As I was sitting with my family the other day during the Thanksgiving holiday, my brother reminded me to “make sure you play the Powerball. The jackpot is ridiculous.” According to a recent story in the USA Today, the Powerball will reach upwards of $425 million and it seems that there will be a winner as most of the number combinations will have been played.
With that in mind, I have yet to run out and get my winning ticket. Maybe the coach in me is a pessimist or maybe I just understand the craze. I worked at a liquor store during my college days and sold these tickets at my place of employment. Therefore, I have seen the poor decision making by some who waste a whole paycheck on several hundred tickets, which really do not increase your odds of winning the jackpot.
Still, it is fun to think of what you would do if you won the big one.
For anyone, even professional athletes and big time coaches, that kind of money is life altering. With a little financial planning and the ability to say ‘no’ (distant family and friends included) one would never have to work ever again. EVER.
Still competition is in our blood and I asked myself “what would I do?” Would I still coach? Humm…We all have our daily struggles at our specific universities/colleges. As college coaches, we have to skillfully juggle our administration, boosters, summer camps, budgets and fundraising events to keep our programs flourishing and fiscally afloat. It is because of some of these things that some coaches lose their jobs or decide that the workload/hours is too overbearing and get out of the game.
After considering not coaching for a brief moment as that thought flashed in my mind, I answered the question with a resounding “yes”.
So I thought, I would coach for sure but it would be on my terms more or less. So I could buy my way into a position, but I would get resentment from most. I could coach high school or AAU for the love of the game, but I know I would want to be a the college level. Then it hit me! What if I could buy my own school? Just imagine if you could fund or partially fund a university/college where you could set up endowments and scholarship monies to help to pay for top notch facilities, professors, infrastructure and administrators. Couple that with a large payroll, even bigger budgets, rooms stocked with athletic apparel, and a top flight weight room. Needless to say, my mind was racing.
Now I know that this $425 million jackpot (don’t forget taxes) might not cover all of these expenses but let’s think outside the box and dream, o.k.?
So of course, we would need administrators, professors, buildings and majors. These would all have to be carefully selected. Remember we can mimic the thought process of Philanthropist John Hammond in Jurassic Park, “spared no expense” so I am not too worried about luring top echelon professors from the Ivy Leagues, etc. Then we need to select the location of the university. West coast vs. East coast? Should it be a liberal arts or a research institution? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Lots of choices will have to be made, but let’s get to the fun stuff. From a basketball standpoint, just imagine designing your own athletic building! Coaches offices, state-of-the-art film room, athletic fields, training and rehabilitation facilities. New copy machines and printers (I battle daily with my 1996 HP model) and more than adequate staffing. A strength and conditioning coach too! Air-conditioning courts during the summer months, really?
Spared no expense.
Now let’s talk gear. Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour? Who cares. Use whatever distributor you want and put as many logos on it as you desire. Money is no object.
And for the founder of this new institution, a life time contract. Wow! Imagine coaching with that type of security. I can see where it could be dangerous if the founder/head coach was lazy and abused their power, which can happen, trust me. However, all things being equal though, that would be pretty amazing.
It is fun to dream. A true wish list. Some of these things may seem trivial to you and your program but to some low DI’s and many DII’s and DIII’s, they are on the tops of their lists (especially a reliable printer!).
I do have one personal request. Parquet floor reminiscent of the old Boston Garden. That would be special to work on each and everyday. The older the better. Nostalgia sometimes trumps new.
Despite all of the great things that this type of scenario entails, as the Notorious B.I.G once said “Mo’ money, Mo’ problems” and there surely would be some given this situation. One issue for coaches would be how would they continue motivate student-athletes who have the best of everything? You can’t play the underdog card when you are rocking the best gear, traveling on luxury charters and eating great meals every road trip. As a Head Coach, I would continue to reiterate that we have no history and we have won nothing yet. Games are won on the court and that old parquet floor might serve as a reminder. In addition, I would still make our student-athletes fundraise, do community service and brand our program like every program in the country does. I would treat them great, but I would also treat them normal once they committed to the program. Nevertheless, it would be a challenge at times.
And what would you call this new school of higher education? “Insert your last name” University, Powerball College? What would the mascot be? A big red ball, in the Syracuse Orangeman genre? Hardly.
Given these circumstances I think Daydream University with a cloud as the mascot would be appropriate.
Also, the university would retire the number nine at the first home game too. It would be in honor of knowing that everyday members of our campus community woke up we would all be on “Cloud Nine.”
I am running out to buy my ticket now…
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo