Utah Jazz: Will Hardy learned much about leadership from Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich has impressed more than one generations of coaches and avid gamers in basketball. The Popovich training tree reaches its limbs all over. Head coaches and the training staffs that fill out benches are suffering from women and men who’ve studied below Popovich.

“It’s probably the biggest thrill I have to tell you the truth. To see these guys and their families move on and progress and do what they’ve done. It’s a big part of the satisfaction in the job.” — Spurs trainer Gregg Popovich on seeing former assistants upward push within the training ranks

At this level, it’s a horny common incidence for Popovich to seek advice from an NBA town and notice somebody running for the opposition that was once as soon as on his team of workers, however every time it is only as thrilling because the closing.

“It doesn’t get old, it’s a thrill,” Popovich mentioned Tuesday evening at Vivint Arena, in a while sooner than his San Anotonio Spurs confronted the Utah Jazz in a preseason recreation. “It’s probably the biggest thrill I have to tell you the truth. To see these guys and their families move on and progress and do what they’ve done. It’s a big part of the satisfaction in the job.”

Monday evening, when the Spurs arrived in Salt Lake City, Popovich met up for dinner along with his newest pupil-turned-NBA head trainer, Will Hardy.


San Antonio Spurs assistant trainer Becky Hammon talks with head trainer Gregg Popovich, heart, at the bench as assistant coaches Tim Duncan, 2nd shape left, and Will Hardy, 2nd from proper, watch all over recreation towards the Magic Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. Hardy is in his first 12 months as the pinnacle trainer with the Utah Jazz.

Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

The two have shared many dinners sooner than. Hardy began out within the Spurs’ movie room and briefly labored his means up during the ranks and onto the training team of workers. He earned Popovich’s admire and confirmed a singular skill to show and acquire the accept as true with of the avid gamers, and Popovich preferred that Hardy would drink wine with him after they would cross out to dinner. But Monday’s dinner was once somewhat other.

It’s now not simple for Hardy to place into phrases how much Popovich has supposed and the affect that Popvich has had on Hardy’s profession and existence. But when requested to take a look at, Hardy mentioned that clearly he learned so much about basketball from Popovich, however extra importantly, he learned that being a head trainer is extra about leadership and making an investment in folks than it’s anything. And that’s precisely the type of lesson that Popovich hopes any individual takes away from their time with him.

“The longer you’re at it, the more you realize the O’s and X’s are a small part — an important part at certain times during a game, but for the overall picture a very small part — of what makes a program develop a culture and last for a long time,” Popovich mentioned. “It’s all about the people.

“It’s all about the relationships and having people want to play for you, having them learn that they owe each other, that they’re responsible to each other, that it’s not just about them. … But you have to invest in the people. They have to know that you honestly care. You don’t go to practice and go to games and say goodbye. You’ve got to spend time together.”

When Popovich sooner or later makes a decision to retire, he’ll cross down as probably the most a hit and influential coaches to have ever graced the NBA courts. He is broadly revered and it will be really easy for coaches to take a look at to emulate him and check out to be as much like Popovich as imaginable.

But some other of his classes is that there’s a degree of autonomy and authenticity this is wanted with the intention to be a a hit head trainer, and he has indubitably that Hardy has the boldness to be his personal guy and carve out his personal trail.

“They interviewed a lot of people for this job,” Popovich mentioned of the Utah Jazz training place. “And they settled on Will. So he felt very comfortable with what they had already done, what they had in place, and it suited him for his skills and what he thinks a program would need. So, you know, he doesn’t have to come in worried about that sort of thing.”

It can be unattainable to spend 11 years in San Antonio below Popovich and now not internalize some issues, however Hardy additionally is aware of that it will be unattainable to duplicate Popovich.

“There’s definitely things that I’ve tried to take from Pop, but I’m not Pop, and I know that and I’m not trying to be anybody but me,” Hardy mentioned. “There’s some things from a leadership standpoint, relationship standpoint that he’s always done, unbelievably. But I have to do those with my personality. And then there’s some things that we are doing differently. That doesn’t mean that either one is right or wrong, but I really feel like for my leadership to work, it has to be authentic to me.”

It was once abnormal for Hardy to be around the courtroom from Popovich when Hardy was once at the Boston Celtics training team of workers, and it was once much more abnormal to be within the head training place Tuesday evening and to seem down and notice Popovich at the different aspect of the courtroom. But it was once abnormal in a great way.

Popovich is pleased with what Hardy has completed and appears ahead to many extra years of having a look around the courtroom and seeing the child that was one of the crucial Spurs video coordinators main an NBA group. As he mentioned, it’s one of the crucial largest thrills of his existence.


San Antonio Spurs head trainer Gregg Popovich huddles with assistant coaches Tim Duncan, left, Becky Hammon and Will Hardy, proper, all over a timeout in the second one part of an NBA basketball recreation towards the Orlando Magic Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. Hardy is now the pinnacle guy at the Utah Jazz bench.

Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

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