Sunday, October 26, 2008

Duke, Coach K, and the Olympic Hangover

I was watching "Season on the Brink" today while grading is getting close to the season and I'm getting antsy. After watching the beginning it occurred to me that college coaches who coach our Olympic teams may suffer from an "Olympic Hangover" in relation to their collegiate programs. Coach Knight's worst season at Indiana was the one after he won the Gold Medal. Coach K was announced as the head Olympic coach in October of 2005. Since then, the Duke program has come down slightly from the amazing heights they were perched on. It's not like they've come crashing down to mediocre, but I think we've all noticed that they are not the Duke teams of a few years ago.

The last three years, the Blue Devils haven't advanced past the Sweet 16 and the last two years have lost in the first two rounds to teams they probably should have beaten. I do think, as Coach K returns his complete focus to Duke Basketball, that they will come up again - unfortunately for someone who isn't a Duke fan! Haha.... It will be interesting to see how Duke does this year (I'm assuming another year like the last two) and the years to follow.

There are a lot of different ways that coaches can have a "coaching hangover" that affects their programs. It could happen when a coach gets married, gets divorced, has a baby, has a death/tragedy in their lives, changes jobs, or any other life changes. The hangover may last a couple of weeks, couple of months, a year, or longer depending on the situation. These life changes can pull your focus away from the team/program, and many times they should. As a coach though, when they happen, you have to be prepared for them and hope you have some great assistants that will pick up the slack for you until you can return your focus.


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