Written by Scott Bauman

A career in coaching can be a winding road. The journey has taken me from an assistant at the Junior Varsity level – at the same high school where I once competed – to leading a program of my own 16 hours away from home in the state of Massachusetts. Somewhere in between, I had spent four years as an assistant at the collegiate level in two other states.

This isn’t new, nor is it impressive. This is typical, to some, or foreign to others that have found a home already with intent to plant roots. Nonetheless, this topic is why this website was originally created. A Coach’s Climb has a personal connotation. Every path is unique, but there are commonalities out there that can be applicable to others on their own journey. Our industry is highly competitive capable of intensifying to feeling cutthroat. There are so many out there chasing similar endeavors where separation can lie by merely one connection. So what happens if you miss out on an opportunity? What happens if you find yourself at the same program for years beyond initial expectation? What can we take from another’s #CareerPath that could potentially aide our own?

We keep climbing because that’s what we teach. We teach resiliency. We teach opportunistic. We teach ambition combined with dedication as being omnipotent.

Here is what I have learned:

  1. Blind ambition creates more opportunities than apprehensive application. Don’t assume anything is filled until HR sends that automated e-mail, “While, your resume is impressive we’ve decided to go in another direction.”
  2. It is not about who you know, rather it is about who knows you. Connections are great, relationships are better.
  3. Do not underestimate the value of working camps.
  4. The cliche holds true, comparisons are the thief of joy.
  5. You will be surprised how many coaches are willing to help one another. Reach out!
  6. Scheme, strategy, or intellect doesn’t carry as much as weight as charisma.
  7. John Wooden – “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Relationships matter. Be genuinely accessible to student-athletes and loyal to the staff.
  8. Systems win! Synergistic programs are conducive to culture-to-court success. Take notes.
  9. The longer you coach the more family (life) supersedes everything coaching related. Balance becomes priority.
  10. If the first 9 weren’t helpful, number 10 likely won’t get you where you want to go.

My career path in one word – calculated. I refer to number one (#1) of the things that I have learned during my coaching path. I envy those that extend themselves with disregard to qualification, connection, or deadline. My opportunities have always been with consideration to family. As my wife also coaches (volleyball), we take considerable steps to ensure we make a decision that fits us. There are a lot of other words that immediately come to mind that are worth mentioning:

  • Unfinished
  • Memorable
  • Revealing
  • Trying / Taxing
  • Rewarding

My journey is all of the aforementioned words combined into one coherent thought.

There is far more I want to accomplish through coaching. It is a path that is incomplete. My ambitions are to be in a position to lead a program at the collegiate level, preferably Division III where I had once competed. Will that occur? Time will tell. What I know, each year creates memories that become associated with my coaching tenure. They are revealing in regards to professional development and life perspective. Despite success or underachievement coaching ages me in dog years. But, at the end of the day, there is not a more rewarding profession than having an impact on the lives of others through sport.

If you are just getting your start, I highly recommend you take a look at last week’s article on the #FirstJob. If you have been grinding for some time, pinpoint what it is you actually want out of coaching. Don’t dismiss the now, nor deviate from where you intend to go!


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