This summer has seen a couple of coaching legends pass on to the big court in the sky. The most obvious was Coach Wooden. The impact Coach Wooden has had on the world is well documented and my little blog post here would not only be just white noise, but it certainly wouldn't do him justice. To say that he is a mentor (to all coaches) is... well, it just goes without saying. We will all miss Coach Wooden!
The not-so-obvious loss to the coaching community (unless of course you live in my hometown of Bremerton, Washington) was Les Eathorne. Although I never had the pleasure of playing for Coach Eathorne, he was a tremendous mentor of mine. I grew up in Coach Eathorne's gym. He was the one that taught me what it truly means to be a hoops junkie. He was a brilliant basketball mind. He perfected his craft and studied the game. Most importantly he was one of the kindest, most caring men I have ever known. He always had time to share and listen. I am glad that I had a chance to have breakfast with Coach Eathorne the last time I visited Bremerton. I will miss him.
Last week, I had the opportunity to work for one of my biggest mentors, Kevin Eastman, at Coaching U Live! in Las Vegas. The day before the event, we were putting together packets and name badges for the attendees in Coach E's room. As I sat there stuffing legal pads and pads of court diagrams into folders, I was washed over with awe. Not starstruck, but rather awed by the amazing knowledge that Coach E possesses and he continues to seek more. One of my friends at the event did not realize that I was, in his words, "part of the Kevin Eastman coaching tree". I not only consider myself part of his "coaching tree", but I consider myself part of his "family tree". It was an unbelievable honor to be able to say that in front of the great coaches attending Coaching U. During my time in Vegas, I couldn't thank him enough for including me! I wanted to say thanks to him for giving me an opportunity, for sticking with me and encouraging me through tough times, for being a role model and mentor... the list goes on and on. So, at the risk of being a complete pain in the butt, I told him... often!
That's really what this is all about. Say thanks to those who helped get you where you are. Take a quick minute to make a phone call, shoot an email, or the best method: jot a quick note. You just never know when you won't have that opportunity any more.