The Job or The Journey | Why Do YOU Coach? by T.J. Saint | Belmont University Video Coordinator

The Job or The Journey | Why Do YOU Coach? by T.J. Saint


To all,

Hope everyone had a great week and were conscience in creating your own future. This past weekend I was in Houston, TX for the Final Four and NABC Convention. I had an outstanding time seeing new friends and old friends alike. I would like to extend a big thanks to Rising Coaches Elite for putting on an enjoyable social; it was great seeing all of you.

For the purposes of getting the most out of this particular blog, I would like all of you tilt your laptop screen down or shut off your desktop monitor for about 60 seconds and think about the foundations of why you coach the greatest game in the world. Ready, power down……………………………………………………Ok now, are the things you thought about the same things you display and share with others around you? Is what you thought about part of your external brand? I hope that they are, however, after observing folks this weekend, I’m not truly sure what some people’s foundations rest upon. So many coaches seem to have the majority of their minds set on the actual job itself. By this I mean the job title or the name on the jersey or who’s going to get fired and who’s going to get his spot. Honestly, and this is only my opinion based on 1 perspective of life experience, but you need to focus more on the leader you choose to follow and work for no matter your job title. Since there seems to be a trend in college basketball to constantly climb the ladder (which I don’t disagree with at all), I ask what will you do when you get to the top? Everyone says it’s all about who you know, but when you get to the top, to the position of prime leadership (All of us are leaders in what ever position if we chose to be), what you know wins championships. I would hope by that time you know how to take a collection of any individuals, gather them together as one, and put them on a focused path to achieve anything. As coaches, we have the responsibility to “SCHAPE” (PGC term) the young men and women of tomorrow. At the Final Four I attended a John Wooden “Trusted Leadership” workshop and thoroughly enjoyed it. The speaker, or should I say energizer, Craig Impelman, is married to John Wooden’s granddaughter and had a wealth of personal experience with Coach Wooden. I was first to arrive at the lecture so I got to spend some extra time with Craig, and trust me it pays to be early literally and figuratively. I asked him why so many coaches do not follow the partial blueprint of Coach Wooden in leading their team’s with integrity and control since he is heralded as the greatest coach ever regardless of sport. He answered: “It’s a mystery…greatest does leave footprints.” I think that answer says a lot about how many study the game. YOU can standout and be special if you focus on the things that matter most.

It’s kind of funny how people hear sayings and then totally overuse them while believing in them wholeheartedly, yet don’t apply them in key situations. The phrase ‘focus on what you can control’ is often used, yet the vast majority of coaches talk about recruiting over teaching. Now each are extremely important in my mind for obvious reasons, however, I think you have far more control over teaching than recruiting. Yes, you do have total control of who you recruit to play for you, but do you have total control on what a particular recruit is thinking? No, you don’t, you really have none, whereas you and your staff have complete control on how you organize, plan, strategize, implement, and execute the teachings to your players.

All in all, as Homer said in his book the Iliad a couple thousand years ago, “The journey’s the thing.” The people who are the BEST coaches don’t care about their job title, their gym conditions, or their salary. They care about the journey of life they prepare their players for in the years to come. And as we close I want you to think back to the exercise we did at the beginning of this blog pertaining to the 60 seconds of ‘Why Do YOU Coach?’, and in the famous words of the poet Rudyard Kipling, Did you fill that unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run?


T.J. Saint



T.J. Saint Bio

-Played HS basketball at Indian Creek HS in Trafalgar, IN for Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Angle.

-Walk-on point guard at D1 Mercer University in Macon, GA for 2003 National Coach of the Year Mark Slonaker–Played for 2 years.

-Transferred to Belmont University in Nashville, TN–Became the student assistant for coach for head coach Rick Byrd.

-Upon graduation, promoted to Video Coordinator.

-Worked as a National Skill Development Coach for Pure Sweat Basketball.

-Worked as a volunteer instructor at national acclaimed Point Guard College series.

-AAU Coach:

-16U Indiana Select (IN)

-12U Brentwood Cavs (TN)

-12U Nashville Force (TN)

-Worked summer camps at the following universities:





-Member of Rising Coaches Elite– collection of the top support staff in the country.

Short-Term career aspirations

-Become apart of a Division I staff as a Director of Operations/Assistant Coach

-Become a Division I head coach by time I’m around age 30–Would love to stay at the mid-major level

-Dream job–UNC-Wilmington

Long-Term career aspirations

My approach to my career and the game of basketball is as follows:

“To turn young men into leaders of the world. To teach life through the game of basketball, to be the greatest leader at creating leaders, and to leave a mark on a profession that will last forever.”

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