It’s that time of the year again, where my good mate and I suit up for another unpredictable season of coaching high school basketball. I love every aspect of coaching, sizing up each player, formulating a game plan, character building, and of course the wins.
For some reason I felt a bit different about this upcoming season, maybe it’s because it will be my 5th season as a coach, maybe because I’ve been around basketball for so much of my life. I couldn’t quite grasp what the nagging in the back of my mind was. So as any person would do, I went in search for some much needed inspiration, and what better place to find it than in a small time Division III school near Pittsburgh, La Roche College.
The story of Scott Lang, youngest NCAA basketball coach, who recruited players based on character rather than talent and was 100% dedicated to his team and community reads like a tragic tale. Up until he was the age of 41, he had goals of his team taking part in the NCAA tournament. In that final season he would say “This is the team to do it, we’ve never had this group of young men together before”.
On the court is where he lived, and on the court is where he died. Midway through practice, Scott Lang suffered a heart attack center court and passed away. Later that night when players were told the terrible news, they mourned in a way that would have made coach proud. Some sat on the bleachers, others took to the court, shooting, reminiscing, trading stories and remembering the legacy. La Roche Redhawks continued to win the rest of the season, the tournament, and was invited to take part in the NCAA Div III tournament.
Because of coach, this was a team who loved each and everyone with a La Roche jersey, these boys were willing to defend together, suffer together, and play together with and through the spirit of Scott Lang.
Me? I didn’t know him personally, but if I can be half the man he was when I step on the court with my team, then it’s going to be a great season.
Read more about Scott Lang here.