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Issue 476 - "The first test of somebody’s potential is how they handle adversity." (C. Vivian Stringer Part Four)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 476
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



C. Vivian Stringer is the head coach of the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team. She is the sixth winningest coach in women's basketball history and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. She is the first coach in NCAA history to lead three different women's programs to the NCAA Final Four Rutgers, University of Iowa, and Cheyney State College in 1982.
In 1982 Coach Stringer achieved one of the most amazing feats in sports history when she led her Cheyney State team that had no scholarship players and no budget to the Final Four before losing to perennial powerhouse Louisiana Tech in the National Championship game. Coach Stringer at that point had been coaching at Cheney State for eleven years and had never received any pay for her services.
In 1971 Coach Stringer took over the losing program at Cheney State that had no budget. Stringer volunteered, the girls themselves cleaned the backboards and swept the floor before games, Coach Stringer made the lunches and drove the van to road games. She lived in the dormitory with her players and was the team trainer as well. They had 10 basketballs, 2 leather and 8 rubber.
In her fantastic autobiography, Standing Tall, Coach Stringer describes what happened after they won the regional playoffs.
"In the regionals we beat Auburn, North Carolina State and then Kansas State 93–71, to take the regional title. The NCAA wasn't financing the women like they do now. We hadn't sunk the winning basket in the game that qualified us before my athletic director was on the floor, sweating and hollering, "Stringer, what have you done? Now what are we gonna do? We can't do it! We don't have any money! We can't even afford to get you down there!"
Between donations from local businesses, the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, John Cheney, and Stringer herself they raised enough money to make the trip. How they would pay their hotel bills was another question.
"The four teams were Maryland, Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, and Cheyney. Amazingly, we won our first game against Maryland. When the buzzer sounded, one of our deans came running out of the stands and picked me up off my feet. I thought she was excited about our victory; I didn't know that Bell Telephone had pledged $10,000 to whichever team won that game. We'd be able to pay for our hotel rooms after all!"
The impossible had happened!
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Saint Francis of Assisi
What's your first move?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Sermons We See

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advise you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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