Ask a men's basketball player why he chose Queens, and he's likely to say "Coach Wes Long."
Junior Brent Evans remembers Coach Long, "really grabbed me with the truth and honesty that came out of his mouth."
Similarly, freshman Justin Hollimon says, "he didn't tell me the things I wanted to hear. He was really straight up about the opportunities here for me."
With integrity as his calling card, it is no surprise that Long's coaching revolves around Trust, Integrity, and Care (TIC). He says his TIC model is built on the three core values fostering "meaningful and productive relationships...When [the guys] know you care, they trust you - and you back that trust up by living with integrity, then you can accomplish some great things together."
Brent, a sports communications major from Beaufort, S.C., says the TIC model holds him and his teammates to "a certain standard...whether it is individually or as a collective group." The model enables him "to think about the game like never before."
The message is you can't achieve the goal by yourself, said Justin, a native of Decatur, Ga. "There's no individual mindset...there's no selfishness here." It's a big change, he said. "We all were the best players on our team; we were used to being The Guy."
Yet, having every player invested in being just one guy on The Team helps the Royals stand out. "Teams that don't build that culture fight with each other repeatedly, don't respect their teammates or their coaches, and don't know what it means to be disciplined," Brent said.
For Long, the model offers "a common foundation to believe in and base our connectedness on.
"Young people want to be a part of something that is about more than just winning...Winning is definitely one of our goals every time we take the floor, but there has to be something there that binds us together beyond success on the scoreboard."
The TIC model does not necessarily make things easier for the coaching staff; if anything it requires greater responsibility. Nevertheless, Long says, "it's never been a goal of mine to make the job easier, quite the contrary - I've wanted to make the job more meaningful."