A successful college basketball program must identify and follow a winning culture laid out by the head coach. Coach Mack is not only an outstanding leader and teacher, but he expects every member of his team to follow the culture that he has established: “Tough, Together, Unbreakable.” Now, most people who read this will probably think little of those three words, but at Louisville they mean everything. When you are down 10 on the road in a hostile environment…Will you stay tough as nails? Will you stick together and play as a unit? And most importantly, when your back is up against the wall, will you break or keep fighting? The coaching and strength staffs prepare us for these moments in the preseason and summer workouts. They break us on the court and in the weight room, so that we stay “tough, together, and unbreakable.” It is the culture that Coach Mack has established for Louisville Basketball.
Coach Mack has not only established a winning culture in his two years at Louisville, but he cares about his players. He is able to push his teams beyond their limits on the court in order to maximize their potential, while also being there for them off the court. As a fifth year grad transfer walk-on who wants to get into coaching, Coach Mack would answer all of my questions and often explain specific concepts to me in his free time. It was an honor to learn from him, and I soaked up every ounce of information that I could from one of the best minds in all of basketball. The entire coaching staff was like this: Coach Murray, Coach Gaudio, Coach Pegues, and Coach Fennell. Card Nation, the leadership and culture have been cemented for years to come and the program is in the best hands possible.
In addition, Coach Mack knows the importance of building a true TEAM. A winning team does not have fifteen guys whose best attribute is their scoring ability. A winning team has guys who would be happy scoring zero points, getting 10 rebounds, and playing their tails off on defense just to come out with a win (Dwayne Sutton). You need guys with energy off the bench (Malik Williams) and glue guys in the locker room (Quinn Slazinski). Yes, it is nice to have a star like Jordan on your team, but Jordan would be the first to tell you that he would not have been as successful were it not for every person on the team contributing and doing the little things to help us win games.
That is why I am so excited to see what this team can do next year. Yes, we lose a lot, but now opportunities are open for guys like Josh Nickelberry, Quinn Slazinski, Aidan Igiehon, and Jae’lyn Withers to become major contributors. Even a guy like Sam Williamson, who was productive off the bench for us this season, now has the opportunity to take that next step and be an elite ACC wing. The talent is there, but, most importantly, the culture and leadership have been established for this group to blossom. The future is bright Card Nation, and I cannot wait to see what Team 107 can accomplish. Although Team 106 did not get to finish what we knew we could accomplish, I know Team 107 will pick up right where we left off.
Card Nation, I will miss you. Thank you for making Louisville, Kentucky feel like home. Putting on that Louisville jersey was an honor and privilege that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Coach Mack, thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.
Milkshake Man Out,
Keith Oddo #1
A special thanks to Jeremy Wahman and the CardinalSportsZone for giving me this platform!