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Summer 2000
Coach!
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Never make excuses. Your friends won't need them and your foes won't believe them. Do not mistake activity for achievement.

I wanted everyone on the team to feel important. I sometimes established a closer relationship with the players who didn't play too much than with the stars. I was constantly making the effort to pat them on the back and show them that they were needed.

I don't like to be like the guy in church who coughs loudly just before putting money into the offering plate.

I told my players I didn't care what their politics were, I just hoped they believed in them. I might not like their actions, but I can't dictate politics.

But I remember once Bill Walton laying down on Wilshire Boulevard and stopping traffic during a demonstration. I said to him, "Suppose there's an ambulance rushing somebody to the hospital and it can't get there." He said, "I didn't think about that." I said, "Those are the things to think about. You have a right to your beliefs and your actions as long as they don't interfere with the rights of others." I learned more from Lewis about man's inhumanity to man than from anybody else.

What am I proud of? After we'd won a national championship game, a reporter asked one of my players what kind of racial problems we had on the team. The player looked at the reporter and said, "You don't know our coach, do you? He doesn't see color, he sees ballplayers." And he turned and walked away. That's what I'm proud of.

The thing I miss in retirement is the practices. As Cervantes said: "The journey is better than the inn. I think the game is the inn and the journey is the practices."

There is no clock-watching when a leader has respect.

Pride is a better motivator than fear.

Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike.

Mistakes occur when your thinking is tainted by excessive emotion.

True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you. All material things can be taken away.

Coming off the floor after the NCAA semifinal win over Louisville in 1975, it just hit me. Time to go. It was an emotional thing. I can't explain it. I went to the dressing room and congratulated my players on a fine game. I said, "I don't know how we'll do Monday night against Kentucky, but I think we'll do all right. Regardless of the outcome of the game, I never had a team give me more pleasure. I'm very proud of you. This will be the last team I'll ever coach." They were shocked. I went to the press and told them, and my athletic director almost fainted. My wife didn't know. I didn't know myself until it happened. It was an emotional thing.

Never say never.

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