by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
In this the third installment of five features celebrating National Coaching Week, we asked Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference head coaches one question, "If you could pick the brain of one sports coach (alive or dead) who would it be and why?"
Here are just a few of their responses?
"I've always wanted to be on the sideline with Bill Belichick, of the New England Patriots. I think he's a master at figuring out what his team needs in order to win the next series on the field. And if you string enough of those series together you win ... a lot ." Chris Wandler – Red Deer College women's volleyball.
"John Wooden. He had an amazing ability to build up amazing athletes and teams, and yet his players spoke of how he cared for and built into them as people as well." Colin Kubinec – Ambrose University women's volleyball.
"Anatoly Tarasov. He is recognized as the "Father of hockey" in the Soviet Union and has been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Tarasov built the Soviet hockey program from scratch into a program that was used as the benchmark for all hockey programs from the 1950-1980's. I would like to know what he believed to be the most significant quality in an athlete in developing a championship program." Mark Porter - Medicine Hat College men's volleyball.
"Bill Belichick is one that comes to mind. He possesses some strengths that I'd like to grow in and to hear his thoughts on culture and longevity would be interesting." Paul Armbruster - Ambrose University men's volleyball.
"Arthur Lydiard, the legendary New Zealand distance coach who trained and/or advised numerous Olympic champions in distance and middle distance running. Lydiard's principles have been applied to many different endurance sports. In summary, he believed in running a lot, running an appropriate amount of intensity, and periodizing your training. The philosophy is simple, yet brilliant, and has stood the test of time." - Bill Corcoran - Co-Coach Grande Prairie Regional College cross country.
"Scotty Bowman – Yes I could absolutely learn strategies and systems from him however I would be really interested to learn on how he motivated, challenged and treated his athletes." Tim Fragle - NAIT men's hockey.
"The true art of coaching is to understand and accept the role as a "lifelong learner" I would not want to pick the brain of any one coach as every coach at every level has incredible insight to share from their experience. The opportunity to learn from all coaches in every chance I get is the greatest asset any coach can pursue." Todd Warnick, - NAIT women's basketball.
"Legendary golf coach Harvey Penick…his approach to the game was such a great mix of technical information and philosophical outlooks." Trevor Moore – Medicine Hat College golf.
"Hands down, Coach Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest coaches and leaders in History. He willed his teams to win and win lots, he cared about his players, he got every ounce of energy out of his players and they loved him and they learned life skills, like respect and being a good person." Brian Anstice - Kings University women's basketball.
"Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics) – great basketball mind who seems to have his priorities straight when it comes to why and how he coaches." Shane Sowden - Briercrest men's basketball
"If I had an opportunity to discuss coaching with anyone it would have to be Hank Haney. Hank is one of the foremost golf instructors in the world and has worked with the worlds best golfers. I like his communication style and how easily he can explain his methods and, thoughts and style." Scott Bergdahl – Red Deer College golf.
"I would like to spend an hour with John Wooden." Gerard Brand - Ambrose University's women's basketball.
"I would have loved to have met John Wooden and have had an opportunity to learn from him. I appreciate the simplicity of his coaching philosophy and how his priorities were always God and family before anything else." Grace Scott – Kings University women's volleyball.
"Mack Brown is a coach I've always been extremely intrigued by. He had so much success at a massive school with huge publicity but still managed to have personal relationships with all his players. His players love him and would do anything g for him and it's not easy to have that. He also recruited extremely well in a state where football is recruited by everything big school there is he dominated Texas recruiting which is not easy to do." Lucas Jacobson - Concordia University of Edmonton men's volleyball.
"Johan Cruyff, he understood the game at such a level, he moved, processed information and game play so much faster than his opponents. I would pick his brains over how he got his ideas and plays, across to the many young players he coached over the years, without it becoming too overwhelming for them comprehend." Stephen Newton - Medicine Hat College women's soccer.
"Bill Bowerman. Sounds like he was an awesome motivator and was super successful as a coach." Matthew Norminton - Concordia University of Edmonton cross country.
"Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics) - Always finds ways to have his team buy into a team game regardless of skill level. Always level headed and always consistent." Nate Bedford - Portage College men's Hockey
"Either Pat Summitt or John Wooden. Likely because their teams became consistently top rated." Greg Ryan - U of Alberta Augustana women's volleyball.
"I have two coaches that stand out to me, Mike Babcock (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Dr. Bob Rotella (Golf Teacher/Performance Coach). Babcock for his ability to develop strong team culture in a professional environment, and Rotella for his expertise in golf sports psychology and mental toughness. As a golf coach, we are constantly teaching our athletes how to mind their brain when they are competing and Rotella is one of the best." Jodi Campbell - MacEwan golf.
"Herb Brooks. You talk about excelling at instilling a philosophy and developing a culture.....what he did with the USA hockey team in the miracle on ice is just that: a miracle." Matt Barreiro - Kings University men's basketball
"The coach who's brain I would love to pick is Bill Shankly ex Liverpool coach. He took Liverpool from 2nd division football to becoming one of Europe's elite and now has a statue erected in his honour outside the stadium." Ian Tully – Medicine Hat Colleges men's soccer.
"I would love to pick Pat Summits brain. She was a great leader that got the best of her players no matter what the circumstance was. She truly believed in "winners aren't born, they are self-made". Dwayne Vigilance – Keyano College women's basketball.
"Herb Brooks. The way he prepared his 1980 USA Olympic hockey team to be ready to face the best was impressive." Ryan Heggie - Lethbridge College men's basketball.
"Phil Jackson, to learn how to manage egos (he had to manage Kobe and Shaq in their prime)." Keegan Kuhr - Keyano College men's volleyball
"Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians or Chip Kelly, currently with the UCLA Bruins. Terry because all he does is win no matter where he goes, and Chip because of his innovative mind and how he isn't afraid to challenge the status quo an find new and better ways to win games." Chris McQuid - - Lakeland College curling.
"I've been fortunate enough to have outstanding mentors in coaching, and also had opportunities to chat with several active and retired Professional coaches who I have and had the chance to pick their brains. But If I could have one I would pick his brain is (Keyano Huskies men's basketball coach) Jeremy Wallenga. He is an innovative upcoming coach with some innovative ideas and concepts. I enjoy my discussions with Jeremy." Mike Connolly – NAIT men's basketball.
"I would love to have a sit down conversation with Scotty Bowman. I grew up a Detroit Red Wings fan when they won back to back cups in '97 and '98, then again in '02. During that time he had the opportunity to coach Steve Yzerman, who was my idol growing up. Having the opportunity to hear Scotty Bowman talk about the development of Yzerman as both a player and a person would be exceptionally intriguing to me now that I am pursuing a career as a coach. We all have that favourite player growing up and a dream team line that would be fun to play on, but for me it extends to imagining what it would be like to coach a hockey Hall of Famer." Chris Leeming – Olds College women's hockey