Taking Shots

by Bobby Marlin (UL-Lafayette)
Taking Shots

The 3rd annual Shots from the Heart event will be beginning soon. Once again I am pleased to be participating.

This event honors a man who represented everything that is great about college basketball.  Skip Prosser was one of the classiest individuals our profession has ever had and it’s great that we, as coaches, can continue to pay tribute to him.  Now if I could actually make a few free throws and advance it would be an even better experience.

In 2010 I was surprised to hear my name announced as the recipient of the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award.  There are many ‘Coach Awards’ handed out annually, but winning an award with Skip’s name on it was special. It was certainly humbling to win an award that has “Man of the Year” attached to it. 

I met Skip for the first time in Tampa, back in 2003. I was the head coach at Sam Houston State, at the time, and we were making the first trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history. As I was walking off the floor, following our practice session, Skip stopped me and we talked for a few minutes.  Wake Forest was getting ready to practice for its opening round game, but Skip still took the time to talk with me.

It wasn’t done for appearances or as courtesy.  Skip stopped to talk to me because that’s the type of person he was. After that day we would cross paths at the Final Four or out on the road recruiting and it was always the same -- “Hey Bobby how are you doing.” And we would chat for a little while.

When I think about Skip I think about people in our profession today like Rick Barnes, Tom Izzo, Bill Self and Roy Williams. They are personable coaches who care as much about people as they do the game. Unfortunately we don’t have as many coaches like that in the profession as we once did.

Shots from the Heart gives all of us an opportunity to remember Skip through a fun competition so as long as I am coaching I will step to the free throw line and take my shots, both and off the court.

There is always a lot talk about how the NCAA selection committee puts some interesting matchups on the bracket. The same seems to be true with the folks at CollegeInsider.com. Last season my opening round matchup was my former assistant coach, at Sam Houston State, Jason Hooten.  Still upset that his Texas Rangers lost to St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, Hooten made 22-of-25 shots or at least he said he did.

Needless to say I am curious as to whom my opponent will be this year and whether or not CollegeInsider.com adopts the NFL’s instant replay policy to make shots actually went through the net.

Being a part of the event is special for me because of the 2010 honor I received. As coaches I think we often to get too caught up in the game and often forget that we need a little “spacing” once in a while. Shooting free throws to raise awareness for heart disease is a great distraction.