My apologies for being a little late with the May 15th edition. I just got back in town from conducting the 2012 Recruiters Institute webcast from the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I'll tell you all about it in the June 1st edition of this blog.

I just read a great article by Dana O'Neil of about how coaching relationships, specifically in Division I men's basketball, have declined over the years. The article did a nice job of quoting current Division I head coaches and how they say things have changed since over the years regarding building and keeping coaching relationships. One major point of the article I want to expound upon is this one: The old generation of coaches are not being given the due respect they so deserve.

When I began my coaching career back in the mid 1970s, my coaching idols were Digger Phelps at Notre Dame, Dean Smith at North Carolina, Lute Olson at Iowa/Arizona, and Bob Knight at Indiana. As a young assistant high school coach, I liked Digger because of his flamboyant persona and his game-planning. I liked Dean Smith because of his offensive and defensive systems. I liked Lute because he and his staff were always trying to help young coaches get better. Finally, I liked Knight's intensity and ability to motivate his players. When I became a head boy's high school coach, I dropped Knight because I thought his coaching style became more destructive than constructive.

I also worked summer basketball camps for Jud Heathcote at Michigan State and Bill Foster at Northwestern. I saw Tom Izzo when he was just beginning his coaching career at Michigan State, along with Mike Deane. I was an assistant coach at Nebraska under Moe Iba, the son of Hall-of-Famer Hank Iba. Mr. Iba (that is how we addressed him in reverence for who he was) always came up to Nebraska during the first couple days of fall practice. He would observe practice without saying a word. Then at the conclusion, he would go over a list of items he thought the team needed to improve upon. Moe always had great respect for his dad's opinions, and implemented much of what Mr. Iba recommended.

I am a member of the Research Committee of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Another member of that committee is Don Lane, the former head men's basketball coach at Transylvania University, a small Division III school in Lexington, Kentucky. He has long since retired from coaching, but still teaches several classes at the school. And he has remained active within the NABC for decades.

At the NCAA Final Four each year, the seating arrangement for Don and many other retired coaches is miserable. They are relegated to some obscure corner of the dome in which the games are being played. They should be given seats at mid-court because they have been the builders of the game, the guardians of the game. These are the coaches who have helped make the game of college basketball what it is today. And they all spoke to each other, not like today's generation of head men's coaches.

O'Neil's article stressed the opinion that the money and high stakes have made coaching relationships a thing of the past for today's young coaches. It's become a dog-eat-dog world, with the younger generation of coaches always looking for the high-paying jobs and the media attention. No one shares ideas or information for fear it may cost him his job. And that's a sad thing. Because coaching is about building relationships and mentoring. The younger generation of coaches need to keep that tradition alive.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Brennan, a former educator and college basketball coach, has Masters degrees in Educational Administration and Sport Psychology, and a Doctorate in Performance and Health Psychology. He is the author of several books, including Six Psychological Factors for Success and The Recruiters Bible (3rd Edition). He is President of Peak Performance Consultants, and the President and CEO of the Center for Performance Enhancement Research and Education (CPERE). Steve is the developer of the Success Factors Scales, both Corporate and Athletics Editions. and