He encouraged players who scored to point to the teammate who made the pass that led to the score. His philosophy boiled down to six words: “Play hard; play together; play smart.”
Remembrances of Dean Smith
Pointing to the teammate who made the pass that led to your score. There’s something Biblical in that. Before Dean Smith they didn’t keep records of that. He made, he coached, he taught that the assist was just as important as the score itself. Without the assist, many scoring plays would not happen. In the statistics in the sport of basketball there is a high standard for excellence called the Triple-Double, whereby you record double digits in three categories, usually scoring, rebounding and assist.
The hardest of the three? Assist! The first two, scoring and rebounds points to your efforts. In assist you give yourself up to someone else, you relinquish possession to someone else, your efforts enable someone else to score.
There is something very Biblical in that.
Coach Smith taught the recognition of the assist, coaching his players after scoring to publicly point at the player that passed them the ball that made the assist that enabled the teammate to score. People started seeing that on TV with North Carolina games, others started doing it and now, from professionals to sixth graders they do it.
Oh that we would do it more off the court…
What would our world look like if we gave more recognition to the assists of life? What would society morph into if we made assists equally as rewarded as scoring, in sports, in careers, in faith?
Coach Smith also taught his players to huddle up after fouls as a team and instructed the entire bench to stand to affirm a player coming out of the game. His instructions placed others above self in every way. Raised in a Christian home with devout parents, Smith had a strong faith and was a long-time, active member of Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.
Smith read extensively about theology, believed all people were created equal and valued each person with that attitude
These are exactly the lessons we find in scripture about how people of faith are to act, behave and lead.
Spiritual leadership understands ultimate ownership. Spiritual leadership points to a higher authority, a servant attitude in leading. Perhaps one of the hardest spiritual disciplines in our current age is to understand we lead by witnessing to authority higher than ours and giving ourselves away.
We are not the owners. Recognize someone this week that assisted the success in you.
(Mike writes his weekly thoughts as a contribution to the newsletter of FCC Midland, TX)