"Are you building a program or a statue?" - Anonymous
We build legacy. Former players are part of our legacy, for better or worse. Sometimes they share both savoir faire (know how beats know that) and sense of urgency. "This is what you do to be successful. Now is when you do it."
Coaches influence players but players make programs. The Greeks claimed ethos (character), logos (facts), and pathos (emotion) as principles of persuasion. Robert Cialdini (Influence) studied influence and found six major principles.
In coaching, we'll substitute words like relationships, minutes (playing time), expertise, and culture. Does our twelfth player feel as valued as our first?
Growth culture outperforms fear and loathing. Players who return to help a program feel positively about their experience, relationships, opportunity, and performance. They radiate energy and purpose. They remind players who we are and who we are not.
Returning alums reinforce our philosophy, culture, and values to help forge team identity. They serve as role models for young players. They demonstrate proper technique. They usually do 'us' better than we do.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr preaches mindset, mentors, and culture. When alumnae (I coach girls) return, they embody a legacy of commitment and achievement.
Little girls (like Victoria Crovo, on right in both pictures) make big things happen. She did excellent work as an assistant for us and one of her mentees was a league All-Star and team Offensive player of the year this season as a freshman.