Before his team embarked on the final leg of its quest for a fourth-straight national championship, Dan Brooks and I spoke on the phone Friday about both Amanda Blumenherst and his entire team. The resulting story will appear in Thursday’s print version of The Chronicle as a pseudo-preview for the last two days of the NCAA Championship, but I wanted to share two of Brooks’ best quotes early.
I asked him whether the prospects of an unprecedented fourth straight crown has been a distraction this season, in which Duke won two spring tournaments, two fewer than its 2007 output. He responded with a lesson he learned by reading about the values and attitudes of Jack Nicklaus:
“I tell them, ‘Stay patient. Stay focused. Get good rest. And keep it in perspective.’ We’re doing a really cool thing, playing for a fourth. But really all we’re doing is, we’re just playing golf…. We’re lucky to be able to play this beautiful game. We have to let the results unfold. It’s important that you don’t consider anything more important than it actually is.”
We also talked about working with players midseason and not being afraid to tweak some kinks in a player’s game:
“We’re a developmental program,” Brooks said. “This seems kind of crazy when you’re trying to win national championships, but I think you have to. You have to be progressing. You can talk psychology all you want, but there’s physics to the game. Great psychology will never overcome poor physics. We’re always making sure it’s going—not major things, but keeping it all going.”
–by Ben Cohen