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Jerome Tang finished his first year as the head basketball coach at Kansas State with a loss to Florida Atlantic in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats, a three-seed, were upset by the nine-seed in a thrilling down-to-the-wire classic.
Senior Markquis Nowell, a Harlem-native, played the game of his life at Madison Square Garden. He became one of four players in history to score more than 30 points with at least 10 assists in March Madness, but it still wasn’t enough.
Tang, who was previously an assistant and associate head coach at Baylor, led Kansas State to its third-most winningest season in school history during his first season. His approach to the sport comes from a place of kindness in many ways.
The 56-year-old is very open in his faith, understands that his role in basketball is bigger than just wins and losses, and brings a positive, uplifting perspective to his players, his school, and those around him.
His approach to the sport and to coaching extends beyond the players. It goes beyond Xs and Os.
Tang cares deeply about the culture he is building both on and off of the field. He loves Kansas State.
The culture he has built in Manhattan swept the nation throughout the Wildcats run in the NCAA Tournament.
And Tang’s players love him as much as he loves them.
In addition to how he approaches college basketball, Tang puts others first in everyday life. 40 minutes prior to the biggest game of his life, he did something selfless and small that was significant and profound. In that moment, it wasn’t about the Elite Eight.
And after losing to FAU, Tang offered his perspective on his team, its run, and its season. It was a message that spoke loudly to who he is as a coach, and as a person.
As did Tang’s unique gesture toward the team that beat him.
Following the loss to the Owls, Tang went into their locker room — mid-celebration — to say a few words. Where it is rare that a losing coach congratulates the winning side at all, it is even more rare for a losing coach to go out of his way to offer them a speech in their own locker room.
Tang is just different.
Although Kansas State didn’t reach the Final Four, its head coach led a remarkable run in his first year and spread a message that extends larger than basketball while doing so. Tang is a special coach and an even more special person!
One CommentLeave a Reply
This is the kind of man, mentor and coach who could create a powerhouse of a team if the word gets out. Hopefully there are some parents of elite high school talent that see this and try to persuade their sons to play for Coach Tang. Also, I’d rather have my kid play in Manhattan, Kansas than Manhattan, New York…….a lot less distractions!