“The Small Factor” Jamie Small’s Impact on my Early Coaching Career

One of the best coaches I have ever had the pleasure of working with wasn’t flashy or arrogant he didn’t consider himself to be part of the coaching elite.  

This coach was one of the most grounded individuals I know and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to enhance and motivate every player on his team.   

He was the catalyst to success; he inspired through emotion, knowledge and is still one of the best basketball coaches this city has produced.   

I was just trying to find my way in teaching and thought that coaching was the inroad to a long teaching career.  

So when the need for a JV Girls Basketball coach was suggested I jumped at the opportunity.   

I wasn’t ready to coach basketball at that level, I was confident in my ability to lead, but looking back it was the most challenging and rewarding coaching experiences I had. 

 If it wasn’t for the aforementioned coach and his willingness to teach me the game, I’m confident I wouldn’t have continued in the coaching world.   

At the time hockey was a distant memory and my focus was on the gym.  I loved the game of basketball growing up and wanted to give back but boy I was in over my head on some nights.  

Instead of judging me from a far this coach became a mentor.  He would sit on my bench and provide much needed in game advice, he would allow me to do the same while he coached. I learned so much about communication, motivation and the will to succeed on his bench.  

His passion rivaled that of my former mentor in the world of hockey. 


I realized that I was passionate about coaching but I needed direction and to development my own coaching philosophy.

For two seasons, I watched one of the best young coaches apply his craft, to not only develop elite players for the next level, but to create students of the game while achieving success.  

I aspired to have the same poise and confidence as a coach but my time in the game of basketball was numbered as the search for a permanent teaching contract took precedence at a different school.

As I reflect on my coaching career in the game of hockey, I fondly look back at my time in the gym and remember the impact he had on his teams and the countless players he helped develop.  His willingness to pour everything into his coaching was something that I wanted to bring to every practice and game.  

As I stepped on the ice for the next thirteen years I never once forgot his passion, drive and ability to motivate.  His tireless work ethic and his ability to teach the game to his players were awe-inspiring and have had a lasting impression on me as a coach.   

Thanks for always being there for me Jamie, as a friend and coach, you have no idea the impact you have had! 

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