Posted on: June 4, 2010 8:51 am

The Greatest Coach is in his last days

Have you heard?  Coach John Wooden is likely in his last days at the UCLA Hospital.  I have never been a UCLA fan.  I have raely rooted for Purdue.  I do admit that I am prejudice in that Coach Wooden is from Indiana.  But even the most objective observer must confirm Coach Wooden is the best coach of basketball that has ever been.  Ten national titles in 27 years. That is more than remarkable. Most successful coaches today coach until they can no longer walk.  Wooden quietly retired one year after his last national title.  He certainly could have racked up another 100 or 200 wins if he wanted to.  But clearly that was never the goal of this great coach.  In Jim Collin's book "Good to Great" Collins talks about great companies and how their goal is to be the best at what they do in the whole world. Profit, or in Wooden's case 'wins', are nothing but a by-product of doing the right things.  Wooden did about all of the right things.

Here I am a huge IU fan.  My beloved Bob Knight sits on top of the NCAA coaching victories. Three national titles at IU after running a clean program and graduating his players.  Still, in my heart, I find that character trumps everything else.  As much as I love IU and Knight, the person that John Wooden is makes him the greatest coach of basketball.  As I write this, there is another remarkable coach that comes to mind and that is Phil Jackson.  We can argue that pro ball and college ball is apples and oranges, but you cannot deny that Phil Jackson has to be a coach included in any discussion of the greatest coach the sport of basketball has ever seen. We may even argue that Wooden is the best there ever will be, because he was not about wins, he was about being a winner.

Wooden would frequently refer back to his Indiana roots that shaped him.  I pray the truth can be said for me and my children one day.  No doubt there will be hundreds and maybe thousands gathered for the funeral of a great man soon.  I m convinced that those who speak of John Wooden will talk far more about his love for them, his drive for excellence and his ability to teach then his records. I have heard it said that you look at a grave stone and see the year of birth, a dash, and the year of death.  The story is in the dash. For John Wooden, a coach for all coaches, your dash is an amazing story.  You have enriched many of our lives.  You make me proud to be a fellow Hoosier.  Lord, prepare a special place for this man. 
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 24, 2010 6:02 pm

How do you eat an elephant?

Indiana fans have been spoiled over the past 70 years with all those NCAA titles and Big Ten championships.  Now we are rebuilding with a new coach Tom Crean.  In his second season I am amazed to see fans posting that maybe he is not the answer.  Lets get some perspective.  Last year we won, with hard-working scrubs, just 6 games. We won only on in conference play. Here we are with about 12 games left and we have already won 9 games.  As I look over our schedule, I would say we could win 4 of the games left.  If we win 13 games this year, that would be a 217% improvement year over year.  Also, consider that 4 losses this year were very winable.  Young players grow rapidly, especially ones with excellent talent.  Coach Crean is doing alot of things right. He honors the proud tradition of the Hoosiers.  He recruits well.  He inspires players.  I hope he is patient.  Remember how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.  I'm believing great things in the future for our young team and its energetic coach.  Lets see what he does the rest of the year...and have another bite of elephant.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 1, 2008 2:17 pm

Hoosiers WILL NOT finish last in the Big Ten

We all know how completely depleted our past coach has left the Hoosier Basketball Team. But we have more than hope for next year. We have this year. No, I am not predicting a surprise win in the Big ten Tourney (but wouldn't that make a great movie?) but I absolutely do not believe these talented young men and a dynamic coach will finsh dead last.  I believe that tradition and great coaching and higher expectations will allow this team to develop rapidly and win enough games to keep them out of the Big ten cellar.  These young kids, when given playing time, will develop quickly. By mid-season, they will be more like sophomores.  I joke about the Big Ten Tourney, but think about the noise they could make, with no expectations and all their yourthful exhuberance....they could upset some teams.  I'm in nthe investment business, they say Buy quality when its low...BUY IU.  There are too many overworked sports journalists out there that are only paying attention to the top 3 teams in the Big Ten.  They are not doing their homework. Things will be fun to watch if we keep realistic expectations.  Indiana will turn some heads and make some opposing coaches furious, because they were supposed to cream the crimson this year...and they just might not. Go Hoosiers!
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 1, 2008 2:16 pm
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Posted on: February 22, 2008 8:12 am

Time to Think Long Term

Its reported the Greenspan met with the select team leaders Thursday and told them of the school's intent to terminate Sampson. The players responded by saying they would leave if Samspon goes.  In times like these, in my opinion, you cannot get caught up in the emotion and make a short-sighted decision.  I, like so many IU fans, want so desperately to see how this very talented team will do in the Big Dance.  But now, it could all crumble and become a freakish sidenote in the anals of basketball history.  But IU basketball is bigger than 2008. Its bigger than our supertalented Freshman Gordon.  Its bigger than tht whole team.  Sampson, as likable as he is, needs to go.  He is an infection that needs to be removed. Like surgery, it will take months to heal, but we will heal.  Now we must pray that the next selection of coach is a very very very good decision.  Forget "Days of Our Lives" we've got the best drama in the country right here.  And lets pray there may be a way to salvage this tea...and this promising season.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 20, 2008 5:02 pm

Wouldn't you hate to be McRobbie right now!?

Poor guy. He gets this awesome presidents job at this quiet prestigious midwestern school and a few months later BAAM!  NCAA comes down to greet him.  All the world looking at this guy who still hasn't found out where they keep the White Out. Now he is forced to likely remove his prize coach and the cuts may go deeper (just to satisfy the overzealous NCAA).  I really do feel for the guy.  My guess is that there is mor to the stories that we don't know.  It would be interesting to know everything in complete context. But we won't.  I honestly don't think Sampson is dirtier than the hundreds of other Div I head coaches out there trying to gain that razor thin edge.  But just like we don't let our kids play on the train tracks "because Johnny's mom lets him" we don't measure the integrity of our coaches by the lowes common denominator.

The fact may be that a termination is not just necessary, but a healthy thing for Sampson.  If Samson doesn't get a severe punishment here, he could slip back into the gray areas again.  Discipline does actually work...even on grown ups.  Too bad Bob Knight didn't have a little more of it all through his life.  He might still be coaching (and yes at IU).

My hope is that, like in the book "Art of War," we give this samuri a worthy exit.  Best wishes Coach Sampson.  I really like you, even despite your stumble.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Hoosiers
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