Why Dave Rose is Such a Great Coach
I’ve been thinking of writing on this topic for awhile and after reading Dick Harmon’s article in the Desert News I thought it would be a good time to add my two cents on what makes Coach Rose — well, Coach Rose.
What’s interesting for me was I able to see Coach Rose in two different roles during my career.
During my freshman year Heath Schroyer was on the staff and was the main guy when it came to implementing a defensive game plan.
Schroyer also took on the role of motivator and as anyone of the hundred people who showed to watch our games can attest to he was the most vocal on the staff.
As a result, Rose was not in front of the players all that much. He was often on the road recruiting and when he was around he wasn’t near as engaged as in my years after my mission.
With that said, players gravitated to him on the road and listened intently when he spoke. He has a natural ability to understand the minds of athletes and as a result often could turn a switch on a players’ performance.
I’ll never forget something he said to me during a game my freshman year. We were playing Utah in the WAC tournament and the game was getting away from us. I was playing OK, but not how I needed to if we were going to have a chance.
During a timeout in the second half he took me aside and yelled at me, “Mark, if you don’t start making shots all you have to look forward to is pushing copies of the Book of Mormon for the next two years!” (Before anyone gets too excited about that statement this has nothing to do with Rose’s faith or attitude towards the church or missions)
For me, this made me smile, relax and as a result I started making shots. Of course, I fouled out with ten minutes to go in the game but that is beside the point. It was just a great example of his natural ability to say the right things at the right time.
After my mission things had changed.
Schroyer had left and Rose had become much more involved in the day to day coaching. He was the main defensive coach and was definitely more vocal. This is when his genuine competitiveness really began to show through.
Any player who wasn’t giving his all or wasn’t grasping the concepts he was teaching they knew it. At the same time, the requirements to play under him were that simple, play hard, do what he said. It was easy to see that he had no hidden agenda except winning and demanded the same from his players.
His knowledge of the game was also apparent. His game plans were complex but adapted to personnel of both teams.
Case in point was the Air Force game my senior year. Air Force is always a pain to defend but that year in particular was more difficult because they could really shoot, especially their post players.
We knew that our posts were going to have a difficult time because their posts played like guards. To give them a different look we implemented a 1-3-1 defense that we had never played before. It worked and we confused the Air Force players and ended up winning the game.
All in all, what makes Coach Rose great is that he cares for his players and his players care for him. As a result, his players play hard for him and trust him with their life.
To me this the key to any team, whether it be in sports, business, or church, if trust exists between leader and follower great things can be achieved.
Coach Rose exudes trust and the results speak for themselves.