Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons from a Life in Coaching
Dean Smith, Gerald Bell, & John Kilgo.
(Very fitting since the Cats play UNC on Saturday)
I recommend this book to anyone interested in basketball & business. I got the audio (9 CD’s) for just $4.00, and saw plenty of hardbacks at the same price.
Every chapter in the book features an historical snippet or principle from Smith (read by Smith himself), then a recollection by a former player, and then an application of the principle to business by a guy with a Ph.D. in business administration.
Up until now, I’ve always hated Carolina basketball and Dean Smith. I disliked that he broke Adolph Rupp’s all-time winning record. I thought he was overrated, all of those years but only 2 NCAA Championships to his name. My parents told me the stories of how he would beat the old UK teams with his “4-corners” offense. “Stall ball,” and how all of Memorial Coliseum would boo him for just dribbling out the clock.
Perhaps I’d also always been a little jealous of Carolina. They have much a much more star-studded alumni list than Kentucky…
1995 was the most crucial year in my memory. Rasheed Wallace threw Andre Riddick against a goal post, and all the world remembers is the choke hold that Riddick put on Wallace a couple plays later (Carolina came back and won an ugly game in the 2nd half). From what I understood, Smith had told the players to play rough, because Kentucky was intimidated by rough play. “Dirty,” I thought.
What I didn’t know until I read this book was that Wallace and the entire UNC team ran laps in practice because of his technical fouls. That was Smith’s rule that he kept all through his tenure: If someone gets a technical foul, the whole team runs in practice. No exceptions.
If someone simply cursed in practice, the whole team ran. Dean Smith has morals, no exceptions.
Dean Smith was very driven to win, but also was innovative. He recruited guys that respected their coaches and families. He graduated over 90% of his players, with something like 50%+ going on to graduate school. He never had an NCAA investigation or infraction.
His teams beat Duke (they seem to be having a hard time doing that these days).
He explains in the book how he designed the “4-Corners” offense and why many people remember it only as “stall ball” or cheating. He and his players preferred to run, and press. He found the 4-corners the best way to keep the lead late in the game, and teams definitely weren’t able to stop it. The shot clock stopped it, when it was introduced, and he preferred that because he preferred to run and score quickly.
Charles Scott, the first black ACC player, tells a story of how UNC came to Lexington in '68 and beat a hostile UK team, not by the 4-corners, but by stopping UK's offense. Rupp ran the same play over and over, and wouldn't change his plan. UNC had already scouted and prepared for it, and thus stifled UK's offense.
Smith was a pioneer in recruiting Scott. On his recruiting visit to Chapel Hill, Smith took Scott to his own all-white church. This meant a lot to him as a black athlete.
He adapted his methods with each team, and often changed strategies to fit each team.
Former Carolina players come back and contribute to the program. They help run summer scrimmages, and many have become coaches themselves. They don’t get into scandals.
The faculty highly praised and gave Dean Smith awards themselves. Many are quoted as saying he was one of the best teachers on campus. They liked the positive attention he brought the school, and the fact that the students were had such a high graduate and post-graduate success rate. You don’t see that mutual admiration from coaches and professors at many colleges today.
The Carolina Way of coaching and practicing has influenced a lot of teams. The continuity of Smith’s program carries over to the style they play today, and his players have become some of the best coaches in basketball. Guys like Felton, May, & McCants stuck around because they wanted to get UNC back on top and keep the tradition alive.
The book changed a lot of my thinking about Smith, and definitely increased my respect for him and his program. I misjudged him.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
On Friday, I engaged in my wife's family's tradition of doing early-bird special shopping. We had our eye on a desktop computer at Best Buy (w/printer & flatscreen monitor). So, that means that I got up at 4:00am on Friday(!) and we were standing in line by 4:30 (doors opened at 5:00).
Now, I've stood in line for basketball tickets before, and for entrance to events. But, never to buy an item and fight a huge crowd once inside a store. We got the desktop, just barely. We're friends with one of the employees, and he helped us out as soon as he saw us. The computers were all sold out by about 5:05am.
We also got good deals on a wireless router & adapter combo for just $15.00, and other things. (We're taking the router/adapter back to exchange).
After this success, we were out of the store at 6:30am. Plenty of time to do more shopping! Hastings opened at 8:00am, so I stood in line there while my wife went elsewhere. Hastings was selling all of its used books for $5.00, CD's for $3.99 and 30% off all of their used DVD's. It's kind of like a Barnes & Noble, but with a huge selection of used items.
While standing in line at Hastings with the other psychopaths, I heard the following stories:
There were so many people at Wal-Mart that those who had started waiting at 2am still didn't get the computer they were hoping to get. It was pandemonium there.
At least 3 people were arrested at Circuit City after fights broke out over the $199 laptop they were selling. This place was apparently also mob-rule. Can you imagine waiting in line all night for a computer, and then getting hauled away in handcuffs and still not having a computer?
So, after spending a couple hours at Hastings, I came home and passed out. Why do we do these things to ourselves? Oh, because there are gifts to buy for other people who are out braving the same crowds to buy gifts for us. This is why I don't like Christmas so much. I'm a Grinch about it. Let's just all eat dinner with each other on Christmas and then send gifts to each other throughout the year, when we see something that the other will need. Let's not make them go without it for 6 months saying "Just wait 'til Christmas!"
Yes, we in America are fanatics and psychopaths. Oddly enough, after Friday I feel like I accomplished something. If nothing else, I got some good books to read.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
While I was unable to watch the game yesterday, I have to say I'm impressed with the stats that I saw. Sparks having 6 assists and really opening the game up for everyone is really nice. Rondo averaging 12 rpg is crazy. He'd better be considered an All-American by the end of the year.
Who needs 7 footers? Tubby's faith in Jared Carter is really promising, too. One day he'll be considered better than all the others.
Gotta love both the name and game of Pittsnogle. It's like something out of Harry Potter. Good line for him, too: 27 points, 10 boards and only 1 turnover. He's the High Fiving White Guys' best shot at the NBA.
Happy Thanksgiving, boys! Thanks for the win! WVU: Beat Louisville.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I enjoyed getting to watch the Wildcats on TV for the first time this season. Props to Sean Barr and his magical HDTV for letting me partake of the sweet goodness that is college basketball.
I was disappointed, but not really surprised, that we were overcome by Iowa. My thoughts on the matchup:
1. I'm perplexed that these players get older, but they don't get smarter. Same silly mistakes and turnovers.
2. Finish this sentence: Sheray Thomas is good at ________? I'm having trouble putting anything in that blank.
3. Joe Crawford is in the doghouse (again).
4. Did you see Brunner for Iowa? I mean, the guy's like 40 years old. He's the crafty old man you play at the church gym. The guy had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and dominated us. His next stunt will be to appear on "The Contender."
5. A team full of veterans who have run the same offensive sets together for years will probably always play us tough, no matter what talent they have.
6. Ramel Bradley has been taking lessons from Patrick Sparks. What was with that bad attempt at a three-pointer (turnover) at the end that cost us a good chance to take a lead?
7. Sims is freakin' awesome. I'd like to see him grab 19 rebounds some day.
8. West Virginia should change the name of their team from "Mountaineers" to "High-Fiving White Guys." They'll be fun to play and hopefully won't pull a Hoosiers remake on us.
9. Even with Randolph Morris this game would have been close.
10. Rondo, keep taking it to the hole. You're the shining light.
11. Was it just me, or did Brett Musberger (ESPN commentator) sound drunk last night? Quote of the night for him: "You're my Orbzut guy!"
Let's win tonight, boys. It'll make Thanksgiving a little easier for all of us.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Long-time readers of my blog (check out the July archives) will remember that I promoted Jimmy Carter for President as a good answer to our nation's political problems and to the deep division that exists between the "right" and "left" in America.
Al Mohler apparently disagrees with me. He has critiqued Carter's new book: "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis" on his blog.
Carter has written an eloquent response to Al Mohler (thus increasing my admiration of Carter's character) in an article for the Christian News.
Mohler says this: "Mr. Carter blames conservative evangelicals in general - and the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention in particular - for his devastating loss to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election."
