Back on Sunday, the coaching profession lost an icon with the passing of legendary Washington and Kent State head coach Don James. As one of the few people who both played and coached under coach James, Gary Pinkel learned a lot from from the legendary coach.
As part of Missouri's weekly sit down, Pinkel shares some of his most memorable moments with Don James and what made him such a coaching icon for so many.
One of those moments came after Pinkel had accepted the head coaching job at Toledo when he swung by coach James' office to say his goodbyes. Before walking out the door Pinkel turned to his mentor and asked if he had any final words of wisdom, to which James responded with some advice that has shaped Pinkel's entire coaching career.
"When things get tough, they're really going to get tough. That's just how this profession is. You wake up and you focus on doing your job. You get up in the morning and you do your job and you focus every hour on doing your job and then you go to bed, and you wake up and do it again."
"Don't let any outside influences get to you, because if you do that in this business, it will chew you up." Pinkel shared.
"I walked out of that meeting, and as a first time head coach I was expecting something a little different than that, but it was probably the greatest piece of advice I could have gotten. It's the same message that I pass on when I go and talk to businesses about management and leadership, and it's probably the thing I pass on to others more than anything."
"It was the greatest piece of advice he could have ever given me. I don't know if I would have survived this business if he wouldn't have given me that." he explained.
Take five minutes and listen to the whole interview. You'll be a better coach (and person) when it's over.