What’s the foundation for winning? It’s all about love.
February 10, 2021
Hershel Kimbrell won games he should not have won. He beat teams he should not have beaten. He brought home championships that should have rightly gone elsewhere.
I have been writing for a long time and have had the opportunity to sit down and interview a lot of people – some famous, some celebrities, some just strangers by the side of the road.
Hershel Kimbrell is one of the most memorable.
He’s a basketball coach.
He’s a winner.
The boys he coached became winners.
He’s in the Hall of Fame.
And I am proud to introduce my new book about his life of Hershel Kimbrell on and off the basketball court: Never Afraid, Never A Doubt.
He was hard.
He was demanding.
The lessons he taught can help anyone in sports, in business, in life.
The foundation for it all is love. Here is an excerpt.
HERSHEL KIMBRELL DID NOT have magic scribbled on that clipboard he carried into battle, but the coaches who coached with him and against him, the players who played for him and against him, believed he did.
He won games he should not have won. He beat teams he should not have beaten. He brought home championships that should have rightly gone elsewhere.
In the Bible, David had five river rocks.
Hershel Kimbrell had five players.
Might not be big enough.
Might not be tall enough.
Might not be good enough.
They liked to slay the giants.
They were good at it.
Hershel Kimbrell would pace back and forth on the sideline of a basketball arena, any basketball arena, where the staccato sounds of a bouncing ball echoing in his brain were the brutal sounds of war.
He was sometimes outgunned. Only rarely was he ever outfought. And he never surrendered.
One game over?
There would be another.
Hold on, boys, we’ll be ready next time.
Can we beat them?
Sure, we can.
They hate you.
If basketball had been a game of chess, Hershel Kimbrell was always thinking one move and usually two moves ahead.
He knew where the King would be before his opponent did.
That made basketball the most challenging game of all, and Hershel Kimbrell never turned his back on a good challenge.
He was never afraid.
He was never in doubt.
He played his college basketball in Abilene, Texas, at McMurry University, held its all-time scoring and single-game scoring records in 1950, then found his way back home to roam courtside as the school’s head basketball coach for a remarkable thirty-one years.
From 1959 to 1990, he won 448 games and eight Texas Intercollegiate Association Basketball Championships. His teams fought their way into the postseason playoffs sixteen times, and Kimbrell led McMurry to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City in 1962 with a 24-5 record. In 1985, he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Kimbrell coached basketball at only two schools during a forty-year career: Garland High School and McMurry University.
He could have gone to larger colleges. The offers certainly came. More prestige, perhaps. More money, assuredly.
He didn’t leave.
Did the other schools have more prominent programs?
Did he care?
Hershel Kimbrell was coaching the sport he loved packed into a hot, suffocating little arena that had been described as battered, bedraggled, shabby, and dilapidated. But it was a place where he knew he belonged. Old Indian gym fit him just fine. His teams knew from the time they stepped on the hardwood that it was us against the world. The gym’s not much, but it’s ours, and we will defend its honor until the last ball takes its last bounce and some official swallows his whistle trying to figure out what we just did and how in the world we did it.
Please click HERE to find Never Afraid, Never A Doubt on Amazon.