george barber is head coach of basketball at greenville college. he is the one who did a seminar on “coaching biblically” at the recent mens NCAA final four
here follows some endorsements of his program from outsiders who have “observed” what it looks like when teams “buy in” to this particular coaching philosophy
Coach Barber,Thanks for a great clinic talk on Sunday. I usually take off Sunday morning but I am really glad that I stuck around until Monday. It made me wonder what else I may have been missing by leaving early.The past few years I have really been struggling in my job. My goal is always to win basketball games, but more importantly I want our student-athletes to learn and grow during their four years here in Kalamazoo. Starting a few seasons back I ran into a stretch where some of our kids were making bad decisions off the court. Some of those decisions would be considered minor and some were pretty bad. Despite my best efforts to counsel and work with them, we ended having kids suspended from the college, a couple kicked out, and I had to discipline quite a few others. I (and in the case of 2, the college) ended up removing several players from the team. This past season was our best one in recent memory as far as team unity, behavior, and academic success. Not surprisingly it was also one of our best seasons in terms of success on the court.We have a good group of guys, are bringing in what I think is another good group, and are all very excited about the future. I was inspired by your talk and see that we can be even better. Each spring I sit down with our team leaders and we discuss our goals for the upcoming season. I would love to get anything you could send me on your team principles that I might be able to share with our student-athletes and we discuss who we are going to be not only next year but beyond. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.Sincerely,Rob PassageHead Men’s Basketball CoachKalamazoo College_______________________Positive Comments on the Big Time Philosophy1) Fan, 2) JV Official 3) Opposing team parent 4) Alumnus, 5) Varsity officialChicago FanI saw the game. Greenville is fun to watch. For a team that plays such an up-and-down style and subs in everyone but the student manager at one point or another during the game, the Panthers are actually a pretty fundamentally sound team. What they aren’t is athletic, and that’s why Dominican — a less disciplined team that is still learning how to play together — was able to win by a dozen. Greenville just couldn’t defend the perimeter players of the Stars one-on-one, and although the Panthers did a very good job of trapping in the corners they were helpless to stop DU star Dan Borys whenever the Stars did manage to get the ball into the low post. The Panthers should match up much better today against a Concordia (IL) team that is sort of their mirror image.
I couldn’t help but notice that every time a foul was called on a Panther he raised his arm for the scorer’s table to see — an old-school gesture that I really appreciated. You never see that anymore. And I was equally impressed by LaPhonso Ellis; at one point he knocked down a Dominican player while the Panthers were getting a long rebound and transitioning into a fast break. Rather than sprint down the floor with his teammates, he reached back and helped the Dominican player to his feet before heading down the court. That may not be sound basketball, but it’s certainly good sportsmanship. Someone raised that kid right.DIV III HOOPS.COM Post from a Fan in Chicago2) JV OfficialTo the Greenville College Men’s Junior Varsity team and coaching staff:I would like to take a quick moment and express how impressed I am of the attitude and character the men of the JV team displayed in the two games I have officiated for them. I have been all over Illinois in the last 10 years working basketball games at every age and skill level, and I will say without a doubt that these young men truly know what it means to play the game of basketball.Not once did any player or coach complain, whine, or even show disdain towards any fan, opposing player, coach, or official (which is unheard of these days). Too often players and coaches think that yelling and berating officials and other players is a part of the game, and you have managed to rise above that and play the game with character and respect. In fact, I can’t remember the last time a team had players raise their hand when they had a foul called on them. This is truly a testament to, not only the resolve of the players, but also the values instilled by the coaching staff.I don’t make it a habit to write to institutions, good or bad. But, in this instance I felt it necessary to express to you my feelings. You should all be very proud of yourselves in the way you’ve learned to play the game and the way you treat others associated with the game.Thank you for you time.Ryan Lewis3) Opposing Team ParentCoach Barber, my name is John Winters and my son, Kyle, played on the Maryville basketball team that played at your facility last night. I was in attendance and thought both teams played very hard and the game could have gone either way at the end. It was one of the most entertaining games that I have viewed as both teams played hard and it is tough to lose a game like that.However, I wanted to take a moment and commend you and your team for the respect that your entire team showed during the game. As an example, any time a call was made by the official (whether it was a bad call or correct call), your players accepted the decision without any issue to the referee. Additionally, if a player fell to the ground, your players were there to help them up, whether they were a Maryville player or a Panther. Lastly, I’m from the “old school” where players had to raise there hand when a foul was called on them. Last night, it was refreshing to see a group of young men raise there hand when the official called a foul on them, whether they agreed with the call or not.I kept telling my wife during the game that you have obviously instilled a high set of values with your players. From watching them, I know they will win many more games but even more importantly, you have taught them very valuable human tools such as respecting authority, helping an individual who has fallen, accepting responsibility, learning from your mistakes and moving on to do a better job.In addition to my job at the St Louis VA Medical Center, I also am an Assistant Varsity Basketball coach at Columbia (IL) High School where my son, Brian, is currently a senior. I know that I learned much from the game last night and will work with our high school players to instill the same values that you have instilled in your players.Thank you so much for an enlightening evening. I wish you and the Panthers success in your future games.John WintersColumbia, IL4) GC AlumnusGeorge:I am truly impressed with you and your team. Last night was a great expression of a team playing the game the right way. Although I was impressed with the athleticism on the jam the best play of the night for me occurred 3/4 of the way through the first half. As your team was playing transition defense PG Rashod (sp?) had an EC player stumbling in front of him and this player was on the fast track to a faceplant. While back peddling and paying full attention to where the ball was, Rashod, had the presence of mind to literally grab this player, hoist him up and keep his momentum and keep playing. This of course was to his strategic detriment in the narrow sense of the transition numbers on the break, but spoke volumes about what you and your team value. As I recall, the result of the play was a steal by #3 (Jonas?) and a lay up for GC. I could not have been more impressed. Additionally, the way these guys conduct themselves on the court and off is a long way from the way I recall I used to act and these young me are much better off as a result. They present as men who have perspective not kids who are self absorbed. Additionally, they did not lose composure when there were fouls called or even when there was that really costly turnover with 17 seconds to go. All of this was very impressive and mature. Kudos to you and your staff for instilling in these impressive young men skills that will be beneficial for their entire life. Be encouraged. Talk soon.bBramwell E. HigginsGeneral CounselThe Salvation ArmyCentral Territory Headquarters – USA5) Varsity OfficialCoach Barber and Coach Falkner , I was at your game on Wednesday night to watch. What you did for Coach McKinney in having the students wear badges and praying before and after the game for him was truly a class act. Too many times we forget the true meaning of what life really is and not some game. The night made me proud to be a member of the SLIAC (as an official) and you are applauded for your efforts.Don HarrisOperations ManagerCoinmach Services / St.Louis_____________
regarding WOOSWER COLLEGE HEAD BASKETBALL COACH – VERY SUCESSFUL DIV 3 COLLEGE – 2011 National Champion DIII runner up
george had asked the coach previously if he could visit him re: his program (which is phenomenal and a perennial powerhouse). He said yes. Then the coach sent this message after the NCAA final four presentation.George,Your presentation today was outstanding! I would love to talk basketball and coaching with you sometime. After listening to you today though, I really don’t think I am worthy to have you drive all the way to Ohio.I will look forward to staying in touch.Steve Moore