Fueling Your Heart

Each day we are given opportunities to choose the influences we want in our lives.  The videos we watch, the music we listen to, the books we read, and the people we spend our time with.  Each decision we make fuels our hearts with a worldview that will ultimately impact the way we carry ourselves.  So, the question is, what is fueling your heart?

It’s easy to gravitate towards popular content the world is selling to us daily, but it’s important to understand what those stories are telling us.  Just because something is portrayed as “cool” or “relevant,” doesn’t mean we should be consuming it.  We need to be intentional about fueling our hearts with substance, promoting growth and excellence in all we do. 

Here’s a few examples of what I mean:

Spotify has over 140 million users that consume over 1.7 billion hours of music each month.  Currently, the song that is streamed the most and sits at #2 on the Billboard Top 100, is “Rockstar” by Post Malone (Feat. 21 Savage).  The first lyrics that millions of people are actively choosing to put into their hearts when they listen to this song are, 

Ayy, I’ve been f****** hoes and poppin’ pillies. Man I feel just like a rockstar.
— Post Malone


Last month, the top grossing movie at the box office was “It,” earning $290,775,232.  It has played in over 4,000 theaters countless times, entertaining millions of people across the globe.  I understand the thrill and excitement that comes along with horror movies, but at what cost?  The description that lures people to buy a ticket to this movie is, “A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.”  Really?


In 2016, 68% of high school seniors said that they tried alcohol with their friends.  Their friends claimed they were going to harmless parties and having “fun” participating in drinking games.  Statistics also say that alcohol causes the most harm in people under the age of 21 and is responsible for over 4,300 deaths each year. 


The point of this article is not to tell you what not to do.  However, I think it’s important for us to ask ourselves the question, “what is fueling my heart?”  If we think about it, the shows we watch, the music we listen to, the content we read, and the people we spend our time with, influences our lives in a huge way.  If we want to be the best we can be, why wouldn’t we fuel our hearts with content that is positive and full of truth?  For me, it’s a battle every day.  I want to have fun and satisfy my need for entertainment, but I constantly need to examine what I’m fueling my heart with.  I encourage you to think about the influences you allow into your life every day and ask yourself if the fuel you’re putting into your heart is the fuel that will get you to your desired destination. 

Which Do You Love More?

Lord, don’t let my gifts take me farther than my character can sustain me.
— Mark Batterson


No matter what career you are invested in or what goals you envision yourself accomplishing in the future, you are probably the type of person that is passionate about the process required to realize your dream.  You are a gifted individual with unique talents that separate you from the rest of the pack.  

But if you're anything like me, sometimes the dream God gave you takes precedent over the God who gave you the dream.  You get so wrapped up in the work and excitement of pursuing it you forget to acknowledge the reason you're able to pursue your dream in the first place.  

In his book, All In, Mark Batterson writes a brilliant excerpt about the Gift Giver.  

"If the gift ever becomes more important than the Gift Giver, then the very thing God gave you to serve His purposes is undermining His plan for your life.  God is no longer the End All and Be All.  And when God becomes the means to some other end, it's the beginning of the end spiritually because you have inverted the gospel.

God-given gifts are wonderful things and dangerous things.  One of my recurrent prayers is this: 'Lord, don't let my gifts take me farther than my character can sustain me.'  As we cultivate the gifts God has given us, we can begin to rely on those gifts instead of relying on God.  That's when our greatest strength becomes our greatest weakness."

I know in the game of basketball it can be very easy to rely on our gifts rather than on the One who gave us those gifts.  Sport is one of the easiest places for people to become prideful and believe they are accomplishing their dreams because of their talents.  I want to challenge you to love the God who gave you your dream and know the gifts allowing you to be successful were given to you by Him.  When the tests come into our life we are given the opportunity to rely on God and put an awesome testimony on display.  Keep taking action to acknowledge the Gift Giver and you will be amazed how your dreams will begin to come true as you pursue the process!

Developing Our Roles As Coaches

Players that know their role thrive and contribute greatly towards the success of the team.  How about you, coach?  Do you know your role?  Do you know how to keep growing in your role?

