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Episode 015 – Eastern New Mexico Women’s Basketball Coach Josh Prock

Posted on Oct 24, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Josh and I talk about the importance of adapting your leadership style, what made the 2002 Oklahoma Final Four team great, and tips for communicating with the younger generation.


Josh Prock is beginning his fourth season with the Greyhounds, and led them to 10 wins a year ago after the program lost every game it played just a year before his arrival.

Prior to Eastern New Mexico, Josh spend five seasons at Howard Payne University, where his teams went 108-31. He had a few other stops along the way as well, most notably at the University of Oklahoma where the two of us first met. Josh was on the staff when the Sooners went to the Final Four in 2002.

Josh is not only a great basketball coach, but also a man of character and faith. He has been around outstanding leaders in his career, and is clearly a great leader in his own right.


  1. Josh why don’t you give a few minutes of your personal story so people can get some context before we dive in here.
    1. Grew up a preacher’s kid
    2. Church every Sunday and Wednesday night
    3. Lived all over the southwest, from Arizona to Oklahoma
    4. Became a Christian as a young man
    5. Wanted to become a coach
    6. Worked his way up from student manager at University of Oklahoma and the rest is history
    7. Married 12 years; 7 year old twins and a 3 year old
    8. Went to high school 20 minutes from his current school
  2. (follow up) The importance of family on coaches
  3. My recollection is you have a strong bond with your parents, and in particular you dad. Talk about how that relationship and he has impacted you throughout your career.
    1. Always looked up to dad
    2. Great role model and who he wanted to become
    3. Dad “The world is not about us, but what you can do to give back to others.”
    4. Ex. Early high school – dad was preaching each Sunday
      1. 7pm that night, dad took the kids back up to the church to clean; it was a large church and would take until midnight to do
      2. Dad wanted to teach the kids a lesson about how to give back and to serve
    5. Both parents also taught him to fight his own battles, because mom and dad won’t always be there
      1. H.S. basketball coach didn’t play him much and he went to dad (booster club president) to see if he could talk to some people and increase his playing time.
      2. Dad turned his head and said “what did you just ask me?” Said that’s a battle you need to fight on your own.
    6. Mom is one of the most mentally tough people he’s ever known.
  4. What would you say is the trait or characteristic that you took from Coach Sampson that is part of your team and your program today?
    1. Toughness – mental and physical
    2. You can have the Xs and Os, but the toughest teams win
    3. He has tried to apply that to his teams; though of course there are some differences when coaching women vs. men
    4. At Eastern New Mexico, it’s a lot like Oklahoma where you aren’t the top program in the conference historically, so convincing your team you can overachieve and compete with those schools does boil done to toughness.
  5. You worked with some great Oklahoma teams over the years. What made the 2002 team special?
    1. Feel like there are 70,000 people watching you
    2. One obvious trait: chemistry and togetherness; great leadership too – Hollis Price, Aaron McGhee, Quannas White
      1. Not one NBA player on the team
      2. Toughness again
    3. Oklahoma beat the eventual national champion Maryland by 20 earlier that year
    4. Coaching staff bonded
      1. After beating Texas, the entire staff was hanging out enjoying the victory, and it was incredibly late when he remembered he had a paper for his masters due the next day!
      2. Coach Sampson’s dad health issues during the Sweet 16/Elite 8 round in San Jose
  6. You have coached high school, small college, major university, men’s and women’s. What have you learned adapting to the various people you are leading?
    1. You HAVE to adapt
    2. Understand the difference between emotions of men and women
    3. You can do anything as long as you are grounded in who you are
    4. Coaching style has changed over the years because of the kids on his team
  7. What would you want the women in the audience to hear about how to succeed and earn respect in a male-dominated environment?
    1. The women that are going on to be successful see themselves at the same level as men
    2. The more successful teams he has had, more of the women have had that mindset
    3. Be confident in who you are and in what you’re doing. Women are just as capable as men.
    4. The mentally tough people are who will make it in this world.
  8. What have you found to be the best techniques to communicate with today’s young adults?
    1. Be very clear about expectations and very specific
    2. You can’t speak in round-about terms (“hopefully we can do this, etc.”)
      1. Nick Saban is a good example of communicating with young people to get them to focus, especially on one thing at a time.
      2. Bill Belichick
    3. Every year he has a coaches meeting
      1. Go over expectations with what the specific goals are
  9. You have had the opportunity to observe other coaches and administrators with their teams every single day; what sticks out to you as something that the great leaders do or have in common? (Both coach and admin)
    1. Some of the greatest leaders he has been around are confident (not cocky/arrogant)
    2. They have a plan – know exactly what they want to do
      1. Example – one of his players had a plan to run her own nursing home. At 30 she already owns her own.
      2. Example – Joe Castiglione; always has a plan
    3. Great leaders also know there is a process and they understand what it will take to get the job done.
    4. Coaching involves more working with young people every day, while the other administrators are mostly working with various adult constituencies.
  10. Who are your mentors or people you look up to today and why are they your mentors?
    1. Mentors play such a key role
    2. Dad
    3. Father-in-law
    4. Coach Sampson
    5. Dan Hays – now-retired and long-time Oklahoma Christian basketball coach
    6. Doug Shumpert – Anadarko (OK) High School coach
    7. Tim Skaggs – pastor
    8. (Josh is now a deacon in his church)
  11. (Daniel follow up encouragement) – Don’t feel pressure to do everything by yourself. Get some people around you!
  12. You are one of the few people I know who is regularly reaching out to his network. How did you get into that, what are the reasons/benefits, and how do you recommend we do it?
    1. Dad always followed up with people; hand-written thank you notes, etc.
    2. Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech head coach told him a long time ago that “you never know whose path you might cross that might be able to help you one day.”
    3. Simple emails of “hey how are you” mean a lot to people
  13. (Daniel follow up on practicals for this)
    1. Every time he meets someone, send a follow up email or note
    2. Everyone he comes across from business or colleague will be added to his email list
    3. (Daniel talks about how Joe Castiglione always bringing up that Josh is in touch with him regularly – so it stands out!)
      1. Joe responds to his email every time; nobody is too small or little for him.
  14. What habits have been key to your success? (e.g. morning routine? Eating? Quiet Time?)
    1. Working toward balance by putting faith first through spending time in the word
    2. Also running every day; that time clears his head and helps him focus for the day
  15. How do you approach balancing success at work and success at home?
    1. Bob Stoops set a great example
    2. Silo your time; when you leave work and it’s family time, prioritize that. When it’s husband/wife time, make it happen. Set it up ahead of time
    3. Kids are going to know who their dad is; wife is going to know who her husband it
    4. (Daniel follow up on exactly what Coach Stoops does)
      1. Wednesday night is family night
      2. Eat together and no work talk
      3. Has led to stability in the coaching staff over the years
      4. (Daniel recalls Ryan Hansen on no-device rule in the house)
  16. Where can people go to learn more about you, the team or anything else you have going on?
    3. Facebook page
    4. Josh’s Facebook
    5. Twitter page

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over


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