• Coach K Life Lessons

    Posted: April 4th, 2015

    It’s not every day you get to hear what really happens on the court — as the final seconds tick down to a NCAA national championship.

    But that’s exactly what happened to me on Friday when I had a chance to chat with Duke legend Jay Williams — about his personal experience in the 2001 championship game against Arizona.

    “The clock was ticking down,” Williams told me. “And we knew we were about to win. But it’s Chris Duhon that I remember most.”

    Duhon, his teammate, motioned to Williams to get his attention. Williams remembers thinking, “what’s going on?”

    “Your dream,” Duhan told him. “Remember to throw the ball in the air.”

    At the beginning of basketball season, Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski had every member of the team stand in front of each other and present their success outlook — a twist on today’s popular vision boards. As Williams tells the story, several guys talked about future lives with wives and families.

    “I had a different vision,” Williams told me. “My dream was to win the national championship and be on the court throwing the ball in the air as the clock dwindled down.”

    Which brings us back to one of Williams’ most treasured memories of that championship game.

    “My teammate remembered my dream,” shared Williams. “And he made sure my dream came true. How incredible is that?”


    Probably a good word to describe the life of this college basketball giant.

    Incredible talent. That year Williams earned NABC Player of the Year honors as well as earning both the prestigious Naismith Award and Wooden Award as College Basketball Player of the Year in 2002. That same year he was the second overall pick in the NBA Draft.

    But there was also incredible tragedy in 2003 when a near fatal motorcycle accident ultimately ended his basketball career, and sent Williams into what he told me was “a very dark place.”

    His story also contains — today — incredible inspiration and a journey of meeting adversity head-on as he learns to let go of his past and push forward to a new future. Today he is a well-known and highly popular analyst and announcer for ESPN.

    But he hasn’t for a moment forgotten the many people — like Duhon and his teammates — who have been a part of that journey.

    At the top of the list is Coach K. One of the first people to be by Williams’ bedside in Chicago after his accident.

    “Coach K was in Vegas,” Williams recalls. And he jumped on a plane instantly. “This man is so much more than a coach.”

    And Coach K’s visit was much more than a typical hospital visit.

    “Coach K handed me a pendant and he told me to return it when I was back playing basketball,” said Williams. “I didn’t think I’d ever walk, yet there he was giving me every bit of strength I needed.”

    Coach K, who Williams also describes as a coach who was “difficult and demanding” also taught Williams that is was okay to be caring. And how to express yourself.

    “When Coach K gave me that pendant, he cared enough to help me visualize my next play. I was going to get through this.”

    And get through it — and beyond it — he did. Not on the basketball court. But with a new life that he never imagined possible.

    “I’m 33 and I’m on ESPN. How amazing is that?” he told me.

    He’s making it his mission to share his journey and help others. During March Madness, he’s teamed up with other NCAA legends to share their “Real Strength Moments.”

    But for Williams, his journey goes far past March Madness. He’s living a life grounded in philanthropy and helping others realize their own dreams. As well as their own next play.

    As for the pendant from Coach K?

    “I never did give it back,” Williams admits. “I probably should. But it means too much to me.”

    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-higley/life-lessons-from-coach-k_b_6999412.html


When you are winning, your commitment is never challenged. But loyalty and dedication during difficult times can be tough. When commitment doesn’t waver, that’s when you have the greatest chance of winning. You can never give up.

- Coach K

Belief can mean the difference between a fear of failure and the courage to try. On a team or in a family, belief makes each individual stronger and also fortifies the group as a whole. The basis of belief is in individual relationships.

- Coach K

Adversity can teach you more about yourself than any success, and overcoming an obstacle can sometimes feel even better than achieving an easy victory. Through adversity, you can discover things about your endurance, your ability to turn a negative into a positive, and your personal strength of heart.

- Coach K

You can possess countless good qualities as an individual, but if you don”t have the courage to proceed, you may never see those qualities come into fruition. It takes courage to put what you believe to be best of you on the line, to test it, and to see how far it takes you. Courage means daring to do what you imagine.

- Coach K

Take care not to allow one aspect of your life to so consume you that you neglect the others. Balance can put things in perspective, can bring you joy even when you are down, and can allow you to be at your best in all aspects of your life.

- Coach K

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them.

- Coach K

When you care about someone or something, you show genuine concern for that person or thing, in good times or bad. When you care about one another and about your purpose, you are compelled to put your feelings into action. Care creates an atmosphere that breeds success and gives you the confidence to try again.

- Coach K
Collective Responsibility

We win and we lose together. Handling the responsibility for wins and losses together removes the burden from one individual’s shoulders and distributes it among each member of the team. That atmosphere is conducive to high-level performance and places you and your team in the position to be bold and unafraid, and if you should lose, you are not alone.

- Coach K

You have to adapt what you do based on who you are. In teaching, you must remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has to suit who you and your team are right now.

- Coach K

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. Communication does not always occur naturally, and must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one. The most crucial element of communicating is telling the truth.

- Coach K
View More Coach K Quotes