NABC Insider goes one-on-one with basketball coaches and administrators at every level of the sport. Today's feature is William Jewell head coach Chris McCabe.
Why did you become a coach?
“I love sports and I enjoy helping people. As my playing career ended, I wanted to continue to climb and make an impact in athletics. I have always been drawn to professional and college sports and studied coaches, teams and organizations from a very young age. My parents and friends have known coaching was in my blood for a long time.”
“Additionally, I know the impact that coaches had on me, including my dad as a youth coach, and I felt it was the best way to pursue my passion as a profession.”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“Undoubtedly it is the relationships and impact you have on people. Ranging from players, colleagues, and fans, you have the ability to connect and give them a rewarding experience. So many people have invested in me and helped me to get this position are also friends for life, outside of the court. I am indebted to them for investing in me and the best way to repay, is to pay it forward to others.”
If you had to craft a mission statement for your program, what would it be?
“It is our program’s mission to recognize, support and develop the unique needs of all members of our program by providing an environment that demands accountability and encourages success while providing all members with the opportunity to develop lifelong skills.”
How do you interact with your student-athletes off the court? What role do you play in their lives?
“My role in their lives is constantly developing and infinite. Whether it be a social setting, on the court, or in the classroom, my obligation is to take care of my players. There is simply nothing too small, or too big, for us to help walk alongside our players with. Everyone needs someone who is their advocate and helps push them to achieve greatness in life. I feel that responsibility with every current and former player. I hope if you asked my players that question, it would be a favorable response. That is the most important role I have in my job.”
How would you describe the culture of your program?
“Culture is an everyday thing. We strive to be the best we can at whatever is in front of us, on the court, in the classroom and in the community. We have high standards and demand our players are accountable to self and others. I hope there is joy in our program’s culture, the excitement to come and work hard every day is important to achieve consistent success.”
What does it take for a coaching staff to work well together?
“Constant communication and a shared vision of the value of taking care of people. Differences are important and should be embraced, but the core values of who you are and how you treat people shouldn’t have a high variance. As a head coach, I hope to have aspiring head coaches on staff. Thinking like a head coach provides perspective that is valuable when making decisions in the best interest of your program.”
What is the first piece of advice you would give to an aspiring coach?
“Be a star in the role you have. I am extremely fortunate to be a NCAA Division II head coach, but it wasn’t long ago that I was a student manager for Mike Jeffers at Johnson County Community College before moving on to K-State for Jim Wooldridge. While I had dreams to work at the highest level, I quickly learned that I needed to be a star in my role, never seeking fame, but making myself a valuable member of the basketball operations. Prepare for the job you want by being the best you can be at the job you have.”