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Longwood coach Griff Aldrich left lucrative law career


Griff Aldrich worked for nearly two decades in private equity and law. After he retired from law, Aldrich was able to get a coaching job in college basketball.

Aldrich has begun to prepare for the future. March MadnessThe 47-year-old Longwood University Lancers coach guides them to NCAA’s Big Dance for the school’s debut.

Aldrich had a successful career in 2016. Aldrich was a partner in one of the top international law firms. He became the chief financial officer at a private equity company, earning $800,000. The Washington PostIt was last week. Ryan Odom, Ryan Odom’s best friend, was hired as the head basketball coach for the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.

Odom offered Aldrich a $32,000-per-year job as the director of recruiting. It brought Aldrich closer towards fulfilling his lifelong goal: coaching college basketball. Aldrich accepted.

This was an historic moment. The UMBC team made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2018. momentous upset over the University of VirginiaIt was the 16th-seed team ever to beat a No. 1 seed. Aldrich makes today’s 1 seed. $150,000Longwood in Farmville, Virginia was my first appearance as the NCAA Division I basketball coach.

Aldrich responds to CNBC Make It when asked if he would have predicted this outcome. Not at all.”

He says that it is important to take action when you recognize your calling. Aldrich states, “Often it’s just continuing doing the same thing you are doing but from a different perspective.” It can be a sudden shift, like mine. It is something I encourage. [you]To really explore [that].”

A decades-long career crossroads

Aldrich started his coaching career nearly twenty years ago. In college, he and Odom played Division-III basketball for Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, Virginia. Odom was also the father of Dave Odom who was head coach for Wake Forest’s basketball program.

Aldrich, who graduated from Wake Forest in 1996 was eager to become an assistant coach. Aldrich’s acceptance to University of Virginia’s highly regarded law school was shocking to Odom, who advised the younger man to pursue his law degree.

Aldrich, who had just finished law school, returned to Hampden-Sydney in the role of assistant coach. This season saw Hampden-Sydney win its first ever championship. Soon, he faced a crossroads: Should he keep pursuing his dream of coaching or take a job at highly regarded law firm Vinson & Elkins, which would help pay off his student loans?

“I had much fear during that year that I would not be good enough to coach. [as a coach],” Aldrich says. “There was no possible way I would be able not to climb a ladder.”

Aldrich accepted the job, and moved to Houston where he met Julie and got married. Aldrich became a partner and adopted three children. He left Vinson & Elkins to run an energy investment company, before joining a private investment firm as CFO in 2014.

With every step, he says, he became more committed to his lucrative career — but basketball kept lurking in the back of his mind. His free time was spent coaching AAU basketball teams, with the aim of mentoring Houston’s inner-city teens. This only fueled his passion. 

Aldrich explains, “I loved what was going on in private equity at that time.” Every morning I would think about basketball, the children, their lives, etc. Some of my basketball friends started asking me questions and I began to wonder if I was crazy. 

In a “serendipity” or what Aldrich refers to as “divine appointment”, Odom offered Aldrich a job at UMBC’s Director of Recruitment. When he was offered the job, Odom said “Hey, I want you to help me build a programme.” Aldrich says. Aldrich:

The corporate job helped him become a better coach

Aldrich calls his wife “the adventurous one,” and credits her for encouraging him to take the UMBC job — even if it meant much lower pay and moving their family across the country. Devout Christian, Aldrich says his decision not to pursue a career in corporate sales can only be understood “through my faith’: He didn’t feel fulfilled spiritually by his obsession with the corporate ladder.

Aldrich said that basketball gives him a deeper sense of meaning.

He said, “I am a firm believer in the fact that athletics is a way to show one’s character.” “Coaches and teams have the unique ability to make a difference in people’s lives, which is something that parents and other authority figures can’t do.”

Ironically, this is where Aldrich’s lessons learned from his corporate career come in handy. As a lawyer working with Fortune 500 clients, Aldrich says he got an up-close view of what made successful companies tick — or, in some cases, where they could improve.

He says that successful organizations emphasize character traits such as accountability and character. It’s important to surround oneself with people who have the same goals as you.

Aldrich states, “It is all about people.” We talk about it being a developmental program. We need coaches that are invested in the development of kids and not just because they like Division-I basketball. [basketball]They know it. It has to be at another level.”

It seems to be paying off. On Sunday the NCAA gave Longwood a No. 14 seedIn this year’s tournament and set the school’s game against No. Tennessee will be the 3rd seed at 2:45 PM on Thursday, March 17. ET. It will take place in Indianapolis, and it will air live on CBS.

Aldrich claims that he has the right mindset for preaching ahead of Thursday because of the historic defeat at UMBC four year ago. He says, “We are not going to attempt to do something heroic or unusual.” “What we are going to do, is be Longwood basketball at its best and to execute at the highest levels.”

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