Episode 030 – Former Georgetown Men’s Basketball Coach And Sport Management Professor Craig Esherick
Craig talks Trump, Olympic hoops, sports and the State Department, and the importance of education.
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Today we get to visit with another of my former CSTV colleagues, former Georgetown Basketball player, assistant coach and Head Coach Craig Esherick.
Since leaving the coaching world Coach Esherick has joined the academy as Associate Professor as well as the Associate Director for the Center for Sport Management at George Mason University.
You can also hear Craig providing commentary for college basketball on the MidAtlantic Sports Network.
- We spoke with former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts last week and the first question I asked him is the first one I have to ask you. How is your community there in the greater Washington D.C. area reacting to President-Elect Donald Trump.
- His area was very pro-Clinton
- Walkout in a nearby school
- No shortage of politics to talk, which he enjoys doing having grown up in the area and lived there his whole life
- Tell us about growing up in the D.C. area; Silver Spring, MD, and how you first discovered your interest in and talent for basketball.
- Played football, baseball and basketball as a kid
- Gradually focused on basketball
- Would go down to the University of Maryland and play against their players
- What are a couple of lessons you learned from the great John Thompson?
- Spent a bunch of time around John Thompson, who emphasized loyalty and the importance of defense
- Defense is hard to play; you have to drill it and try to make it fun
- What was it like to work with the 1988 Olympic team, which of course set up the dramatic entrance of the Dream Team in 1992.
- The single best experience he has had in the sport of basketball (and he won a national championship at Georgetown in 1984)
- Two years of putting together and implementing a plan
- Prompted his interest in sport development in other countries
- Had some of the all-time great players on that team, though they were disappointed with the Bronze medal – those players were professionals
- If you played in the CBA, NBA or Philipine Basketball Association, you were considered professional an ineligible for the Olympics
- Now those rules are gone, though the US voted against the change to allow NBA players participate
- 1992 was the first year with American professionals; and not one of those games on the Gold Medal march were close
- Interesting watching this year’s Olympics because most of the games weren’t close again (after going through a few cycles when games were close). Also the shooting skill of American professionals has improved dramatically due to the Olympics.
- Jerry Coloangelo and Mike Krzyzewski did a great job, and Coach Popovich will do great taking over.
- How would you describe your coaching philosophy and leadership style?
- Direct and honest with the players
- Focus on what they do well
- Talk about defense a lot
- Stress importance of academic achievement and performance in the classroom; you’re getting a free education.
- Tell our audience about CSTV and how you came to work with them.
- VP for Biz Dev – went around talking to the ADs who did business with them
- Also did a weekly college basketball podcast
- Culture shock to move from college athletics to the business world
- Grew to appreciate New York
- Met Bob Bowland at NYU, who helped him get his position at George Mason
- CSTV has since been folded into CBS College Sports
- Then much like me your family was a major factor in returning to the D.C. area. Talk about that a bit because I think it is important for people to hear how the realities of your personal or family life can, do and should impact your career decisions.
- Worked in New York at CSTV while his wife was working as a district attorney in D.C., and she was running for office, so she wasn’t in a position to move
- He didn’t want to move his family all over the country like most college coaches have to do
- Made the decision to plant in the D.C. area, and his wife has won two elections since
- Now completely committed to his professor role, looking to write a few more books before he retires
- What is the difference between teaching in a classroom and coaching on a court?
- Kids are the same age, but the pressures of college athletics are much greater than the pressures in the classroom
- Pressure on the coach much greater than on him as a professor
- In terms of actual teaching, there are some commonalities, but don’t have to have conversations with parents about playing time!
- Kind of misses talking to the press
- How, if at all, have you used your legal training and skills in any of the non-lawyer jobs you’ve held since leaving law school?
- From a practical standpoint, JD is terminal degree which helps when teaching in a university
- Teaches sport governance and policy so the JD helps
- JD taught him to communicate in the written and spoken word
- Tell us about your role with the State Department and promoting sports around the world.
- For the last five years, involved in a grant with the State Dept, which brings athletes/coaches from around the world into the States
- Then he and his team introduces tools, theories, resources about our sports to them
- Almost every group is surprised at how friendly and open the US is
- He did not send Dennis Rodman to North Korea!
- You are coming out with a new book soon about sports diplomacy; what can you tell us about that?
- Editing it right now with three other authors
- Writers from all over the world contributed
- First three chapters are about sport diplomacy and what it is, then about US sport diplomacy
- Culture Connect is a General Colin Powell invention while he was Secretary of State, and has built some of these diplomacy programs
- Out anytime!
- Case Studies in Sport Diplomacy
- I read where you still play hoops on a regular basis; what is your strength as a player these days?
- Every Saturday morning
- Though he is a better defensive player now
- Success is not getting hurt
- Where can people go to connect with you and learn more about what you have going on, the sport management program at GMU, etc.?
- Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
- Jonathan Davis – production
- Clint Musslewhite – voice over