University of South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin has gained his fair share of leadership experiences, and he was not at all hesitant to share them Wednesday.
Martin, who coached the Gamecocks to the Final Four in 2017, visited Shaw …
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Martin, who coached the Gamecocks to the Final Four in 2017, visited Shaw Air Force Base on Wednesday to talk with military members about life and leadership at the Carolina Skies Club and Conference Center. This was the first of four "Leadership Discussion" sessions Shaw is having in collaboration with USC.
"I don't care what walk of life you take; leadership is something that we all take for granted sometimes," Martin said. "And in today's day and age, more than ever, opposition to leadership exists more than it's ever existed. It's important that we all who have leadership jobs continue to convey that we all have similar challenges so we can stay excited about the jobs that we're trying to do."
Martin said he is appreciative of everything the military has done for the country and was happy to speak to those who serve.
"No. 1, I get to coach basketball, and players play basketball because of the sacrifices of our military in this country," he said. "So, any time I can be a part of what the military stands for, I'm all in. It's no questions asked."
Martin also pointed out the similarities between coaching college basketball and training military recruits.
"We (USC basketball) recruit 18-year-olds just like the military," he said. "We deal with their growth between the ages of 18 to 22, 23, with the hope that eventually they become successful men and women that gather success from the structure that's added in their life. I think both organizations are very similar in (their) fundamentals."
There was one piece of advice that Martin wanted people to take away from his speech above all others.
"If you want to lead, you have to stay true to who you are," he said. "You can't change who you are based on outside opinions. We live in a country where everyone can express how they think in what they say, and that's awesome. But we can't change who we are and the audience that we're trying to captivate because of the opinions of people out of your room. They don't have an idea of what happens in your room, so their opinions are really irrelevant to what's happening."
Martin advised to hold the opinions of those close to you in higher regard than the opinions of those who don't have a big impact on your life.
"Like I tell our players, the outside noise is always gonna be there," he said. "Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad. It's irrelevant. The only noise that matters is what happens on the inside, and that's what I was trying to share today. Let's not cater who we are based on what people on the outside think. Stay connected to the people on the inside and value their voices, which is what matters."
Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Harvey said he was excited for Martin to talk at Shaw about leadership because of how important a topic it is in the military.
"In our organization, as in coach's (Martin) organization, you have to have effective leadership if you want to be successful," Harvey said. "People don't quit jobs. They quit leaders. So, the opportunity here today presented itself for all the folks to listen to somebody else outside the uniform, which provided them a different perspective on leadership so that they can glean a coach's experience and bring it back to their organizations with the goal of helping to make them more effective leaders as individuals, which, in turn, impacts success of their folks that they work with as well as their organizations."
Harvey said he noticed Martin's leadership style somewhat aligned with his own.
"With regards to how he's applied his successes," he said, "but (also) how he's used his failures to lead to those successes he's had as a leader within the organizations he's worked with and the teams that he's led."
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