Although we are not perfect or anywhere near perfect, I believe that our staff at Bob Jones University does a tremendous job of working together and performing our individual roles.  I recently had a discussion with another assistant on our staff and he asked me, "When you're around me, how much effort do I give?  A percentage."  I really appreciated his question as it showed his desire to learn and grow, but it also challenged me to assess my effort in my current role.  As we carried on our conversation we both determined that we could give more to the team and keep encouraging each other's growth to position our program in the best way possible.  You see, no matter how good we think we are doing or how well our program is portrayed, there is ALWAYS room to get better.  

We all know the various responsibilities you need to carry out as a college basketball coach such as scouting, film breakdown, & recruiting.  But I wanted to give you a few leadership skills that we often overlook that can help you perform your role at an elite level.  These are all aspects of my development as a coach that I am working on currently.


When you work a million hours a week (or so it seems sometimes) it's hard to imagine that you aren't giving your best effort.  As I had my conversation with Coach Miller, he challenged me with the fact that we can give so much more effort in many ways.  But how do we give more effort?  What does that look like?  The following traits will all contribute to giving our maximum effort on a daily basis.


Come to the office every day with a positive mindset.  Be determined to impact those around you by making them better.  Smile more, complain less.  Be interested in other's lives and ask questions about them.  If you can go in to every day with the ability to make someone else better you will be setting yourself up for success.  


Many people mistake enthusiasm for "Rah Rah" type of talk and shy away from being enthusiastic.  However, enthusiasm is defined by as:

1. absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest:

2. an occupation, activity, or pursuit in which such interest is shown:

Being enthusiastic as a college basketball coach simply means giving your best when your best is required.  It means taking your passion to another level and using your gift to impact others.  You can show your effort by being more enthusiastic even when you don't feel like it.


Focusing on a task for long periods of time is always a struggle for many, including myself.  I don't know why, but it's definitely an attribute that people need to improve!  Your effort is directly impacted by the focus you put forth in anything you're doing.  As coaches, we owe it to our staff and our players to commit our focus to things that will make us better.  Make yourself a quiet place to concentrate for a little bit.  Find some music that will keep your mind focused on what you're doing.  Whatever you need to do to focus better, do it!

Although there are so many more character traits that we can develop to be more successful in our roles, I believe that these are all things that we can control and get better in.  They are basic, but they are powerful.  Let's continue to hold each other accountable and keep growing and learning together as coaches to impact the lives of those around us!

Is Cam Newton a Terrible Leader?


He was beaten.  The Denver defense was simply better on the day that it mattered most.  He has every right to be frustrated.  

Six sacks, two fumbles, and one interception later; Cam Newton sits in a chair in front of members of the media who will ask anything to get a good story.  I mean, this dude just lost one of the biggest games of his life and now he has to answer for it?  It was guaranteed that the media would ask the worst questions at the worst time.  Any one of us would naturally react to this situation with negativity and frustration, right?


Frustration is understandable, especially after losing a game as big as the Super Bowl.  None of us understand the pressure these guys face and we can certainly respect the hard work and dedication they encompass over the course of a long, grueling season.  It was obvious that Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman were hurt by the loss and expressed their frustration.  I can't imagine getting that far only to come up short.  But Cam Newton is the leader of his team and everyone knows it.  The only voice that mattered after that game was his...


Leaders are bound to fail. They will have a choice to respond with class or react with disdain. The choice they make will determine if their leadership will make a positive or negative impact on those around them.

There were no other thoughts that I had other than that I was disappointed with this so called "leader" and his lack of character after a tough loss.  In case you have no clue what I'm talking about, here is a clip of his postgame press conference:


Before you start getting defensive, truth be told, I really like watching Cam Newton play football.  I've never seen someone play with the kind of energy and passion that he brings every day.  His smile lights up the room and his dancing entertains me.  He is a fantastic football player and a great person.  The fact that kids want to grow up to be like Cam Newton should be enough to make you realize that this guy is special.  


Ok, so let's go back to the real question.  Is Cam Newton a terrible leader?  No, he is not.  But his reactions in the post game press conference last night were unacceptable.  Here we have a 26 year old man that acted like my two year old daughter when she can't have more than three pieces of chewy sweet tarts before bed.  Life is tough and unfair.  Get over it!  Cam Newton is as natural of a leader as they come and he chose to react to a situation rather than respond.  The dabbing and dancing is all great, but show consistency in your leadership. Be the same man you are after a loss as you are after a win.  Some say he was displaying wisdom by walking off the stage before he said something he would regret.  I don't buy that.  He's better than that. There is no doubt that he has what it takes to be a great quarterback.  He's proven that.  But if he wants to sustain his success and impact lives the way he says he does, then he needs to learn how to handle failure.  I think Cam Newton is a tremendous leader that had a bad game both on and off the field last night.  But at the same time, his actions were unacceptable.  There is no excusing his whining and pouting, regardless of circumstances.  I fail.  You fail.  We all fail.  But that's not a good enough excuse!  We need to change.

Control what you can control. You can’t control the circumstances or the outcome of the game. You can’t control the questions you’re asked or the criticism you’ll face. But regardless of what happens, you always have the opportunity to control your attitude.

Cam Newton is not a terrible leader.  He is a 26 year old man that has unlimited potential.  I do not excuse his reaction last night, but this experience could be a game changer for Cam.  If he can learn from his failure and respond with wisdom to change, there is no reason that I wouldn't become his biggest fan.  

The ball will be in your hands once again, Cam, and everyone will be looking at how you respond.

*Noted - It is clear that Cam Newton heard the Broncos players press conference and walked off after hearing their comments.  Again, his actions are understandable, but not acceptable.  The NFL needs to put a little more thought into the placement of post game pressers as it can play a part in situations like this.

The ABC's of Recruiting

Being a great recruiter is one of the most important skills that any college coach can possess.  You can be the best X's & O's guy in the world, but without the right people in your program, your success can be short lived.  It is our responsibility as coaches to accurately and effectively recruit  the student-athletes who will succeed in our program and ultimately benefit themselves and the university as a whole.  The foundation of being a great recruiter begins with these "ABC's."


It is very hard to win without talent, so the first step in recruiting a player needs to be an assessment of his abilities.  It is important that we gain an idea and form an opinion of the player as soon as we first lay eyes on him.  Raw athleticism and highlight worthy dunks are intriguing, but make sure that you do your due diligence and pay attention to the finer details of a player's game.  Does he see the floor well?  Can he dribble with his left hand?  Is his strength & conditioning at a place we can continue to build on?  Does he have a solid basketball IQ?  The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Don't be lured in by a player that can do a 360, but can't shoot, dribble, or defend.  Make sure that the attributes of his game will fit well in your program and be a solution to your needs as a team.  


Most coaches are pretty good at the first step of recruiting and can assess talent very well, but they lack the ability to build a relationship with that player.  High school and college age student-athletes want to be mentored and challenged by you as a coach, so take advantage of the opportunity to pour into their life as much as you possibly can.  I understand that there are rules and guidelines that make this step in recruiting difficult, but that shouldn't mean you can't do it.  Be creative and diligent in building quality relationships even if you are limited in the amount of time you can contact the recruit.  Use the time you have to ask questions about their friends, family, dreams, and life after college.  Don't limit your communication to only basketball related topics.  Make sure the recruits know that you care about them for more than just their ability to play basketball.  


This is easily the most difficult aspect of recruiting.  It's relatively easy to find talent and you can force yourself to build a relationship with recruits, but it is extremely hard to see what kind of person they truly are.  Players want to be recruited and they will do almost anything to make you think they deserve a scholarship, but how will they respond when adversity presents itself?  It is your job as a coach to look for signs of character throughout the recruiting process.  How does he respond to a bad call?  Is his body language telling me something positive or negative?  How does he talk to his parents?  Does he seek counsel or does he have all the answers?  How does he treat the people around him?  Again, the list could go on and on.  Obviously, there is no perfect kid out there who will never make a mistake, but it is the job of the coach to decide whether or not a player has the character that will represent your program's culture the way you want it.  Don't settle for poor character just because a recruit is an amazing athlete.  Talent is never enough and a player with no character will hurt your team more than they can help it.  

If you can effectively perform these "ABC's" while recruiting players for your team, I am confident that you will be setting your program up for future success!