Coaching at the Division I level isn’t different – it’s the attention that surrounds the program that is different.
The biggest difference for me was I no longer had to referee intramural football on Tuesdays.
When the whistle blows and your team surrounds you at practice, it’s the same – they want to know if you can make them better.
It’s a different kind of cold. Trust me.
There is an incredible sense of pride at the University of Maine that is special.
You can build the right culture independent of results.
But everything easier when you have winning behind you.
If the kids aren’t treated properly as athletes, they know it. And that is hard to overcome.
The Alfond on a Friday night is as electric as it gets.
Kids are less concerned with bells and whistles than you think.
Good players gravitate towards competence.
Don’t be afraid to show your kids that you are vulnerable – it will create a safe environment around your program where they can give you everything they have.
You can still establish a positive environment even when you aren’t winning many games.
Talent matters – the easier it is for them to do it, the more willing they are to buy into it.
Always do the right thing by your players, regardless of the impact it may have on your future. Those relationships are your credibility as a coach.
It’s always 72 and sunny in the gym.
There is something about a more-with-less culture that is special.
When players get in the gym, they really want to know one thing – are you making them better? If you are, you’ve got em.
A great staff makes a huge difference.
Make sure your Ops guy puts the captions on when playing a movie on the bus so you don’t have to turn the volume up too high. When everyone falls asleep, you won’t wake up in a daze feeling like William Wallace is actually coming after you.
Great camaraderie amongst the athletes in different sports has a positive impact on all the programs.
The Kennebunk rest stop is a lonely place after 2 in the morning.
Winter is 5 months. Spring is 2 weeks.
The offense that looked so crisp in your gym in October looks a little different at Hinkle Field House in November.
You can stop halfway to have a practice. You can leave a day early. You can spend the night after the game. Bottom line is you just ain’t moving Orono closer to the rest of the U.S.
It’s hard for kids to maintain a positive attitude when they aren’t winning, but if the environment is right and they are appreciate how they are being coached, they can do it.
Calixte, Little, Myers, Vann, Fleming, Eke, Eze, Stojijlkovic, White… I would have liked to run that team out there for a couple of years in the America East.
The America East has some great coaches.
Texas Tech will pay you $115,000 to go play them if you have the right date.
But it will cost you $35,000 to get your team from Orono to Lubbock.
Your record should never define you – not when you are winning, not when you are losing.
There is a love affair with women’s basketball in Maine you won’t find in too many places. It’s very cool.
Spend a week in Maine and you’ll meet some of the nicest, most genuine people you’ll find anywhere.
A results-based approach will wear thin quickly.
On average, there’s about one Division I basketball player per year in the state of Maine – and they usually end up being better than you think (Fleming, Mayo, Caner-Medley, Mims, Barr, Mastropolo, Knight…).
Count on 10 hours on a bus to get from Binghamton to Orono in the winter.
100% focus on the process is a tremendous challenge.
The negative stuff most people talk about – location, cold, long bus rides – really doesn’t have much of an impact if the environment in the gym every day is positive and the players know you are making them better.
Maine has a tremendous history of high school basketball. The state tournament is special.
Empathy is a great quality to have as a coach.
If you are honest with your kids they’ll give you everything they’ve got, and appreciate you forever.
If you find yourself in a low-expectations environment, fight it every day.
You can recruit good players anywhere. The right culture can overcome a lot of perceived shortcomings.