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The Right Kind of Hard Work
on November 26, 2009
Hard Work traces the improbable story of Roy Williams, now legendary head coach of Kansas and North Carolina. Roy's family had no money but his mother instilled values that would serve him for a lifetime.
What made this story fascinating was the way Williams planned his career trajectory. Knowing he wanted to be a great basketball coach, he turned down a scholarship at Georgia Tech so he could apprentice with Dean Smith of UNC. He worked all sorts of jobs to get through college. Later he worked all sorts of jobs to be on the staff with Dean Smith first as a volunteer, then as a part-time assistant.
After becoming a full time assistant coach at UNC, Roy still thought carefully about his career moves. He turned down several well-paid jobs till the right athletic director came calling from Kansas. Once established at Kansas, Roy rejected UNC's first offer to return as head coach. .
I got a little bogged down in the details of some games, because I am not a follower of these teams. My only quibble is that we don't get a sense of Coach Williams's coaching personality. He talks a little about what he said to teams in specific situations. But we don't get the same sense of personality as we do with the stories of other coaches, such as the legendary Pat Summitt. She also talks about hard work and she shows how she integrates her philosophy into the teams.
Williams's story can be viewed as a fable for career planning. Start early and stay fixed on your goal" is the message we get.
Williams found that his gambles paid off. Could he have become a big-time college coach another way? Possibly. But this path makes a great story. Recommended as a life story even if you're not a die-hard basketball fan.