By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Last week, I wrote about the accomplished seasons of the Braves and Lady Braves varsity basketball teams. This week, I’m going to write about a big reason for those accomplishments – Braves Head Coach Willis Tullos and Lady Braves Head Coach Chris Mintz.
Both coaches were recently honored by the Smoky Mountain Conference (SMC). Tullos was named Co-Coach of the Year and Mintz was named Coach of the Year.
Earlier in the season, both coaches also hit milestones with Tullos getting his 600th career win and Mintz getting his 300th. They led their teams to regular season SMC titles as well as SMC tournament titles.
But, beyond their wins and trophies, it is important to look at the men themselves. They lead by example with their demeanors.
Basketball is a fast-paced sport that many times can become very contentious. Fans aren’t always the nicest. Officials aren’t always the fairest. Opponents aren’t always the most sportsmanlike.
So, keeping player’s heads in the game and keeping them focused on the task at hand is hard at any level of basketball – doubly hard at the high school level. Tullos and Mintz both do an excellent job of keeping their team focused while protecting their team.
Many times on the sidelines I’ve watched both coaches handle situations with officials or opposing coaches with calm, steadfast demeanors while thinking to myself how quickly I probably would have gotten tossed out if I had been coaching. It is nice to watch because it’s rare in sports these days.
They are tough coaches who push their athletes to become the best that they can while showing respect for their opponents. They are also gracious whether it’s in speaking to an opposing coach or to a sports reporter who shoves a mini-recorder in their face after each game.
The late John Wooden, UCLA’s legendary coach who amassed an incredible 664-162 record including 10 NCAA championships and four perfect seasons, once said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
Tullos and Mintz are the embodiment of this quote.