The question I am asked most often is, “How do I get my foot in the door in coaching?” Most questions come from those wanting to reach the college coaching ranks.
One piece of advice come from Bob Knight, legendary Texas Tech coach. Young coaches should heed the advice of “The General.”
When Bob Knight first got the job at West Point in 1965, he called three people. One was his coach at Ohio State, Fred Taylor. The other two were Hall of Fame inductees Clair Bee of Long Island University and Joe Lapchick of St. John’s University. Once established, Pete Newell became a close personal advisor to Coach Knight. To this day Bob Knight will consult with Newell on every aspect of the game. Pete Newell, then, is indirectly related to much of the success Bob Knight has had in coaching.
Two challenges for young coaches:
Challenge ONE–Would you pick up the phone and call Bob Knight for advice? I talk about how high school coaches are often afraid to call their collegiate counterparts for advice. The excuses cover a range of topics, but I don’t buy it!
Challenge TWO–Coaches need to follow the lead of top businessmen, politicians, pastors, and educators. If you want to learn, ask those who you respect that have great experiences. Chances are there is no question you could ask that they did not face at some point in their own career!
Using a mentor is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Every successful person in any field has learned from someone before them. Mentors are an important element for success.
Young coaches: Get over it… Pick up the phone and call Bob Knight, Lute Olson, Jim Calhoun, Tim Floyd, Jim Boeheim, and Rick Pitino… Bob Knight DID!
You can too!