• The run-up for the gymnastics vault extends all the way under one of the hoops on the baseline.
  • You are never going to get a straight answer as to what is going on with the heat.
  • Appreciate your kids for showing up.  They are finding a way to pay for school, many are working jobs, some have kids and families.  Celebrate their dedication.
  • A positive environment in the gym is extremely important.  You can be hard on them, but they need to enjoy the basketball part.  They aren’t on scholarship, and they can go anywhere they want whenever they want.
  • Your assistant should have the number of a Domino’s Pizza in his phone near every league opponent.
  • The compete level amongst the best D3 programs is elite.
  • Keep it simple.  And it’s still not simple enough.  You just don’t get enough practice time to do everything you want.
  • If a security guard named “Cheese” at a high school game tells you about a kid who can play, the kid can play.
  • Keep a bank envelope with all the leftover meal money in your bag.  Fives and singles.
  • Don’t worry when 32 kids show up for your first meeting.  24 will come to tryouts.  6 of them can’t play.  2 more will stop coming after 3 days.  You’ll have 16 at your first game, 14 after Christmas, and hopefully 12 healthy for your league games.
  • The level of talent is so much better than people realize.
  • The level of coaching is terrific.  Some of the best coaches I’ve competed against are coaching D3 basketball.
  • When you are standing next to Ed Cooley, Archie Miller, and Phil Martelli at a recruiting workout, just give the head coach your card and tell him you’ll call the kid later.  He doesn’t want you walking up to talk to him in front of his teammates.
  • You aren’t practicing in your gym on open house weekend.
  • Your leadership approach is crucial.  You don’t get nearly as much time with them as you do at the D1 level.
  • When you go on the road, buy Gatorades ahead of time and give your kids a little money to eat at the mall instead of sitting down to a team meal.
  • Some of the best players you will coach will just show up in your gym, unrecruited.
  • Size doesn’t matter.
  • Fundraise if you have to and get your kids the best gear – they will be proud to represent the program.  It makes a bigger difference than you think.
  • Scouting isn’t nearly as advanced as it is at higher levels.  You can focus on your own stuff and run it.
  • Recruit two of every position every year. Don’t look at your board and try and figure out what you need.
  • Never say no to a good player.
  • Transparency will help your program tremendously.
  • Play a D1 team in an exhibition if you can.  Your kids will love it, and it will make you better.
  • The 3 days of practice after you get back from Christmas break are going to be the worst you’ve ever seen – every year.  It’ll look like your team is playing underwater.  Expect it and fight through it.
  • Recruit players that fit the culture of the school.
  • If you get upset when a gym teacher walks through your practice to put the broom hockey sticks in the closet, it’s going to be a struggle for you.
  • Consistent winning at a high level is about how well you get your team to guard.
  • Embrace the few alums who really care – it’s cool for them, and it shows your kid they are part of something bigger than just themselves.
  • A quality livestream of your games is very important for recruiting.
  • Your kids don’t really care about all of the stuff you don’t have – you shouldn’t either.
  • Let your players be themselves – their personalities will make your team better.
  • A good manager or two are essential – you might be able to get them some class credit in the marketing or management department as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something different – when you walk out of the gym after it didn’t work, nobody really cares.
  • Evaluating talent in recruiting can be much harder – often the kid you are watching is the only kid on the floor who might actually play in college.
  • Or, the kid you are watching isn’t going to play for his high school team because his team is too good.
  • Don’t for a second think you can’t be as demanding on the kids because they aren’t on scholarship. They want a culture of accountability.
  • If somebody is late for a shoot around, wait until after the game and have the team run on the court.  Don’t worry about it before the game.
  • Your trainer is going to hate Sunday practices.
  • Gymnastics teams listen to a lot of bad 80s pop music when they practice.
  • Embrace the separation of the offseason.  You get them for 5 months, they are on their own for 7.  Don’t harass them with weightlifting cards and workout programs.  Recruit the kids who want to play in the summer and get better.  Give them the room to take ownership.
  • A competitive culture is extremely powerful.
  • Get your best players on the court – mismatches are not going to beat you.  Good players are going to beat them.
  • Avoid Western Massachusetts in the NCAA Tournament if at all possible.
  • A big part of your job is to insulate your kids from stuff that sucks.  Figure out the things that make them say “Man, this sucks” and find a way to change it.
  • Always take care of the people in academic services and make them a part of your program.
  • The fall semester is always hard.  For the first six weeks you can’t really do anything with them.  You need to raise money for your program.  And you’ll never feel like you have enough practice time.
  • The officials are good.  They don’t care who wins.  They have tough travel for short money.  Leave them be.
  • Your players love for the game is pure.  It matters to them as much or more as it does to anyone at any level.
  • The relationships you have with your players will last forever.
  • So will the banners.

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