How a Lost Season Saved Coach K

krzyzewski-1000-apjpg-def873f09dec03fc_mediumHow a Lost Season Saved Coach K

One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.  Ecclesiastes 4:6

     Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke men’s basketball team, reached a milestone recently by winning his 1000th game. He is the first Division I coach to achieve this milestone. An article in the Wall Street Journal (Jan 26, 2015) describes how success came from stepping away from coaching.   A “lost” season became the path to success.

During the 1994-95 season, Mike was 47 years old, and Duke was ranked No. 11. But he was exhausted, and recovering from back surgery, which left him drained and weak. He had been very successful, but he had been doing it all, working too hard and for too many hours. He was stressed out, living on fumes.

It was time for a drastic step. So he called in his team and informed them that he was quitting for the remainder of the season. He couldn’t just slow down. He needed to fully step away. The team ended the season with a losing record and missed the NCAA tournament. But a losing season turned into a winning career.

He returned after 3 months as a changed man. He was physically better. He learned to pace himself and to delegate. He passed responsibilities to others. He surrounded himself with people he could trust. He learned to walk away and spend more time with his family and grandkids. Twenty years later, he has won 2 more national titles and never missed another NCAA tourney. Coach K would affirm that his later successes would never have happened had he not stepped away for a time, and learned to devise a better game plan to win at life.

Oh, and even though coach K has won 1000 games, he also lost 308 games during this time, so no one is perfect. Only rats win the rat race. True winners learn to pace themselves and live a balanced life.

Learn from a coach like Mike Krzyzewski and have a great life.

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About Jim Schnorrenberg

Husband; father; grandfather; minister; counselor
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