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Tuesday, March 24, 2015


A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog on one of my former players Bryan Frampton.  I am publishing the entire post below for any who may have missed it.  It chronicles Bryan's fight with cancer on multiple occasions.  It also talks about his love for his sons who carried on his tradition of competing at Poca High School for his coach Allen Osborne. 

What I left out of the first blog was that one of the final conversations that Bryan had with his sons, one of them asked, "Dad, do you think we'll win the state championship?"  Without hesitation Bryan replied "I guarantee it!"

Last week Noah and Luke and the Poca Dots captured the West Virginia State Championship, with a perfect 27-0 record -- first undefeated team in West Virginia in decade.

And somewhere in heaven there is a fierce competitor smiling!

I’ve been working on this post for over two months. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve had to post. They say the hardest thing for a parent to do is to have to bury one of their children.  The same can hold true for a coach. 

The silent ageless oak tree,
the river running strong,
the mountain set against the sky,
the sweet melodic song.*

I’ve heard that coaches shouldn’t have favorites.  As someone that has coached for three decades, I can tell you that simply isn’t possible.  We all have our favorites.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t love all of our players and that we don’t give them all our very best.  We want them all to succeed.  But there are those who’s kindred spirit inspires us, the teacher.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

As a coach you work hard not just to teach your student-athletes how to pass, shoot and screen.  You want to lay a foundation that will last them for the rest of their life.  You want them to learn about teamwork, commitment, and sacrifice.  When they leave your program they should understand goal development and time management.  There is nothing greater for a coach then to see that player 10 years removed and they are successfully navigating through life...raising a family...holding down a job...making a positive contribution to society.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

Every once in a while, you have the privilege of coaching a young person who lives just as they played.  Giving life every bit as much as they did the game of basketball on the court.  The type of person that leaves a legacy on the program they participated with, as well as a legacy in life to his family and friends.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

I only coached Bryan for one year which speaks to the impact he had on me as a coach.  I was between college coaching stops at West Virginia State College and Marshall University when I had the opportunity to work for my junior high school coach and mentor Allen Osborne at Poca High School.

In that one season, I learned more about teaching and coaching than any other stop I’ve had in my professional career — Allen is that good!  But we also had a special team.  For those that coach you already know that special team translates to special people.  But I’ve never coached a special team that didn’t have at least one warrior.  That one player that took it personal not just on game night, but at every practice, in every drill.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

The storm that rages wildly,
the faith that never alters,
cannot compare with a warrior's heart
for his heart's strength never falters.*

Bryan passed away December 1 of 2013 after a long battle with cancer.  And when I say battle, I mean it in the warrior’s sense.  Cancer may have finally took Bryan, but I promise you it was exhausted after the battle.

After a great career at Poca High School, Bryan felt the need to compete at a higher level.  He joined the United State Navy.  It was during his tenure with the Navy that his first battle with cancer occurred — one that forced doctors to amputate his right leg.  No problem for Bryan.  Remove it and let’s move on.  Move on he did.  Securing a job, getting married and raising a family of three boys, Nathaniel, Noah and Luke.

Noah and Luke now carry on the Frampton tradition at Poca High School playing for Allen.  Once, when Coach Osborne was looking into purchasing a shooting machine for the team, Bryan asked if he could take the brochures home with him.  He later called Allen and of course Bryan had picked out the most expensive machine for his boys urging Allen to purchase the one with the computer digital read out.  When Allen told Bryan it was the most expensive, he replayed a message he had learned playing for Allen: “It always cost a little more to be the best.”
Bryan continued to be a great fan of the game, encouraging his sons to play and becoming a loyal supporter of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  Now the thing you have to know about Bryan is that God has never placed a more loyal soul on this earth than Bryan Frampton.  In Bryan’s heart there was the University of Kentucky and then there were the enemies.

A few years ago Bryan had a pain in his shoulder.  For the longest time he shrugged it off.  That’s what warriors do.  Finally, upon seeing a doctor and going through tests, it was discovered that he had a new battle with cancer — this time the cancer stretched from his lungs up into his shoulders.

The cancer was aggressive and wide-spread.  Bryan Frampton was aggressive also — he was a warrior.  As doctors worked with Bryan, they also looked at some of the best facilities in the nation to send him for additional help such as M.D Anderson in Houston, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and the Duke Cancer Center in Durham, North Carolina.  Please remember our earlier passage about Bryan’s strong love for his Kentucky Wildcats and his amazing loyalty.  He quickly informed the doctors that he would not be going to Duke.  He was always quick to inform anyone that “you can’t spell Duke without UK.”

