I will take a chance here and write about a very personal topic for me: my assistants.
Like fingerprints, all are different and represent your teachings and culture. It is with the greatest sense of pride and vicarious delight as they move on to their own programs: I share in their set backs and achievements.
I have had many stops along the way, working for head coaches Ed Goorjian, George Raveling, George Karl, Lute Olson, Ernie Kent, and Steve Lavin. Hence, you learn some key lessons from each one which remain fundamental to being an exceptional assistant:
Meaning being faithful, appreciative, committed, and devoted to the head coach, players, school, and the system.
Knowing your topic and having complete command of that subject matter: being competent is the gateway to trust, while knowing that your support for the head coach IS NOT for sale.
One person in a crowd is a majority. In other words, the quality assistant knows that landing one blue chip recruit can lift an entire organization.
The ability of an assistant to outwork the opponent with authentic passion. It is imperative that the head coach and players see the light beyond their own reach.
You must hurt as much or more with each loss. A quiet and balanced demeanor should be displayed in such situations, yet losing is personal and it should be understood but never accepted.
Listen with your ears open, mouth shut, and the actions of a dog who has one owner. Moreover, the head coach wants you to sand his edges while teaching the players with your words, film, time in gym, and an occasional hug when need be. The best assistants know how to reach those players who have the greatest amount of impact and do it in a way where they remand the player back to the head coach ( e. g.Tim Grgurich and Kenny Payne do this at the highest level). It is easy to be an assistant when the sun shines but difficult when the storm hits.
As an assistant, you understand that the head coach has given you an "opportunity" and therefore repayment is with your "actions"....some assistants get this and some never will.
The head coach wants your "eyes" as he cannot be in two places at once. However, he does not want your second guessing and after the fact revelations. Your timing and consistent form of observation with the emails, meetings, film, etc. will carry the day. Your devotion and dedication will be tested daily.....pass the test when no one is looking, listening, or documenting.
What are you doing to add value? We cannot be all things to all people, but we can be tremendous at knowing our area of expertise and doing that ONE thing that is not sexy but gets results: know your job, do your job.
Be a person who is only interested in being exceptional at the here and now. In other words, good deeds are rewarded with your next job because you are focusing on the job at hand. Too many assistant have one eye over the fence and don't make the big time where you are....
Be a servant assistant and share. You have special talents and it is your obligation to give back.
Plan your "fun" and "fun" your plan. Please read, "The Power of Fun" in the December 2nd issue of Sports Illustrated. In summary, attitude is everything and some just eat their food and some love eating their food.