With school starting this past Tuesday for BYU students in Provo and fall peeking its head around the corner, change (whether of the leaf or life variety) is definitely in the air. To kick-off the semester (and fall season) in true fashio, BYU basketball coach Dave Rose, and his wife Cheryl, addressed different kinds of change, in a recent gathering of young single adults on campus.
Change for the better
Cheryl Rose began with an overview of Dave and his desire to coach since college and how a series of steps had led him to be offered the coaching position of the BYU basketball team in 2005. She particularly emphasized the many opportunities to serve and help others that have come to the Rose family.
The Roses’s work for cancer patients has been extensive and Coach Rose serves on the board of Coaches vs. Cancer (remember those pink shoes, basketball fans?). Cancer affects so many families that it has to be addressed at every opportunity.
Her remarks on change included the phrase "if we can change our perspective we can change the possibilities." She has found that reaching out and serving others has been the most gratifying thing about being the wife of a Division 1 head coach.
In 8 years, Coach Rose has already amassed the second most basketball wins in BYU school history. His teams are known for their execution and stamina. One often wonders if the practices consist of anything besides endless wind sprints.
Coach Rose spoke about kindness. He made mention of all the people who had showed him and his family extraordinary kindness throughout his ordeal with pancreatic cancer (read the whole story on that here). Since then, he has made the choice every day to be more kind to those around him.
He received a good chuckle from the packed chapel when he confessed that it is often hard to get the most out of his players with kindness, but he has tried to be more kind in his responsibilities since his cancer scare 4 years ago.
He shared the experience of a nurse who was caring for him in Las Vegas after an important surgery. She had been very kind to some of the other patients who weren't showing the same kindness to her: complaining and moaning.
When she came to check on Dave made special mention to her that he had been impressed with her kindness. She replied that she knew exactly who he was and that she had season tickets to UNLV. She always thought of him and his as the enemy and couldn’t believe that this "monstrous" coach from BYU had such a kind family and lovely wife. She apologized for her previous ill thoughts of him. It was this interaction that encouraged Coach Rose to pull his wife aside the next morning and remark that he needed to be more kind to people.
The year following the cancer diagnosis was a remarkable one for the BYU basketball team as they won 30 games and went to NCAA Round of 32 (thank you Jimmer), something that had not been done for nearly 17 years. But the more remarkable accomplishment was the change in the team members. In a rare moment at the beginning of the season, Coach Rose allowed his wife to speak to the team, something he is generally not keen on doing. She encouraged the men to serve and help others whenever they could.
Throughout the season the players would approach Cheryl and share what they had done to serve, whether it was helping someone change a tire, helping kids get through security in the airport, staying after games to sign autographs, and even throwing alley-oops in games (ok, I made that last one up).
Kindness was the theme that everyone embraced. It is the personality characteristic that changes perceptions of mean coaches into friendly patients. It has one of the greatest powers in the world to influence others for the better: encouraging basketball players, fans, and all others to help each other rather than hurt each other; play fair, not dirty; and finally, leave the court as friends, not enemies when all is said and done.
Coach Rose ended with a quote by a late LDS leader, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Kindness is how a Christ-like person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes."
For a coach known for his fiery demeanor on the court, it was nice to see a kinder side of Dave Rose. A man certainly concerned with winning basketball games, but also one concerned with leveraging his influence to serve and help others.