Such was Bryan Frampton.

The oak may be cut down,
and the river may run dry,
the song will end, the storm will break,
but a warrior will never die.*

Bryan was also an active outdoorsman despite having only one leg.  He loved to fish and he loved to hunt — and he loved doing both with his sons.  One day, while out weed-eating, he fell and broke his hip.  The doctors encouraged him not to repair the hip because the surgery was too complicated and could be fatal because of what he was going through in his cancer treatments.  Sorry, said Bryan.  We’re doing the surgery.  “Gotta hunt and fish with my boys.”

Today, both Luke and Noah are playing at Poca — one of the top teams in the state.  Now let’s talk about the love a coach has for his player — after they have played.  Allen would often go over to Bryan’s home last year with game films so Bryan could watch his sons play.  Allen and Bryan would of course critique the videos — that what competitors do.  The cancer was taking its toll at that point and he was often so sick he could not attend games.  Below you will see a shot his son Noah hit to win a game — another game Bryan was unable to attend.  I would tell you that it looks similar to the shot Christian Laettner hit to beat his beloved Kentucky but Bryan would not want it described that way.

As the Poca Dots play through the remaining part of their season, Noah and Luke take turns wearing #34 in honor of the father.  I believe strongly that the best way to honor the passing of a loved one is by the life that you live.  Bryan’s sons certainly have some big shoes to fill — but with dad’s DNA flowing through them I’m going to bet that they are going to be competitors, hard workers, great husbands and fathers.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

Their memory lives on, eternal;
their spirit guides us through;
their courage gives us hope:
brave warriors, ever true.*

*indicates from "A Warrior's Heart"
A Poem by Gonflet

Monday, March 23, 2015


Another quick glimpse into Greg Brown's outstanding book,  "The Best Things I've Seen In Coaching," includes an incredible list he got from Coach Don Meyer.  This title of the list should peak your curiosity enough -- Things I Wish An Older, Experienced Coach Would Have Told Me When I Was Young.  The list, compiled by Coach Meyer, has 50 bullet points of outstanding information.  Here is a look at just 10 them:

#2 Be what you is because if you be what you ain't, you ain't what you is.  Kids can spot a phony or con man a mile away.

#12 All the greats know how to keep is simple - Jack Whitaker.

#13 Average tennis players have a great variety of shots while great tennis players his the same old boring winners. -Vic Braden

#24 Who is working for you when you are not there. -Tommy Smith

#25 I never allowed myself or my staff, or our players to get satisfied. -John Wooden

#27 The saddest day of your life will be the day you find that you are no longer productive.

#31 Have a thoughts and notes journal that you keep just for you. -Dick Bennett

#34 Learn who you are and what your game is. -Rick Majerus

#36 Don't wrestle in the mud with a pig because you both get muddy and the pic likes it. (My uncle on administrators)

#44 Teach, teach, teach. You better have good practices. -Al McGuire

Want to see the entire list? Buy the book -- it is so full of great material that Coach Brown learned while working for Coach Meyer and Pat Summitt.  And even more importantly, proceeds from the book will be divided among the Meyer and Summitt Foundations.

For ordering information, click HERE.

Monday, March 16, 2015


The following comes "The Carolina Way" written by Dean Smith:

I break down the idea of working hard into three main components:

1.      Pure effort: It may seem paradoxical, but it’s the people who bring the same great effort to work effort to work every day who don’t burn out.

2.      Concentration: You must stay in the present and focus on each task, one at a time. Don’t jump ahead to another problem before you finish with the one at hand.

3.      Self-discipline: Managers must work until they finish a project. That means having the patience to repeat things until they are done correctly. Usually it’s the dreary 5 percent of the wrap-up that’s the hardest.


I recently finished reading a book titled "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks" by Bruce Feldman.  It was a fascinating read about what goes into a good quarterback these days through the eyes of development "coaches" that work individually with the athletes.  But the chapter "Manningland" was worth the cost of the book alone, taking a look at some of the things that makes Peyton Manning great.  Over the next few days I wanted to share a few outstanding passages from Feldman's book on Manning.  You can read the first part here which speaks to his attention to detail in everything -- especially the weight room. The second deals with Peyton's work ethic including watching practice video immediately after workouts and you can click here to read.  This one again shows great attention to detail with Peyton creating his own system of viewing video.  Viewing video in this manner allows his focus to be more channeled in one specific area:

Cody Fajardo, a quarterback at Nevada, who worked the camp in 2013, asked Peyton Manning, “How do you watch film?”

