Without a strong sense of faith, it’s hard to accomplish anything. Life can take you on unexpected journeys and things don’t always go the way you want. But you have to find purpose through the pain, and strength through the struggle.
The past few years have allowed me to gain perspective on what really matters: family. Life blessed me with an opportunity to deeply devote time to my family, to see my kids’ soccer games and have them home without interruptions or obligations. That time fueled my soul, and filled up my tank. Now, I’m ready for my next chapter.
My time away has reaffirmed that my purpose and true passion is coaching. I spent eight years on the bench at UConn, as both an assistant and head coach. When I took over as head coach in 2012, UConn had just been placed on probation due to academic violations and handed a one-year ban on postseason play. We had also lost four out of five starters and were in the process of changing conferences. I was following a Hall of Fame coach, and I was only given an interim title.
From the outside, these were major challenges. But Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier and the rest of our players didn’t see it that way. They committed themselves to playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. We finished the season with a 20-10 record and would normally have qualified for the NCAA tournament. We shocked a lot of people. But even more important to me: we refocused and redoubled our efforts in the classroom, and every four-year player on that team received his diploma.