Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Inspiring Day

I spoke today at the USANA Health Sciences International Convention in Salt Lake City.

It was great to be in the company of legendary Billie Jean King. What an outstanding person! She has done so much to pave the way for women in sports. She told me she would be happy to speak with my team at USF —they could learn so much from her!

The incomparable Billie Jean King

 With Dr. Myron Wentz, founder of USANA, and Dave Wentz, the company's CEO.

I also was able to speak with many of the USANA athletes and hear their amazing stories. This year’s theme is “Living the Dream.” It’s a perfect fit for athletes and associates who are overcoming their fears and truly living their dreams.

What an inspiring day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Connecting with One of the All-Time Greats

I recently participated in a great event. The Joe Morgan Golf Tournament raises money for education for local Bay Area youth.

Along with Joe Morgan, Bill Russell funds scholarships for Oakland youth who would not otherwise be able to attend college. Higher education for all kids is one of Bill Russell’s missions in life. He is one of the few “celebrities” who makes such a difference in the lives of people who really need support.

I was able to talk with Bill for a long time, and I must say, I am more and more in awe of him. He shared much of his history with me including some of his time at USF and the challenges facing him in that era.

I am thrilled my team got to meet him last spring and hear about his struggles, and learn from his life. Without him, we do not have the wonderful winning history at USF.

He shared with me about learning the rules of basketball as a young boy and there was no rule for not blocking shots, so he said he started to do it (very successfully!!). He mentioned it was such a new skill there was no stat for blocked shots!

He told me he loves to watch women’s basketball and appreciates our game for our fundamental skills. He is a huge fan of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and can be seen regularly at their games.

I could go on and on...I am so grateful to be able to connect with Bill and learn so much.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Helping Make the World a Better Place

What an honor for me and my players to speak with Bill Russell! We share his passion for education and his love for basketball. We were in awe as Mr. Russell spoke about the problems facing the Oakland community (namely, education and violence) and how he was going to lead the way towards a better community.

I have never seen a "celebrity" with that much passion and conviction to help make the world a better place for all. I am thrilled my team was able to have such a real world education last night.

Additionally, they were able to listen to legendary athletes talk about the problems facing the Oakland community and how we all need to join forces to help raise graduation rates and stop violence. Proceeds from the dinner help support The George P. Scotlan Youth and Family Center:

 Oakland mayor Jean Quan

 Baseball great Vida Blue

 Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Amazing Time at USANA's Asia Pacific Convention

I just returned from speaking in Hong Kong for USANA’s Asia Pacific conference (a 13-hour non-stop flight from San Francisco!!). There were 7,500 USANA Associates in attendance!! My segment was about elite level athletes and coaches trusting USANA.

Additionally, I had the privilege of introducing USANA’s exclusive relationship with the WTA. When I introduced Zheng Jie, China’s top tennis player and one of the most recognized athletes in China, via a video testimonial, the crowd went crazy. She spoke about her belief in the products and how USANA helps her to be healthy on the court.

I am still amazed that in the supplement world there are very few nutritional products we can trust. A positive test for a banned substance can end an athlete's career! I am forever grateful that I found USANA.

I enjoyed spending time talking with Dr. Wentz, USANA’s founder. He is absolutely brilliant! I also got to spend a bit of time with Collette Larsen, Dr. Strand, Dave Wentz (USANA’s CEO) and Dr. Wood. The conversations always seem to include the latest health issues and solutions — right up my alley! I always learn so much from being around them.

My trip was amazing and I have some great tools to bring back to my team at USF.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The West Coast Conference Tournament

We wrapped up the season earlier this month against Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference (WCC) Tournament. Here are a few photos from that game. Thank you to everyone for your support throughout this season! Looking forward to next year...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rethinking the Definition of Winning and Losing

From the outside, this may seem like it has been a very difficult season for my team at USF. Our record is flat out terrible and we have only won one game so far in our conference. Many people have asked how I am dealing with "losing." Almost daily, I receive encouraging emails to "keep my head up and remember that this experience is not a sprint it’s a marathon" when referring to building this basketball program.

When I took the job as head coach here at USF last May, I knew it was going to be difficult. In fact most deemed it impossible to build a winning program at a place that has been firmly anchored at the bottom for so many years. I am here because I am drawn to the challenge. I see potential, and I believe we will eventually win games. But the question I ask myself now, is are we really losing? We have small victories every single day. Without ever really experiencing "losing," this season has made me rethink the definition of winning and losing.

If I really think about what winning in life is all about, it’s about being challenged to improve every day to be your best. I have seen players on our team improve almost overnight. I have seen players who would never imagine being able to shoot knocking down three-point shots. Players who have never been in shape are asking for extra workouts. Some (although I wish more...) ask me to come in the gym and work extra. Each time we step onto the court we are better than the day before.

Unfortunately, the improvement is not enough to outscore our opponents. We have had to work very hard not to focus on the scoreboard, but rather to play each possession to the best of our ability. When we played Stanford earlier this season, Tara (Stanford head coach and my college coach) came into our locker room and spoke to our team. Ironically, her message was to continue to work to be our best and not worry about the score. The true battle is with yourself and playing the best you can each time you step on the court. Whether you are the top team in the country or you are building a program it’s the same — work hard to be your best.

I admit I don’t like to lose, but I want to win more. Ultimately, the only way to win is to be positive, work hard, and believe we can. I can’t judge where we are by our record, but by the victories we have each day. We will have three seniors play in their last game at USF on Saturday. They will leave here as winners. Anyone who can complete a degree at USF while being a Division 1 athlete is a winner in my book.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NE3 Provides Energy Boost at 'USANA Night'

USANA’s Team NE3 came to a recent home game at USF. We had a blast! As a USANA Associate, whether you are crossline, downline, or upline, you are a family. That was evident as we had a fantastic time at our game with NE3 in San Francisco!

Our team really needed a boost and they were shocked to have so many screaming fans in our gym! If you've attended a USANA event, you know how loud Next Evolution can get! The season so far has been difficult for us, but NE3 gave us a much needed boost of energy!

After the game I spoke with our USANA Associates and I was asked about the parallels between building a USANA business and building a program at USF. The fundamentals are the same. Success starts with belief! We have to believe we can be successful. My team has to believe they can work hard and win games.

With USANA, you have to first believe in the products! Second, you have to have a vision — see where you want to go. People may think you are crazy, but it is up to you to paint your vision for success and go for it!

Right before that, we welcomed Stanford, my alma mater, to our home court. It was a big night — Stanford coach (whom I played for) Tara VanDerveer was going for her 800th win! Leading up to the game our team received a lot of press (you might have seen links on Facebook). We had articles written about us and the game in the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and by the Associated Press. It's great press for a team like us, who's trying to build a program.

Coach VanDerveer ended up getting her milestone win that night. And even though our team lost, I couldn't be happier for her. As I mention in the articles, I'm working to build a solid foundation for the USF program and I know we can learn a lot from what she's done at Stanford. While we're experiencing some growing pains, we're making excellent progress! I'm looking forward to our next game as we open conference play against Santa Clara on Saturday.