Obsession 2 Coach -Part V

“I FOUND MY PURPOSE”

I LOVE MY BROTHER.

I’ve never said that to him, EVER. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but that is how I was growing up. I never said anything that in my mind was even remotely close to being sensitive or made me feel vulnerable. I never said it, but Jay was my idol throughout my childhood and continues to be to this day. He did things the “right” way. He had the best friends, dated the best girls and had his life mapped out in his mind from a very young age. I, on the other hand, lived each day by the seat of my pants. I had questionable friends, made bad decisions and had to listen to everybody say, “You’re Jay’s Little Brother, OH!” My goal was to one day have someone say to him, “Your Gary’s Older Brother, Aren’t You?” This goal is still unrealized and may never come to pass.

“Trous” as I call him, has carved out an amazing career as a girl’s basketball coach. Last year he was voted California Girls Coach of the Year. This award demonstrates the magnitude of the program he has built and his dedication to the sport. He has amassed 514 wins and has been at the same job for 24 years.

IN CONTRAST, I CAN TRUTHFULLY SAY THAT I HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING FOR THAT LONG, EVER!

Jay has had numerous opportunities to move on to the college level but his commitment to what he has built has kept him from leaving. He knows that he is EXACTLY where HE is supposed to be. As a young man, that concept absolutely baffled me. “Why not move on Trous?” I would ask him repeatedly. I just never understood his reasoning. He would tell me crazy things like, “I love my kids. I’m helping them. Coaching is coaching. I am HAPPY where I am.” I would get nauseated hearing that shit. In my mind I wanted to “move up the latter” as quickly as I could and helping kids never crossed my mind. The “I Am a College Basketball Coach” disease was in full effect in my brain. A disease that stayed planted in my thick skull and ruled my decision making for years to come.

Jay celebrating with his empire in California after becoming winning-est girls basketball coach in San Diego history.

On Friday, March 28, 1975, my brother and I were both granted a day off from school to attend the “practice session” for the Final Four in San Diego. I was excited to be going but more juiced about missing school. This was a day for me to hang out with “THE TROUS” and I’d tag along where ever he went.

The sessions started and I was more impressed with the people in the crowd who were watching the practice than I was with what was going on down on the floor. I hated practice. I hated practice in high school, hated it in college and hate it to this day as a coach. I only tolerate it now but it is still very painful. My team growing up was UCLA, so of course I enjoyed their workout session, but I still wasn’t able to focus.

Then something happened. The team from Kentucky took the floor. They were different than any other team I had ever seen. I was sitting center court and close enough to see and hear them in all their glory. They had these strange accents, pristine haircuts, the whitest of white practice gear and the absolute sweetest shoes I’d ever seen. This large man walked out on the floor with jet black hair that made him look like a 5 Star General about to command his troops in WAR. He said something that was barely audible and then…BOOM! I witnessed the most precise, choreographed activity imaginable. It wasn’t practice, it was ART. I became enthralled with players like Jimmy Dan Conner, Kevin Grevey, Jack Givens, Rick Robey and Coach, Joe B. Hall. I was hooked. No not hooked, I was OBSESSED by what I had just seen.

Right then I knew, at age 15, I WAS GOING TO BE A COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH. It was like I got the call. I was reborn. I was saved. I wanted to stand up and yell, “I FOUND MY PURPOSE”, but I didn’t, because I knew if I did, my brother would beat my ass. Instead, I just sat there and grinned from ear to ear like I’ve never grinned before…

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