November 6th, 2019

I Want Your Job – Episode 10, Winning With The Athlete Perspective

Marquette head basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski joins Jim Cavale on “I Want Your Job” to talk about his passion for basketball, the influences that helped guide him to a career in coaching, and the insights he’s using to take Marquette basketball to the next level. Steve discusses his time as a student-athlete at Duke, his work for the US National Team, and his approach to coaching athletes to lead impactful lives both on and off the court.




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Highlights from the interview:

3:02 – Steve talks about his early recruiting and high school camp days, and how his early playing career accelerated into being scouted by big basketball programs

4:58 – Steve shares his reasoning behind choosing to play for Duke basketball, and how he made the most out of playing at Duke to prepare himself for a future career in coaching: “I looked at every day as a tryout.”

7:30 – Steve discusses how he relates to current college basketball players, having been a player before, experiencing wins and losses in the locker room, and how he uses those insights to inform his coaching.

9:30 – Steve shares coaching takeaways from watching Coach K

11:34 – Steve talks about developing his own coaching formula as a head coach, and being deliberate about choosing the best goals and the best values to pass along to players in his program.

12:28 – “Basketball, to me, has been a vehicle in my life, where I’ve had a chance to do things as a person, and develop relationships with people that I wouldn’t otherwise have had without the game. And so, I want our players to use the game as a vehicle. To see how good they can be as an athlete, as a basketball player, but also much more than that: developing their mind, their critical-thinking, their ability to relate to other people. Their ability to impact and use their platform in the community to lift people up. 

I mean, 20 years from now, it’s going to be more important to me than the wins or the losses. It’s going to be watching the guys that I coached make wherever they’re at, whatever community they’re in, a better place.”

18:26 – On Steve’s personal intensity, and how intensity plays into basketball both as a coach and player: “You don’t rise to the occasion. You sink to the level of your training and habits.”

24:07 – Steve talks about the potential for social media, a need for education around how to use it productively, and how Marquette’s basketball team has been able to express themselves on social media

26:28 – Milwaukee as a “sports town,” how the community supports the Bucks, Marquette, and how sports are a family affair

29:14 – How Marquette is one of the great brands in college basketball, and the future for Marquette basketball

30:00 – Advice from Steve to young professionals: create relationships, learn and be aware as innovation happens, take time to be organized and write down your thoughts

31:40 – Steve shares experiences working with the US National team, collaborating with top basketball players like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and the opportunity to learn from their training and focus

34:58: “I say I got my undergraduate degree in coaching at Duke, and I got my Master’s with the National Team.”


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Full Podcast Episode

Jim Cavale: Welcome to I Want Your Job. This is Jim Cavale, the founder and CEO of INFLCR. And you’re in for a treat with this one because it’s Wojo, the head coach for Marquette University Men’s Basketball is joining us. Steve Wojciechowski, this is a guy who when I think of a floor general, this is what I picture. I grew up watching Wojo. Well Joe in the 90s slap the floor and lead Duke teams, and now seeing him lead his own team as a head coach is pretty special. It’s an amazing story how he ended up to where he is today. A lot of learnings from it, as always with this episode.

I want to thank my team and INFLCR for putting this together. Each episode is designed to give you a peek at the journey from all angles of these leaders that we are so fortunate to talk to on each episode of I Want Your Job, and they have positions that we all would love to have because they’ve made it to the pinnacle of their profession. And so, whether you work in college sports or pro sports, you’re going to take a bunch away from this episode as we dive into the story of Marquette basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski.

So we’re here in the Al McGuire Center Center, and I’m sitting across from Wojo, the guy I watched growing up in Syracuse, New York, who slapped the floor, play defense, did all the things that coaches told me to do. And we… you know my high school coach because you recruited Greg Paulus from, from Christian Brothers Academy. And so, Coach, I just want to start with, when did you know you wanted to be a head basketball coach?

Steve Wojciechowski: You know, it’s funny, when I was real young, you know, the first sport I kind of fell in love with was soccer. And then I hit middle school and something unexplainable happened where I just… I could not get enough of basketball. And I was very fortunate as an athlete, not just in basketball, but at any sport that I played, outside of my, my parents and my family, they had the biggest influence in my life.

And so, when I got into high school, you know, I obviously wanted to play Division I college, had the ultimate dream like a lot of guys who have been… a guy who gets played to… paid to play professionally. And… but I also knew that when the ball stopped bouncing coaching would be a great calling.

So you obviously play basketball through high school and McDonald’s All American which is a, you know, gold standard for high school basketball players. And you get the opportunity to go to Duke but I’m sure you had other opportunities. And I want you to tell the story of meeting Coach K for the first time and just the whole journey going through recruiting as a McDonald’s All American point guard and then deciding you’re going to go play basketball for Duke.

Well, it’s funny, my high school race ended up in me being a McDonald’s All American, but that’s not necessarily how I was tracking as a freshman and sophomore or even a junior in high school. You know, I remember, you know, being a guy that thought I would end up at Penn or Princeton, and went to the five-star camp, which at that time was, was one of the big camps of the summer and end up getting MVP when there was a lot of other really good players there. One, Vince Carter is still playing in the NBA, Stephon Marbury who was a terrific professional, and end up getting MVP at that camp and from that I was invited to Sonny Vaccaro, ABCD camp. And it was actually the one year he was in between working for Nike and Adidas. So it was the Converse ABCD Camp in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and I was one of the last kids invited. 

They threw me on a team with eight Russians, none of whom spoke English. And our team ended up winning a lot of games. And that week, my recruiting went from, you know, blow major mid major to Duke, North Carolina, and some of the bluebloods. And so, you know, I, you know, it’s funny you say that. I never thought even going into the summer before my senior year that the McDonalds game was going to be an opportunity but you just keep working and you keep stacking days upon days and played really well at the right time. And, you know, my recruiting changed.

And so, during soccer season, I remember one game in particular we’re playing a rival and at one end of the field was Coach K and Mike Bray. And at the other end of the field was Dean Smith and Phil Ford. And so, you know, my world changed in the span of, you know, about 8 to 12 weeks during that summer.

Wow. That’s amazing. So you meet Coach K. Obviously, you get to meet all these different coaches but what, what really led to you deciding be a Dukie?

Well, you know, obviously, I had great admiration for their program. And when I was in high school that was there back-to-back national championships and they had Bobby Hurley run the point and, you know, you identify with guys that you, you know, kind of look like. And so, in talking to coach, he was everything that I hope for.

First of all, he’s an incredible person, tremendous leader. Obviously, his knowledge of basketball speaks for itself and somebody that I felt like I could have a great relationship with not only while I was at Duke, but forever, and that was really important to me and my family in addition to getting a world-class education.

And so you have this career at Duke that, you know, puts you in, you know, the record books, top 10 in steals, top 10 in assists, but also a part of some great teams, amazing teammates, Trajan Langdon, whatever, we could go into that. But ultimately, you come back after college and get into coaching. And here you are a head coach today, but both as a player and as a coach, you’ve really had mentorship and tutelage from Coach K, and the Duke ecosystem to get you here.

Yeah, I’ve had incredible support. And obviously, while I was playing, Coach knew I wanted to be a coach eventually. Whenever that time came when I was going to end up not playing anymore, you know, I was very fortunate, you know, where I had four years to train to be a coach on the floor for Coach K.

And you know, sometimes people say, “Well, you didn’t pay your dues. You didn’t pay your dues,” because, you know, people think there’s one way to do this, and I had four years where I was around Coach K every day, and I looked at every day as a tryout. First of all, try out to, to being a significant contributor to our team and important member of the Duke basketball program, but also a tryout eventually, for when I, you know, wanted to get into coaching that, not necessarily that he would hire me but that he could make a call and in good faith recommend me to a college coach or a high school program that was, was looking for a coach.

So how does all this, just so far, translate into being a head coach here at Marquette when you’re looking at your players and, and your leadership formula to lead this team, those experiences translate well for what you’re trying to teach them. How do you relate that to what you’re doing today?

Well, I think it helps for me having been in my… our players’ shoes, you know, I… even though every year gets one year further away from my playing career, I remember what it was like to sit in the locker room and, you know, be the guy on the film session that’s not making the right plays.

Right.

I remember being in the locker room and having to mentor younger players. I remember being in locker rooms were there were amazing wins and how good that felt and knowing that it was a result of preparation and commitment to a common goal. I also remember being in locker rooms where we were devastated.

And so, you know, besides having every role that a player could have during my college career, and the vast experiences and reference points I gained through high school and my college career, I think it helps, you know, me relate to what our guys are going through.

