On Monday, November 20th, game day for UNC/Stanford, Coach Williams and Coach Haase did something unique - they broke their normal game day routine to join Positive Coaching Alliance for a breakfast Q & A.
Coach Williams and Coach Haase have a long history together, as Coach Haase joked, going back longer than his marriage to his wife! Williams recruited Haase to join him at Kansas after Haase was looking for a different opportunity after his freshman year of play.
Coach Williams immediately became a mentor to Haase with his style of coaching, concern for his players, and interest in teaching life lessons through the game of basketball. Haase relayed that much of his coaching style and philosophy come from his time with Coach Williams. After playing 3 years at Kansas where he was an Academic All-American, Haase joined the staff as a graduate assistant and remained at Williams’ side for the next 4 years.
When Coach Williams left Kansas to take the head job at UNC, Haase joined him on his staff there and remained there for 9 years until he secured his own head coaching job at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
PCA’s own Casey Miller led the discussion with the coaches and found many similarities in their coaching philosophies and approaches which mirror those of Positive Coaching Alliance’s mission to create better athletes, better people. Williams mentioned, “I like to coach kids I want to be around. I like character and it’s okay if they are also characters”. PCA’s content is focused on providing student-athletes with a character-driven youth sports experience and both coaches emphasized the value of good character in their student-athletes.
Williams also shared how his own high school coach was the catalyst that encouraged him to get into coaching by the way he coached and cared about his players. He told Coach Williams,
When you coach a kid, 30 years later you can see something you gave him. It’s your job to make sure it’s something positive.
PCA knows the influence a coach, who often spends as much time in front of a child as their own parent does, can have on a student-athlete and our workshops encourage coaches to use the 5:1 ratio- always find 5 positives before sharing a criticism. The impact a coach has can be life-changing, so make it a positive change!
The coaches were prompted to respond to a question relating to PCA’s belief in teaching life lessons through sports. Both Coach Haase and Coach Williams talked about the importance of treating all people fairly and being as interested in the player as you are for instance, in his high school coach, the janitor or guidance counselor at the school during the recruiting process.
This life lesson of being invested in people, Coach Haase pointed out, is something he felt strongly enough about to include in the team’s core values, "Invested, Tough, Selfless". He explained that he makes sure the players at Stanford know that beyond basketball, being invested in your teammates, people who support the program, your coaches and the people you meet along the way is as important for future success as what you learn in the classroom.
Asked about what advice Coach Haase had for sports parents, his response was exactly what he saw his parents do,
support kids every way we can, be there, cheer for them, and try to diversify as much as possible- have them play as many sports as possible.
Coach Williams shared a story of talking with a parent about how they could best help their child be successful. He said, “we can be successful if we agree what our roles are. Let me coach and you be concerned if he eats his green beans”. Although the comment brought laughter to the room, the message shared is the same one pointed out in the Second-Goal Parent book written by PCA’s founder Jim Thompson. “A sports parent becomes a Second-Goal Parent® when they concentrate on their child’s character development while letting athletes and coaches focus on the first goal of winning on the scoreboard”.
The Q & A ended with questions from the audience and a palpable feeling of respect for these two coaches, who embody what it means to be a Double-Goal Coach®- one who strives to win while also focusing on the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.