It has been a great privilege to play for, work for, and work with some tremendous coaches. From Garin Brockman at St. John’s School (RIP, Coach Brockman) to Steve Gleaves, David Balderrama, and Wayne Jones at The Kinkaid School to Charlie Boggess at Alamo Heights High School, I was so fortunate to play for a lot of great coaches; and once I started coaching, I was equally blessed to learn from another crew of terrific coaches. When considering all the basketball I’ve absorbed over the years, 3 non-basketball-related coaching lessons stand out perhaps more than any basketball-related coaching lessons I’ve ever learned.
In the Summer of 1993, my family moved from Houston to Alamo Heights in San Antonio. Considering that this was the Summer before what was to be my senior year, it’s easy to imagine that these circumstances were somewhat less than ideal. I will never, ever forget getting a phone call a few weeks after the move from David Balderrama, my basketball coach at The Kinkaid School in Houston. He was calling just to check in on me, to see how I was doing. Coach B was a classic players’ coach- we loved playing for him- but I was nevertheless a bit surprised to hear from him. We chatted for a while, and he said he’d call back to check up in another couple of weeks- and he did. And he kept calling. Like clockwork. Every couple of weeks. And then, when Kinkaid was in San Antonio playing in their conference tournament, Coach B brought the whole team to see Alamo Heights play. Coaches, let me just tell you, the way Coach B treated me after we relocated to San Antonio moved me to the core of my soul, and it still does. There was no reason on the planet for him to stay in touch, but he did, and that, to me, defines a coach, and it’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. Simply put, if you really only take an interest in your players’ lives during the time they’re athletically useful to you, YOU ARE NOT A COACH, at least not in my eyes.