Thursday, February 26, 2009

To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved

Much as been written about Buzz Williams' "obsessive-compulsive habits." To say he values organization is an understatement. [See here, here, and here.]

According to this article, his office is "meticulous," a "tidy sanctuary" where he keeps dozens of "autobiographies written by famous coaches, New York Times best sellers and his own detailed journal with color-coded entries. He keeps copious notes on books he reads, conversations he has with players' parents and input he gets from assistants. Williams keeps some folded and clipped together in his pocket."

But it's more than organization that's helped Coach Williams guide Marquette to a 23-5 record (the team's fifth loss came last night against No. 2 UConn).

The key has been his ability to build trust with his players. That's come as a result of "his coaching strategies, but more with talks and off-court assignments that had little, if anything, to do with basketball."

"Everything we did in the summer was beneficial for developing a relationship on trust," Williams says.

For example, he gave his players reading assignments and had them share their thoughts about the books they'd read, such as "The Last Lecture."

Says one Marquette player, "We were like, 'Coach, we already have enough work for school.' But getting that in-depth analysis from teammates and their perspective on life … you learn to respect each other."

There's a quote from the poet George MacDonald that has strong relevance for coaches and supports Coach Williams' efforts to foster trust.

"To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved."