Mar 29, 2017
Interview with Basketball Championship Coach Donnie Bostwick
There aren’t a lot of coaches who are concerned about their players’ lives off the court. For many coaches, their work ends when they step outside of the gym. That is something which could never be said about Donnie Bostwick. Coach Bostwick is very intentional about how he works with his players, training their bodies, minds, and spirits. Bostwick was first a head coach at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. There Bostwick led his program to a 120-20 record (.858 winning percentage) over four years, and a NAIA Division II National Championship victory in 2009. After his career at OWU, Bostwick was hired as head coach at SAGU a Christian College south of Dallas and has been coaching there since 2011. Since then, his record stands at 108-33 (.766 winning percentage) and he has led his team to win two conference championships and the 2013 NAIA Championship. Coach Donnie Bostwick advanced to the sweet sixteen this year with his talented team and lost in overtime to Carroll College who incidentally had a number of former NBC campers on the squad. He is the Head Men's Coach at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (named one of the most beautiful campuses in the South) south of Dallas and also the NBC Basketball Camp Director at SAGU. His expertise on the court has garnered him a high level of success. What stands out about Bostwick is more than just his record or his trophies. The way he focuses on the character and life skills of his athletes is something that all coaches can learn from.
Bostwick fills his team with young men who are ready to work and be a part of his team. He wants athletes who want to study the game. “All of my great players were detail oriented, they were driven, they had goals, it all boils down to their ability and willingness to be coached and taught. They allow me to help them grow. They are willing to look at their weaknesses and let those become strengths.” Bostwick’s leaders also want to be challenged mentally—to be pushed to work harder and harder. “I was able to help them become mentally tough. They allowed me and would encourage me to push them to get better.” Lastly, those who lead in Bostwick’s team are prepared to grow spiritually. “Their spirit became unbelievably strong and it separated them and helped them to tap into God’s grace. Then it’s His talent on top of our talent; our talent has a limit and His talent doesn’t. When you are put into that, all of a sudden you have guys who are fearless, and when you take the fear out of the equation, nothing blocks their shot—fear blocks more shots than any defender.”
When Bostwick has all of these young men together, he has been able to create great team chemistry year after year. One principle important to Coach Bostwick is humility. “Whenever we win a game, we don’t celebrate in front of our opponent; we shake their hand, we thank our crowd, and then we celebrate in the locker room.” We want to display self-control and really work on getting rid of our pride. Another principle is the ‘second-mile’ principle. There are people who will try to cut corners when we’re running ladders or doing conditioning, and those people won't even go the first mile. In Scripture, Jesus says, “And whoever compels you to go with him one mile, go with him two” (Matthew 5:41). “That second mile is where God’s favor opens up—that’s where things happen that are extraordinary and supernatural and uncommon.” When you teach guys to become accustomed to going the second mile, that’s when they will tap into extraordinary things. A third principle is an idea of ‘we.’ “Our philosophy is grounded in the idea that I cannot do it alone.”
While Bostwick loves coaching, it isn’t always straight roads and sunshine. No matter the difficulty, Bostwick continues to stick with it because of the power trials have to teach valuable life lessons. “Basketball is a great picture of life: it’s got adversity, it’s got family, it’s got togetherness, it’s got joy, it’s got pain, it’s got hard work. Basketball allows you to teach young men and young women how to become successful in life. That’s why businesses love to hire former athletes because they understand the importance of team and being unselfish.”
This interview was conducted by NBC Intern, Naomi Kim.
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