In this week’s coaching conversation, UAB head coach Randy Norton joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on communication, attitude and solution based coaching.
Since Randy Norton arrived on campus in 2013, he has guided the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) to at least 15 wins in seven of the last eight seasons. From 2017-2020, he led the Green and Gold to three consecutive 20 win seasons for the first time in school history. He led UAB to its first C-USA Regular Season title in 2017-18. Randy Norton was named the 2017-18 C-USA Coach of the Year after leading the Blazers to a record-setting 27-7 overall record and a 13-3 conference record. The Blazers have finished with 12 or more conference wins from 2017-2020.
- 163-112 overall record in eight seasons
- 2017-18 Conference USA Coach of the Year
- Guided the team to its first-ever Conference USA Regular Season title in 2017-18
- Coached 10 All-Conference USA Team members, including four first-team selections in Karisma Chapman (2013-14), Janae Smith (2014-15), Rachael Childress (2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20) and Deanna Kuzmanic (2017- 18)
Prior to UAB, Randy Norton spent three years as the Associate Head Coach at Missouri and seven years as an assistant at Illinois State under Robin Pingeton. In ten years as an assistant, Norton helped guide his teams to six postseason berths, including the 2005 and 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Randy Norton Coach Quotes:
“You have to create an environment where they [the players] are excited to be a part of your program. And whether it’s at the college level, or the high school level, I think it all goes back to shared experiences.”
“At the college level, the fun is competing. The fun is going through the grind together. And those shared experiences, the good times, the bad times. That’s the fun part. And it’s such a small window as an athlete and we talk to our players about this all the time . . your opportunity to play basketball and be a part of a team is so small and it can be over at any time.”
“I look at myself as a teacher and the court is my classroom . . One of the things that we talk to our team about, if I’m correcting, I’m correcting the whole team, and that you can’t take anything personal. It’s a teaching environment. Once your kids understand that they trust you.”
“When you’re in a classroom teaching, if you’re not specific, if you’re not direct, the kids aren’t going to retain the information. Same thing on the basketball court and in the huddle, we have to be specific, we’ve got to be direct, and we’ve got to teach.”
“I can rant and rave about what’s happened but that’s not helping my players. I’ve got to help them move on to the next play and say, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re going to do moving forward.’ If we’re not doing what we need to do on defense, my job as a coach is to help our team fix it and give them a plan. We’re going to fix it this way.”
“I tell my players I’m going to be very patient with them. When I’m teaching. I want them to ask questions. If they don’t understand, I want them to raise their hand and say, ‘Coach, I don’t understand.’ But I do tell them. ‘Once we’ve done that, and you say you don’t have questions, you understand, you better execute.’ And that’s where I’m not patient.”
“We’ve got to teach it, we’ve got to make sure they understand. But once they say that, then we’ve got to hold them accountable.”
“Being mentally tough means, regardless of your circumstances, you’re able to still go out and give your absolute best . . you’re able to execute and perform to the best of your ability regardless of your circumstances.”
“If you make a mistake, don’t compound it by making another mistake. It’s about your team and what can I do for my team to be successful. So ,when we have mistakes, mental toughness is doing the next best thing that you can do for your team.”
“When people get together in small cliques and complain about their playing time or complain about the coaches or complain about other players, they’re not solving anything, To solve things we’ve got to stay positive. Let’s figure out how can we solve this versus complain about it, whether you’re a player or a coach.”
“As coaches, we’re here to help our players learn and grow. Same thing as parents. If our kids were all perfect, why would they need parents?”
“We want to pursue excellence in the classroom, on the court, out in the community in our personal lives. And we’re trying to create these habits, because after coaching for 40 years and raising four children, everything carries over. You can’t not give 100% effort in the classroom and then think on the court you’re going to because, sooner or later, the habits that you’re creating are going to leak over.”
“We have them come in shooting groups, and they’ll shoot for 30 minutes. They still get their shots up within our practice, but we are very specific on the shots we’re working on when they come in, in small groups.”
“As a head coach, we’ve got to look at what is best for our players. And then you want to hire coaches that are going to help you be your best and the team to be their best.”
Randy Norton Breakdown:
1:00 – Work On Their Own
6:00 – Positive Things During Practice
9:00 – Useless Information
11:00 – Timeouts and Coaching
15:30 – Communication
18:00 – Mental Toughness
22:00 – Thinking Solutions
26:00 – Being Proactive
28:12 – 28:59 – Membership Sales Ads
30:00 – UAB Player Led Development
33:00 – 5-and-5
38:00 – One on One
43:00 – Competition
46:00 – Shooting Drills
51:00 – Challenges on Coaching
Randy Norton Links from the Podcast:
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