Now, the world has changed quite a bit, you know, in terms of social media and the voices that players have to deal with. But, you know, I still know what it feels like to be a player. And those times were guys feeling really good, maybe too good or down, or, you know, has a role that he wants more or is the first guy coming off the bench or is the best player on the team. I had all those roles while I was at Duke. And so, we’re able to relate that to what they’re going through.

And, you know, one, I can come from it, like, “Look, I understand some things are hard but this is all process of growth, and you have to have a growth mindset. And you have to come in every day and try to get better.”

And so, as you transition from Duke, and come here to be the head coach, if you were to sum up some of the biggest takeaways from playing and coaching with Coach K, what would those be? And how are you applying them here? I know the… I know the win everyday mantra, for instance, is something that you’ve uniquely branded around your leadership program for this formula or formula for this program.

Yeah, and essentially, winning every day is the daily process of becoming the best you can be. In everything our guys are doing, you know, for us, it’s obviously basketball is their passion, but we don’t want them growing only in basketball.

Right.

We want them growing as people, and we want them growing as educated men. And so, we try to approach every day with a growth mindset where we’re getting better to when you lay your head down on the pillow, you can say, you know, I won the day. And I think if you have enough of those days and you stack them to together, you know, the byproduct is going to be a lot of wins and great memories and incredible relationships. And those are all things that I… I think I learned throughout my basketball career, you know, obviously with Coach K who’s tremendous in building relationships, who is tremendous in being able to take individual guys and make a… have a common goal and having guys work towards that goal and understanding that the team and the team, the team, is the most important thing.

And then just his preparation, you know, that’s the thing I don’t think people understand that that I got to see and I learned it a lot more as a coach than even I did as a player. Because you, well, as a player you get the finished product. You don’t, you don’t see all the steps it took to get to the scouting report, the walkthrough, the game plan and, and so, you know, you know, I had as good a mentor and coaching and still do in Coach K.

All right, so you come to Marquette, and you take over this program. You put your stamp on it, whether it’s this “win everyday” formula, or just this whole formula, you really care about your athlete beyond the game. And I’m not saying other coaches don’t, but you make it known that it’s a body of work here that goes beyond just the court. Let’s talk about the transition here. Now you’re the head guy, like what was that like for you coming up with your formula to be the leader of your program?

Well, anytime you go from an assistant coach or a head coach to another, it’s a mental whirlwind, and it certainly was, you know, for me. And there’s a lot of learning that takes place in where you have to crystallize and really boil down the things that you want to be a part of your program and your players when they leave here. And we want them to have amazing memories in terms their basketball experience. And winning is a huge part of that. And… but we also want to… want them to walk out of here as men that are ready to take on the world, guys who are going to be great fathers, good husbands, and people who contribute in a positive way to society in whatever their passion ends up being, whether that’s pro basketball, or some other walk of life.

And, you know, basketball to me has been a vehicle in my life where I’ve had a chance to do things as a person and develop relationships with people that I wouldn’t otherwise have had without the game. And so, I want our players to use the game as a vehicle to see how good they can be as an athlete, as a basketball player, but also much more than that—developing their mind, their critical thinking, their ability to relate to other people, their ability to impact and use their platform in the community to lift people up.

I mean, 20 years from now, it’s, it’s going to be more important to me than the wins or, or the losses. It’s, it’s going to be watching the guys that I coached make, wherever they’re at, whatever community they’re in, a better place.

Now, you remember 20 years ago when you were playing, well, a little more than 20 years ago, but you remember the zone you were in as a player and so you can relate to the zone they’re in right now thinking all about basketball. Could you at that point when you were playing think bigger and think about the ball being deflated and what was after?

Well, I think, you know…

It’s a challenge. 

Yeah, it is a challenge. And there’s no question that my primary focus was on, you know, the game of basketball and how to help my team and make my teammates better and do what the coaching staff wanted me to do, and I love that. But also, you know, understanding that it’s bigger than just the game. It’s something that my parents, first and foremost, instilled in me, and, and certainly coach and the people around me at Duke reinforced.

And, you know, I really think they’re connected. You know, I think better people make better players. And so, why don’t we work on the whole person? Because we’ll see more from them when they’re on the court. And so, that’s, that’s really important. That’s every bit as important as doing ball-handling drills.

So, you know, in business or leadership in general, you hear that culture eats strategy for breakfast, right, like culture is everything. And what you’re talking about seems to have a lot of the DNA of your players, the Marquette program in it. And I know you’ve recently took a foreign tour. We were talking about that before we got started. I saw the softball game…

Yeah.

