The following was shared with me by Randy Lambert. Randy Lambert is retiring at the end of this season after 39 Years as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Maryville College in Maryville Tennessee. As I post this article, his career college record is 714 wins and 323 losses. You can read his full bio on the Maryville Athletics Website
His hope that in sharing this article that he wrote in his final basketball newsletter that some of his thoughts might resonate with younger coaches.
Best wishes in your retirement coach!
Dear MC Basketball Fan:
Well, you can call it my swan song or my farewell tour, but I can promise you, this is it. I have begun to check off the long list of lasts-my last trip to Piedmont, my last trip to Averett, my last regular season overnight trip, and so on. A lot of these I am glad they are over, but there will be some of the final feelings I will really miss-my last practice, my last great feeling after a good win, my last hug from a player that is deserving of one, or a last meeting with my staff where we laugh more than we talk. Man, it has been a blast and I am so grateful for the many people I have had a chance to work with and coach.
To the administration, I say thank you. Thanks for taking a chance on a 25 year old youngster in 1980, who thought he was ready for the big time. I quickly learned that the “big time” is where you want it to be. Maryville College Athletics was my big time. I worked for four Presidents and a couple of interim guys. I answered to several Vice-Presidents of Student Affairs over the years. For the most part, each one allowed me to do my thing and were very supportive of athletics. Of course, we had our ups and downs and I lost some battles and got downright mad a few times. I learned over the years to pick your fights and only fight those that you know you can win.
To all the “Old Hats of the MC Athletic Department”, I say you are like family to me. I am referring to Kandi Schram, Sharon Wood, Eric Etchison, and Pepe Fernandez. The experiences we shared, the laughs, the dreams, the wins and the losses brought us close together and I will always hold your friendships very close to my heart. I wish you the best and I know you will continue to uphold the standards we have established in our department.
To the other coaches, staff members, and faculty, I say I appreciate you guys more than you know. Your dedication to our students and our college inspired me every day and made me want to work harder just to keep up with you. I enjoyed our interaction whether it was informal or in a meeting and I truly believe we are fulfilling the Covenant of our college by upholding our community tenets of scholarship, respect and integrity. In my opinion, we do this better today than we ever have.
To my players, past and present, I say thank you for all the memories and for the life-long relationships that we have established. I have tried to make this program all about you and your development as a player and person. I know some of you felt I should have given you more playing time, more “rope” to do your thing, or more of a chance to show your stuff. I can promise you I tried to always put the team before any individual. I always supported toughness and selflessness. I tried to teach each of you how to win and how to be successful. Hopefully, this has hit home for some of you as you have aged and become a little more aware. The most satisfying moments of my coaching career have been those associated with my players; seeing the time when that light finally comes on, realizing that after pushing 100 buttons, I hit the right one, receiving the diploma on Graduation Day, watching you come back to campus smiling like a big possum, and seeing you as a productive adult, often times, with your own children. I hope and pray each one of you have had some past memories to fall back on that will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face. I know I have many. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To my family, I say I love you. I know each of you have sacrificed our time so that I can give more time to my job and to my calling. If I could do anything over in my life, it would be how much more I would have given you. Not material things, just time! I would have spent more time with my children because they do grow up so fast. I always thought “date nights” once a week was a good idea, but I never found time for them. I would have given Laney more dates. I would have taken more family vacations. Nothing replaces quality time with family. I would have had more conversations with my parents. I miss them so much today. Often times, I felt like there was just so much of me to give, but I wish I had given my family more of me. Many people have asked just what will I do when I retire? I can tell you now that I am going to work on being a better husband, a better father, and a great grandfather.
And finally, I want to thank God for making this all possible. I have been blessed and our God has provided me the strength, the patience, the wisdom, and the direction to do my work. I have learned from the good times and the bad times, all the while, keeping the faith because I know this is part of “your” plan. I will try to be a better Christian and servant as I move towards my retirement.
I do look forward to this next chapter of my life. I have plenty of things I want to do and plan to do. I hope I can continue to spend time with all of my Maryville College friends. You can expect to see me on campus. I grew up shooting hoops in the old, old gym on campus. I would stay until Officer Eldria Hurst would ask me to leave. I have so many fond memories of my years on campus. I plan to make many more. Please, come see me.
Coach Randy Lambert