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Standing on the shoulders of our mentors

One of the coaches in my coaching tree is Coach John Wooden.  I have been blessed by the coaches I have been mentored by. These men  modeled the "master coach" John Wooden.  So how has Coach Wooden impacted me on the coaching tree? I have just one story but it changed my life and hopefully the story can help us all .
In 1979 I had just finished my first year of coaching.  I had graduated from College and was so fortunate to have been coached in college by Homer Drew.  


Well after that first year of coaching at the High school level I found that I certainly did not have "all the answers" when it came to coaching the game of basketball.  My team was horrible.  I've said many times that my first team was not very smart.  We dressed six guys and the rest could dress themselves .  After that stressful season I was motivated to attend a clinic in Chicago, ll.    It was my first clinic I had ever been to and I had no expectations.  To this day I can tell you nor I do not remember one play that was diagramed or one special set that was drawn up by the guest speakers. What I experienced was even greater and has impacted my coaching philosophy for the near four decades of my career.

Wooden' s impact 

As I entered the large room in Chicago that day I quickly realized that there were no seats available in the auditorium. Quickly I decided to simply slide down against a wall and get to work writing down as much information I could gather.   The speaker at the podium at that time was Hubie Brown .  Hubie is a great basketball mind and has his own coaching tree that has sprouted great coaches.   As I began to get settled in and take my notes and began to glance around my surroundings.   Could it be? Yes right beside me was the coaching legend John Wooden.   To say I was nervous was an understatement.  So as a Jr High boy would do in a math class I began to write down the notes as I saw Wooden write down the notes from Coach Brown's presentation.  Coach Wooden took meticulous notes.   Neat and perfect.   So what is the big deal?  Sitting by John Wooden does not make you a great coach.
Here is what I learned that spring day in 1979.


John Wooden that meticulous note taker, winner of 10 National Championships was retired.   Yes the greatest coach in the history of our game was retired but still eager to learn.
My take away from that day was life changing.  John  Wooden was still learning after 10 national championships.  What does that tell me? 


The simple habits of John Wooden should tell us all that we need to be lifelong learners.  We need to be constantly getting better.  We need to improve our skills no matter what profession we choose to make.

Thank you Coach Wooden and all who are in my coaching tree.  May we all look to plant seeds in the lives of those we coach and work with. 


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