- Jack Fleming
Kevin Goorjian: A PhD in Relationships
Kevin Goorjian is the Head Boys Basketball Coach at Box Hill Senior Secondary College, and has been for 18 years. He spent 10 years in the NBL as an assistant coach. Kev has been the catalyst for over 120 players going to NCAA schools, the most out of any school in the country, including #1 pick in the 2016 draft Ben Simmons.
Inside the suburban Melbourne basketball factory that produced Ben Simmons
His brother Brian is the winningest coach ever in the NBL and Dad Ed was head coach at Loyola Marymount and spent time under coaches such as Jerry Tarkanian and George Raveling.
I've also been privileged enough to be his assistant for 3 years, and played under him for another 3. I believe I get a lesson in how to build relationships every single day, here's a couple of them.
Help People Without Expectations
There's countless times in my time at Box Hill, where Kev has gotten off the phone and told me he's gone into recommend me for a job or an opportunity without my knowing or asking.
Where he's gotten me into practice or on the phone with Mike Dunlap, or Brian Goorjian or Mike Kelly or countless other coaches because he wants to see me do well.
There's students who wouldn't even know the reason they got recommended to a certain program, club or got assisted in other areas was because of Kev. He's not doing it because he wants his name it up on the wall, but because he knows he can help.
At different stages in our career, it provides me great perspective and reminder to give away more than you get.
Call Others to Check on Them
I've never seen somebody who makes so many daily phone calls all over the world, not because he needs a favour but simply to see how others are. There's a reason he gets random calls from relationships dating 20 to 30 years ago, from his diligence of staying in touch with people.
He's the first one to congratulate others on their success, and be there in the down times but more to the point understands the value of a conversation. The college kids leaving home for the first time know they'll be getting regular calls from Kev to check in on their new life.
Kev is not one to first judge an athlete who got a poor GPA, or has struggled on the court - but pull them into his office and check on their wellbeing in case something might be happening outside of school. Seeking to understand, before being understood - doing more listening than talking as a way of being supportive.
Smile, Be Kind and Be Grateful, Every Single Day
In the 6 years I've never seen Kev have a bad day, and am greeted with that big ass smile and Californian "How we goin" every single morning. It reminds me to stop being so damn selfish, and life is pretty damn good.
Kids who are having bad days can't wipe the smile off their faces when they hear Kev's voice, and how happy he is to be around high school kids even after 10 years with professionals.
The thank you I'll never be able to give back
While I don't ever know how I'll be able to continuously repay Kev, I can only hope that when I'm his age there will be even 50% of his enthusiasm, love and care for other people.
I hope that in another 20 years, there will be another 150 kids go onto college. To give them a life experience they could never have imagined. Something magical you started. Just a little small school, with a single court becomes the greatest basketball school in the world.
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