top of page


  • Writer's pictureDanny Ourian

What are you willing to get fired over?

I listened to a segment by the great Kevin Eastman regarding the 10 concepts of great leaders, and "values" was one of them. He specified what he meant by "values" as that which you're willing to get fired over. It took me no time to think about my experience as a head coach for the semi-professional Men's basketball team in the Palestinian Basketball League, De La Salle.

During that time, I was a young coach trying to establish myself and how I coached. One thing I knew for certain, was that deliberate practice and team cohesion were very important to me. This was a team that was rich in tradition (yes, a semi-pro team in the Palestinian Basketball League could be rich in tradition) and we were off to a slow start by their standards. At 4-3 on the young season, we were hitting some growing pains and the team's management became a bit uneasy. They imported an American player who had recently completed his college career and flew him over to join our squad. I was excited to have another talented player join our roster! However, what happened next I was not prepared for.

The player landed in Jerusalem on a Friday evening and Saturday evening we had a hotly contested game. Throughout the early portion in the season I was instilling a discipline in the value of everyone attending practice and committing their time and energy to be focused throughout, even with many of them holding down two jobs and having families to spend time with. This was what I believed in. A commitment to practice was - and is - a value.

So that evening, when we were warming up, I took Justin (the American import) aside and told him that, since we hadn't had a chance to have him practice as yet, we were happy to have him suit up but couldn't play him. He totally understood. As the game went on, and it was neck and neck, I actually had a member of the management team approach me during the game and ask me to put Justin in. I told him I couldn't do that right now, and went back to coaching my team. Sure enough, we lost the game. A tough loss to take, no doubt. The next day, we practiced, and I was able to get Justin filled in on our actions on both sides of the ball, and his new teammate's names.

I wouldn't see the next game. The management felt I breached their trust by not putting Justin in the game and they fired me after the practice. I understood, and to this day I recognize this story as a situation I learned from but wouldn't change. Yes, AI, practice matters! Knowing your teammates, matters. Even if only just some small bit. If that was worth firing me over, so be it. I would do it the same way again.

In coaching, and in life, you learn that you have to have certain principles which guide you in your decision making process. Without them, you are rudderless, and able to be taken advantage of at every turn. By standing by a set of guiding principles - basic tenets that you would get fired over - you are pitching your fork in the sand and saying "I stand here." Without them, you lack definition as a coach and as a person. You lack the ability to be brave when necessary.

Let me know how I can assist you on your journey.


Coach Dan


bottom of page