Even if you’re not an avid Kansas University Jayhawks Basketball fan like me, something very cool happened at their recent game against TCU; Head coach Bill Self suited up the team’s senior student manager and put him in the game. Why he did it is more important than the outcome.

Allen Field House

Allen Field House

It is a shining example of how great organizations reward Team members for their role in Mission accomplishment.

From the time student manager Chris Huey checked into the game against TCU with 35 seconds left, the crowd at Allen Field House on the University of Kansas campus thundered its response to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity given to him by Coach Self. Huey got the ball with 14 seconds left in the game. He drove to the basket for what looked like an easy lay-up and a Hollywood finish to the story…but he missed…and it didn’t matter. The crowd went wild, cheering in support of Huey’s big Jayhawk moment in the very birthplace of basketball.

Even before his fairytale moment in front of an always-full Allen Field House in Lawrence, Chris Huey, a 6-foot-7, fifth year KU senior, had his own Hollywood back-story of dashed dreams and perseverance. As reported by the Kansas City Star, Huey came to be a Jayhawk basketball team student manager after suffering three collapsed lungs while pursuing his own basketball career as a high school varsity player and then as a freshman player at a NAIA college. The original injury, the result of a collision on the court in high school, ultimately caused him to be unable to continue to play. Since joining the Jayhawks, multiple press accounts and player comments attest to Huey’s work ethic in carrying out duties from maintaining uniforms and equipment to playing the role of opposing team player during Jayhawk practices. He’s clearly an important part of a winning Team.

Cynics will say Coach Self’s gesture was meaningless. After all, the game was clearly won and putting Huey in had no impact on the outcome. But in truth, Self secretly initiated the idea weeks prior and made all preparations to ensure Huey was fully eligible and even added him to the printed, uniform press roster for the game. Bill Self certainly had bigger things to occupy his time and focus. After all, the Jayhawks are pursuing their 11th consecutive Big 12 conference title and he has plenty on his plate in furthering his incredible winning record. So playing Huey wasn’t a last minute fling, it was the intentional act of a great coach (leader) to recognize a member of his Team that has made a difference. It is what well-led organizations do routinely. Bill Self knows that everybody on the Team counts and deserves his attention and recognition. That speaks volumes about his leadership and his winning record.

Are you recognizing your Team?

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!


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