Dear MC Basketball Fan,
Well, you can call it my swan song or my farewell tour, but I can promise you, this is it. I have begun to check off the long list of lasts-my last trip to Piedmont, my last trip to Averett, my last regular season overnight trip, and so on. A lot of these I am glad they are over, but there will be some of the final feelings I will really miss-my last practice, my last great feeling after a good win, my last hug from a player that is deserving of one, or a last meeting with my staff where we laugh more than we talk. Man, it has been a blast and I am so grateful for the many people I have had a chance to work with and coach.
To the administration, I say thank you. Thanks for taking a chance on a 25 year old youngster in 1980, who thought he was ready for the big time. I quickly learned that the “big time” is where you want it to be. Maryville College Athletics was my big time. I worked for four Presidents and a couple of interim guys. I answered to several Vice-Presidents of Student Affairs over the years. For the most part, each one allowed me to do my thing and were very supportive of athletics. Of course, we had our ups and downs and I lost some battles and got downright mad a few times. I learned over the years to pick your fights and only fight those that you know you can win.
To all the “Old Hats of the MC Athletic Department”, I say you are like family to me. I am referring to Kandi Schram, Sharon Wood, Eric Etchison, and Pepe Fernandez. The experiences we shared, the laughs, the dreams, the wins and the losses brought us close together and I will always hold your friendships very close to my heart. I wish you the best and I know you will continue to uphold the standards we have established in our department.
To the other coaches, staff members, and faculty, I say I appreciate you guys more than you know. Your dedication to our students and our college inspired me every day and made me want to work harder just to keep up with you. I enjoyed our interaction whether it was informal or in a meeting and I truly believe we are fulfilling the Covenant of our college by upholding our community tenets of scholarship, respect and integrity. In my opinion, we do this better today than we ever have.
To my players, past and present, I say thank you for all the memories and for the life-long relationships that we have established. I have tried to make this program all about you and your development as a player and person. I know some of you felt I should have given you more playing time, more “rope” to do your thing, or more of a chance to show your stuff. I can promise you I tried to always put the team before any individual. I always supported toughness and selflessness. I tried to teach each of you how to win and how to be successful. Hopefully, this has hit home for some of you as you have aged and become a little more aware. The most satisfying moments of my coaching career have been those associated with my players; seeing the time when that light finally comes on, realizing that after pushing 100 buttons, I hit the right one, receiving the diploma on Graduation Day, watching you come back to campus smiling like a big possum, and seeing you as a productive adult, often times, with your own children. I hope and pray each one of you have had some past memories to fall back on that will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face. I know I have many. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To my family, I say I love you. I know each of you have sacrificed our time so that I can give more time to my job and to my calling. If I could do anything over in my life, it would be how much more I would have given you. Not material things, just time! I would have spent more time with my children because they do grow up so fast. I always thought “date nights” once a week was a good idea, but I never found time for them. I would have given Laney more dates. I would have taken more family vacations.
Nothing replaces quality time with family. I would have had more conversations with my parents. I miss them so much today. Often times, I felt like there was just so much of me to give, but I wish I had given my family more of me. Many people have asked just what will I do when I retire? I can tell you now that I am going to work on being a better husband, a better father, and a great grandfather.
And finally, I want to thank God for making this all possible. I have been blessed and our God has provided me the strength, the patience, the wisdom, and the direction to do my work. I have learned from the good times and the bad times, all the while, keeping the faith because I know this is part of “your” plan. I will try to be a better Christian and servant as I move towards my retirement.
I do look forward to this next chapter of my life. I have plenty of things I want to do and plan to do. I hope I can continue to spend time with all of my Maryville College friends. You can expect to see me on campus. I grew up shooting hoops in the old, old gym on campus. I would stay until Officer Eldria Hurst would ask me to leave. I have so many fond memories of my years on campus. I plan to make many more. Please, come see me.
Coach Randy Lambert
LEADERSHIP WITH COACH PLACERES
Here are three reasons why athletes make the best hires:
1. Grit. “Grit” is becoming an increasingly popular term in sports and on our team. After years of participation trophies that leave kids feeling entitled and lazy, coaches today are looking for grit–that strength of character that determines whether someone perseveres or quits in the face of a challenge.
