"Rants and Raves" is an open forum for coaches to discuss topics, ranging from issues to observations on the state of college basketball and beyond.
Butterflies Never Go Away
By Hugh Durham, Jacksonville

This is my 36th season as a head coach and while times have changed and players have changed, things are pretty much the same for me.

From time to time I am asked if I am getting tired of coaching -- 'Have I lost that passion to coach?'

Absolutely not.

I still enjoy practice as much as I did when I was a rookie coach. I still truly enjoy game preparation and I still get those butterflies before the start of every game.

When the butterflies fly away then it will be time to move on, but they are still stirring up quite a storm in my stomach so I don't think it will be anytime soon.

About the only thing not fun about coaching is that feeling you get when you look at the scoreboard and you are on the short end, with time running out.

I prefer that fuzzy feeling associated with being ahead in the closing moments.

Today the pressures of the sport take their toll on many coaches, which is disturbing to see. A lot of my piers are not enjoying the profession as much as they once did.

Everyone enjoys that winning feeling and every coach will tell you that they still get that unsettling feeling just before the start of each game.

But today, too many coaches are feeling a different breed of butterflies all too often.

There are a lot of guys that could get endorsements for Alka Seltzer.

Through the years, the emphasis on winning has gained momentum to the point where many coaches don't appear to be having as much fun.

Now a lot of people would say that it's a job that you get paid pretty well to do so the 'fun part' should not be an issue.

Let me tell you -- there is not a coach in America that got into this profession for any other reason than the love of the game and because it's fun to be a coach.

Sure the big contracts come with success, but there are no guarantees of lofty paychecks when you are young assistant, still wet behind the ears.

Dr. Tom Davis didn't need the money, but he returned to coaching. And ask Mike Krzyzewski if his lifetime contract has made the game any more satisfying.

From the young guys to the old veterans like myself, we all love this game because it's fun.

The only difference today is that the moments of fun aren't as plentiful as they once were.

But sometime before the opening tip-off -- every coach feels the flutter of those butterflies.