Originally featured on Coach Smiley’s website: http://coachsmiley.blogspot.com/
A few weeks ago, our staff here at Weber State had the opportunity to sit down and talk with legendary former Utah Jazz Coach & GM (in 1984, Layden was the NBA Coach of the Year AND NBA Executive of the Year) – Wikipedia bio is at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Layden
It was a really great meeting with a ton of insights from Coach Layden. Here are some of my notes:
- As a coach, you have to have outside hobbies, or you’ll burn out. Some of Coach Layden’s are golf, theatre, etc.
- David Stern started a consulting business at age 70: “I missed getting on the train and going into the city every day.”
- “I don’t miss coaching so much, I miss playing.”
- Have to have $$$ to be a successful organization in the NBA – ability to scout, go to Europe, etc
- The only thing different with today’s players is the quality of the athlete. Everything else is the same. Believes the fundamentals haven’t changed.
- The key idea for coaching is CONTROL.
- “Man-Me-Ball” is still the same, most important concept of defense.
- Don’t ever want the offense to feel comfortable.
- Great offensive idea = “As soon as you grab the rebound, that is when spacing begins.”
- Keep it simple and drill, drill, drill. You can never walk away, the concept / drill / fundamental is never figured out.
- Red Aurbach = “we do 6 or 7 things, but we do them very well.”
- The idea of scouting opponents = “take away 2 or 3 things that they do great.”
- In the NBA – games are decided by 2.5 baskets (5 points).
- Change your pace or style after a timeout.
- Coach Layden’s 3 rules = Be on time, Play Hard, Play Smart
- Stories about Stockton taking teammates on the road to mass at 8:30 am every Sunday
- Stories about Malone in the weight room when teammates would leave after workout is supposed to be over – “Where do you think you’re going?”
- Stories about Thurl Bailey in team huddles and guys aren’t paying full attention at end of practice: Screaming at them, “Shut Up, the man (Coach Layden) is showing us how to win games!”
- The #1 goal in college is get a degree
Smiley came to Weber State after spending the six years as the head coach at Sheridan College, a national junior college powerhouse in Sheridan, Wyo. In the six years with the Generals, Smiley posted a 153-43 (.780) overall record and led Sheridan to four North Sub-Region 9 titles and two runner-up finishes. His teams also advanced to the Region 9 Final Four four times and appeared in two championship games. Smiley was twice named the North Region Coach of the Year.
During his time at Sheridan, Smiley had 21 players sign to play NCAA Division I basketball and a total of 38 players moved on to the four-year level. He coached two players who earned NJCAA All-American honors and nine players who earned All-Region honors. Several players wen on to play professional basketball across the world.
In addition to head coach, Smiley also worked as the Athletics Director at Sheridan.
Prior to his time at Sheridan, Smiley spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., where he worked under the winningest coach in NCAA history, Don Meyer. During his time at NSU, the Wolves posted a 50-12 record. Smiley was also the head assistant coach at Black Hills State University during the 2005-06 season.
A native of Denver, Smiley graduated from Northern State in 2004. He was a three-year starter with the Wolves and led the Northern Sun league in assists for three straight seasons. He ranks second in NSU history in career assists with 537. As a senior he was named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Year and the league tournament MVP. He helped lead the team to a 24-7 record and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
He played high school basketball at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo, where he was a four-year starter and earned All-State honors twice. He also led the state of Colorado in assists during his junior season.
Smiley and his wife Nikki have two children, Madden and Avery.