After 400 wins, Queens Basketball coach sees major loss as career turning point | DFA 90.7
Bart Lundy notched his 400th victory in college basketball on November 12. The Queens University of Charlotte coach says his dismissal from High Point University in 2009 marked a turning point in his career.
âI like the saying, ‘When you go up in anything you had better plant flowers because on the way down you will have to pluck them,â Lundy said recently. In 2020, Lundy was named one of the 50 most influential American coaches in Division II and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
After going 9-21 in the 2008-09 season at High Point and being sacked when a new athletic director entered the scene – at the same time Lundy was going through a divorce – he leaned on his own advice.
âAs I was going downstairs, I had planted enough flowers to be lucky enough for Buzz Williams (now Texas A&M head coach) to contact me and give me a job at Marquette,â Lundy said. âThrough these trials, life is made of change. And if you are not prepared to be tough through change and adapt, then it will be difficult to be successful.
Three years as director of basketball operations at Marquette was like a doctorate. in basketball, said Lundy, working with Hall of Fame coaches and future NBA players. After Marquette, Lundy was an assistant coach in North Texas before returning to Queens for a second stint. He started in Queens at the age of 25, leading the Royals to their first NCAA regional title and an Elite Eight appearance in 2001, followed by a trip to the national semifinals in 2003.
This led to his six-year stint at High Point, which included four winning seasons. Ninety-six of his 400 wins came at High Point.
His second run in Queens was nothing short of remarkable, with three straight seasons of over 30 wins from 2016 to 2019 and four straight NCAA tournament appearances. The Royals reached the NCAA Division II Final Four in 2017-18 and the Elite Eight again in 2018-19.
Basketball and Life Philosophies
After hitting the 400-win milestone, Lundy explained that for him there was not just one coaching philosophy, principle or fundamentals in place.
âWe’re sort of working on two premises,â Lundy said. âOne is that everything matters. Everything, the smallest details, everything countsâ¦ with your recruitment, with the academicsâ¦ everything is important to have a successful program, a successful team, âhe said. “We preach to our guys, it’s just work.”
With every head coach position, there is a responsibility to perform, compete and win. During his first stint in Queens, Lundy said he was more concerned with the results. Over time, he realized that building relationships with players was more important.
âEveryone wants to win, that’s part of it,â Lundy said. âBut the relationship with the guys is more important. They call you (and ask you), âHey, what kind of lawn mower should I buy? Â», 10 years after having finished playing. It is more important than any victory. And this is what you will remember.
Planning the game is one of his favorite processes. For some opponents, Lundy said, his team has to play Monopoly. For others, they are playing poker. âYou have to find ways to win every game,â Lundy said. “Can you get this message across to your guys to give them all the tools they need in their toolbox to win the game?” “
Players who haven’t had it easy
Lundy looks for an unexpected characteristic when recruiting. He appreciates the players who have not had it easy. âI like to go to war with these guys because they don’t give in, and they’ve had a hard time,â he said.
âWatching Todd Withers who had a scholarship offer, who was Queens coming out of high school, finish his education and get NBA chances, sign a deal in Australia that changes his life and the lives of his family. Those are the times there, âLundy said. Withers now plays for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball League.
If there was anything about basketball that he could change, Lundy said, it’s a fixation with immediate success. Coaching is about preparing players for life, and it’s not instant pudding.
âCoaching is about teaching and trying to get the best out of each individual,â Lundy said. âYou know, we have freshmen who think they’re already prosâ¦ they’re not. It’s a process, and you have to work to make it happen.
âCoaching is about really getting them to buy into this process. Wake up everyday, do it the best you can and work as hard as you can, lay your head on the pillow tonight. Wake up and start again tomorrow.
Elvis Menayese of Cardiff, Wales is a student at the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University Charlotte, which provides the information service in support of local community news.