A wise man once asked, "If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, would you capture it or just let it slip?" Okay, that wise man was Eminem, but his quote rings true, especially for football coaches.
Taking a new head coaching job is something that happens once, twice, maybe three times in a career if you're extremely lucky. It takes a lifetime's worth of extremely hard work, and a whole lot of luck, to get there. Each opportunity is extremely precious, and should be treated as such. I don't have to tell any of you that.
At each of those jobs, you get one chance to introduce yourself to your team. There are no second first impressions.
At Missouri, the Tigers hired Kim Anderson as their new head basketball coach on Monday. He's a Missouri graduate that spent a dozen years on the Tigers' bench in two separate stints as an assistant and went 274-94 in 12 years as Central Missouri's head coach. All indications point to the Kim Anderson era of Missouri basketball being a successful one.
Anderson met the Tigers for the first time yesterday, and his first message to his new team is.... extremely generic.
Anderson talks about how he values defense over offense, how he wants to win rings (what coach doesn't?) and that he wants to help his players become better people. All worthwhile stuff.... just not for a first meeting. The video is only a minute long, so watch it again and pay attention to how often Anderson says "I" and not "we." (For the record, I counted 16 uses of "I" or "my" against five uses of "we.")
Now consider this graphic, timely tweeted by Miami communications director Chris Yandle on Tuesday:
Missouri's former coach, Frank Haith, just left for Tulsa under hazy circumstances. When a head coach voluntarily leaves Missouri for Tulsa, all circumstances are hazy. It's got to be a confusing time for the players left behind. I'm not in the Tigers' locker room, but I have to imagine Haith was liked by many of his players. They committed to play for him, after all.
And now their head coach is talking about how hard they're going to work on defense?
Look, Anderson has to stay true to himself. No one's asking for an Ed Orgeron, rip-your-shirt-off type of display here. And again, this in no way dooms Missouri to a sentence of NIT-level purgatory during Anderson's tenure.
But if there's one time to throw out a rah-rah, run-through-a-brick-wall type of speech, this is it. If there's one speech you want to start writing well in advance of your first day on the job, this is it.
Are you going to capture it, or let it slip?