Jimmy Carter says "I have never believed such a thing, nor expressed this opinion." He knows why he lost the election. Why would Mohler make this sort of heavy-handed comment/accusation? It's based on nothing Carter says or does.
I think that Al Mohler doesn't listen, and I think Carter agrees: "I read Albert Mohler's column ... and found it difficult to relate his distorted comments with the actual text that was published."
I think Mohler often hears what he wants to, and smears who he sees as a threat. Instead of fostering more discussion on the issue as Christians, Al's post seems to me to say (my words here) "Carter is wrong and doesn't know it, and we should watch out for and reject people like him because they're a threat to us."
Carter's problem is with the SBC's changing of the "Baptist Faith and Message" back in 2000 but also with the move of the Bush II administration's unilateralism away from international agreements, environmental action, and acceptance of things like torture of prisoners and violations of civil rights (certain clauses of the Patriot Act). Mohler doesn't mention these in his post as important.
If Al Mohler wants to defend these policies of the Bush administration, then he'll put himself at odds with plenty of evangelicals, including myself.
I don't agree with Jimmy Carter about everything, and I agree with Al Mohler about plenty. But, I embrace more of Jimmy Carter's mission of fostering discussion about the issues, and finding common ground that we can stand on in peace. I reject Al Mohler's ways of polarizing people.
Friday, November 18, 2005
First of all, Kentucky was given an 11th seed! Are you crazy???
Second of all, they have us losing to Houston in the 2nd round!!! Voters picked Houston over Kentucky 82% to 17%.
Scoop Jackson pretends to know something about basketball, and some idiot named Eric Neel says that our all-time team is inferior to Providence's!!! What the crap???
First of all, the 7 "all-time greats" they picked for UK are:
I agree with 4 or 5 of these. But, what about Kenny Walker? What about Frank Ramsey? Tony Delk? Antoine Walker? Kyle Macy? Others from the 80's like Winston Bennett. Older guys like Pat Riley? (If LSU gets a very high seed with the likes of Bob Pettit, surely you can figure out some of our old guys who could play).
ESPN PAGE 2 IS STUPID. ANY OF THE OLD GUYS SUCH AS DICK VITALE, RICK MAJERUS OR EVEN DIGGER PHELPS WOULD HAVE PICKED BETTER TEAMS THAN THIS.
I'm asking everyone to write in and voice your complaints. This is truely a mockery of basketball.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The Magic Bullet
So, watching infomercials on Saturday may not be healthy for your wallet. My wife and I finally decided to order a Magic Bullet as a Christmas gift for each other this year.
It can chop and make most anything I want it to in 5 seconds. It's very cool. For salsa, smoothies, guacamole, milkshakes, alfredo sauce. It's all right here, baby. And it takes no more space on your countertop than a mug of coffee.
But wait, there's more!
You also get a free blender and juicer attachment with your Magic Bullet! That's a $250 value!
But, hold on, there's even more!
If you call in the next 15 minutes, you get a WHOLE OTHER SET for FREE! That's 2 for 1!
So, tonight is its maiden mission. I'm making some chicken curry and am going to chop & grind up my spices and vegetables with the Magic Bullet.
So, that's what we got for Christmas. We haven't figured out who we're giving the 2nd one to yet. Christmas in the grown-up world.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Baylor (no bowl for you)
Texas Tech (losing to Oklahoma State is like Auburn losing to Kentucky).
Kentucky football(You gave up 32 points and almost lost the game in the 2nd half. You claim a "huge" victory over a team that has won 4 games and is a traditional SEC whipping-boy. What a joke.)
Oklahoma (your season wasn't a total disaster)
Bad Coaching Decision of the Week:
Remember last week when I praised Guy Morriss for not playing his starting QB (Shawn Bell)against Texas so he could have a week off and not get killed? Well, Morriss made the bonehead decision to leave him on the bench for the Missouri game. The result? Missouri took a 24-0 lead with 3:00 to go in the 3rd quarter. Morriss then put Shawn Bell in. Result: Bell immediately led 3 quick scoring drives to make it 24-16. Baylor's defense then held Missouri to a 4th and 1 on their own 44 yard line. Mizzou went for it, and scored a touchdown. Bell got the Bears back to the red-zone twice more, but couldn't make touchdowns.
