March Madness is narrowing down the field and cranking up the excitement. By the end of the weekend, the elite 8 will be reduced to the final four. I did not do a bracket this year – I’m not a huge basketball fan. But in my many years as a casual fan of NCAA basketball, I’ve learned one thing. The chances that Duke will be playing in the final 4 or at least the sweet 16 is almost a given. The key to their success can be attributed to the amazing job done by Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
In his 35 years as head coach of the Blue Devils here is his resume
4 National Championships
4 National Runners-up
11 final four appearances including a string of 5 in a row and 7 in 9 years).
29 NCAA tournament births in the past 30 years including a current string of 20 consecutive)
Career coaching record (at time of this post) 1015-310
Add to that college resume his success in international competition (defending 2 time Gold Medal champ – 2 more Olympic Gold medals as an assistant coach. And it is obvious that Krzyzewski is a great basketball mind.
But as you can read in this article from americancatholic.org, he credits his upbringing, his parents and his time in catholic schools for giving him a strong foundation of faith and belief in God that helps guide his coaching and his life. His role as a leader has an impact on how he lives his life – striving to be a nice guy, humble, empathetic and ethically moral Check out this video from faithandleadership.com
My main takeaway from Coach K’s story:
Be a good guy – Seems simple and basic, but sports is a competitive world, and when competition and seeking to be the tops often some things that can be compromised are nice guy-ness and good sportsmanship, I know that when I played church league softball in high school and university, I had a terrible attitude when it came to failing and losing. If I got out, or if we were losing, I was not a nice guy, I was a poor sport, I would throw stuff, slam my glove, yell at myself and spiral worse downward. It was not a good reflection of who I wanted to be and it was not a good reflection of who God calls us to be. Being competitive in itself is not a bad thing, but we still need to reflect Christ in our words and actions. Setting meanness and anger aside and choosing kindness, empathy and morality is a Christ-like way to carry ourselves and in our desire to reflect Him in all we do, it is how we should choose to live.