-107 mark under Cronin, the Bearcats are one of only 16 teams to reach the last four NCAA tournaments. In June, he signed a seven-year contract extension to stay at his alma mater through 2020-21.

Is the pressure greater coaching your hometown team and alma mater?

There’s pressure anywhere. Successful coaches have longevity by having tunnel vision. You’ve got to be able to focus on what matters, which is developing your program and your players. You can’t worry about what people are saying. You can’t embrace it either. You’ve go to realize the majority of people will love you when you win, and hate you when you lose.

How do you unwind during season?

God works in funny ways. I was this super-charged competitor and God gave me the cutest daughter in the world. My daughter Samantha, who turns 8 on Oct. 6, was a huge change in my life. When I’m with her, I don’t even think about my job at all. That’s a gift. She’s a huge dose of perspective. Win or lose, after a game, if we go out to eat, her question is: Do they have pepperoni pizza?

What’s the biggest misconception about Mick Cronin?

People confuse Mick Cronin the basketball coach with Mick Cronin the person. I’m analytical and people think I’m serious all the time. But when I meet somebody for the first time, they react like, “Wow! He laughs and is a regular guy.” They see this crazy guy running up and down the side of the basketball court and think that’s me. It’s not. It’s my job.

What’s the best advice you got from your dad about coaching?

I’ve read books by famous coaches and I shake my head because they say the same things my dad told me when I was nine years old. I didn’t realize what an advantage that was. I had a Ph.D. in coaching by the time I was 12. His best advice was: No matter who you coach, the kids will live up to the expectations that you demand. They’re never going to exceed your expectations, so you need to have high expectations.