Coach “Mac” is a legend in the game of basketball and has experience at every level of the game from NBA to DIII. Currently as the Head Coach of the Texas Legends he proudly boasted the most “call ups” (players going from the G-League to the NBA) last year. His career includes stops coaching at Notre Dame, George Washington, University of North Carolina, and various stops in the NBA D League (now G League) and one season in China. Coach Mac is a proud believer in the Positive Coaching Alliance and has used their influence to develop his coaching philosophies.
I Am the Only One That Wants to Be Here
Being a G League Coach has many unique challenges but the biggest may be that no one but the coach wants to be on the team. Every player is working relentlessly to be called up to the NBA and Coach Mac has used this next step mentality to create the philosophies that he currently uses as the Head Coach of the Texas Legends. To start, he emphasizes an extreme up tempo style of play that helps his players to get the numbers they need to be recognized while providing an entertaining brand of basketball for his loyal Texas Legends fans. Instead of letting the desire to be moved up pull his team a part he strategically uses it to create “win-win” situations for both the individual and the team.
Boasting the most call-ups in all of the D League (Now G League) last year, his philosophy is clearly working. Another critical part of his philosophy is emphasizing that team success works in cohesion with individual success. Statistically the players that get called up come from winning teams, winners typically win wherever they go!
Coaching Isn’t A Job
Coach Mac’s coaching experience started early on in life as he spent time with his Dad’s teams on recruiting trips, home and away games, practices and served as the team’s ball boy when needed. His father, Bob Mackinnon Sr., coached three different professional teams and spent 23 years as the Brooklyn Nets’ General Manager. When speaking with Coach Mac about his decision to become a coach, it’s clear to see that his dad lit a fire in him for coaching and the impact it could have on others “My dad told me to coach as long as I love to do it. Once it becomes a job, get out of it.” 35 years later Coach Mac is still teaching the game that he loves.
Teaching The Game
If you are a true teacher of the game then there is no greater place than the G League. With a revolving door of players in and out (not just year after year but all throughout the season) the G League presents a constant need to teach your system to incoming players. As a proud advocate of The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), Coach Mac believes in a 5 to 1 positive to negative ratio in coaching and teaching his players. Through research, PCA has shown that by making five positive comments to every one negative comment to your players you increase your chances of getting the best out of them. While being positive is crucial, make no mistake that it doesn’t mean you are soft. “You can be positive and demanding…. you can be positive and hold people accountable.”
With a Master’s Degree in Education, he also puts an emphasis on adjusting his teaching practices to meet a diverse group of learners. He understands that everyone learns differently and will use every medium he can (snapchat, twitter, text, written word, etc.) to get his messages through to his players and staff. As a lead by example and with your words type of leader, he knows that he sets the tone for motivating players and staff every single day. Like learning, each individual is motivated differently. At times he will talk with individuals one on one and at other times will address the whole group. “Everyone is different and everyone brings different things to the table, everyday.”
Putting the Ball in the Net:
While many coaches will utilize shot chart systems and analytics, Coach Mac doesn’t put a lot of stake into a predetermined shot selection system. “By the time that you think about it, the shot is gone. This makes a timid and nervous player and you don’t ever want a timid and nervous player.” His philosophy on shooting is more a positive and free approach with a big emphasis on practicing your shot. In fact, during the season he will have a mandatory team practice during the day and an optional shooting only practice for players at night. Putting the ball into the basket at a high percentage is a premium in the NBA these days and the best way to improve your shooting is to work on your shot consistently!
Coach Mac Quick Hitters:
- We know our players can’t bring 100% every day but whatever percent you are that day we want 100% of that. If you are 70%, give 100% of that 70%.
- The best coaches are the best thieves. We all take from each other!
- Young coaches are always trying to climb the latter and they miss out on valuable learning experiences. Always be a continuous learner!
- We don’t chase guys around, we treat them like men and they are expected to be men and act like professionals.
- We don’t call it giving back to the community we call it becoming a part of the community.
- We never do more than 24-26 clips of scouting an opponent at a time with our players. We keep things basic.
You can follow Coach Mac and the Texas Legends on Twitter: