Last night a team made an improbable run to the Final Four, and it’s not even the No. 10 seed Syracuse men’s basketball team.
It’s the No. 7 seed Washington Huskies women’s basketball team, led by head coach Mike Neighbors.
During the Huskies unlikely run to the Final Four, they ousted powerhouses #5 ranked Maryland (at Maryland), #12 ranked Kentucky and #13 ranked Stanford last night.
People always say “it couldn’t happen to a better person.” In this case it really holds true.
Coach Neighbors is truly an asset for the game of women’s basketball. Every week he sends a newsletter to thousands of coaches sharing articles, X’s and O’s, book recommendations, cartoons, and anything else he can get his hands on. It’s free. It only costs HIM his time. He does it to “Grow Our Game” as his email signature reminds all of us who subscribe.
More impressive – and a real glimpse of his true character – Coach Neighbors has taken taken time on several occasions to speak/text/email with me about my personal coaching situation (past and present) and provided me with networking possibilities and insights. More importantly he took the time as a D1 assistant coach and now head coach to give me some uplifting words and empathy. All of this occurred when he only knew me as a contributor to his newsletter.
I was fortunate to shake his hand at last year’s Final Four. Coach Neighbors again was generous with his time and I am honored to call him a friend and colleague.
I suspect I am not the only one who has successfully reached out to him and has received some advice.
That is Mike Neighbors. He grows the game of women’s basketball the right way. He is a phenomenal teache, a “coaches coach” and now can put “2016 Final Four” on his resume.
Coach Neighbor’s clearly has no fences. We should all be glad he is “OUR Neighbor.”
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo