|MSU Head Coach Sean Woods|
Woods is a legend in the state of Kentucky. He was a member of the 1992 East Regional final team and scored 21 points against Duke in one of the most memorable games in the history of NCAA basketball. He was named SWAC Coach of the Year last season and earned the prestigious Ben Jobe Award, which honors the top minority coach in NCAA Division I men’s college basketball. He led Mississippi Valley State into the NCAA tournament last season after finishing with a record of 21-13 overall, 17-1 in the SWAC. While Woods’ resume speaks for itself, his action last Wednesday night in Lexington, Ky., were deemed out of line.
During the game against his alma-mater, Woods shoved one of his players who had fouled out of the game and was slow to leave the court. After the altercation, Morehead State suspended Woods for one game for his action during the contest.
“My behavior during Wednesday night’s game was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Woods said. “I value the opportunity I have been given as the head men’s basketball coach at Morehead State. I am passionate about the young man on our team and the opportunity we have together. I care for them deeply. I can assure our student-athletes, university community, alumni and fans that anything approaching this type of situation will not happen again.”
The rest, according to Woods, is history and he and the university are ready to move on from the mistake; although, do not expect Woods’ passion to fade away.
Woods style of coaching is labeled as out of control by some and complete passion by others. Woods prefers the later of the two and is quick to explain why he brings passion to the court every day.
“Basketball is a game of expression,” Woods said. “Play with emotion and a reason. If you don’t have any type of expression, you don’t need to be on the court.”
Forced from the sidelines Monday night, Woods had to watch his team endure a battle with Norfork State without him at the controls of the ship. Morehead State overcame 16 lead changes and seven ties in the contest to eventually secure a 73-67 victory. Woods praised his staff and players for sticking together and finding a way to get the win.
“We found a way,” Woods said. “Playing under distress and with emotion brings us as a program closer and makes us more relentless. It shows me that everyone is looking at the big picture.”
People make mistakes every day, some more serious than others, but for Woods, his mistake was one that he has acknowledged and is ready to move on. How a person reacts after admitting a mistake is often how one is remembered. Woods would not comment about the episode during the Kentucky game, but provided his thoughts about his future with Morehead State basketball. “I have to be Sean Woods and do what is best for my team,” Woods said. His new beginning starts tonight inside the Cam-Henderson Center as his Eagles travel to Huntington to battle the Herd for the first time since 2007. While Woods admits he must stay under control, he admits you can never be too passionate about something you love.
“I bring passion to my team,” Woods said. “It’s contagious and that’s how my team plays. When I see my players reflecting my passion, it’s gratifying.”