“The thing about that is, they’re full-time NFL guys, and I’m still a college student,” Fajardo later explained the rationale for his question. “My time management is a little tougher, but Peyton told me on Mondays, he will watch all third downs. On Tuesdays, he’ll watch first-and-tens and first-and-ten-plus. On Wednesdays, he’d watch all the blitz tape. On Thursdays, he’ll watch the complete game. On Fridays, he’ll watch the complete game again. On Saturdays, he’ll watch a bunch of cut-ups and what he wants to see in situational football. He’s got it all mapped out in increments, so it’s not boring. He’ll take notes. That’s what I’m gonna try to implement in my film study, so instead of watching an entire game in one sitting, you’re looking at stuff in increments and still getting good work in the film room.”

Friday, March 13, 2015


Coach Don Meyer would always talk about the importance of terminology and word pictures in helping teach and motivate your team.  I think he'd like what the Atlanta Hawks are doing with the concept of "vitamins."  Here is an excerpt on an article that ran in the New York Times written by  Scott Cacciola.  It's a great article and you can read it in it's entirety here.
“It’s as important as anything we do,” Coach Mike Budenholzer said of the team’s emphasis on player development.
Spend some time around the Hawks, and one word continues to surface: vitamins. It is a metaphor for their philosophy, and it helps explain their 50-14 record. They take their vitamins when they hit the cold tub for treatment. They take their vitamins when they lift weights. They take their vitamins when they study film and watch their diets. Above all, they take their vitamins when they head to the gym for individualized skill sessions with Budenholzer’s assistants.
“It’s that daily nourishment that your body needs,” said Budenholzer, 45, who was hired before the start of last season after spending 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, the last 17 as an assistant under Coach Gregg Popovich.
Budenholzer, who acknowledged appropriating the vitamin concept from one of his fellow assistants with the Spurs, seeks consistent improvement. In Atlanta, he has his players spend as much time working one-on-one with members of his staff as they do in traditional team practice settings. He wants opportunities for Paul Millsap to hone his outside shooting touch and for Jeff Teague to identify passing angles and for Kyle Korver to add a floater to his repertoire.
Before the Hawks faced the visiting Sacramento Kings on Monday night, the public-address announcer revved up the crowd by shouting, “Some still do not believe! Do you believe?” What followed was another clinic in a season full of them. All five starters reached double figures in scoring early in the third quarter. The Hawks assisted on 42 of 53 field goals. They set a franchise record by making 20 3-pointers. And they won by 25.
The win was only minutes old when Budenholzer began thinking about the work that still needed to be done. His staff soon joined him in a theater room at the arena. Budenholzer really likes meetings. He meets with his coaches before practices and after games, when they remove their ties and make plans for the next day.
“They’re probably up there right now, deciding whether we should have vitamins or not,” small forward DeMarre Carroll said after Monday’s game. “There will be some coaches fighting for us to get rest, and there will be some coaches fighting for vitamins. So they go in their little room and sort it out.”
Once the coaches decide on the schedule — they try to form a consensus, although Budenholzer has veto power — they debrief Wally Blase, the head athletic trainer, who sends late-night text messages to the players with the various times they are expected to report to the arena. Blase also lets the players know which coaches have been assigned to work with them for their vitamin sessions. Typically, no two players have the same schedule, so communication is vital.
“We do everything but send smoke signals over their houses just to make sure they know what’s going on,” Atkinson said.
In addition, each assistant receives a sheet that details his day: his allotment of vitamin sessions, along with the material that the coaches have agreed to cover. The message is uniform, and the coaches try not to overload the players with information.
“It’s not like we say, ‘Here’s 10 things for you to work on,’ ” Atkinson said. “No, here’s one or two.”
For Kent Bazemore, most of his vitamin sessions have centered on his reconfigured shooting stroke. Not long after Bazemore signed with the Hawks last year, he began working with the assistant coach Ben Sullivan, who picked apart Bazemore’s mechanics. Bazemore had an elongated motion, and the ball tended to come off his ring finger and pinkie.


