I had an anger issue when it came to basketball in my younger days. I don’t know where exactly I got that from. I loved, and still love, the clip of Bobby Knight tossing the chair across the floor, so maybe I just wanted to be Bobby Knight. I don’t want to be Bob Knight anymore.
I’d love his success. Three National Championships, plus one as a player. Five Final Four appearances. Eleven Big Ten titles. A 902-371 career coaching record.
All of that success, but all that my generation remembers him for is throwing that chair across the floor.
The Minnesota State Boys’ Basketball Championships came to a close this weekend and as usual, you will barely hear anything about the Single-A and Double-A schools. All you will hear about is De La Salle and Apple Valley defeating an before-the-game undefeated team.
Single-A saw Rushford-Peterson win the championship. It was Rushford-Peterson’s tenth appearance at the state tournament since 2000. Thomas Vix has been the coach for 30 years and has been at the helm of a lot of good teams. I’ve never seen him yell.
Between tight semi-finals and championship games, from the stands the man has never appeared to yell. I’m starting to doubt that he can actually physically yell.
Vix shows little to no emotion throughout the game, in a good way. The most powerful thing that is shown is a death glare to an official or one of his own players. The glare is usually reserved for a player that has done something against his liking and it works. That look could cut through steel.
He’s found a lot of success by never raising his voice during the game.
The same thing is happening in Ames, Iowa.
As we head into Selection Sunday, the Iowa State Cyclones have won five straight games after falling behind by double-digits. That tenacity brought the Cyclones to their second straight Big 12 Tournament Championship and a lot of momentum headed into the NCAA tournament.
When looking over at the sideline, Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has stayed cool, calm and collected during all of the ups and downs, the behinds and the comebacks.
There’s evidence that the Bob Knight style works, too.
While Rushford-Peterson’s Vix doesn’t show any emotion, Triple-A’s De La Salle just won their fourth straight championship under the watch of Dave Thorson. Thorson is a man who never sits down and is constantly yelling. Yelling to the point that a totally neutral party in attendance will want him to sit down, breathe and shut up.
A team imitates their coach. There’s a lot of different styles in basketball that are successful and a lot of different successful coaches as well, there’s no one true way to go to lead a team to the promised land, but I know what’s more impressive.
The cool, calm and collected coach.
It looks better. Plus it makes it appear that you’ve coached your team to the best of your ability to prepare for the game. If the kids haven’t bought in our caught on by mid-game, there’s a 99.9% chance that it isn’t going to happen that night.
I don’t know what Vix and Hoiberg are like behind closed doors. I don’t know if they yell their head off during practice, but I do know that I don’t want to be Bob Knight. I want to be Thomas Vix. I want to be Fred Hoiberg.
I’ll just throw my chair across the floor in celebration.