Sunday, April 3, 2016


The more I have been around good leadership, the more I realize how important it is to have good leadership in order to be successful.  Just the mere presence of a good leader can turn around a culture from toxic to collaborative.  So as we begin the 2016 season, make no mistake, leadership presence cannot be undervalued.

Looking at the teams who have made it to the #FinalFour, the World Series of college basketball, the one clear distinction that all four teams have in common is leadership that is intentionally threaded throughout the team.  Its presence is precisely evident on the bench.

On Villanova's bench this weekend in Texas, you see the kind-hearted, student-focused assistant athletic director, Fr. Rob Hagan, amidst a team of admiring young players who would not want to be on the court without him. "He's our rock," senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono said. "He's unbelievable. He keeps us humble. And you can turn to him in any situation. It's not about him being a priest. It's about the person. He never turns you down. And everyone here knows that. He saw this (Final Four) coming. He's what this team is about, what this university is about. More than anybody, he's part of all this,"stated an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week.  

What is important to remember is that leaders inspire others to lead.  These young men are at the highlight of their teenage and early twenties.  These are tomorrow's leaders and they need to be engaged in more than just basketball, or winning.  They have to be engaged in wanting more for themselves and believing that you need to keep learning, keep challenging yourself to be better.

"He has an impact, on all of us," (Head Coach Jay) Wright said. "I usually use my pregame talk to reference what he talked about in his homily. The humility of this team, the spirit of this team, really comes from him. When we're out there shooting, he's shooting. He gets what athletes are about, what college students are about, about what we're trying to do. He has an incredible ability to mix his faith and religion into what we do. So it resonates with the guys."

I know we have a number of veterans on our team this year.  My hope is that they focus themselves on the belief that leadership comes from within and leadership comes from example, from being around good leaders who can show newbies the way.  This leadership flows from every ounce of a person; from the decision to take care of your body, to the decision to dress and carry yourself a certain way to sportsmanship, resilience and the constant battle to improve.  

Does this all mean that leadership is better than ability?  Yes, it does.  Leaders empower, they model best practices and they move mediocre to excellent.  Good leaders motivate good players to be great players.  2016 is going to be a flux year.  A year where we see where we are, set goals and grow. With the right kind of leadership from management to veteran players, we have the potential to win it all. Now let's go out there and do this!

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

J's Bake Shoppe

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