I've been fortunate enough to have been a part of the Southeastern Conference for a long time. The result? I've seen some outstanding players and some great coaches. In fact, some of the best players and coaches in the history of the sport.
During that time I've become a big fan of Georgia's Andy Landers. He's in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame for good reason -- consistently outstanding basketball teams (11 SEC championships, five Final Fours and 20 Sweet 16 appearances). His teams are always well-coached and play extremely hard. This season, after another great start, they have begun SEC play with an 0-4 start -- the first time in Coach Lander's career.
Now he could talk about a difficult SEC schedule he has had to play to start but that's now how he operates. I always watch carefully to see how coaches handle success and how they handle adversity. The great coaches know how to handle both.
Here are a few of Coach Landers comments that I read yesterday from the Associated Press. It's a case study into how to regroup and move your team forward:
"Whether you're 16-0, 11-5 or whatever the case may be, there are always challenges," Landers said Tuesday. "If you're ranked No. 1 in the country, that's a challenge. So it's a different kind of challenge, but it's not all new.
"Are we at a place that we haven't been before? Yes, from the standpoint only of being 0-4. Are we at a place that is unfamiliar? Yes and no. We're always in a position where there's something significant that has to be done."
Landers said Tuesday he's trying to provide encouragement for his players, who acknowledge their frustration has grown with the losing streak. He said encouragement is different than comfort.
"If we were 4-0, I wouldn't be comfortable and I wouldn't want them to be comfortable, so I'm certainly not trying to provide comfort at 0-4," he said. "As we always do, we've got a fight on our hands.
"Support? Yeah. Encouragement? Yeah. But we're not in the middle of some kind of a funeral. Comfort isn't a part of it."