2. Self Awarness. Any athlete, whether they used to play high school basketball or currently squeeze in sessions at the gym, they understand the importance of prioritizing. As a leader, it’s counterproductive to micromanage your teams, so recruiting players or in the real world hiring people who can self-direct, manage and prioritize their work is essential. Athletes are goal-oriented by nature, which means they’re constantly assessing where they stand. Like a point guard reading the defense to decide whether to shoot or pass, the best workers constantly reprioritize to focus on the goals that matter most to their team.
3. The meaning of Team. I think for any business adding athletes to the mix is essential. Great teamwork is about being selfless. Great teamwork requires people who understand group dynamics and know how to adjust their behavior and role to fit the organization’s needs. For example, on our team players roles are constantly changing and being re-evaluated. Sometimes your team needs you to be a defender, sometimes it needs you to be a great teammate, and sometimes it needs you to rise to the occasion and be the star. The best work environments are full of people who understand sense of urgency.
I leave you here with more reasons why athletes should be hired. I follow Coach Craig Doty from Emporia State on twitter and he shared this:
- They are used to working under pressure.
- They understand that doing work outside of working hours is where they’ll find their advantage.
- They’ve endured success and defeat, they handle adversity.
- They sacrifice personal accolades for team success.
Hopefully, those in the profession continue to use the platform of coaching to mentor and empower young men and women to be ready and successful in the most important game, which is the game of life.
Blast from the past:
One of the most successful teams to have worn the Maryville uniform were the 1999-2000 Scots team. This team finished the year 24-4 with a (12-1) home record. They had three players average in double figures. Leading the way was Brent Watts at 14.8 points per game, Matt Ennen at 14.7 points per game, and Chris Housewright at 14.6 points per game.
They shot 46% from the field as a team and 74% from the FT Line. They averaged 80ppg while only giving up 69ppg. This team made a run to the Sweet 16 game where they lost to McMurry College.
One of Coach Lambert’s greatest professional wins took place with this team. They went on the road and beat the #1 team in the country Hampden Sydney 76-75. Recently inducted Wall of Fame recipient Chris Housewright stated, we could not have accomplished what we did without the total team buy in of all of my teammates.
The 1999-2000 team was made up of some really good Scots. Team members included: Jacob Deal, Ben Jackson, Josh Tummell, Jason Hall, Adriel McCord, Teaun Winton, Ben Robison, Joe Ballard, Josh Ennen, Rusty Walker, Jon Wright, Kris Sigmund, and Tim Leroy.
Kevin, let the MC basketball fans know what high school you are from and what accolades you received as a student-athlete?
My name is Kevin Chong. I am from beautiful South Florida. As a student- athlete, the accolades I received were MVP my senior year, was invited to the local All-Star Game, and made 2nd Team All-County.
As every story is different tell the fans, why you chose Maryville?
The reason why I choose Maryville College was because I knew it was a good fit for me academically and athletically. The programs style of plays fits exactly how I like to play. This school helps you grow as a person and also pushes you to be your very best.
If you were stuck on an Island and needed to get out of there what two other teammates would you choose and why?
If I was stuck on an island and I needed to pick two teammates, it would be David Clark and Javon Crane. The reason is because these two guys are smart and always find a way when there is trouble or problems.
How has this first year gone for you on and off the floor?
This first year of my college experience has been good and bad. I had a very rough start in the fall semester but now I’m starting to pick it up in the spring. I am making sure I make time to study and do homework. On the court, basketball is just a fun sport to play overall. I’ve made time in the day to make sure I get shots up and work on my skills so when game time comes, I don’t have to worry about anything.
What is your favorite movie? Candy? Food?
When I was growing up, I’ve always liked this movie called Iron Giant. My favorite candy is Sour Patch, I love that sour bitter taste to the candy. And last but not least, my favorite food is Jamaican food.
Word association game: List one word to describe the following coaches and players
Javon Crane: Hardworking
Amari Blake: Crafty
David Deacon: Athletic
Dante Hoppa: Leader
Chris Watson: Cool
Kaleb Estes: Funny
Dalton Coleman: Quiet
Coach Jones: Caring
Coach Placeres: Discipline
Coach Lambert: Kind
Coach Creasy: Smart
Four years have come and gone. Tell the MC fans and recruits out there about your four-year experience at Maryville.