…that you did. I saw you knock that guy over by the way, home play coach.

Got in the play.

Yeah. But you guys do a lot of things to cultivate your culture. Talk about your, your formula with that and just the foreign tour in particular, like what that does for the team at this time of year getting ready for a season that’s about to start.

Well, I think, you know, relationships is huge. And it’s player-coach, coach-player or player-player, you know, your support staff. You want everybody moving in the same direction. So I think it’s really important to make time to reinforce the things that you believe in and try to teach those things. And, you know, culture is something that needs to be worked on daily. You know, it’s not just something that you write down on a piece of paper and you have culture and there’s going to be, there’s going to be ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys to where your culture is at as well. I mean, it’s, it’s not always linear.

Although for us, you know, we’re very fortunate that each year that we’ve been here, we’ve gotten better and better, and in the way that most people measure it, and that’s wins and losses. And so, that’s a big part of our culture getting better, but we’re certainly still a work in progress with that. And so, we, we make time to, to teach it. We make time to reinforce it. We make time to evaluate it.

And it’s not just our coaches, but it’s our, you know, entire program. And, you know, I think that’s, I think that’s hugely important, especially in today’s day and age, you know, I think there’s more voices in young people’s space than there was when, when I was a college player. You know, I mean, essentially now you have every… everybody can have an opinion. And that opinion can, can get to our players very quickly. And you want to say, “Well, you have to, you know, you have to be able to block that out,” that’s hard for a lot of guys. And so, you know, I think it’s important always to know, you know, you know, where we are as a group. Is our, is our mind right? Is our heart right? You know, all of those things have to be aligned so that our games can be right.

So intensity, talked to several different people who know you well, mainly, some of my guys at Duke. And they say, you know, you’re one of the most intense guys they know. Where did that start?

I get asked that question a lot. I don’t know. I mean, I think it was, you know, I don’t know if it was trying to keep up with my older brother and sister. Or, it’s not something that, you know, you know, I wrote on a goal sheet, you know, this year, as an eight-year-old, I’m going to become intense. You know, that’s not… it’s just something I was, was born with that, you know, I think I feel deeply. And you know, that’s, there, that’s helped me in a lot of respects and sometimes it’s, it’s something that I need to channel better. But, you know, I can feel things at a very deep level and it, obviously, it shows if you’re around me when I’m coaching or, or on a daily basis.

And it’s something I’m sure you can use to create intense moments in practice and in none 48-minute periods that can translate into the 48 minutes.

Well, I think it’s, you know, really…

Forty minutes, sorry.

Yeah, no worries, you know, I think you’re going to, you know, you don’t, you don’t rise to the occasion. You sink to the level of your training and habits. And so, approaching preparation each day with the intensity that it’s going to require to beat the teams on our schedule, whether it’s the Big East Conference, whether it’s our non-conference, you don’t rise the occasion when the ball goes up in the air. You know, you… you’re going to sink to the level of your training and preparation and your habits.

And so, those games are intense. You know, there’s no other way around it. You may not want them to be as intense or you may not want them to be as physical You may not want, you know, there to be pressure, but the fact of the matter there is. And so, you know, how do we create an environment where guys can handle that? And I think we’ve done well in a lot of respects. And there’s a lot more room for growth there, too.

And, and for you to have guys, especially this year coming back, who are key players, the whole idea when you were playing you were a player coach on the court, you’ve got that this year. And I’m sure that helps in creating the culture you want to have on the floor.

I think without question and this group is a group we’ve really grown with, you know. They, you know, the senior class with, with Markus and Sacar, those two guys in particular, I mean, they’ve been staples of our program. And as you look as we’ve grown and gotten better a year… year after year, those two guys have been very important parts to that. And so, you know, I think it’s, it’s, it’s great when you can have upperclassmen help you not only teach your system, your offensive system, your defensive system, your communication system, but also the way you do things or your culture. And that’s where, you know, I think Sacar and Markus will be huge for our team, not just in how they perform and how they play and what the box score says, at the end of the game, but how they approach every day. And as leaders and guys who set the example for this is the way we do things.

So, Coach, I mentioned to you earlier, I loved that press conference last year where you talked about Matt Heldt and just the character that he showed during the season where he, he significantly declined in his playing time because of, you know, different situations with recruits and talent coming in. But he showed something to your team, and to everyone else that is true character, something that translates well beyond the basketball floor, which is what we’ve been talking about a lot in this interview. Can you tell that story?

Well, I think it will always be one of the best stories that, that I’ve been a part of as a coach. I mean, Matt, went from, as a junior pretty much starting every game and being a real, you know, key player from a tangible standpoint, like, you know, box score standpoint, the way most people look at it to being as a senior, his final year, you know, basically our third string center. And that’s a situation where, obviously, it wasn’t ideal for Matt.

And, you know, how many kids at that age could go from the role that he had and the prominence in the role he had as a junior to, you know, a backup role as a senior and handle it with the team, first and foremost in his mind every day, and it was… it was beautiful. And, you know, I’m not sure I could have done it when I was his age. And the way he handled it, the way he led, the way he supported his teammates, it was as selfless a year as I’ve ever seen a player have.

And knowing that that’s the extreme example. But just a touch of that for certain guys can create this team bond you want to have, what’s the…?

Well, I mean, the fact of the matter is, I mean, not everyone is going to be perfectly happy in the role that they have over the course of a season. Now, it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as going from starting to being the third string player at your position, but it can be as simple as, like, a guy had it going in a game and you didn’t play as much. So what’s your reactions? What is your reaction going to be to that?

And one of the things that we talk about is that, you know, when, when you’re in competition, you know, your, your feelings can’t drive your behavior. You’re expected to behave in a certain way. And first way is you’re, you’re in it for the team. And Matt is a living, breathing example of that in our program that, you know, we’ll use him as an, again, I’ll use him as an example for as long as I’m coaching.

I love it. And talking about social media earlier, obviously, it can be a weapon of mass destruction, we’ve seen that, but it also can be a weapon of mass production. And it can be used in a way that, that can help guys create a digital character footprint that’s going to be their resume when they go get a job, whether it’s in the NBA or whether it’s, you know, at Northwest Mutual or whether it’s for you. People evaluate people’s character by social media.

It’s crazy to say but it’s become a reality. What’s your outlook on it? Because, you know, if a guy is looking at mentions on Twitter of him, he is going to go insane but, but at the same time, he can follow a formula and obviously we work together at INFLCR and Marquette to try to give them a roadmap of what to do. But what’s your, what’s your outlook?

Well, I think it can be a very powerful platform. And, you know, we want the guys who want to use that platform to tell their story, to use it in the most educated and intelligent way so who they are is accurately represented. We also want them to know, you know, while it opens up a huge door of telling a story and having that opportunity, it also can open up doors for people who want to be a part of your life, maybe not for the best intentions to, to have access to you.

So you, you have to understand as a tool and be educated and, okay, this is, this is the best way to use it. And all of our guys have amazing stories. I mean, I’m incredibly proud of our players. And so, I want them to share. But I also want them to understand that, you know, there’s responsibility that comes with it and how you handle it is, is equally important to what you’re putting out there.

Could you imagine if it was around when you played?

Yeah, I don’t envy our guys in any way, shape or form, you know, in terms of that. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine in… but our, you know, I’m incredibly proud of our guys because, you know, we give them the freedom to express themselves and to use it and, you know, knock on wood, they’ve, they’ve handled it incredibly responsibly. And which, you know, that’s, that’s important because they do represent their families. And they represent our program and they represent our university in a lot of respects. They’re the most well-known people when people think of Marquette is our guys. And so, if we’re going to be the front porch to the university, you know, our porch better be in order. And social media is a big part of that.

That’s a great way to look at it. No doubt about it. You have a unique advantage here being in downtown Milwaukee, amazing new arena that you’re playing in, sharing with the Bucks. Just talk about that and how powerful that is for you with your program, with recruiting, what a great experience it is for your guys.

Well, we have an incredible community, you know, and it’s a sports town. And they, they get behind their sports teams. And obviously, Marquette basketball has benefited from that for, for decades upon decades. I mean, we are a small school, you know, between 8,000 to 10,000, you know, students. And we average over 16,000 fans a night. You don’t do that with all 8,000 students showing up to every game.

No doubt.

