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  • Ashley Fox

Chasing Greatness

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

When the accolades and attention roll in, how do you respond? Do you read your own press clippings, or keep grinding, keep pursuing greatness? Rick Barnes asked his Tennessee basketball team that very question last season.

Interview with Tennessee men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes, August 2018.

In March I talked to Rick Barnes, head coach of the No. 1-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. His team had just won its 14th consecutive game, beating West Virginia 88-63 in a game it trailed by double digits in the first half. Tennessee improved 18-1, 6-0 in the SEC and ranked No. 1 overall for just the second time in school history.


Afterward, Barnes asked his team a simple question: Is our best basketball behind us or ahead of us?


The point he tried to make to his team is one we could all use. Do not dwell on past successes or failures. Learn from them. Use them. Grow from them. And then, if you want to be great, keep pushing forward through hard work, perseverance, commitment and, in this case, not listening to all of the hype.


I asked Barnes to answer his own question. He didn’t hesitate. “Ahead of us,” he said. “No doubt.”

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