The University of Connecticut, one of the best college basketball programs in the country, was at a disadvantage in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The top-seeded Huskies had to play without their famous coach, Jim Calhoun, who was not feeling well before the game.
When you're watching basketball on TV or at the game, it can be easy to forget about the coaches. While the players are running up and down the court and making exciting plays, the coaches are dressed in suits and standing on the sidelines.
Even though they are not as noticeable as the players, basketball coaches are a very big part of the team. When a team has the ball, its coach calls the plays, telling the players what to do and where to go. On defense, the coach tells his or her players which opposing players they should guard.
A coach's role doesn't end when the game is over. They usually watch film of the game to try to understand what the team can do better. In practice, the coach runs drills to help the players improve. Coaches also have duties that go beyond just X's and O's. They are responsible for motivating their players and for making sure everybody recognizes the importance of teamwork and playing hard.
Especially in college basketball, coaches can develop a strong attachment with the school. While students and players typically only go to college for four years, coaches can be a part of the team for a long time. Calhoun has been coaching at Connecticut since 1986. Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse coach and Calhoun's conference rival in the Big East, has coached the Orange since 1976. It's hard to think of Duke's basketball team without thinking of Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K has been the head coach at Duke since 1980. Pat Summit has been coaching the University of Tennessee women's basketball team since 1975 and has won more games than any coach in college basketball.
So even though they don't make buzzer-beating shots or rim-rocking dunks, basketball coaches deserve a lot of credit when their team wins a big game.
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