Memphis coach Josh Pastner was featured on Northwestern Mutual Presents NCAA Men of March – which aired earlier today on CBS. I’m traveling this weekend, so I missed most of the program. What I did catch appeared to be typical Pastner: he praised the program’s history, the city, and the fans. He was humble and reflective. Not at all self-promoting. I hope to see it soon in its entirety.
In the meantime, I came across an accompanying story, written by CBS’ Matt Norlander. It’s basically a factual account of what Pastner has accomplished at Memphis – but because Norlander is a neutral party – it’s written from a balanced point of view. It’s very hard to argue with Norlander’s points.
If you’re a fan of the program who has issues with Pastner, I would suggest reading it with an open mind.
Here’s another story about Pastner.
The other day, I wrote a blog entry criticizing Pastner’s use of an extended rotation.
Because I’ve had a brief relationship with Pastner – I thought I’d send him the blog to see what he might say in response.
He responded within 3 hours with an extended email. As you might imagine, it was classic Pastner. Here are some portions of his email:
I appreciate you being upfront regarding the criticism. Which is all fair and welcomed. In fact, I think it is a great another opportunity is out there to spread the message of Tiger basketball and give the fans another opportunity to get information.
Our rotation needs to be 8 to 9 guys on a consistent basis. I would actually prefer to play a 7 man rotation like I have done in the past years.The difference for this season than the ones before is that we don’t have a lot of separation from top to bottom which makes it a little jumbled. Where as in the years past the top 7 or 8 guys were clearly better than 9 thru 13.And some of the reasons we have suffered large defeats are due to some of these factors when the run by the other team is happening – live ball turnovers, major scoring droughts (where at times we try to hit the 12 pt shot), and probably playing too many guys trying to find the right 5 to give us the best chance to get out of the funk we are in.
I’m a fledgling blogger that had just written a piece offering direct criticism of his coaching philosophy. Pastner could (and maybe should) have easily just ignored the email or offered a brief response and moved on. Instead, he took the time to read the blog (apparently multiple entries) and responded with kindness.
For whatever you might think of Josh Pastner as a coach – he’s a pretty incredible person.
That’s not a new realization for Memphians, but it’s worth repeating.