Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit.”
Benjamin Jowett, 1817-1893 English Clergyman, Educator
He wouldn’t approve me writing these thoughts today partially about him, but that’s part of the point.
And four hundred wins at one school in intercollegiate basketball, well in this day and age of sports, such an accomplishment it is becoming a rarity.
And that accomplishment wasn’t a bad way to start a weekend. But there’s more there than just wins and milestones reached.
It happened Saturday afternoon a couple of days ago. And as with so many things in life, given a chance to bloom, all knew that it was only a matter of time before it would happen.
Coach Billy Donovan won his four hundredth basketball game as the head basketball coach at the University of Florida. He had also previously won thirty-five games while head basketball coach at Marshall University. And the game Saturday afternoon that put the capstone victory on that long string of victories was a performance worthy of the achievement.
To those who have followed him, this achievement was no surprise. To those who love him, there was gratitude for the health, opportunity and ability given him as a gift from God to reach this point. And from the one who was the focal point of the achievement itself, there was humility and deflection.
In a series of cordial give and take afterward in the post-game media gathering, at one point the question was asked what it felt like to reach such a milestone and at one school—not often reached in the history of the sport. Without a moment’s pause Billy’s response was exactly what those who know him would expect—
“I don’t look at them as my wins.
I look at them as University of Florida wins.”
He went on to elaborate that there are so many people, players, coaches who share a part of all of these victories. Some he pointed out were in the stands today. So many other teams also contributed their share which when accumulated through the years resulted in reaching this milestone—together.
While on the national board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I had the chance to become friends with Coach Tom Landry. Revered by his players, coaches, peers and nation as a great coach and man, it was his faith and humility which defined who he was. Coach Landry’s life was not about him, it was always about submission to the God he followed. The Reverend Billy Graham is similar. Although he was a dynamic and vibrant speaker in his prime, and still one of the most recognizable people in the world, Reverend Graham never felt he was the center of what was going on. He never believed it was about him. Both were ordinary men, following God, who used them to touch the world around them.
It’s no surprise Billy Donovan has been so successful through the years. Similar to those two men mentioned above, it’s not about him. No matter how many others want to focus on what occurs out there on the hardwood court as his accomplishment, he refuses to allow the focus to remain on him. Instead, he is always giving others the credit, others their due, and others the respect he holds in his heart for them.
And those who know him best know that the main source of credit he gives is to the God who loves him, and his commitment to grow more and more each day through his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A relationship which continually calls him to being all he can be, striving to become the best who God created him to be—as a man, husband, father, coach, friend, mentor, and lifter and encourager of others around him.
Can you imagine what the world would look like if more and more of us took that approach to life?
Congratulations on the milestone, Coach.
But more than that, congratulations on giving the credit to where it is due.
May God continue to bless all you do, and continue to use you for His glory, as you keep on making a difference in the world around you with and through the God who loves you.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.