It has been an experience I’m very proud of. I have worked hard enough to earn achievements that mean something to me, both athletically and academically. I have also made my family proud, which is a significant priority. Best of all, my four years have been a collection of memories I have made with the brotherhood of teammates I’ve played with as well as my suitemates that have made my 4 year experience the best possible version it could’ve been. I often questioned myself early if it had been the right decision to go so far away from my hometown of Naples, Florida, but the more people I developed relationships with and the more memories created that will last a lifetime, I have no doubt in my mind this is a special place and institution that any student or student-athlete should consider in attending.
What has been your best individual accomplishment while being a member of the basketball team? Team accomplishment?
My best individual achievement would have to be earning MVP at the conference tournament we hosted in 17’-18’. It was a goal of mine because I have always prided myself as a player on showing up big in crucial moments or games and to do it on that stage was satisfying. Our best team accomplishment also includes winning that conference championship on our home floor and being able to cut our own nets down in front of our home crowd. No feeling was greater than that.
With approximately four weeks in the regular season left what are you personally trying to achieve? What would you like your team to achieve?
I am personally trying to play well enough to win every game left on our schedule. Maybe after that, I would like to make my first all-conference selection but that means little to me if my team and I don’t get where we should be at the end of the year. That being said, I would like my team to finish 1st in our conference standings for the third year in a row. I would also like to be hitting on all cylinders heading into the conference tournament no matter where we are seeded.
With the upcoming Super Bowl coming up tell the fans why you think the Patriots will win? And why the Rams will win?
The Patriots will win because of the experience their team has in not only playoff games but the Super Bowl. They have the greatest QB to ever play, regardless of the cheating scandals, and one of the greatest coaches of all time that specializes in taking your best option away and exposing your greatest weakness. However, the Rams will win because two players that control their respective sides of the ball: Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald. The only proven way to beat Tom Brady is to get consistent pressure on him and the Rams have one of the best DT to ever play.
Coach Placeres had a lot to do with you getting up here from Naples, Florida. Tell us about your four-year experience with coach and why he is the right man to replace Coach Lambert?
I developed a great relationship with Coach Placeres mostly because he knows how to relate to players due to his young age and having played in the same system, we all are right now. The great thing about him is his ability to have fun and tell many sarcastic jokes but when the time comes to focus and get prepared for games or practices, nothing else matters and it is all business. I have shared many memories with him as well, and he never hesitates to call me out for my animated faces on and off the court. He is the right man to replace Coach Lambert because he exemplifies the right amount of passion, commitment, and effort that portrays the Maryville Way that our program stands by. You see many coaching changes around the nation and a good amount involve a promotion of an assistant who knows the area and played in that very system. It is only right.
With the retirement of Coach Lambert, tell the fans a couple of things you have learned while playing for him the last four years.
I have enjoyed playing for Coach Lambert because what better of an honor is it to finish out my career while he finishes his. We have developed a great player-coach relationship and I respect him as a man and everything he has done for this program. That being said, I also have learned I get on his nerves just as much as he gets on mine and you can catch us having a friendly disagreement just about every game at this point. I would have never imagined he would’ve kept the same energy and commitment during my senior year like he had my freshman year and it’s impressive to say the least. I probably will never eat at a Cracker Barrel again after my career is done because he views the restaurant as a pregame routine and I have got the same meal there about 50 times in a row. Overall, I am proud to say he is my coach and I look forward to finishing out both of our careers together.
Word Association game: Describe in one word the following players or coaches:
• Emanuelle Garcia: Data Analytics
• Calvin Songster: The Next Great Politician
• Josh Brooks: The Joker (his laugh)
• Nick Clifton: Limitless Potential
• Kaleb Estes: Lil Comedian/Break Dancer
• Danterrius Bray: Wavy
• Emier Bowman: Referee University
• David Deacon: Duckling
• Coach McCord: Non-Shooter (Banger)
• Coach Jones: Disappointed Hawks Fan