Process that is never-ending
Gail Goestenkors, a native of Waterford, Michigan, is in her ninth season as coach of the Duke Blue Devils. The three-time ACC coach of the year led Duke to the 1999 NCAA title game and it's first ACC tournament title in 2000. The Blue Devils are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation. Check out Goestenkors diary every other week on CNNSI.com
December 1, 2000
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We hosted a tournament over the holiday weekend to help benefit the Durham Ronald McDonald House and helped to raise over $100,000. The tournament teams all take tours through the house and get to meet with some of the 30 families that make the house their home while their children are receiving treatments. If you ever feel like things aren't going your way ... go to a Ronald McDonald House and you will understand how lucky you are and how brave children can be.
We just finished a stretch where we played five games in nine days, and although we weren't always sharp, I'm proud of the way the team pulled together. We don't play another home game for over a month, but one of the trips is out to Cancun, Mexico for a Christmas Tournament, so I'm not complaining.
I was shooting around with Georgia Schweitzer on Thursday (I beat her in two of the four shooting competitions....by the way :) !!). She can't stand it when I beat her and of course, I have to rub it in! Anyway, I was talking to her about the fact that she is one of the few people I know who is passionate about everything they do. I think people are lucky if they feel passionate about ANYTHING, and Georgia feels that way about EVERYTHING! She is just as passionate about her studies, her religion and becoming a doctor as she is about basketball. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to watch her learn, grow and really blossom into a wonderful, interesting, intelligent, giving and gifted young woman. When I see someone like Georgia, I think ... this is why I love my job!
I was talking with my staff Thursday, and I realize that this year our freshmen are getting a lot of publicity. They are very talented and have made an immediate impact on the team. The seniors have also received attention because of the experiences they have had over the years and they are our captains and leaders. I'm wondering if the sophomores and junior are feeling at all like a middle child might feel. They are also great players and are helping us in many different ways but they aren't receiving much attention. I want to make sure that they know how important they are. We have always had great team chemistry, and in tough games and through the long season, I believe teams with great chemistry attain more success and certainly enjoy the season much more than teams that don't get along.
Sometimes, I think the smallest part of our job is the actual on-court coaching. There is so much more that goes into building a team and helping individuals learn, grow and become more than what they thought they could. It is a process that is never-ending, and the reason I am so passionate about what I do.
Well, we leave for George Mason on Saturday and then play at Clemson on Dec. 9. George Mason is undefeated, so it will be another great test for our team. After the Patriots, we begin our tough conference play.
Take care and I'll talk to you next week.
-- Coach G.