The Coaching Tree

March Madness is in full swing and you don’t have to be a so called, “Bracketologist” to understand what makes a great team a championship team.

Good athletes alone won’t make a championship team appear.

You need the right players, running the right scheme, against the right match up.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t happen by chance. Great coaches make this happen.

They make the right decisions at the right times. They put the right players in the right position to be successful.

Like championship teams, great coaches rarely spring onto the scene from obscurity.

More often, coaches develop as assistants to other great coaches and eventually get their shot to be the main man for a new team.

A few years back Ken Bone was hired as the new head basketball coach at Washington State University. This in itself is not much of a story, coaches are hired and fired pretty regularly at that level. The bigger part of the story is who Ken Bone was developed under.

Ken Bone was an assistant coach at the UW from 2002 to 2005. He was part of Lorenzo Romar’s staff where he worked with and learned from a successful leader. Bone was then hired as a head coach based on the repuatation of both Coach Romar and the program itself.

He’s not the only one. Cameron Dollar was also part of Coach Romar’s staff and he eventually got hired on as the Head Coach at Seattle University.

See a pattern? Coaches that are trained up under Lorenzo Romar are being targeted to fill the head coaching positions at other schools.


The answer in part is because success breeds success.

The basic theory is goes something like this: The UW is successful because of the coaching of Lorenzo Romar. Romar is passing on his secrets and system to both players and coaches. Therefore, if we can hire one of his assistants they can do the same thing for our program.

This hiring technique in prevalent in other sports as well. The NFL is full of this type of thinking. Mike Holmgren’s coaching tree is huge. Many of his assistant coaches end up as head coaches for other teams and many of their assistants become head coaches as well.

The neat part about a coaching tree is that guys like Mike Holmgren and Lorenzo Romar didn’t just appear out of nowhere. They too came from and are part of even bigger, more extensive coaching trees.

This is one instance where church life and sports seem to intersect. I love how these coaching trees are formed. They are birthed because veteran coaches mentor and empower the next generation of younger coaches.

I look forward to the day when there will be people in ministry that I’ve had a hand in mentoring, encouraging, and empowering. My pastor has begun to experience this after years of ministry and it’s fun to see him enjoy the fruit of his labor.

My prayer is that as I grow and develop as a leader that I’d remember to take time to pour into the younger generation of budding leaders. I pray that I wouldn’t be selfish with what I’m learning and go to the grave without passing the torch to others. I thank God for the people who have poured into my life and I want to do the same for the next generation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *