In critical moments, both on the court and off, the best coaches are those who lead not only in victory but also in defeat. On Saturday, Kansas State coach Jerome Tang displayed everything a program would desire from a leadership perspective.
At the podium, after his club’s loss to Florida Atlantic in the Elite Eight on Saturday night, Tang showcased why he is a coach his players love and respect.
“In the midst of probably one of the toughest things that I have experienced with these guys, if we can't be grateful in these times then all the love and joy we talk about is fraudulent and we are not frauds,” Tang said. “I want to give FAU and their coach a lot of credit, they did a great job. They were tough, they were together and they made big shots, they won the game. This hurts right now, but I wouldn’t trade these guys for 10 or 20 other players or anything in this world. I am so very thankful for the fun and the ride we have had this year.”
Tang’s words were not just ‘coach-speak’ either as immediately following the loss, the Wildcats leader was the first one outside the locker room making sure he met and embraced each and every one of his players and staff before they headed to the showers.
His words should ring true for all players following a difficult loss: “Head up. This is what we do. Let’s Go. Head up, baby. Everybody, head up.”
In just his first season at the helm on the sidelines the Kansas State faithful should be excited about the leader they have in Tang, who appears destined to build the program into a perennial tournament team.