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Advice from the Best

No matter how many wins or championship they have, every coach received help along the way. A few years ago, USA Today asked NCAA championship coaches in college basketball for their advice to young coaches, and none said anything about basketball. Instead they talked about things like coaching for the right reasons, handling criticism, and being yourself.

Here are some of their responses.

John Calipari: "The first thing would be as long as you care about the kids you will always have a job. If you're taking it personal, and all you care about is yourself, it's hard to sustain yourself in this profession."

Bill Self: "The advice I would probably give is respect the game and all those that have come before you. Secondly, just when you think you have it figured out is when it will go South on you because it is ever-changing. You never will figure it out. A lot of sports are the same way, but this is a game where as soon as you think you have the perfect offense, everyone knows how to guard it. It is something that is always evolving. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know."

Bill Donovan: "For a young coach coming in, trying to get guys to understand that the focus has to be making an everlasting impact that is a lot larger than championships. That's nothing wrong with striving for and achieving it, but what you learn in those situations when you do accomplish it, and you do it, and life moves on. The real value and joy is what can be accomplished in a positive way when a group of players totally sacrifices and buys in and does something special that they know they can't do by themselves."

Tom Izzo: "If someone asked me what my strongest strength would be, it wouldn't be in my offense or defense. I'd say it's trying to maintain relationships with players. Once they trust you, it's a real positive for you. They know if you tell them something about school or partying, they still might not do it or like it, but they know you have their best interest in mind. I think that's the key. It's harder to get that trust."

Steve Fisher: "I would say get in it for the right reasons. And the right reasons cannot be to get rich and famous. It has to be for the love of what you do. I think most of us who are my age never dreamed of money that is there would be there. And I think you have to say, whatever job I have—that is the best job in America, because that's the job that you have. So many times, you go to a Final Four, and everyone has resume in hand and can't wait to get to that next job. I think you are abusing the profession and shortchanging the program you are at and really yourself."

Rollie Massimino: "He has to really develop aspirations of how to network, how to get involved and he has two ears and one mouth. That is why God gave him two ears to listen rather than talk—twice as much as he speaks But there are a lot of young people who think they know all the answers and how to do things in this business. And there is so much more to it. And be yourself, that to me is key.?

Click here to read the USA Today article.

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