Loyola Marymount hoops
In the early 1990’s I coached basketball at Lewis and
Clark College in Portland, Oregon for the legendary Bob Gaillard.Coach Gaillard was a former head coach at the University of San Francisco when they were a major power house. He had numerous teams qualify for the NCAA tournament and in 1977 he was selected the National Coach of the Year(UPI).Needless to say the man knew hoops.
During this time Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles) was the talk of the college basketball world. They had a Run-and-Gun style that rack up huge point totals (122 points per game). They were led by stars Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble.The team had a simple motto: Run the System.
As a young coach I loved their system.I watched games on television, attended a game at the University of Portland and attended a coaching clinic with Paul Westhead, LMU’s head coach.
As a side note: I nearly ran over coach Westhead as he was jogging in the parking lot before the coach’s clinic.
One day I was professing my admiration for the Loyola Marymount System to coach Gaillard.Coach was not impressed by the system, but he was instead impressed with the talented players and coaches. He felt that with their talent, LMU would have been very successful regardless of the system.
Loyola would have had two players selected in the first round of the
NBA draft, but sadly Hank Gathers died of a heart attack during the last
regular season basketball game.
What does Loyal Marymount University basketball system have to do with math?It’s all about the system.
It seems every year we are introduced to some new system/program.There is always some award winning teacher that talks about how this is the greatest system since sliced bread.
Sliced bread was invented in 1928 by Otto Frederick Rohwedder and first used by a baker in Chillicothe, Missouri. It first hit the shelf July 7, 1928. Not sure of the greatest invention before July 6, 1928.
Why do we have so many new programs? Because there are teachers, grade levels and/or schools that are struggling. The problem must be a broken system.
Every time a new program in introduced the same thing occurs:
- Teachers grumble about the new changes
- Administration talks about how this is not some fad, but the way we are going to teach.
This is one of my personal favorite lines (or some version of it).This is usually given either as an opening manifesto or stated when the administration senses the teachers are disgruntled. I realize the principal has to say this, but it’s still amusing to watch it unfold.
- There is a series of professional development complete with power point presentations and nifty new binders.
- Teachers then begin to implement the new system.
…it’s usually more to the same. The good teachers, grade levels and schools continue to thrive while the struggling teachers, grade levels, and/or schools continue to struggle.
Why? It’s not about the system.The key is the talent. In the case of education it’s the teacher. As a teacher I have seen a variety of math and/or teaching programs.A few were absolute duds, a yet some of the teachers still thrived with these flawed programs.
The best teachers pick the best items from each system and blend it into their own personal system.Some teachers that struggle often rely on the new system to be their sole guide.The difference between the
excellent teacher and the struggling teacher is often the comfort level in the topic being taught.The top teachers are comfortable with their knowledge of math and the students they teach.This comfort allows these teachers to adapt and not adopt when new systems are introduced.
It seems to me that schools would better serve the students by increasing the knowledge and comfort of the teachers.