Primesport NABC Next Generation is an interview series with assistant coaches and support staff from across the country, highlighting their career experiences and future goals. Today's feature is Longwood assistant Maurice Williams.
Why did you decide to become a coach?
“I decided to become a coach because of the impact basketball has made in my life. Specifically college coaching - I felt called to do it because college is the most influential time of life. I believe in college you are learning who you are and being exposed constantly to new things. To be part of this influential time and using basketball as the vehicle has always been my dream, and I try to attack each day with enthusiasm. I had great coaches growing up in my life, and some of the things they taught me and emphasized I still use today. I truly believe that the roles we play as coaches are life changers. We have the ability every day to speak life into the athletes we work with.”
What leadership trait is most important for coaches to possess?
“I would say patience. It is the ability to understand and remind others that growth is a gradual process and not immediate. All coaches are fighting the battle of leading the millennial generation that wants immediate results and to see where they measure. As coaches we lose sight and want immediate results as well. To gain control of this battle is by having patience and focusing on what you can control. We must constantly emphasize the process over current results to our players. I believe as coaches we know how important it is to be patient, but we lose sight of it because of our own emotion or because results are not coming fast enough.”
What has been the best moment of your coaching career?
“This past season at Johns Hopkins was filled with these moments. We were a first-year staff that inherited a team of players that wanted to do something special and take the program to a new level. The best moments were beating Franklin & Marshall and Swarthmore. Both games were double overtime games. Both teams were ranked, and we had a great crowd atmosphere at home. It was my favorite moment in my career because of the intensity of both games and how our team persevered to win. Those games led to our team being ranked in the top 25, winning the Centennial Conference championship, and finishing the season with an overall record of 24-5.”
What’s one thing that most outsiders don’t know about the coaching profession?
“How much time that is invested into the players and the day-to-day operations of running a program. We are judged on wins and losses, but outside of basketball there are many other things that are being evaluated.”
In what ways can coaches help student-athletes make the most of their college experience away from basketball?
“By exposing them to things outside of basketball. I believe it is our job as coaches to create moments and memories in our players’ lives that will last forever. From supporting other sports teams, serving others, joining different clubs and organizations, and being part of the community. I believe it is important to take them out of their comfort zones and surround them around things that will prepare them for real life. Now being at the Division I level at Longwood University, this has been my favorite part of the job and working at this amazing institution.”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“Building relationships with players, coaches, and parents. Mainly with the players - the reward is seeing them accomplishing their dreams and starting to live the culture you establish in the program. Graduation day is great, but I take the most joy seeing one of our players leave the program better than when he first came in.”
What’s the one piece of advice you would give an aspiring coach?
"For coaches that have just started in the business, I would say enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going. Don’t become so focused on wanting to get the next job that you forget to focus on the one you have. This was a challenge for me at times when I first got into coaching. Stay present and work as if the job you currently have will be the last.”
“For aspiring coaches that want to get into coaching, I would say work as many camps as possible. It is a great way to get better and meet people. Learning and networking are two very important traits to possess when getting started.”