By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.
I actually met Scotty Davenport in the early 90s when he was the basketball coach at Ballard High School. I was the designated health promotion volunteer dietitian for both Ballard High School and Fern Creek High School. At the time, Ballard was one of the best basketball programs in the city. In fact, when Scotty was coaching at Ballard, they won a state championship in 1988. When at Ballard, he coached two NBA players: Allan Houston and DuJuan Wheat.
But I really got to know Scotty on a personal basis when he became the assistant coach at University of Louisville under Coach Crum. I worked as the sports nutrition consultant at U of L for 10 years during his tenure as assistant coach. Scotty would typically run practice – no cussing, demeaning or attacks on any players, just positive, instructive coaching. I liked that quality in Scotty!
After 6 seasons at Bellarmine University, Coach Davenport’s team won the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship. In addition, he was voted at 2011 Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Coach of the Year, National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Division II Bulletin.
Coach Davenport was asked to speak at the Small Business Breakfast Club about Becoming the best – How to Build a Winning Team.
I loved Scotty’s first statement, “Sleep is overrated!” Over 250 people thought that was an appropriate observation based on their reaction. Scotty said that when he took over the Bellarmine program, the win/loss was terrible. He had 2 objectives: working together 24/7 and how hard are we going to work. The team had only won 9 games the season before so the team had its work clearly cut out for them to climb back to a winning season.
Scotty said that basketball is not just about playing a sport but is more about preparing yourself for the next 40 years of your life which is really what college is all about. He developed a mantra for his struggling team – “None of us are as good as all of us working together.” Scotty suggested to the business owners that everyone should us this mantra for success!
Players (Team Members) are the Best Recruiters
Developing a good team means that team members must enjoy what they do or at least have a good feeling about what they are doing. Scotty said team work helps to make the people around you better as well.
Scotty’s list of do’s:
- Focus on the race not the finish line.
- Imagine it, dream it.
- expect it because you are confident because you are prepared!
- When it happens, build on your confidence.
Scotty said extraordinary people move forward when they are successful. He wants his players to say “I used basketball, basketball did not use me. Through basketball, my players have excelled both athletically, academically and socially.”
The NCAA Win
On March 29 in Hartford Connecticut, Bellarmine won the 2011 National Championship. They were loaded onto a bus at 3:30 am to get to the airport for their travel home. They flew into Cincinnati and then boarded a bus to Louisville. Scotty said when they drove into Henry county one police car accompanied them to Oldham county where two police cars accompanied them to Metro Louisville where 4 police cars accompanied them. The WLKY helicopter was flying overhead as the continued their way to campus. One player said he “felt like OJ Simpson” with all of the police cars and helicopter overhead. People were out cheering for them in the 32 degrees weather. There were 300 – 300 people in the early morning pep rally along with Mayor Fischer. A little boy who has attended one of Coach Davenport’s basketball camps led the pep rally to cheer TRUST which is one of Bellarmine’s cheers in their huddle.
With the team trophy in hand, the team gave the trophy to the students who in turn gave the trophy to their number one supporter and cheerleader, Jim Spalding who was at the pep rally in a wheelchair. But Coach Davenport said the ultimate in dreams came when the team was asked to be the Grand Marshals of the Pegasus Parade. The players said “they all liked us and screamed THANK YOU.”
With that thank you, I want to say THANK YOU to Coach Davenport and his players for showing us how a bunch of hard working players can achieve their goals through hard work. Just goes to show, hard work still pays off!
Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N, is a registered dietitian who has been teaching healthy lifestyles strategies to consumers for over 35+ years. Barbara has a new health and wellness online magazine as well.