One week ago, on a Sunday afternoon at around 3:30 PM, I resigned my position as boys varsity basketball coach at East Lansing High School.
It happened in a meeting discussing my suspension. (Just five days earlier I was placed on suspension by the athletic director for insubordination)
The athletic director, high school principal (who has a son on the team) and superintendent of East Lansing schools were all present. It was a productive meeting. Lasted a little under 60 minutes. I was a bit disappointed that my wife of 23 years was not allowed to sit in with us.
It was a tough decision to walk away. For starters we still had two games remaining in the regular season and then there was the playoffs. Our record was 15-2, good for first place in the conference. Actually, I take that back. The record was 15-3. During my suspension I missed the biggest game of the year; last regular season conference game vs Okemos. Regular season championship on the line. We were both tied for first.
I didn’t get to coach in that game.
I had numerous people tell me that “if you coached, you guys would have won.”
Over my 8 years at East Lansing I realized one thing; it doesn’t matter how many games you win.
So many people have reached out to see how I am feeling. The local newspaper wrote about my departure. Social media was on fire for a bit; but as time passes, mention of my resignation cools down.
East Lansing basketball will be fine without me.
Was I perfect? Of course not. Not even close to perfection. Who is?
I pushed players. Confronted them and demanded their best. Held them accountable. Did people disagree with my decisions? Of course they did. Those certified critics told me to my face, they e-mailed and spoke behind my back. Most of the time it was over playing time for their son.
But honestly, I’m good…Seriously. I have never felt better.
I’ve spent the past couple of nights watching the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament. They are playing it in New York City, Madison Square Garden – the mecca. Or as the late John Condon would say, “The world’s most famous arena.”
Earlier in the week I spent two days at Michigan State University watching the Spartans men’s basketball team practice. I loved the energy, the spirit and cohesiveness MSU showed; from the players, coaches and managers.
It was clear; the players care about each other.
Special thanks to Coach Izzo, Dane Fife, Mike Garland and Dwayne Stephens for welcoming me with open arms. These guys have been amazing.
Today on CBS at 2:00 PM Michigan State will take on Michigan in the Big Ten semi-finals. The Wolverines beat the Spartans in their only meeting this year; that game was played in East Lansing. (Big Ten schedule makers need to schedule these two schools twice in a season).
I appreciate everyone who has reached out; You’re aces. I’m going to continue to love the game of basketball. My passion for the game will never go away. I will always have the spirit and enthusiasm. Outsiders and especially the haters, will never steal my joy. Matter of fact, I have started the process on writing a book; a book about my experience in the game, it’s sort of like what St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny published (The Matheny Manifesto). A memoir and keys to success.
It’s my duty to promote the game of basketball. It’s my job to make sure the game is being played the right way, both on and off the court. Whether I am coaching a team or not.
Always Play the Right Way,