My dad was a very quiet person, and unbelievably tough. But my grandmother gave me my first look at negative thinking to bring about positive results. When I was just a little guy, anytime I came to my grandmother and said I wish for this or that, Grandma would say, 'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.'
I watched the guy that hits a home run, and he comes across the plate and he points skyward, like thanking for the help from the Almighty to hit the home run. And as he does that, I say to myself, 'God screwed the pitcher.' And I don't know how else you look at it.
And I would be the first to admit that probably, in a lot of press conferences over the time that I have been in coaching, indulging my own sense of humor at press conferences has not been greatly to my benefit.
All the years I coached, we sent a card to every professor for each kid I had, and I was able to keep track on a daily basis who cut class or who was dropping a grade average. What I did was bring that kid in at 5:00 in the morning, and he would run the stairs from the bottom to the top until I told him to quit.
As I've said, basketball has been, I think, a real cooperative venture. There have been a lot of people that have been involved in it: coaches, administrators - not recently - fans and nobody, nobody any more so than students over the years.
I think that we as a people are always prone to think about, well, tomorrow will be a better day. Well, why will it be a better day? And I think the more that we believe in doing things better, doing the right thing rather than hoping that that's going to happen, let's make it happen.
Major League Baseball has the best idea of all. Three years before they'll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I'm sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA.
I enjoyed needling the press. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't have done it. Writers have rarely played, so as a coach, you have antagonistic feelings about some guy writing up the story of the game who's never even attempted to play it.
If I were involved with the NBA, I wouldn't want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I've been watching on another team, and now he's 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid.
I think that it's perhaps harder to learn from victory than it is from defeat. I think that we don't want defeat. We don't want defeat in sport. We don't want defeat in life. How are we going to be beaten? All right. We have to deal with those things. What's going to cause us to lose the game, whatever the game might be?
During my 40-year coaching career at West Point, Indiana and Texas Tech, my teams reached the Final Four on five occasions, winning the national championship three times.
When I first started coaching, one of the worst things that I think I heard was 'It will be O.K.' I would wonder, 'How the hell is it going to be O.K.?' The worst word in the English language is 'hope.'