Website – https://davidcooksspeaks.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @dcespeaks
David Cooks is an author, speaker, voice talent, podcast host and management consultant.
At the age of 15, David experienced a Spinal Aneurysm, leaving him a T-6 paraplegic and a wheelchair user.
Almost in the blink of an eye, David’s world went from a rising star in high school basketball to living in a rehab facility facing a lifetime of paralysis. David chose not to be a victim, rather accepting and embracing his new reality as a paraplegic to face life head on.
David has spent nearly 25 years in Education, including 17 years teaching at his alma mater, Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he taught Economics and also served as the Director of Diversity, The Coordinator of Academic Support, and served 11 years as the Head Varsity Boys basketball Coach with a record of 155-92.
David served as an assistant coach at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin from 2013-2018. The highlight of David’s coaching career is his time spent at Duke University working for Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzeswki, and being a member of the coaching staff for USA East Coast Basketball in the summer of 2014, joining Frank Martin and Guy Rancourt in Estonia and Finland.
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Take some notes as you listen to the inspiring story of author, speaker, and coach, David Cooks.
What We Discuss with David Cooks
- How basketball became his first love
- What Coach Hines, his 6th grade coach, said that inspired him
- The power of a coach’s words
- “Giving it a hundred percent into whatever I’m doing is the only way to play the game and the only way to live life.”
- Getting cut from the basketball team as a freshman and then dedicating himself to the game
- The spinal aneurysm he suffered while trying out for the team as a high school sophomore that left him a wheelchair
- Gaining perspective and learning perserverance through his rehab process
- “You just have to go from where you are and keep moving.”
- “My passion for the game didn’t become paralyzed.”
- Playing wheelchair basketball
- His first coaching experiences in the rec leagues and AAU
- How he was able to join the program at Duke and learn under Coach K
- Being told Coach K was “on vacation” several times until Tommy Amaker helped David out
- Details and people skills
- Leaving the business world for education and coaching
- “You can’t control anything else other than you getting better today.”
- “This is a process about growing and about learning.”
- “Our outcomes were different because I had better players, but the process was the same.”
- The connections and relationships that he built during his time as a volunteer and manager at Duke
- Coaching at his alma mater Marquette High School – “I can’t explain to you the feeling I got every game, every practice I went to that gym because it was like what I didn’t get to have.”
- Changing a young person’s destiny
- Getting fired at Marquette High and eventually moving on to college coaching at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin.
- Putting your ego aside and being there to serve
- “Sometimes we learn most when we’re most uncomfortable.”
- His decision to write a book (Getting Undressed from Paralysis to Purpose) and become a speaker
- “Be open to growth and to change.”
- The difference between moving on and moving forward
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THANKS, DAVID COOKS
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TRANSCRIPT FOR DAVID COOKS – AUTHOR, SPEAKER, & FORMER HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH – EPISODE 572
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast, award-winning author, speaker, and coach David Cooks. David, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
[00:00:14] David Cooks: Well, Mike, I tell you what I’m excited to be on and I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time.
[00:00:19] Mike Klinzing: We are thrilled to be able to have you on thankful to our mutual friend, John Willkom for connecting us. Want to start by going back in time, you have a very interesting story. So let’s start from the beginning. How did you get involved in the game of basketball when you were a kid?
[00:00:34] David Cooks: You know, I was probably like most urban kids and just loved to play.
And that was the thing we did. We went outside and went to the playground until the street lights came on. Of course. And we played and played and played and I just kinda fell in love with the game. I like the rhythm of the game. I like the competition of it. And so it was one of my dreams to just.
Not playing in the MBA or anything like that, but I really did want to play for my high school and try to help us win a state championship. And so that’s kinda how I got involved. My brother played in that not in high school, he was more of a track star and we had some neighbors across the street that had a basketball hoop on their garage.
And that’s what you did. And, and I just fell in love with it.
[00:01:16] Mike Klinzing: Was it always basketball for you or was there ever another sport involved?
[00:01:20] David Cooks: No, it was always basketball for me. I wasn’t very good at anything else, so I’m not sure how good I was in basketball, but since there are no YouTube from back in the day, I’m going to tell you I was outside.
[00:01:37] Mike Klinzing: It’s a lot nicer to be able to tell those stories, right there isn’t as much video evidence as there is today. That’s for sure. Absolutely. It’s so different. I T I say this with my own kids all the time, and you’re probably, I’m sure the same way that when you were growing up and we were all being photographed with film cameras, you probably have 10 or 20 or 50 family photos that you remember those family photos, just because that was all there was.
And now my kids will never have photos like that because there’s millions and millions of photos from vacations and photos of them. It’s just a completely different era that we’re growing up in, for sure.
[00:02:12] David Cooks: Absolutely. Yeah. I still do have some of those pictures and you try to remember exactly what you were doing at that place or what was going on.
And it is, it is nice to have them. It really is.
[00:02:24] Mike Klinzing: And it’s just an interesting way. I think about it, as I said, when I look back and every one of the pictures that’s in my fab family album, when I look back at it, I’m like, oh yeah, I remember maybe I don’t even remember the moment, but now I just remember the picture.
Cause I’ve looked at it so often, but my kids with millions and millions of photos, it’s just their connection to their past is just in a different it’s being recorded in a much different way. So to your point, we can all tell stories about how good we were, because there isn’t nearly as much video evidence as there would be for a kid growing up today.
When you were growing up and learning the game and get involved in it, how did you go about getting better? Were you ever a kid that started to take it super seriously and really work on your game? Or were you just, how how’d you go about getting better?
[00:03:10] David Cooks: Well I was fortunate enough. My very first coach was Coach Hines and I played in the, I think it was a seventh grade, a sixth grade team.
I don’t remember now, but we would call it the pro. The pro actually the pro keds named, named after the pro keds sneakers. And that was my first real organized basketball situation. And he was the first coach that kind of pulled me to the side and, and told me, he thought I could play a little bit and had some potential if I was willing to work hard.
And you know, that kind of when you hit it, when you hear that as a kid that just really opens up your eyes and you think, okay, what the heck the coach pulled me over? He said, he thinks that can be good. You know, what do I have to do next? And we didn’t have a back then. And we didn’t have a lot of organized things, but we spent a lot of time playing a lot of time working on our individual skills at the playground.
You know, we’d have contests with who could do the best to ball drills and all that kind of stuff and lots of shooting. And so that’s what really started me on, on improving my game was first of all, being coachable. And being willing to take the instruction and the discipline from my coach at such an early age and, and not only was he trying to make me a good basketball player but you know, as I grew up in got older in life, I realized he was actually instilling principles to make me a better person.
[00:04:32] Mike Klinzing: And I think that’s one of the themes David that’s run through our podcast is the opportunity as a coach to be able to use the game of basketball, to have an influence on the young people, that we’re all fortunate enough to be able to interact with. And it sounds like coach Hines had that influence on you.
And sometimes I bet if you look back on it and if he were to be able to look back and reflect on it, he may not remember that conversation the same way. That you remember it, who knows if he even remembers that at all? And we think about how impactful a coach’s words can be on us as athletes. And then conversely, we think about it from, as we get older and we go switch over to that coach role.
And it’s important for coaches to remember how important those words are and how they can inspire. Like here’s a young kid like yourself, who you were dabbling in the game of basketball, and now suddenly, Hey, an adult thinks that I can be pretty good. My coach, who I look up to thinks I can be pretty good at this game, that’s going to inspire me to work a little bit harder and go and do some more with the game.
[00:05:37] David Cooks: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting having coached and now had a former players come back and tell me stories that I don’t remember at all till they said, I said something or I did something in a practice or pulled them over and said something that literally changed their life. And I don’t remember it, but I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to.
[00:05:58] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, it’s so true. I think that we as coaches and I know Jason is a teacher and I’ve been teaching now as my 27th year. And there’s so many times that you have conversations with kids and you say things and you try to give them some nugget that you think is gonna have an impact on them. And obviously not everything that you say or share with a kid resonates or hits home with them, but I’m sure there are a lot of things just like you just described that.
I said, or Jason has said to a kid that leaders later that they come back and they say, Hey, I remember when you said this to me, or I remember when you had this type of influence on me through your actions or whatever it might be. And there’s nothing more powerful than that is to be able to. Inspire somebody who’s under your direction.
And I think as a coach, that’s one of the things that we have to be mindful of is not only can we have an influence in the positive way, like we we’re talking about, but it’s also very easy to discourage a kid with a couple of words as well. And so I think we have to be really, really careful that. And so when you think back to that time and working with coach Hynes, and there were obviously other coaches in your life that had an influence on you, is there anything else that sticks out to you from either coach Heinz or one of your other coaches that is still with you to this day that has sort of influenced your life in the way you’ve gone about it?
[00:07:17] David Cooks: Well, I think. Because, and we’ll get into a high school situation, but up until high school Coach Hines was probably the most influential person I had. And he, he told me to always do my best and to not worry about what other people thought about my game. And that was a very pivotal message for me that I still hold onto today in terms of just making sure that when I’ve done what I’m supposed to do, that I’ve laid it all out there, that I don’t have to go back and redo it.
And that give it a hundred percent into whatever I’m doing was the only way to play the game and the only way to live life. And that, that’s the one thing that I still live by today.
[00:08:01] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. Those are powerful words. And if you could live that again, no matter what walk of life you end up in, whether it’s.
Athletics, whether that’s business, whether that’s education, wherever it may be, those words obviously can serve you well for those people who maybe don’t know as much about your background, you grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you ended up attending Marquette university high school. Tell us a little bit about those first year or two in high school as a high school basketball player.
And then we’ll get obviously into the transformational event that, that changed your life for forever.
[00:08:32] David Cooks: Yeah, well what’s a Marquette high school and was juiced up and ready to go. Freshman year. I was all excited to try out for the team and Get the tryouts and there’s like 80 people at these tryouts.
And I was like, what in the world is this? And so, so I said, well, I got my work cut out for me, but I believed I was going to be one of the best players. And so as the trials went along I didn’t make the team, but there was a B team. So I was good. I just wanted to make a team and get started. Well as, as fate would have it, I got injured as the practices went on and ended up not making either team.
And that was pretty devastating because I didn’t have any other dreams in high school other than to be a good student, which if I didn’t, my parents probably. I don’t know what they would have done. So well said, well said. So that was like devastating. I was like, man what, what do I have to do?
And, and so I said, you know what, I’m going to spend this off season or the summer coming up, I’m going to work as hard as I can. And I begin to play with a lot of older guys and everything. And got my confidence built up and worked on the mental aspect of my game and obviously my physical body because I thought part of my issue was I wasn’t mentally strong enough.
You know, I think when I saw 80 people, it impacted what I thought, oh, how I was, how I would go about that. And was I good enough to make it? And I never thought about being good enough to make it until I got in front of 80 people and had to prove myself. And so I spent a ton of time that next year getting ready and then October 19th, 1979 crept up.
It was a Friday and I had just gotten a physical exam the week before from a doctors, gave me a clean bill of health to go in and do whatever one to do with that. Friday, my back was hurting a little bit, went to school, play ball that day. I wasn’t I wasn’t myself, but I still played and came home and laid down.
And by the next morning I was over in the emergency room and I had a blood vessel erupt on my spinal cord. And so the dream of playing from a high school ended the weekend of tryouts because the trials were that Monday. And that, that Saturday I ended up being in a wheelchair.
[00:10:45] Mike Klinzing: So what did give us a little bit more.
For people who are listening and honestly, for myself, as you learn more about what happened to you, what was the explanation that doctors shared with you? And then how did you react to that news? And just trying to process going from what at that moment was going to be the biggest moments of your life, going to this tryout that you just spent the whole off season preparing for to now suddenly you’re in a wheelchair.
What was the explanation from doctors? And then what was your initial feeling when that, when you first heard that? Well,
[00:11:26] David Cooks: Their explanation wasn’t very expansive, to be honest with you, because it was just a freak thing. You know, how you can have a blood vessel erupt in your brain or your heart, or an aneurysm mine just happened to occur on my spine and there was no evidence beforehand that could happen no history in the family or anything like that.
And they were pretty cut and dry and about is severed it damaged your spinal cord and you’re going to, and you’re going to be in a wheelchair when I got that news. And I was like, what? You know, no, not really, you know first of all, I’m a competitor I’m ready to go. I’m going to, I’m going to recover from this.
And that was how I began to process it until I was staying in the hospital a couple of days. And I was like, wow Yeah. I mean that I may not be ready for tryouts, you know? And so I’m still, I’m still thinking like, man, if I miss trials, I’m gonna be ticked off. Well I ended up having to go to a rehabilitation center to, to relearn how to, how to live a life from a wheelchair, how to get dressed, how to go to the bathroom how to get in and out of the bed, all of that stuff.
And that’s when I that’s kinda, when it set in that this was a little bit more than a backache that wasn’t going to go away when I began to meet other people. And the rehab center. It kinda helped me to, first of all, it gave me perspective. I know when you’re 15 years old, you don’t have a lot of perspective.
But to I met my roommate was a guy named Tony Otters who was a quadriplegic. And I didn’t know what that meant. So he, but I know he couldn’t use his arms and stuff real well. But his attitude was amazing to me and his work ethic was, was outstanding and he had dreams and visions and goals. And I was like, wow.
If he can do that, then you know, I can do that. And that really changed my perspective when we were in rehab together on a mat. And we were doing some things rolling over and learning how to do all that kind of stuff. And he couldn’t do any of that. And I began to say, wow, he would give anything to do what.
And from that moment on, I began to work hard for him and not for myself. And that really began to fuel my understanding about purpose and what my life could mean, not just for me, but for somebody else.
[00:13:47] Mike Klinzing: What do you remember about the conversations that you had with your family members? When this first happened?
[00:13:55] David Cooks: My family was and continues to be a strong family of faith. And one of the first things my mom and dad says this is going to be okay, we’re gonna work through this together and it’s going to be fine. And that was kind of the beginning of me understanding that you just have to go from where you are and keep moving.
I often wonder now that I’m older, what their conversations were like at night in the bedroom. But what they were going through, what they were thinking about how it impacted my brother and sisters because in not only impacted me, but it impacted my whole family. And I just remember them always encouraging me to continue on don’t change your dreams and goals.
Graduate from high school, go to college, be successful, be a good person because none of that changed. And that is how I ended up living my life. I mean, they, they did what they could to help and make the house somewhat accessible and all that kind of stuff. But what they did for me that was more important was rebuild myself esteem and rebuild my confidence level that anything was possible.
[00:15:10] Mike Klinzing: And once you started to figure out that things were going to be okay, that you were going to have. An opportunity to still chased out chase after some of your goals. And you’re looking around and saying, there are people out there that have it worse than I do. And I have to be thankful for the gifts that I do have.
How did you figure out what your purpose was? How did you figure out what your next step was in terms of what you wanted to do? Obviously, all kids who are high school, kids, college kids, they have dreams, they have aspirations. They think this is what I want to do for my career. What did that process look like for you/
[00:15:46] David Cooks: Well, the first process was I wanted to go back to school and find a girlfriend.
[00:15:55] Mike Klinzing: You got to have your priorities straight David.
[00:15:56] David Cooks: Absolutely. I’m 15 years old. And so after, after I got back to school, I had some short-term goals and some long-term goals. And my first goal was just to graduate on time from high school with my classmates.
And I was able to do that. There were, I also began to learn at that time the importance of partnerships, I had already learned a lesson on perspective and perseverance in the rehab center. Now I knew that I didn’t have to make the journey by myself. And so there were guys, and it was four guys that I still talk to this day who helped make my high school career, the best career that it could be and absent from that was now basketball.
And I was faced with the challenge. Of how do I reconnect to the game that I love? The guys were taking me to basketball games and I loved it. They would carry me up and downstairs cause it wasn’t really accessible back then. And I would just go to games and love them. And I begin to understand that that my, my passion for the game didn’t become paralyzed.
When I became paralyzed, what, what I had to learn to do was take a different route to, to fulfill that itch I had for the game that itch was scratched. When I started playing wheelchair basketball in college, I had never played the game before. I played walk-in basketball and I fell in love with that.
That game too, because it was competitive. It was tough. You know, I was a point guard. So the ball was in my hand and I was making decisions and loving every minute of it up until I missed the national championship, a free throw that would have tied the game, but we not going to talk about that.
[00:17:37] Mike Klinzing: Those are the memories that stick, we didn’t losses stick much harder than the wins.
[00:17:40] David Cooks: I know that. Yes, they do. So as I began to kind of, I wanted to get to college. So I think some of the dreams and goals that I had were the same as anybody would have finished high school, go to college, get a job, be a professional, those types of things that still wasn’t my purpose though. But those were goals that I had because I didn’t know what my purpose was as a young, as a young person like that.
What I have found was that the journey from paralysis to purpose for me was not linear. It was a very crooked, edgy line that took me a lot of places until ultimately I realized, okay, My purpose was tied into making the lives of other peoples better other people, rather than making the lives of other people better.
And how I could do that. Eventually I found out through coaching basketball and teaching economics and ultimately becoming a public speaker.
[00:18:36] Mike Klinzing: All right. So let’s dive into your decision to get into education and become a coach. What do you remember about your first experiences in the classroom and then your first experiences out on the floor as a coach, obviously many players have never experienced having a coach who is in a wheelchair.
So it’s a little bit different experience that I’m sure a lot of your players. I have never had the opportunity to be a part of before. So just tell us a little bit about what that experience was like for you both as a teacher and a coach in those first instances where you come in contact with students and with players.
[00:19:22] David Cooks: Well, my first coaching opportunity actually came when I was a banker. And so I started coaching and the rec league, the, the men’s bank rec league I I quickly learned, I couldn’t make them run after practice. That was not going to work, but it was an opportunity and it kinda got me going. I had a mentor at the bank who said to me, man, you talk about basketball all the time.
Why don’t you coach something or do something? And he recommended, I do this. I did that really fell in love with the game. And I was then introduced to an AAU team here in Wisconsin, back in the day. That was really, really good called the Vic Tanny Warriors. And that was my first time really coaching high-level players.
I think we were ranked number two in the country and had a number of high division one players on that team. And I was like the third assistant on that team. And I didn’t know what that meant, but they asked me to come and help cause they thought I could make a difference and I did whatever they asked.
And it was that first experience with those guys where they valued my input. And they also began to ask me questions about my life like, how do you do this? How do you do that? They never asked me if I could coach, because I think Mike, they never asked that because I think the coaching aspect for me.
Was about communication and I could still communicate and get them to understand what I was teaching. And I think that settled them now back then I would beat them in horse. Once in awhile, I would make them sit in the chair since they thought I couldn’t shoot. And we play a little horse, do it like it, do a couple of little things and you know what?
You get instant respect that way also. So, so that kind of was my introduction to coaching from the chair. And that relationship I had with the Vic Tanny Warriors and those coaches and players really began to have me think a lot bigger that can I do this in college? Can I do this in the NBA? You know, what is the ceiling for me to do this?
And that’s where it began. And that was before college. I’m sorry. That was, that was after college that I started doing that. And from there. I left Milwaukee in 19. Well, I won’t say when. Cause then you’ll figure out how old I am. I left Milwaukee to get my master’s degree at Duke university. And I got my master’s in finance and so I was a business guy all this time and I was fortunate enough.
My next stop in the game was at Duke University with Coach K. And it was those two years. You talk about, we talked about the, the lack of pictures that are taken now. I wish I would’ve had more sense about taking pictures during those two moments. Those two years I was there because it has such great players, you know Grant Hill and Christian Laettner there and Bobby Hurley.
And it was a great, great time to be with Duke basketball. It was there, it was there. I learned. I learned about the importance of the personal touch and about interpersonal skills and how important that is as a coach. And in terms of connecting with your players, I get, I get this question all the time and you’re what was so special or what is so special about Coach K and his, his people skills.
I mean, clearly he knows the game but the game that part can be learned, but the ability to connect with players and to take the time to build relationships to the degree that you understand how to motivate and inspire each player on your team was something that I was like, wow. I had never seen that before at that level.
And that really inspired me because I thought I could do that too, that I was, I could connect with these guys. I think I could get them to do what I needed them to do on the court, et cetera, et cetera. And that that was just a remarkable experience for me. I think. I learned a lot about detail, the importance of detail.
I learned a lot about listening. I’m listening to your players, listening to your staff, listening to yourself and how important that is in terms of communication. And those are the things that I took with me from there as I continued on and eventually started coaching high school a little bit later.
So when I left Duke and we, and we can come back and talk more about that if you like. But when I left Duke, I was went up to the Northeast and was working for the largest company in the world at the time. And I was sitting there instead of doing spreadsheets, I was drawn up plays and they’re paying me like good money.
And I’m like, you know what? This is not right. And not fair to them. Or to me, let me just see if there’s something else I can do within the company that I had taken a head coaching job in Connecticut at high school called dairy and high school, which is not known for basketball and still is not known for basketball.
But it was my first head coaching job. And I remember, I remember having to make a decision do I do the corporate thing or will this marriage work? And I had to divorce myself from the business world and go into academia. That wasn’t a tough choice for me because I was following what I thought was my passion.
And ultimately my purpose. It costs me 70% income, which I guess is significant in the short run, but in the long run, everything paid off because. Money does matter, but not at the expense of purpose. So I get my first high school coach and job, and we’re not very good. I was used to grant hill and all these guys doing their thing and I get in the gym and I don’t think we had anybody that could touch the rim.
And I was like, oh my gosh, we’re terrible. So I first I had to first lesson was, I had to forget about what I knew before I came in there and assess what I had and figure out how to make these guys better. Ultimately, I felt that was my job. And we did that I needed, it was a school that didn’t have much respect in the conference.
But we gained some respect. We didn’t get a lot of wins during my tenure there, but we had the respect of the conference and our guys learn how to compete. I even had a defeated. While I was there and that’s one way you don’t win any games. And to this day, that was probably the most meaningful season for me as a coach.
Because it made me search about why I was doing what I was doing and how was it that I was going to keep these guys together because as a coach, we may not say it. I knew going into that season that we didn’t have a whole lot to work with. I thought we would win a game or two, but that would be it.
So I knew I had my work cut out for me. And how do I keep the ship afloat when things aren’t going well, how can I keep our guys winning, even though we’re losing. And that’s where I learned a lot. I probably learned the most there and Ariane Connecticut. And I wouldn’t trade that for any job I had.
Cause it was my first job and it’s where I learned and cut my teeth about what it means to be a coach.
[00:26:39] Mike Klinzing: I want to ask you one question about Duke, but before I do, I want to ask you about that experience of being a coach on a team. That’s struggling that isn’t winning very many games. I think this is something that obviously all coaches want to be in a situation where you’re winning.
It’s a lot easier to sell your program. It’s a lot easier to get kids, to buy into the culture piece of what you’re trying to do when you’re winning. But I often find that coaches, especially first time coaches, you don’t always get to step into a program that won 25 games the year before. You’re often stepping into a program where you have to rebuild.
And one of the things that I like to ask coaches that are in that situation, or that have been in that situation is how do you continue to get your players to buy in, to believe in what you’re doing? Despite the fact that the results on the scoreboard, aren’t what everybody’s hoping for. So what do you remember about that experience in terms of how you kept your players focused, how you kept their eyes on the process of what they were doing and not allow them to get down about the results that were happening on the scoreboard?
[00:27:52] David Cooks: I think we, and I say we bcause my staff helped me with this. We wanted to create a culture of improvement. And when we got there, we knew we weren’t going to be very good. So all we had was the opportunity to get better. And we talked to our kids about that all the time we talked about, are you, did you get better in practice today because that’s all you can control.
You can’t control anything else other than you getting better today. And we live that through that whole season as a team. What did we do better tonight that we didn’t do so well as game? And cause Sometimes you can do all the right stuff and it still doesn’t work out. And that’s when you really, as a coach, have to get your guys to understand or your gals to understand that this is a process about growing and about learning.
And I’m a big believer in you hear it all the time now that you’re always winning. If you’re, if you’re always learning and how you can take those losses and turn them into learning and growing opportunities is what is the difference between having a locker room that will be on your side or one that will be against you?
I also, during that time, I rewarded the behaviors that I, that I was trying to get. And I wanted to make sure that each day around the team one through 15, was rewarded for something that they did well. Whatever that gift is that they had to make our team the best it could be. I wanted to reward them with that.
And I do that in many ways, you know? And so I was big on complimenting and rewarding the same way I did when I had winning seasons, I didn’t change my approach. Our outcomes were different because I had better players, but the process was the same.
[00:29:44] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. I think that’s really important as a coach remember, is that if your process is the same and you stick with what you believe in, then you’re going to be able to get buy in from your players.
And you’re going to be able to do some of the things that you want to do in the practice environment with your team culture, that even if those results don’t show up on the scoreboard, you can still have a positive basketball experience for you, your staff, your players, to me. I think that’s what it’s all about before we move on to.
You returning to your Alma mater to coach at the high school level. Again, let’s go back to Duke. I just have one question for you that related to that. So you show up on the campus at duke. How do you get connected to coach? K? How do you get involved with the program? Just what was that process like going from, Hey, I’m showing up here to get my MBA to I’m now working with one of the best college teams in the history of college basketball.
[00:30:43] David Cooks: Well, it, it didn’t happen the first time I went to see him. I’ll tell you that I saw another, another lesson in persistence here. Is that what you’re telling me? God, yes. I remember the first time, because when I, when I interviewed for graduate school, they flew me down and all this stuff. Cause my essay. I said, they asked me what my perfect job would be.
And I said to be a head coach in a town that’s filled with lakes because I like to fish. Nice. And they were like, this is business school. I said, I know, but you asked me, so I told you and so I said, I’m going to try to work with the duke basketball team while I’m here too. And they frowned upon it and everything, but I was like, whatever, I can, I can juggle two balls at one time.
So I didn’t know anyone when I went down to Duke and the athletic side of the house. So I went over just to try to meet Coach K. First time I go, I’m told that he’s on vacation and I’m like, all right I’ll leave a note back then you, you wrote down messages and put them in a mailbox on a pink piece of paper.
If you remember those and while you were out, right. Yes, that’s right. And so I said, okay. So I had to come back another time. And the second time I was told he was on vacation again. And I began to think, and this is not fair to them, but this is what I thought that they were blowing me.
That they weren’t going to give me a chance. And so after that second time, I remember being at the business school that I was about to go in and I saw Tommy Amaker walking down the stairs. Tommy’s the head coach at Harvard now. And Tommy was leaving the business school and had just left and gone full time on coach K staff.
So I stopped him in the parking lot and introduced myself and he was kind enough to stop because he didn’t have to. And I told him I was from Wisconsin and blah, blah, blah. I wanted to kind of help with the team. And I’ve been trying to meet Coach K and I’ll do anything. And all of that. And he asked if I had a resume and I did not.
But what I did have was some articles that had been written about me when I was coaching our AAU team in Florida. And I gave him that. And then we. I didn’t hear anything. And I said, well school’s about to start in a few days. Let me go back over and try this one more time. Well, this time I get there and his secretary says, well, he’s not available.
And immediately, immediately I said to myself, she didn’t say that he was on vacation. She said he wasn’t available. So that means he’s in town. So I’m like writing another message for him. And before I leave as a guy in an office, I have another Tony in my life. It was Tony Lang from Alabama. And he said, Hey man, aren’t you the guy from Wisconsin.
And I hesitated to respond because I wasn’t sure you know, that just wasn’t true, what that was, that was about. And so he said, Hey, I saw you down in St. Petersburg, Florida coaching an eight coach in the AAU team from Wisconsin. And I loved how you interacted with your players. Are you here to help.
And immediately I told him I was from Wisconsin and I said it very loud. And I said, absolutely. I’m, I’m here to help if I can get the opportunity. And it turns out, and I tell, I tell you this, I tell coaches this because your integrity and your character really do matter. And, and I didn’t know who was watching me in St. Petersburg, Florida, because that, wasn’t why I was coaching. I was just again doing what I do. And so I got an unsolicited testimony from one of the players of the team in the office. Nothing happened. I left and eventually S fourth time, I’m like, all right, I got to go try to see him. And so I go, and as I’m coming down the hill, Toward Cameron indoor stadium.
I see coach K, walking in towards the building and I made my wheelchair, of course. And I rolled down that healed as fast as humanly possible. I looked back at it and I wonder how I didn’t fall out of my chair. I really did. I don’t know what happened, but I was, I was so determined to meet him. And we met at the door of Cameron indoor stadium and he said I said, Hey, I’m Dave Cooks.
And he stopped me. And he said, oh, I know who you are. I’ve been meaning to try and get ahold of you. Do you have time to talk? And so we met. That day Tommy had given him that article, excuse me. And that we met that day and Tommy Amaker had given him the article. And that article was the same article that Tony Lang was talking about in St.
Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Florida. We sat down and talked. They didn’t have a position for me. And he said, but you’re more than welcome to come to practice. For this year, I did that for that first year. Didn’t miss a practice. I paid my way to some of the greatest venues of the game. He would let me go on trips and I paid for them all.
I remember UCLA was like one of the biggest places as I got to see this, I got to see it. So I was able to do some of that kind of stuff that first year, the second year I come back after the summer I had an internship up in the New York area and he pulls me in. He says, Hey, we’d love to have you be a part of our program this year.
And but the only thing I can do is you can, you can be a manager and. This was the grad assistant my first year. And he had finished up and that position no longer was available by the NCAA. So he said, would you be willing to be your manager? And I knew that meant making Gatorade, running down loose balls and doing laundry, but I also knew that I would be gleaning from the greatest of all time, arguably.
So I took it. I told him absolutely I’ll do that. What I wasn’t a manager for long before as he would say, what we found out a little bit about the game. So why don’t you help us out with practice plans and coaching and that kind of stuff. And that’s what led me to be a part of the program.
And I often wonder what would have happened if A I wasn’t persistent. And B if I had said no to being a manager, I think my life would have been totally different.
[00:36:48] Mike Klinzing: Those are two great lessons. David, I think when I think about the conversations that we’ve had with coaches on the podcast, that persistence is so important and just that ability to be willing to do whatever it takes in order to get your foot in the door.
Those are two persistent themes that have come through when we’ve talked to coaches that look, you’re not going to always have that first door open up for you. You got to keep coming back and keep knocking on the door and keep knocking on the door and eventually you’re going to get through it. And then the second piece is just being willing to do whatever it takes.
I mean, I can’t even count the number of coaches who say. No. I was sleeping on a mattress and some house in a Baton, in a basement. I was making next to nothing. And I loved every single second of it because I was getting to do what I always wanted to do. And I think there’s a tremendous lesson there that you obviously learn, you applied it to your life.
And I think it’s something that’s applicable to certainly to coaches. And it’s probably applicable to anybody in any walk of life that when doors close on your doors seemingly are closed. If you keep working at it, sometimes you can get them open. And then that leads to some unbelievable experiences. So I have two questions related to that.
I know I said I only had one question, but now, but now, but now I’m going to keep going. So my two questions are, what’s your favorite game memory from that time? And then number two, who from duke at this point, do you still have a relationship with who were you able to make a connection with during your time there?
[00:38:27] David Cooks: I think the greatest moment. Was the shot, the Kentucky shot that Leattner made. And I wasn’t even at that game, I was, I know exactly where I was.
[00:38:42] Mike Klinzing: I know her in that shot. I know exactly where I was sitting. I know exactly who I was with. Incredible.
[00:38:47] David Cooks: I was sitting at home and coach had asked me if I wanted to go to the game.
And I said, well I have an interview the next morning, I’ve got to fly out early and I need to I’ve got to, I’m going for this job interview. So I’ll just catch the next thing. So I’m sitting there watching this game in my apartment in Durham, North Carolina. And I’m like, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.
And when they got back on campus, that was even crazier traveling with those guys, it was like traveling with the Beatles or a rock band. It was so much attention to everything, but that. And I, and the reason I say that shot and I wasn’t even there is because practice every day was at such a high level that I enjoy going to practice.
Cause I wasn’t sure what I was going to see that day. I didn’t know what kind of moves I was going to see what kind of defensive stop was going to happen. I didn’t know what kind of fight I was going to see. I mean, so because those guys were competitive and, and, but they will, when it was over, they were boys, they were absolutely boys.
And so that as a spectator kind of quasi coach, the other one was the national championship up in Minnesota in 1991 to be there for that final four, that was my first experience with the final four and, and to be a part of them winning that second championship the back-to-back year. That was amazing.
W that was amazing. And that was my first year that it wasn’t even the second year when I was actually a manager the allow for me to go and be a part of that. That was amazing. Very cool. Yeah. That’s awesome. Who do I keep in touch with now? Coach K is probably of all the. He’s such a genuine and nice guy at least to me is, and I think he is to most people we keep in touch lately over the past few years, I, I used to go down for my wife and I, my wife and I even got engaged at halftime of his 700th game.
He was at home against Georgia tech and we used to go to games fairly regularly and so started slow. And still until I started coaching high school basketball and kind of got busy. So he, I keep in touch with him. Once in a while I talked to Bobby Hurly Tony Lang is coaching in the league and then Quinn Snyder, who was my classmate and is the head coach at Utah. We, we touched base from time to time to the other guy that we, we kind of keep in touch with a guy named Marty. And Marty Clark was from Denver and he’s doing some remarkable work in that area. Helping people with drug addictions.
[00:41:27] Mike Klinzing: It’s amazing the different paths that people go on.
And just you think about how long coach K. Spend it too. And just the legacy that he’s got there, not only as a basketball coach, but just his impact on people and just like we’ve talked about, and it’s been something that has been a driving force in your life. And I think that the best coaches have that in mind, that what kind of legacy am I going to leave?
Not just on my one loss record, but it goes beyond that. It goes B beyond what the scoreboard says. It’s what impact can I have on the people that I’m dealing with every single day. And it’s just such a powerful thing that we have as coaches and what a great experience for you to be able to be a part of that.
That and to be able to be influenced by coach K and the other great people that have been part of that duke program. And then to take what you learned and go out and share that with the young men, that you were privileged enough to be able to coach let’s talk a little bit about returning to your Alma mater to be the head coach of the boys, varsity basketball team there.
Tell us what that experience was like.
[00:42:37] David Cooks: Well, Hey, before I do that, there is one, one other moment. And it wasn’t a game moment. It was the, I remember, and this is kind of emotional. I’m trying to keep it together. When Coach K brought Jim Valvano to practice and Giovanna was sick with cancer, and I remember getting a chance to meet him and to see the, the love that coach had for him, even though they competed against each other, as coaches and all of that and bringing him the practice and having all of the programs.
Experienced that moment is something that I will never, ever forget, ever forget onto market high school. I ended up leaving the Northeast. I had an opportunity before coming home to join a division one program out in in California, but it just I didn’t know how it would make it. I was in a wheelchair.
They didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t know about living in a dorm and all that kind of stuff. So I, I opted not to do that. And ended up coming back to Milwaukee to, to work at my Alma mater Marquette high school. Now, when I came back, I did not want to coach. I wanted to take a little break, to be honest with you.
I had run some AAU programs out east and I was on the staff of hu group. And this was stuff with five-star all that kind of stuff. So. Doing a lot of basketball and, and having a lot of fun with it, but I wanted to go to the grocery store and not have anybody know who I was. I really wanted that knowing that they would know who I was cause I was in a wheelchair.
So it’s not like you can’t be a little harder to hide in that respect. It’s a little hard to hide, but at least I wouldn’t be coaching. And so I get there and I meet with the head coach and he’s like, Hey would you be interested in coaching JV? And I thought about it. And I said yeah, sure.
I’ll do that. You know, I can do that. It’s not varsity, I’m not the guy. I love to do this. So I began coaching them and loved it. It was a great experience. And then my head coach moved on to something else and the job was offered to me. And it was it was therapeutic in a way because the same gymnasium that I never got a chance to play in, I now was a coach in and.
I can’t explain to you the feeling I got every game, every practice I went to that gym because it was like what I didn’t get to have. I was now having at an even greater and higher level. And so I was so excited to get the job and we had a winning tradition and I knew the pressure would be great. I was obviously the first coach in a wheelchair to be a head coach in, in the school history and all of that.
And also the first African-American head coach. And so with that, I knew would come some questions and some concerns and some issues. And there were people who actually questioned my resume. They thought I hadn’t been at duke, but actually called down to make sure I wasn’t making that up. I was like, seriously what, which is okay.
And I tell you what We won games. I think we ended up winning close to 70% of our games which is not a bad number when you came from winning 20% of your games. And we ended up making a run to the state tournament for the first time in the school’s history, since the private and public schools they’re combined.
And I was pretty proud of that. During that time I began to teach economics at the high school and it was in the classroom that I began to understand. I was gifted to reach people and to reach young people especially, and that I could speak into their lives and help change their destiny, so to speak.
And I saw it there and I saw it on the court and I saw that I wasn’t, I was a teacher and an educator. On the court and in the classroom. And that’s when I began to find my groove and kind of understand, I think like, I think this is my purpose. The game was my passion, but my purpose was to serve and make other people better.
And I kind of figured that out the classroom helped me get that. And when I was able to translate that fully onto the basketball court it was great until I got fired and I got fired. I couldn’t believe it. And we had been there 14 years and we had we’re coming off a couple of down years, but we were loaded.
We kind of kept our young group together and all of that, but they weren’t wanting to go in another direction. I had never been fired before. I thought I had done a good job, there were no skeletons in the closet. No improprieties. The players had good experiences. And I really didn’t have an answer.
It was almost like having the aneurysm on my spine, every didn’t have an answer, you know? And so that was a difficult moment. I had to really reflect, regroup and relaunch because anytime you have a traumatic situation like that and things don’t go your way and coaches can probably understand this I just want to assess, cause I felt I still had some gas in the tank, but I needed to assess and see what were my successes?
What were my failures? Is there some truth in what’s happening here? And how can I grow from this? I had to take the same ideas and theories that I was sharing with. Players and now apply it to myself. How do you learn from a loss? How do you move forward? Because there’s a, there are more games to play and I did that and I now honestly I wanted to punch the guy in his throat when he said it.
But I can imagine. Yeah, but I didn’t, I didn’t, but I wanted to but I knew that would solve nothing other than that was soft nothing. And so the challenge coming back after vacation, it was right around Easter break when that happened. And I come back to school and having to be in the building with these same people that had just ushered me out was probably the greatest challenge I’ve ever had in my life in terms of having to learn how to be peaceful and get along when things just are ugly.
But we were able to, we were able to do that and I realize that they had moved. They were, they were interviewing people to replace me while I was still trying to be mad at them. And when I realized that they had moved on and I’m like, you know what, I need to forgive and move. I don’t need to stay in this place.
I stayed at the school and taught economics, but I needed to get in a different mental state than where I was. And as, as life has it I got a call from someone that heard I had been let go. And then I became an assistant coach at Concordia University here in Wisconsin, a division three school.
And I had not been back on the college sideline since I left duke. And now I was, and now I was one of the primary recruiters. So I was loving, loving that. So it, it hadn’t ended the way I wanted it Marquette high. But it ended in a way that helped me to move forward to, to experience some things that I would not have done.
Kosha. Concordia university was one of them. And just before started to coach there, I went to Europe to help represent the USA with the USA east coast basketball with Frank Martin. Who’s down to South Carolina and Guy rRncourt. Who’s now at Western Connecticut. And we took some, some guys over to Europe and to Estonia and Finland and to play in some games.
And I would not have been able to do that. Had I still been at Marquette high school cause I would have had some responsibilities. So there’s lessons in all these things that, that, that can happen.
[00:50:24] Mike Klinzing: When you think about obviously getting fired at your Alma mater, it’s not something that I’m sure you envisioned when you first started there, but as you said, it opened up some other doors.
You get the opportunity to be an assistant coach at Concordia. You get the opportunity to travel to Europe and have that experience. What do you remember about that assistant coaching? Position at Concordia in terms of how you, how you handled being an assistant after having been a head coach, where you go from being the guy who it’s your program, you’re making those decisions.
And obviously it’s at a different level, but now you’re an assistant coach and you’re back to being a guy, offering suggestions instead of a guy making those decisions. So how did you adapt to that? Was it a difficult transition? Was it easy because you had already sort of processed what was going on?
Just what was your thoughts there? Well,
[00:51:17] David Cooks: I’ve been an assistant before, but it had been as a manager for coach K and over the years having been a head coach, I knew what I wanted out of my assistant coaches. And because of that, when I went into Concordia, I just wanted to, I just wanted to feel any game.
That the coach may have needed. And, and I didn’t want look at I’d been a head coach. And so that wasn’t an aspiration anymore. I was happy being a coach on a team and having a role to fulfill. I, I try to live what I preach and I used to talk to our players always about fulfill your role, do your job because your job is your job.
And when I got to Concordia it was interesting cause I was in a wheelchair. We had to talk about, I remember the first meeting. You just humbled, you wanna do offense, you wanna do defense I said whatever you’d like for me to do. And eventually we got around to recruiting. I said, well I think I can recruit for you.
I’ve been around. And I know a lot of people and I think I can help with that. And he said, well, how do we get you on a bus? So, and, and so here I am thinking, oh, I’m like, what the heck? I think I got the job. And so we worked through some of those things. I said, well, they’ve got these buses with lifts on them now and all that kind of stuff.
And you know, there’s some real issues I can always get there. And so we’ve been begin to work through some of the logistics of it all and the basketball took care of. I just wanted to make him better. I wanted him to be the best head coach that he could be. And if there were things that he didn’t do well that I could do well, I would do those and try to help him get better at that.
And that’s how I approached being an assistant coach. I also learned when I was at Marquette high school, and this was a hard lesson for me to learn. I had an assistant coach, Neil O’Connell. I had a great staff, Neil and Mark Briggs, and those guys, but Neil O’Connell had come from another part of the state.
And I really liked him. I hired him as an assistant and he was a huge 1, 3, 1 zone guy. And he came from a place that had run that in one, one, all these state championships and everything. And he kept talking to me about this 1, 3, 1 zone because we had long athletic guys. And, and when we got out of our conference into this state tournament, we were facing really good athletic city type teams, and they would just be too much for us.
And he was on me about that. And, and I didn’t listen to him for a couple of years. And the reason I didn’t listen to him is because I didn’t know how to run it quite honestly. And once I kind of swallowed my pride and I actually said to him, I said, Neil, look, I think you’re right. I don’t know how to run this.
Why don’t you? This is your responsibility. I’ll sit back and learn how to run this from what you teach our guys. And he did that for a year and a half or so for us before I could understand how the ins and outs of that 1, 3, 1 zone. That’s what I brought with me. When I went to Concordia, the importance of listening and adding in and not having and not having such a big ego, I’m here to serve.
Coaches are there to serve. If you really frame it in that way, it will keep you grounded in a place where you can really grow and help others to grow.
[00:54:44] Mike Klinzing: That’s well said. I think when you can keep your. Ego out of it and understand that it’s about serving whether it’s your head coach or serving the players that you’re working for.
I think that’s when we ended up getting better results. When did you start to formulate the idea behind David Cook’s enterprises and thinking about your public speaking, thinking about writing the book, thinking about getting started with the podcast, some of the things that you’re doing now. When did those ideas start to percolate in your mind?
[00:55:23] David Cooks: It was about, it was in 2016. I was sitting down in the kitchen with my wife and I said to her, I said, she knows what, hon. I think that my assignment is up at the high school. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next. You know, it’s been there now for 17 years and I had not coached there for three years and I just told her, I wasn’t sure, but I think I’m supposed to leave.
And she said, well, you’re okay. You know, if that’s what you think, then let’s see what happens. And I remember telling the guys the last day of class I thanked him for all the support over the years and stuff. And I said, I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do guys, but I know I’m supposed to write a book and I think I’m supposed to speak to people.
And that’s how I left the high school. And I didn’t know what, I didn’t know how to do any of that. I’m not a big writer or a reader. I’m more of one now than I was before. And I began this journey of being uncomfortable again. And I believe that sometime we learn most when we’re most uncomfortable.
And I learned how to sit down and write this book. I made a bunch of mistakes. Got it. Right. It’s interesting. I. I didn’t write the book until I had a near death experience. In, in December of 2016, I was on my way to Boston. I was flying to give a speech in Boston. I had just gotten hired by a speaking agency.
And they wanted me to come out just to give 10 minutes to this group. And then afterwards, whatever a handshaking time and try to get you some contracts, partly on my way there on that flight. Partly halfway there. So I began to have trouble breathing and I remember the flight attendant came and asked me.
You know, did I need oxygen? And you know, I was like, well, oxygen has never killed anybody. So that’s, I’ll take that. And so I took it in and I said to them, if you could just have an EMT waiting for me when we get off here, because I’ve got about three hours in between when I land and when I was supposed to speak and I just want to get to an ER and make sure I’m okay.
I thought it was some sort of flu bug or something. Well, it turned out I had some massive blood clots in my lungs and I did not give that speech that weekend and ended up in emergency room, getting some surgery done that saved my life as I was in the ICU, because there were no hospital beds anywhere in the, in the house.
One of my former students was a doctor there. I didn’t know that they heard I was in the hospital and they came to see me and they began to share my story a little bit with some of the staff there. And then another than my first manager on the team at Marquette high school his name is Steve Bodhi and he’s a soccer coach.
Now he was actually coaching at Brown university. He came up here. I was in a hospital and he came and visited me in ICU. And he began to tell the staff about coach K and all this other kind of stuff. And I was like, why don’t you do that? So here they are coming in. So now I’m in ICU tubes everywhere and I’m, and I’m a famous guy.
Now you’re the center of attention center of attention. And so the doctor says. And my wife, I just, she had just come in and he asked where was my book? And I wasn’t sure I’m like, I didn’t know what he was talking about. Cause you know, I’m in ICU and I don’t know if he means a book or does he mean a book?
I don’t know. And so he said to my wife where he needs to really write a book we’ve heard so much about what he’s done. And I said, okay, you know what? I told the guys, I thought I was supposed to write a book and speak and I was, but I think I was on my journey to purpose, but I was out of order.
I was supposed to write the book first and then start speaking. So I canceled everything when I got back home and sat down and wrote the book and published it in 2018. And that experience was a challenge. Just because I had, I didn’t, who do you think is going to read it? You know, and again, just, but then as I begin to write and begin to go back and think about stories and things that people could could relate to, I began to, to realize how, how blessed my life really is and all of these different experiences that I had the duke experience, the concurrency of being a banker all that stuff.