My point: If Shawn Bell plays, Baylor is much more competitive. You do the math:
Backup Terrance Park's line: 42 minutes, 9-21 passing, 0 TD's, 1 INT, 5 sacks
Bell's line: 18 minutes, 18-29 passing, 209 yards, 2 TD's, 0 INT's
Good Coaching Decision of the Week:
Everything Steve Spurrier did.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church over him to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”
So, how often does your church’s elders (leaders) anoint a sick person with oil and pray over him for healing? Why does this not happen much in most churches? It seems like a clear command to me.
Joni and I finally joined Highland Baptist Church on Sunday. We attended the orientation class and had our questions answered about the structure and ministries of the church. The pastor later told us that “The main difference between us and a typical SBC church is that we take James 5:14 seriously.” Somewhere around 50% of the congregation of the church has no Baptist background. An interesting blend.
So, how do you feel about speaking in tongues, performing miracles, and prophesying? (A typical question from the spiritual gifts survey we took before joining: “Have you ever shared Christ with someone in a language you have never learned?” “Do you enjoy interpreting for people who speak in tongues for the edification of the body of believers?”).
Dave Blake used to argue that miracles, healings, speaking in tongues found in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14 don’t exist on the earth now (I don’t know what you believe now, Dave). The pastor spent some time going over this also. I agree with our pastor that there is no Scriptural basis for believing that miracles have decreased or don’t exist now. We just don’t see them much in America. But, I’ve known enough people who were healed of diseases, or could speak a word of prophecy to let me know that the gifts are just as manifest in certain parts of the world as they were in the 1st century church.
I’ve also heard of enough people being healed, and being raised from the dead to let me know that miracles still happen.
I feel glad to be a part of a church that takes Scripture literally enough to believe in and to pursue God in these things. I’m glad the church encourages spiritual growth through small groups of believers. I hope to learn things and be a contagious Christian again.
Today (11/13) is the “Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.” Take a minute to think about and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ who risk death by proclaiming Christ and sharing Him with others.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I think Peter Drucker agreed with empowering employees by giving them more decision-making power. “Employees are a resource,” he said. He’d agree with giving some employees the opportunity to figure out incentives to help them work. That’s what this post is about.
The long-time readers of my blog might remember my observations from my time on the assembly line at Allergan. There, temporary workers were pushed to perform tasks quickly to meet the demands of managers. No incentives were given to them, they just simply worked harder because they were told to. They actually had a disincentive to work harder. If they got the job done faster, it meant that they would be sent home, or there wouldn’t be work for them later in the week. I was quite amazed and baffled at how hard they worked for no apparent reason.
(I should note that many of these temps have left the factory, because they got tired of showing up at 6:30am and being sent home because there was no work that day. They helped work themselves out of jobs).
I’m no longer assigned to Allergan, but have a temp job in corporate America. Again, I work on a team of temps assigned to do a menial task. We’re asked to do it quickly and efficiently. The incentive might be the chance of being hired on full-time with higher wages and benefits (401k and such). (This incentive doesn’t apply to me because I’m leaving in January to start school anyway). I do an honest and good job here because I feel I’m honoring God, myself, my commitment to ethics, and also I really like the folks this particular company.
Now, I have co-workers who understand that the completion of our assigned task means they will be again unemployed. We don’t punch a time clock, so there is no incentive to come to work exactly on time. We’re not under constant supervision, so there isn’t always a reason to perform. Our pay isn’t based on performance. So, plenty of reasons not to work. I should mention that we have our own workstations connected to the Internet, so there are plenty of available distractions also (you can surf the Net while pretending to work. I heard on NPR a few weeks ago that a recent study says that more and more hours are spent in the workplace looking at blogs instead of actually working, but I digress…)
The managers who originally hired us on expected our entire task to take about 6 weeks. I’ve been there 8 weeks, and know that in reality, our task will probably take another 4 months.
We’ve recently been given a new phase of our assignment. The job is very tedious, unexciting (long hours looking at things on a computer screen and clicking), and mind-numbing. We were given the same bad estimation for the project 3-4 weeks. On Friday, I did some number crunching and figured out that this task alone will take 2 months to do.
I was asked by my immediate supervisor to think of ways of motivation. How can we motivate the temporary employees to work more hours (most have never logged 40 hours in a week)? How can we motivate them to work better/faster? What tools can we give them to help them?
The goal: Take a 2-month job and somehow get it done in 1 month.
I came up with a couple of ideas right off the bat:
Idea #1: Set a goal for the project to be done by, say 1 month. If we perform the task in a month, give us all a bonus. You calculate the amount of this bonus by figuring out how long it should have taken us to do the job with our current efficiency, and how much that would have cost the company in salary by having us hired that long. For increasing our efficiency, the company should give us a bonus slightly less than what it would have cost us at our previous level of work.
In other words, this job would take us 2 months at our current level of work. This would cost the company $2000 (for example) for our salaries.
If we can be motivated to work faster, and get the job in a month, we’ll only cost the company $1000. The company should then give us a bonus of slightly less than $1000 so that it still profits more than it would have otherwise (it pays less than the $2000 it would have paid us if we'd done it in 2 months). Make sense?
Idea #2: Our task is kind of production-oriented. We have a total number of “projects” to be done. Why not set a high daily goal of projects to be done? If we need to do 100 projects a day to achieve the task in a month, then make that our goal. If we meet that goal, buy us lunch the next day. (Lunch at the downstairs café is exactly $5.00. So, $15.00 for the 3 of us).
There are other ways to increase production: Add some software that might help us to work together easier, or hire more workers. Each of these require expenses that go well beyond the $15.00/day of lunch, or the bonus money I mentioned earlier.
Are there any sociologists, managers, economists, psychologists, or other folks out there with ideas/input/stories? Let’s put them on the table. What motivates you?
Friday, November 11, 2005
Both years that I lived overseas, Dr. Ashlie Sykes sent me the latest schedules to keep me going. She has just sent me the new ones, and one to share with another big UK fan here at my office (without asking me for oatmeal creampies or anything else, unlike some others who frequent this blog!!).
So, this post is dedicated to Ashlie and all the reasons she is cool:
1. Ashlie lived next door to my old grade school friend Liz in Donovan hall. Liz is crazy, as you can see from her blog, and so Ashlie is cool because she's friends with her.
2. Ashlie spent several years in school to be a pharmacist. She's definitely one of the most educated women that I know.
3. Despite her high education, Ashlie is very down-to-earth. She's also a good cook.
4. Ashlie has always driven a pretty-new SUV since I've known her. She dominates in traffic.
5. Ashlie lets people use her house as a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
6. Ashlie is in an all-single-girl Lifegroup at Southland. This means she's around like-minded females that will actually help her grow spiritually.
7. She also sent me a UK snowman for Christmas when I was overseas. It's cool.
So, here's to you Ashlie, Princess of Pikeville. Know that I and my co-worker Sean really love the schedules. Thanks!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
So, it seems that all of the Lexington Herald Leader's sportswriters have jumped back on the "Save Rich Brooks" bandwagon. This is unbelievable. John Clay says it's "fair" to keep Brooks. Chip Cosby quotes brooks as saying "We should be (better), and it should significantly show in the win column. I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility to think we'll have the opportunity to go to a bowl game next year."
Cosby also writes that this is "good news for recruits."
So, all is hunky dorey. This from the very people who 2 weeks ago were selling this man and the team down the river.
My prediction: UK will look better next year. I bet they win 5 games. After which everyone will say "Wow, look how much better they are! Next year we'll go to a bowl!" And, we might eventually go to a bowl game. But, then we'll go back to 3 wins or so with our old ball coach. Sub-Mediocrity.
Bill Curry took us to a bowl too. Everyone expected UK to stay on top back then. And then we had the worst seasons in several years. It took him forever to get fired. I guess the same will be true of Brooks. UK football = mediocrity at best. This is sad and unacceptable in a world where we could dominate football.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I can't wait until UK plays Texas. They'll likely might meet up in the Guardians Classic. I can't wait to rub it in on some of the UT folks here, who feel they know what basketball is. Even Texas A&M figures to be ranked and competitive this year.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
This week's "good call" goes to Guy Morriss. He knew his team was going to lose to Texas, and probably lose very badly (62-0, which mean I was correct last week by saying Texas may hang 70 on the Bears. I was also correct that Vince Young would not get 267 yards of rushing again this week).
He gave his starting QB the week off.
He said he did it to spark the struggling offense. In reality, he made this decision to keep his starter from getting hurt, while giving playing time against a powerhouse to a younger guy who will start one day.
Shawn Bell, the starter, is usually pretty careful with the ball, and doesn't throw interceptions often. However, against Texas Tech, he threw 2 costly ones and seemed discouraged after being unable to put any points on the board (TT won 28-0). Good call to give him the week off so that he didn't feel the pressure of playing Texas, and wouldn't worry about getting hurt.
Terrance Parks, a sophomore QB, had nothing to lose and everything to gain out there. He could bring a new spark to the offense, and maybe score some points. He was 10-23 with 89 yards and 2 INTs. He took the pounding, but learned valuable lessons.
So, Bell can start fresh again next week against Missouri as Baylor tries to get Win #5.
BAN THE POLLS AND THE COMPUTERS
Just saw the new AP Poll. Since 7-1 Miami hammered Virginia Tech, the voters decided to rank them ahead of 9-0 Alabama. This is ridiculous. Virginia Tech hadn't played anyone and obviously were overrated. Alabama has beaten all comers, but probably won't make it to the BCS Championship because they're from the SEC. It's nearly impossible for a team from the SEC to go undefeated, because all of the teams in the conference are so good. Bama is still undefeated, and yet gets no respect. C'mon!
Biggest Losers on Saturday:
1. Virginia Tech
2. Phil Fulmer (wow, the vultures have increased exponentially over Knoxville!)
4. Philadelphia Eagles. So, you've got different players saying different things about each other to the media, T.O. already had half the team ticked off, and now he's not part of the team... your QB is playing hurt, and people are starting to question the coach's playcalling. Um, how long until this train completely derails?
5. Florida State
6. Vanderbilt (49-42 loss to Florida in 2 OT). You were sooo close to doing the impossible and forever ruining Urban Meyer's reputation! Kudos to Jay Cutler (28-42 361 yards 4TD's 2 ints).
The winners this week:
1. Notre Dame (i got to see the scoring frenzy in the 4th quarter).
2. No one else who won big this week deserved it. That's my call, and I'm sticking to it.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
While I'm very pleased with UK's talent this year, and am not worried about them peaking until February/March, I make the following predictions:
1. I predict Wukash Orbzut won't dominate at center this season. In any game.
2. I predict that Brandon Stockton will do something in a game this year. A game. Maybe it's an exhibition game, so get ready! I predict he will score 12 points and be a hero one time this year.
I also predict that in a game soon, Rondo will get in foul trouble and Stockton will be called on to save the day at the point guard spot. (I make no predictions on how he does in that situation, though).
3. I predict that Tubby will get angry in several games this year. He'll get mad at his team for their lack of effort in rebounding. He would have last night, but it wasn't worth it.
4. I predict that Vince Young will NOT get 267 yards rushing against Baylor on Saturday. Dude got 267 yards rushing against Oklahoma State last week. That's like a Tecmo Bowl stat.
Guy Morriss will not let that happen. Texas might score 70 points, but Vince will not score them all.
So, take these to the bank, or Vegas, or to Buffalo Wild Wings. Whatever makes you feel good, because that's what matters when you're right.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
My wife and I carved this pumpkin with our church lifegroup. Actually, my wife found the design online and did most of the carving. It didn't win overall, but won "Most Religious" (or as I prefer to say "Most Non-Pagan").
The best part of my day was taking out my frustrations on our pumpkin. Call it a stressful workweek. This is the best part of Halloween. Parents wish that rowdy teenage punks would steal their jack-o-lanterns off the front porch and smash them before they rot (they don't tell their kids that, though). So, do you neighbors a favor; set their pumpkins free!
Remember, nothing feels better than smashing a pumpkin, and that's what Halloween means to me.