- Tennessee Volunteers - January 24, 2017 - 9:00 PM EST - Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn. - ESPN
I really hope in this New Year that you see opportunities and seize them, that you have great hope and belief in the coming year. I hope you have great faith in the country that we live in and the community that you live in that good things are going to happen over a period of time even if things have been tough and at times bleak.
Let me touch on what I’m talking to my team about right now. If you want to spike your productivity and if you want to get better and be more productive, you must connect with someone else. You’ve got to connect with another. True friends working together can become a bottle rocket.
I’m trying to get them to understand you’ve got to be true friends to make this team work. You have to be there for each other through thick and thin, which means you really have to want to be around each other a lot. My number one goal for the next four months for this basketball team is to make them truly care about one another, more than they care for themselves, on and off the court. Become true friends.
With me, I’ve been blessed in so many ways to coach in this program, at this school and in this state, and I’m truly amazed I’ve gotten this opportunity. As I move forward this year, I want to make sure that I’m doing two things and doing them really well. I want to focus on individual improvement (players getting better) and focus on our team getting better. The biggest hurdle and challenge I have is to keep the expectations of all of you out of my mind and focus solely on these young people.
Historically my teams are some of the best in the country in offensive and defensive efficiency and I want that to continue and even improve with this team. These players deserve to be promoted even if it’s at my expense as a coach.
My teams have improved over the course of the season but it’s always been on their timetable, not mine. My timetable would be Dec. 15. Normally their timetable is the middle of January, as late as February, which was last year’s team. When last year’s team got it, they were the best basketball team in the country.
I view my job as someone who helps people realize their dreams, and that includes staff and not just my assistant coaches. I want to help all of them reach whatever their dreams and aspirations are for them and their families.
And lastly, let’s all try to make a difference in someone else’s life daily. Let’s try to put a smile on someone’s face. Let’s try to make someone feel special, wanted or cared for when they feel empty. Just think about how you would feel if you made it a point to make just one person feel special every day. Even if they don’t know who you are – at the grocery store, at mass, at work, someone at a restaurant – you just made a difference. How about that be your New Year’s resolution. I will make it mine.
Happy New Year.
Live stream of Monday’s practice, from the Wildcats