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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Davidisms: Players Win Games, Coaches Lose Them

Years after I graduated from college, I returned to UNC to visit my former basketball coach, Dean Smith. After we caught up for a while, I asked Coach about an important game where I thought I’d made a mistake that cost our team the game.


Instead of spending time discussing what happened leading up to and after the specific play I was questioning, Coach Smith simply said to me, “David, players win games. Coaches lose them. If you weren’t in the right place, it was my fault.”


He wouldn’t say anything else to me about the game. I’ve never forgotten that moment.


Coach Smith was a great coach because he was a servant leader. He would rather absorb the pain himself that let a player do so - even if it was the player’s fault!


Sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it? He was the greatest servant leader of all. He came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). To absorb the penalty for our pain upon himself.


May those of us who are leaders lead like Jesus did. Serving others, not using them for our glory.


After all, players win games. Coaches lose them.

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