I recently finished reading a book titled "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks" by Bruce Feldman.  It was a fascinating read about what goes into a good quarterback these days through the eyes of development "coaches" that work individually with the athletes.  But the chapter "Manningland" was worth the cost of the book alone, taking a look at some of the things that makes Peyton Manning great.  Over the next few days I'm going to share a few outstanding passages from Feldman's book on Manning.  You can read the first part here. The second deals with Peyton's work ethic including watching practice video immediately after workouts:

Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper was a young assistant coach at Tennessee when Peyton was the Vols’ quarterback. Roper, himself the son of a coach, said the college kid taught him more about preparation that anyone he’d ever been around. “When I played at Rice, nobody watched practice right after and took notes like he did.”

“His work ethic, and his ability to be singularly focused on winning from week to week and controlling his mind and preparing for his moment was amazing. Nobody I’ve ever been around, coaches included, have the drive that he has to prepare. He is just different than anybody else.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


As I like to do, I took time to read my timely passage from "The Maxwell Daily Reader" written by John Maxwell.  Each calendar day there is a message and it is always amazing how it fits in with something going on in my life. Today's, March 11, spoke about how we view failure and how our thought process in this regard goes a long way towards success.  To make his point, Maxwell used one of my favorites, Tony Gwynn as example:

On August 6, 1999, a major-league baseball player stepped up to home plate in Montreal and made another out -- the 5,113th of his professional career.  That's a lot of trips to the batter's box without a hit!  If a player made all of those outs consecutively, and he average four at bats per game, he would play eight seasons (1,278 game straight) without ever reaching first base!

Was the player discourage that night? No.  You see, earlier in the same game, in his first plate appearance, that player had reached a milestone that only twenty-one other people in the history of baseball have every achieved.  He had made his 3,000th hit.  That player was Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres.

During that game, Tony got on base with hits four times in five tries.  But that's not the norm for him.  Usually he fails to get a hit two times out of every three attempts.  Those results may not sound very encouraging, but if you know baseball, you recognize that Tony's ability to succeed consistently only one time in three tries has made him the great hitter of his generation.  And Tony recognized that to get his hits, he has to make a lot of outs.

One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures.  Instead, they have need to keep the bigger picture in mind.  Someone like Tony Gwynn doesn't look at an out that he makes and think of failure.  He sees it within the context of the bigger picture.  His perspective leads to perseverance. His perseverance brings longevity.  And his longevity gives him opportunity for success.


The follow came from a report on Comcast that speak of the type of commitment needed to excel:

Following the Warriors' 102-93 win over the Bucks on Wednesday night, Klay Thompson wasn't ready to go home.

The 2015 All-Star returned to the Oracle Arena floor well after the final horn to work on his jump shot.

Thompson scored 17 points against Milwaukee on 5-for-16 shooting (3-for-8 3's).

The game prior, the 25-year old shooting guard suffered one of his worst shooting nights of the year -- 3-for-17, including 1-for-9 from the 3-point line in Brooklyn.

The night before that, he went 9-23 from the floor (2-10 3's) against Boston.

Despite his recent struggles, Thompson is shooting 43 percent from the deep on the season, good for fourth in the NBA.

His 178 treys trail only Stephen Curry's 193.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


A great thought on LOVE from Coach Vince Lombardi -- so good it is our team's motivational passout for today.


Going over some old clinic notes and came across some great practice concepts from Del Harris:

Targeted, mistake-focused practice is essential to increased learning efficiency.  Daniel Coyle, in his book "The Talent Code" refers to this as "deep practice."

#1 The key is that when a mistake is made in execution of an action that you start from the positions everyone was in and show the correct action from the beginning point and complete the actions as opposed to starting all over again.

#2 It is important to isolate the error and do the correct movement.  Doing the correction is worth multiple times more than any demonstration or verbal correction.  "One real encounter is worth several hundred observations" is the mantra.  Important to understand that video is not the total package in correcting.

#3 Slow it down -- learning to do it over and over slowly allows perfection and the body and brain to correlate the activity.  Seeing oneself in slow motion also speeds up execution which is where video can play an important role.

#4 Repetitions -- must be attentive repetitions.  Fire the impulse, fix errors and hone the circuit.

#5 It is only repetition from "deep practice" that matters.  Work ethic is overrated because it always involves a time equation when one speaks of it.

#6 Spending more time is effective only when you are in the "sweet spot" of your effort, attentively honing your circuits.  Practice that is focused, passionate, even desperate is the ultimate state.  Keep it interesting and helpful.