We lost a great champion this morning.
Pat Summitt died today at the young age of 64. While she lived a full life- one that included eight NCAA women’s basketball championships, thirty-two combined SEC championships, Olympic excellence and 1,098 victories on the basketball court- Pat Summitt’s life was cut way too short.
Above everything else, Coach Summitt was a teacher.
Several years ago she introduced a list for leaders called the “Pat Summitt Definite Dozen.” These twelve items were guidelines for leaders…a primer for her players and students…and a blueprint for leadership success for audiences of all ages.
While Coach Summitt’s words weren’t presented in a Biblical context, you can certainly make strong correlations between her thoughts on leadership and what Jesus tells us about working and living with others.
Pat Summitt’s Definite Dozen:
- Respect Yourself and Others
- Take Full Responsibility
- Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty
- Learn to be a Great Communicator
- Discipline Yourself so No One Else Has to
- Make Hard Work Your Passion
- Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart
- Put the Team Before Yourself
- Make Winning an Attitude
- Be a Competitor
- Change is a Must
- Handle Success Like You Handle Failure
- Respect– Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2: 3-4
- Responsibility– For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:5
- Loyalty– A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
- Communication– Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6
- Discipline– For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
- Hard Work– Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men... Colossians 3:23
- Working Smart– For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding… Proverbs 2:6
- Put the Team before Yourself- Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
- Attitude– And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
- Competitor– Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
- Change– Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
- Handling success and failure– I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
Coach Summitt’s Definite Dozen are a template for leadership effectiveness. These guidelines and lessons were passed down for decades to hundreds of players, coaches and fans of basketball.
These same themes are relevant for those of us trying to become better Christians, too. All of the principles outlined in the Definite Dozen are present in the teachings of Jesus and the word of God.
Let’s keep the family, former players, coaches and friends of Pat Summitt in prayer this week. And let’s all reflect on the Definite Dozen in our own lives…and see how we might improve our own effectiveness.
God bless you. And let me know how I may pray for you this week.