One of my favorite things in my office is a framed written piece called "The Coaches," by Bill Libby. It was given to me by Coach Dale Brown back when I worked for him. It hung on my office wall while I worked for him and at one point Coach Sue Gunter told me how much she liked it so I gave it to her to hang in her office. When she passed away, I reclaimed and it has remained on my office wall where ever I worked. After a difficult loss tonight, I took the time to read it once again:
Coaching is a difficult job, and there is no clear way to succeed in it. One cannot copy another who is a winner, for there seems to be some subtle, secret chemistry of personality that enables a person to lead successfully, and no one really knows what it is. Those who have succeeded and those who have failed represent all kinds – young and old, inexperienced and experienced, hard and soft, tough and gentle, good-natured and foul-tempered, proud and profane, articulate and inarticulate, even dedicated and casual. Most are dedicated, some more than others, but dedication alone is not enough. Some are smarter than others, but intelligence is not enough. All want to win, but some want to win more than others, and just wanting is not enough in any event. Even winning is often not enough. Losers almost always get fired, but winners get fired, too.
He is out in the open being judged publicly almost every day or night for six, seven, or eight months a year by those who may or may not be qualified to judge him. And every victory and every defeat is recorded constantly in print or on the air and periodically totaled up.
The coach has no place to hide. He cannot just let the job go for a while or do a bad job and assume no one will notice as most of us can. He cannot satisfy everyone. Seldom can he even satisfy very many. Rarely can he even satisfy himself. If he wins once, he must win the next time, too. In the end, almost certainly, he will be fired.
They plot victories, suffer defeats, endure criticism from within and without, and brook rumors that they are on their way in here and out there. They neglect their families, travel endlessly, and live alone in a spotlight surrounded by others.
Theirs may be the worst profession – unreasonably demanding and insecure and full of unrelenting pressures. Why do they put up with it? Why do they do it? A few retire, but most hang on desperately, almost unreasoningly. Why? Having seen them hired and hailed as geniuses at gaudy party-like press conferences and having seen them fired with pat phrases such as “fool” or “incompetent,” I have wondered about them. Having seen them exultant in victory and depressed by defeat, I have sympathized with them. Having seen some broken by the job and others die from it, I have been moved to write this book.