Last week, the athletic department staff meeting at the University of Dallas focused on a "Back-to-school" type of theme. Our athletic director, Dick Strockbine, presented a letter that he had penned 16 years ago when he first took over the AD position at UD. It was his introduction to the coaching staff for the first time. In the following excerpt, he outlined what he wanted in his coaches and much of it is still relevant today. I hope that Coach Strockbine's letter inspires you, gives you pause as to what your job is, and makes you think about what you are doing now for the upcoming season.
"We must support each other. Look around. There's not many of us. We have to help each other or we will not succeed. Over recent years, we've been moderately successful and the reason is because we have all gotten along and helped each other. That has to continue.
I have a few rules/expectations:
1) No punishment drills.
2) Always put your best foot forward - Be prepared - "When you go to town, always wear your spurs. You never know when you might meet a horse."
3) No verbal abuse of players or officials.
4) Keep me up to speed on what you are doing.
5) Don't make rules you can't or are unwilling to enforce.
6) A record of 20-5 doesn't always mean success. 5-20 could be.
7) I expect us to hold our own against peer schools.
8) I will not interfere with the running of your team, but i will not sit back and let something happen that I believe is wrong.
To the outsider, college athletics is a halo profession. You have a job that many envy you for. A lot of people do give up high paying professional positions to do this. It's long hours, hard work, and low pay. Many times you will be working with athletes whose level of commitment might not be high and ultimately your successor failure in the eyes of many hinges on how much rest a 19 year old got the night before a big game. But, you have chosen it. Try to keep in mind the type of program this is and the type of student-athlete we are dealing with. These young people are bright and don't need babysitters or someone to tell that to stay out of the rain. Respect their intelligence, give them reasons and choices when possible, and don't take things personally. Remember that sports and games are not the only things in their lives. Show them respect and have fun.
In closing, I want to reiterate the need for us to support each other. We don't have room for outliers or for people who don't know if they want to be here or ,in fact, don't want to be here. We don't have room for people ho have to kick themselves in the ass in the morning to get out of bed to come to work. If there's anyone here who is not sure that this is what they should be doing right now at this time of their life, or anyone who is only here because they need a job, or need the insurance, I would urge you to give yourself and us a break and leave. Life is too short to be doing something you're not committed to. In the military they tell you that if you're spending 80% of your time on 20% of your people, you need to get rid of the 20%."