Small Giants — Inside How Porter Moser and Loyola Chicago Took On The NCAA Tournament
In the words of Malcolm Gladwell “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem”, how a small time program went on an incredible NCAA Tournament journey. Notes from The Coaching U Podcast and The Dynamic Leadership Podcast, both terrific resources.
The Coaching Journey - Rebuilding takes time in college, 4 years. - Sometimes you have to fight your ego as a head coach and ask where will I learn the most?
Rick Majerus After being fired at Illinois State went from being a head coach to an assistant with Rick Majerus, nobody taught me more than that man. - Took me on a competitive reinvention. - Lesson = there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. You can’t skip steps. - Majerus = love and trust factor, if you have this with your players you can demand another level of expectation. - Amazing teacher, best with catchy phrases that resonated with players. A fantastic way to learn. - Attention to detail, aimed for no slippage between practice and games. - Practice was his sanctuary, a teacher at heart. - Teach slow, but always achieve what you emphasise. - I took daily notes on EVERYTHING he did. - “When you get your next job, take it slow and do it the right way.”
Loyola-Chicago - Started ‘the wall of culture’ with all the great phrases in our language, many from Coach Majerus. - Examples: eyes to the rim, the ball moves you move, value the ball, low and leveraged, reach for the lights etc. - “If you want culture, you’ve got to recruit culture.” - When you get a job, never forget be who you are not who you’ve watched. - Wanted my team to be obsessed with getting better. - It’s important to get guys that have won before, they’re wired to lift others up. - Coach your assistants the hardest, create a development opportunity for them to become a head coach. - Preparation = covered our scout room walls with opposition X’s and O’s.
Team Rules 1. Protect the team 2. Be Early 3. No complaining, no excuses, no entitlement - Skill work 20 minutes every single day, sold it to our players as ‘your time’. - All the way up until the final four, 20 minutes this never shortened because we valued skill. - Consistency of emphasis, cannot be everything. - Film sessions we called “Get Better Tapes” - Not criticism, how can we constantly be improving. - Finish film with our greatest intangible plays: loose balls, charges etc. - Big on the hockey assist, we charted passes every game. - Never be afraid to show them what they did right, reinforcement is a critical part of learning.
NCAA Tournament - I preached to my players every single day, focus on what is right in front of us. - All about the process we never looked too far ahead. - Enjoy the attention and embrace the moment, this is what we have wanted to so don’t shy away from it. - Win or Loss = put it in the bank - We are entitled to nothing, we are the ones chasing every single night.
It’s not about buy in but believe in, their investment is yours.