And I was like, wow, you cause oftentimes you, unless you get a forced stop, like I did, you don’t really stop and look back at your journey. And, and I’m just grateful that I did. And that that’s really what has inspired me to keep going. Even in these times where the speaking market is.
Dried up to virtual speaking for the most part with COVID and, and those types of things. But you move forward and you reinvent yourself. And we talk about the pivot in basketball. And I, I believe that footwork is the most important skill you can have in the game, because if your feet are right, you can’t be defended.
And so pivoting is so important. Now I before I started the podcast, I know this sounds crazy. Like how much stuff have you been through? It was, it was, it was, it was late 2019. I had just gotten off off the circuit. Had a great speaking year, was on some big stages, finished a speech here in Milwaukee.
And that was it for the year. And I wasn’t feeling great. And I thought I had the flu. So I told my wife, I said, let’s go to the ER, I just don’t feel great. I get there and they tell me I have sepsis now. I don’t know what sepsis is. So I’m like, well, all right, whatever. Let’s just get this done so I can get back to whatever we have to do.
And they were like, well, all that facts, it may not be as fast as you like. So, so in the midst of 120 days of full bed rest, I had a lot of time to watch YouTube reflect and think. And during that time, I also took some options trading classes, but that’s another conversation. During that time, I began to think, how can I get this message in my book to people?
And so I put together with a friend of mine a series called insights from getting undressed. Cause my name, the name of the book is getting undressed from paralysis to purpose. And it was a 16 week series where I interviewed people from all over the country who had read this book to get their insights, to get what it was that motivated them in the midst of doing that.
I was so encouraged and so moved by. I didn’t know the impact that my book and my life was having on the people who read it had no clue, no clue. It was kind of like that coach, coach player thing you come back and you’re like, oh, I don’t remember saying that. Absolutely. I was having that experience.
And so that was all going on, then COVID hit. So where do you go? Well, I was like, you know what? I need to write another book, which I still need to do. But then I said, I’d like to do a podcast call it paralysis to purpose and feature stories that have people who have gone from difficult moments, got through that and are now fulfilling purpose by serving others.
And with that, as the theme behind what I was doing, I, I. Sending emails to whoever I thought had a great story. And they begin to say yes at a very high level, which was amazing to me. And so we launched the podcast is past June, and we were about to go into season three and our lineup is amazing.
So I, I’m just grateful for these opportunities. And I’m glad that I’ve learned to be open to growth and to change as a coach, I think those are two things you need to have in your life to be open to growth and to change because if you don’t you’ll be trying to run the offense from 1930 and you lose the three point shot game.
[01:03:33] Mike Klinzing: There’s no question about that. It’s an interesting, interesting turn of events for you and just the different twists and turns that. Your life has taken. And yet all the while it seems like you were headed in this direction of being able to use your life to have an impact on others. And I know the podcast, one of the things that struck me about what you said that I can completely relate to is once you had the platform to reach out to people who maybe you thought, oh, that person may not want to come on, or they may not want to share their story, or maybe they’re going to say no, but once you have the platform, it becomes a lot easier to ask.
If you were just going to call up and try to have a conversation with somebody, but you didn’t really have a reason or a purpose or a platform. It’s a lot harder, but once Jason, I kind of had this podcast up and going and we had interviewed some people, suddenly it got a lot easier to reach out to people and ask and say, Hey, do you want to come on?
And it’s very rare that we get somebody that says, no, I don’t want to do it. And sometimes we can’t reach certain people depending on how big they are, but, but most often, if we can reach them they often say yes. And I think that’s probably the same thing that you’re experiencing. I want to ask you just one question about the podcast and that is when you think of the episodes that you’ve done to this point is there and you don’t have to pick out your favorite guests.
I don’t like it when people ask me that question because you can’t really narrow it down, but is there a particular lesson that one of your guests shared with you that had a particular impact on you as you’re interviewing them?
[01:05:04] David Cooks: Wow. That’s yeah, I think of The difference between in fact, admit that may have come from this week’s podcast, the difference between moving on and moving forward.
And I didn’t know what that meant. And the guests were going to talk about sometimes you can’t move on from a situation because it’s so traumatic, but you can deal with that and move forward and leave that where it is. And I, I just thought that was so profound from someone who had, had such a devastating loss in his life the ability to move forward and the difference between that and moving on, I just thought that was amazing.
I mean, I could probably go through a number of stories cause we’ve had you just, it’s amazing. And you know, this as a podcast host a person’s story is the most powerful thing they have. And when you begin to hear some of the stories of people and the things that they’ve gone through, that you, you think you do your research, but you really don’t know everything.
And you’re like, oh, absolutely. Oh my goodness. This is amazing to me. And so, but that was, that was pretty profound, the, the importance of knowing how to move forward. And that’s, that takes a lot that takes forgiveness and a bunch of other things when you’ve been mishandled in Ms. Treated and how to move forward is kinda, kinda I kind of learned that when I got fired at mark and high school, I had, I had to move forward.
[01:06:32] Mike Klinzing: It’s a powerful message. I think it’s one that anybody who’s gone through adversity in their life, which is everybody at some point varying degrees of adversity, but to be able to take that lesson and apply it to your own life, I think is one that can be very powerful before we wrap up David, I want to give you an opportunity to share where people can find out more about.
How can they connect with you? Where can they get the book work? And they listen to the podcast. It is your chance to give your one minute elevator pitch, give us everything you got. And then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
[01:07:05] David Cooks: First of all, thank you for this opportunity. And and hopefully we, we shared something that will inspire your audience.
If people want to get ahold of me. I have a couple of websites. One is DavidCooksspeaks.com and then our podcast website is paralysis2purpose.com. I’m on social media @DCEspeaks LinkedIn, David Cooks MBA. And if you’re interested in getting a copy of my book, which is called getting undressed from paralysis to purpose it’s on Amazon, but also you can get it off my website.
If you’d like a autograph copy, you can get it there. I think that’s really it. You know, I’d love to speak at your organization. I love doing coaches clinics. To talk about all kinds of things because I still have that coach in me that it’s funny as much as I, my wife coached and she actually played division one basketball at Fairfield university.
And we’re both not coaching. Now. This is our first year not coaching and I don’t miss. I think it was time for me to stop that part of it. But coaching coaches is something I really love doing too.
[01:08:12] Mike Klinzing: That’s good stuff. And well said, David, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to jump out with us.
You have a very, very powerful story. Anybody’s out there as a part of our audience. If you get a chance to pick up a copy of David’s book or listen to his podcast, please do so. Again, David, thank you. And to everyone, who’s a part of our audience. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode.