Coaching… Sharing. Doing What is Right.

I was fortunate to have been brought into the coaching profession 25 years ago by Jeff Van Gundy.  We went to Nazareth College in Rochester, NY together, he was a senior – me, a freshman.  He lead the varsity to the NCAA tournament, I watched and learned.  I spent a year with him at McQuaid, then later, I was nurtured and educated in coaching by Stan Van Gundy for four years at UMass-Lowell.  Being connected to them gave me the opportunity meet, interact and learn lessons from their father Bill Van Gundy.  BUT, most importantly I met the smartest of all the Van Gundy’s, Jeff and Stan’s mother, Cindy.  They’ll all tell you that.  She is the only person I have ever seen keep complete stats for both teams, live in-game, never make a mistake and still have the time and presence to yell at officials.  Amazing people. 

Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy

This tremendous basketball family didn’t teach about how to be a great basketball coach or player (though they certainly are and do), they taught about how to be and act and “do” the right way.  To respect the people around you, respect the game and respect our profession.  A lost teaching principal today in the profession.  Investing time and the right lessons in all young coaches because it is what’s right.

Stan Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy

You want to read a great article about the family…

Ian O’Connor’s 2004 article in the USA Today.

Why do I bring this up?… the state of our profession, especially at the college level, is terrible.  We, colleges coaches, talk about these things – very few live them.  We live them in front of the camera, in front of student-athletes (at times) and in front of recruit’s parents or boosters and administrators.  Doing the right thing because it is right, respecting the profession, is at an all-time low.  So many brainwash themselves into believing they are doing what is right – they aren’t.  Not for each other within the profession, not for the student-athletes, not for themselves.  Winning at all costs, recruiting illegally, moving up the ladder at all costs, none of it is what is right.

What triggered these thoughts?   What we all first learned in kindergarten… learn to share.  Again, Eric Musselman’s Basketball Notebook gave me a simple yet huge, meaningful jolt while enjoying my morning decaf.  Basic principals.  Coaches in the NBA and some WNBA get it because they realize the game isn’t about them.  Everyone has to get back to living the fact that the game is about the game, about the student-athlete, to doing what is right.

Be willing to share.

Here it is.  Thanks Coach Musselman.

Be willing to share

By Eric Musselman

If you’ve found just one item of value on this blog over the last year or so, then it’s been worth it. I’ve certainly enjoyed it. Even more, I’ve enjoyed interacting with so many great coaches, managers, and friends all over the world.

For me, the blog was about sharing items that coaches and leaders might find meaningful or worthy or constructive. In many cases, it was something that someone had shared with me first. After all, that’s the nature of coaching.

Nearly all of the posts here have included at least one quote. This one will be no different. It comes from a blog reader who passed it along to me recently:

“The greatest difficulty with the world is not its ability to produce, but the unwillingness to share.”

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