“Leadership: Not taught…but caught!” - Pat Sullivan (Episode 5)

April 18, 2017

In this episode we meet Coach Pat Sullivan, who I consider a true scholar of the game of basketball and of coaching. He has won over 500 college games, been the director of Medalist and Milwaukee Bucks camps, written a book on leadership, and is currently publishing a blog and is a speaker for business, school, and athletic organizations. Over his career Pat has rubbed shoulders with the likes of coaching greats John Wooden, Gregg Popovich, Al McGuire, Rick Majerus, Dean Smith, and the like (great list, huh?).


In the first part, Pat discusses his views on the current state of the game of basketball. He shares with us what he sees are the positives and negatives of basketball, and goes on to detail the 3 biggest challenges coaches face nowadays (I would guess one of them won’t be a surprise). Pat also looks at some of the rule changes and how they affected the strategies that are employed by teams. He then addresses the “essentials” that are still true in the game, past or present. During this section Pat also drops nuggets he learned from the coaching and player greats who he had the chance to work with or observe (Michael Jordan being one of those). Not surprisingly, he spends some of this time on Gordie Gillespie, with whom he worked side by side for many years at the University of St. Francis.


In the second segment we go into the realm of leadership, an area that Pat wrote about extensively in his book “Attitude – the Cornerstone of Leadership”. Many coaches today moan about the shortage of leaders in today’s athletics and we analyze this surprising problem. Pat hits on the key traits that he feels that leaders must possess. And he hits on them again! He then goes on to suggest why some players don’t try to take on the challenge and why others fail. Regarding the “born or learned” question, Pat believes that leaders can be developed, but that many of us are not helping the situation. In fact, he believes that leadership can be “caught” from others. Finally, Pat talks about empowerment and some current examples of leaders in today’s world.


Listening to Coach Pat Sullivan is much like sitting in on a doctorate class taught by a distinguished professor. His experiences and observations provide a wealth of information that would help any teacher, coach, or player.  So take some time to listen to the Wisdom of Coach Sullivan…a coaches’ coach!!



Pat’s book:




Thanks to Audio Out Studios (Peru, IL) www.audioout.org (815.343.9484 or jeff@audioout.org) and also thanks to the IBCA.



GUEST: Pat Sullivan


HOSTED BY: Scott Olson