And so, it’s really important for us to engage the community. And our players in our program, you know, has a big platform in this community. And it’s cross-generations. I mean, one of the cool things about playing in Fiserv and coaching here at Marquette is when you look in the stands, you know, in a row of seats, you’ll see grandparents, parents, and grandkids. And so, it’s, it’s, it’s a family affair. And people have a love affair with our program and high expectations for it, which is, you know, which is an awesome thing to be a part of,

What are some things you do personally that you’ve just learned over the years being here to market the program connect with the community as the head guy and the face of the program?

Well, I think, you know, one of the things is, is we do a ton of service. You know, last year our guys did over 400 hours of service, community service. And so, you know, it’s… we’ve talked a lot about it not just being about basketball. You know, you don’t necessarily have to market the basketball. People already care deeply of that.

Now how you, how you market it can be a powerful thing, no doubt. But people already have interest in that. But to learn more about our players individually, and Markus Howard, but not just Markus, guys like Matt Heldt learn what our players are doing in the community, whether that’s going to the Children’s Hospital, whether that’s reading to kids in underprivileged areas of the city, elementary school kids, whether it’s, you know, Camp Hometown Heroes we’re working with, you know, the military, our guys do a lot. And, you know, we want to share the totality of what we do, the basketball, who our guys are as people and how they affect our community. And I think, you know, our social media people here have done a really good job in addition to our guys.

So, as you look forward, look at the vision for this program, win every day, the whole compound effect of that, if you guys each are individually and as a team winning every day could lead to some greatness, and I know that you have a big vision for this program, talk about what that vision is.

Well, I mean, this is, you know, to me is one of the great brand in college basketball. And if you look, you know, generation upon generation of the college coaches that I’ve coached here, you know, by and large, there’s been incredible success. And we want to build on the history and tradition whether that’s winning Big East championships and going to the Final Four, or maybe one day winning a national championship. Those are our hopes and dreams. And that’s what we work to towards each day.

And if you’re talking to your 22-year-old self, what are the biggest learnings you would you would try to give advice on especially for a lot of the people listening right now who are trying to move their way up in college athletics as a coach, as an athletic director, what are some of the things you would give advice to a young professional?

Well, I think continuing to develop meaningful relationships, find mentors, seek people out so you can learn. I think being a willing and hungry learner. The, the game, the environment in the game… that the game is played in is constantly changing. There’s constant innovation in the game of college basketball, even though it’s still rooted in fundamentals. So you have to, you have to learn and stay on top of that so you can put your people and your players in the best possible position to be successful.

And then take time to organize and write down your thoughts. You know, a lot of times I wish I would have done that more, you know, with some of the things that I experienced as a player and a coach and whether it’s at Duke or with the national team or here at Marquette. I think it’s really important to be able to go back and evaluate like, are you doing the things that you say are most important to you?

You ever go back and read any of that stuff?

I do. I do. In fact, I was reading some of it this morning as we’re getting ready for, you know, another staff retreat, so.

It’s one of my favorite things to do is look at myself just sometimes just a year ago, let alone 10 years ago.

Well, yeah, and, you know, I mean, obviously, you can do everything in your phone with calendar. I still keep a hard calendar and it’s fun to go back, you know, a couple years with the old ones and look at, you know, look out, you know, what we were doing this time of year, you know, five years ago. And you know, some things you said, “Boy, that was that was great.” And some things you look at and say, “Man, that was a big waste of time.”

Yeah.

But, but being able to evaluate and get… that’s all part of getting better.

What was the national team experience like?

You know, it was incredible. I mean, you got to be on the front lines of the best of the best to who’ve ever played. I mean, you’re talking about the LeBron James and the Kobe Bryants, Dwayne Wades, and you know, going down the list, you know, guys that are not only going to be First Ballot Hall of Famers, but when they, they talk about the best who’ve ever played or, you know, they’re, they’re going to be right there in the discussion.

And, and so to learn their best practices because I thought each of them… each one of them brought a little bit something different in their process that, you know, a young coach like myself or young players like the guys I coach could learn from, whether it’s, you know, Kobe’s workouts or LeBron, the way that LeBron prepares, and you know how, how smart and how much he studied the game. Chris Paul, his hunger to learn. You know, Durant’s joy for the game. There’s all of them, you know, had a process that allowed them to be the best version of who they are.

And so, I’m not saying we can make guys into a Russell Westbrook or a LeBron James. But there’s lessons that you can learn from their best practices that you can apply to your own life which then will make you better.

And there’s two parts, right? There’s natural talent, but then there’s a guy with LeBron’s natural talent who’s willing to sleep, eat, prepare, as you said away and that can have him in his mid-30s still being the best in the league, that’s something you can translate to some of your most talented guys.

