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Issue 402 - Determination: Don't Let Your Means Keep You From Your Dreams (Roy Williams Part Four)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 402
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In 1986 Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams became a full-time assistant coach at the University of North Carolina. In 1988 he became the head coach at the University of Kansas. The determination Coach Williams demonstrated from 1973 to 1986 is an inspiration to anybody following their dream.
His first coaching job was in 1973 as a high school basketball and golf coach at Charles D. Owen High School in Black Mountain, North Carolina. He coached basketball and boys' golf for five years, ninth-grade football for four years and served as athletic director for two years. His first season the team was 2-19. He kept coaching. He was determined.
In 1978, Williams was hired to come back to the University of North Carolina as a part-time assistant coach. In his terrific book Hard Work, with Tim Crothers, Coach Williams described how that happened:
"Every summer while I was coaching at Owen, I was invited to work at the UNC basketball camp. At the closing-night staff party in the summer of 1978, Coach Smith asked me if I was interested in coming back to North Carolina to be his part-time assistant coach. I was so excited and flattered. I couldn't really believe it. But there was a catch, and I asked Coach Smith if I could think about it and talk to my wife. I went back home and told Wanda that Coach Smith had offered me the job. I said, "Honey, it only pays $2,700 a year."
Wanda thought I was nuts. She said, "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard. We've just built a house, our son is 15 months old, our friends and family all live here. We're making $30,000 between the two of us and you're asking me to go back to North Carolina for $2,700 a year?" "Honey, it'll work out." She looked into my eyes, exhaled, and said, "When do we leave?""
For the next eight years Williams hustled to make ends meet. He recounts some of the highlights:
"I had five jobs my first year. I ran a little basketball camp for the children of the university faculty and staff; at the end of each week I made $80 after expenses. I worked for a transport company taking staples out of eight-inch-thick stacks of bills, putting them in numerical order.
Every Sunday during the football and basketball seasons, I woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning to drive videotapes of the UNC football and basketball coaches' shows to the local television stations in Greensboro and Asheville. I drove 504 miles and made $113 per trip, minus the money I spent on gas. I spent nine hours in the car. I did that for five years."
During the summers Williams drove all over the state selling North Carolina promotional calendars. "That first summer I drove 9,000 miles, sold 10,500 calendars in nine weeks, and made $2,400. I still have our income tax returns from 1980, and our combined income, two 30-year-olds with two kids, was $8,910. It was hard sometimes, but we managed."
In 1986 after thirteen years of determination Roy Williams became a full-time assistant coach at North Carolina.
What are you determined about?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



The Little Orphan

The crowded street his playground is, a patch of blue his sky;
A puddle in a vacant lot his sea where ships pass by:
Poor little orphan boy of five, the city smoke and grime
Taint every cooling breeze he gets throughout the summer time;
And he is just as your boy is, a child who loves to play,
Except that he is drawn and white and cannot get away.

And he would like the open fields, for often in his dreams
The angels kind bear him off to where are pleasant streams,
Where he may sail a splendid boat, sometimes he flies a kite,
Or romps beside a shepherd dog and shouts with all his might;
But when the dawn of morning comes he wakes to find once more
That what he thought were sun-kissed hills are rags upon the floor.

Then through the hot and sultry day he plays at 'make-pretend,'
The alley is a sandy beach where all the rich folks send
Their little boys and girls to play, a barrel is his boat,
But, oh, the air is stifling and the dust fills up his throat;
And though he tries so very hard to play, somehow it seems
He never gets such wondrous joys as angels bring in dreams.

Poor little orphan boy of five, except that he is pale,
With sunken cheeks and hollow eyes and very wan and frail,
Just like that little boy of yours, with same desire to play,
Fond of the open fields and skies, he's built the self-same way;
But kept by fate and circumstance away from shady streams,
His only joy comes when he sleeps and angels bring him dreams.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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