Yeah, no, I think it’s, I think it’s really important. You know, one of the things that I learned during my eight years with the national team, the biggest misconception with those guys is that they are where they are just because they won the genetic lottery.

Right.

And look, there’s no question that they have amazing genes and that’s a part of the story. But people have no idea how smart they are. You know, what quick studies they are. You know, their, their ability to recognize patterns and movements and it is incredible.

And people have no idea how hard they prepare. Like, it really is a lifestyle for them. This isn’t like practices from 1:00 to 3:00. And I put my two hours in and the 22 other hours of the day I, you know, I do whatever I want. I mean, it is, it is a lifestyle, the way they eat, the way they sleep, the way they take care of their body, the way they prepare for practice, the way they take care of… the way they practice, the way they take care of their body after practice.

I mean, it’s, you know, for those guys, that, the preparation and their intelligence and their willingness and hunger to learn, combined with the fact that they’ve been blessed by God with some amazing physical traits, makes them the best of the best. And the second and third part of that story isn’t told nearly enough.

Right. Everybody just talks about the first.

Yeah.

So it’s been intriguing to me, you know, to be around it for eight years, how do you balance that and still being a coach at the college level?

Well, you know, you know, it was an incredible experience. I mean, I, you know, I say I got my undergrad degree in Coaching at Duke and I got my masters with the national team because you were… we were around, obviously, coaches, incredible mentor. But then you’re around the, the Jim Boeheims, the Mike D’Antoni, the Nate McMillans, the Jerry Colangelo, the Thibodeau, like, you go down the line of these guys who have been incredibly successful that may see the game differently. And there’s a lot of different ways to win in college. And, you know, it’s, it was great to learn from them and be exposed to that in addition to watching the players do what they do.

Awesome. Coach, thanks so much for making time for me today. Excited to go speak to your team right now and about our partnership together with Marquette and INFLCR.

Yeah, thanks for everything you guys do.

Such great stuff from Coach, really appreciate him making some time for me on my visit up to Milwaukee to spend time with our partners at Marquette Athletics. INFLCR is proud to serve Marquette men’s and women’s basketball, getting underway two sports that we serve with INFLCR. And we’re now serving more than 12,000 athletes on the INFLCR app. And each episode we try to take some time and talk with one of them so you can hear about their philosophy on brand building, social media, and all things content.

And in this episode, we talk to former Auburn basketball star and now NBA Rookie for the Phoenix Suns, Jared Harper.

Hi, Jared, just talked about, like, for you how big it was that Auburn would invest into something like INFLCR to help you with your brand be able to have access to the moments that you make every day on the floor.

Jared Harper: Oh, it was just a great experience being able to have the app, being able to go right there and see all my pics from, from every game that we play this year and be able to simply download into my phone, and being able to, being able to post them and sharing them. So it was definitely a great deal to have that.

And then from a standpoint of being able to still get your stuff at the pro level, how important is it that media companies just allow access to athletes to be able to get their content, share it, use it how they want for their social channels?

Oh, it’s just great just knowing that even after my first Summer League game I, I go in the app and see that I’m tagged and some photos in. I’m still able to post photos. So it’s just, just great to be able to have the app, have access to it and just an easy way of being able to post pictures in and, and just help my brand.

Big props to Jared for joining us on this episode and big props to all the INFLCR athletes. Like I said, more than 12,000 athletes now accessing their INFLCR app, almost five times a week to engage and share content on social media. And just want to thank my team for putting this together. The show notes come with it on the web page.

So if you want to go look at the notes to this show with Wojo, you can go to INFLCR.com, that’s I-N-F-L-C-R dot com, and click on the podcast option. You’ll see Episode 10 for Season One, which features Steve Wojciechowski. And on there, you’ll see coaches handle to be able to follow him on social. You’ll also see show notes that go with this. You’ll see the INFLCR handle so you can follow us, and me, Jim Cavale, on social media and stay in tune with all we’re doing with I Want Your Job. We’ve got great episodes coming.

The next episode is with Rob Mullens, the athletic director for the University of Oregon running a program that has great tradition, and of course, is linked to the big brand that is Nike. And you’re going to hear all about that from Rob on the next episode.

But for everyone here at INFLCR, I just want to thank you again for checking out this episode of I Want Your Job.

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