Thing’s I’ve Learned

The last few days have been really tough. The sadness seeps in not so much when thoughts of “what am I going to do for a job” come into my head but more so when I think about my wife, who was born and raised in East Tennessee, our 5 month old daughter and leaving so many great friends. My family and friends are whom I work to make proud every day. It’s honestly them I look up to. But now, my wife is looking to me with wide, curious, nervous eyes asking what’s next? I can’t answer that yet. One thing I do know is I’m not just sitting still.

The son of a father who’s a former college basketball player, current medical sales rep and a hall of fame high school volleyball coach, my family was raised to be competitive doers. The word “can’t” — no joke — was not allowed in my house growing up. I can still hear my dad today saying, “We don’t say that word.” So, I’ve taken the approach that with every ending there is a new beginning. I’ve been on the phone, computer and setting up meetings at the Final 4 to try and find something new. I strongly believe those who wait around for something good to happen to them, blame others, or feel sorry for themselves during tough times will get left in the dust. This entire situation has forced me into a new journey. But I can guarantee you, I’ll find a way to reach my goals, somehow, some way at God’s speed.

Although miserable at times because I feel as though I should always be doing something, this experience is teaching me a lot. It has already taught me that there truly are tons of great people out there. Your supportive emails, tweets and blog comments I could never accurately communicate to you how much they have meant to me. In addition, the messages from so many former players such as Chris Lofton, Wayne Chism, Jordan Howell and Dane Bradshaw to former walk-ons Quinn Cannington and Tanner Wild, have been the best! However, the biggest blessing of all this has been the extra time I’ve gotten to spend with my wife and daughter. My wife accurately joked with me the other day that I’ve been around more the last week then I have been throughout an entire month of the season.

During this time off I have learned a few other things as well. The following is a list of these things:

1.     I like hearing my daughter cry just as much as I like hearing players cry and complain…I can’t stand it

2.     Do not blast your music in your head phones while your daughter is in child care at the gym because if she start’s crying and your name is called over the intercom to come get her you definitely wont be able to hear. (Yes, I’m an idiot.)

3.     The coaching fraternity is a tight group. You need as many friends and supporters as possible in this business.

4.     Feeding your daughter is not as easy as it sounds. My daughter grabbed her bowl of cereal and then rubbed it on her face Wednesday morning.

5.     Sweetened condensed milk, contrary to my belief, is not in the milk section of the grocery store. I guess that is what happens when I pick up the things on our grocery list.

6.     Babies really do sleep a lot and I am jealous they get to wear “onesies” all day every day

7.     This is the first time in my life I have not had something basketball related going on between 2:30-6:00pm for a couple days in a row since, ummmm, grade school???

8.     I can and will start going to watch AAU events, visiting coaches at practice and working out player’s since I am not currently employed by an NCAA institution.

9.     Just because of the amount we got back on our tax returns yesterday, I suggest getting married and having a baby every year!

10. Pandora’s Disney station is awesome and “Hakuna Matata” is probably the best Disney song ever.

In addition to learning these things I have been vigorously working on my resume and contacting different places at all levels with potential coaching openings. I will leave Thursday for the Final Four in Houston with my principles and coaching philosophies in my head, my resume in hand and my fingers crossed, eager for an opportunity. I don’t wish things to happen, I work to make them happen so hopefully this work will all pay off soon.

Thanks for reading!

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About Mark Pancratz's Blog

A native of Schaumburg, Ill., Mark Pancratz played Division I basketball at UW-Milwaukee, earning his degree in marketing and finance. He joined Tennessee's staff in 2006 as a graduate assistant, earning his master's degree in sports management later that year. Serving as a G.A., director of video scouting and assistant to the head coach, Pancratz was an integral part of Tennessee's six-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. At 26, Pancratz boasts an impressive 18 games of NCAA Tournament experience as a player and/or administrative staff member. He is a member of the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and voted one of the 100 Legends of Illinois High School Basketball. Pancratz resides in Knoxville and is married to the former Brooke Waddell.
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10 Responses to Thing’s I’ve Learned

  1. Matt says:

    good luck brother. love your enthusiasm in the tough times!

    “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”

    go vols!

  2. Nick Angel says:

    Great entry Coach! You are the type of person that will find work very soon. Far too many people wait for something to happen and are still waiting today. A go-getter attitude will make you successful and I hope you fall into place where you need to be soon! I have no problem believing that will happen. Best of wishes and keep the blogs coming!

  3. Gary Brown says:

    Mark, things will work out for you. You are a solid kid and coach. I’ve been in your shoes before and it’s all a distant blur. Being mama-dad will be a great experience for you too! keep the faith and keep your chin up.

  4. Teresa says:

    I’m really glad you may keep your blog going, Mark. I want to follow your career (and you’ll have a great one) and this is how I want to do it. With your work ethic, intelligence & drive, you’re going to be fine. I’m still crossing my fingers that we see you back in Vol orange someday.

    Have fun at the Final Four! Take a little time from networking & enjoy some good basketball. You’ve earned it.

  5. Carole Lamb says:

    From one unemployed member of the Vol Nation to another, God has a plan for you. I am an architect who lost my job last May and God has more than met our needs this year (we even kept our season basketball tickets!). Claim his promises in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” I keep that verse on the dashboard in my car. Love reading your blogs! God speed and keep us posted!

  6. Jeff says:

    Mark, I know God will direct your paths as your faith leans on Him more and more, and I hope that path will lead you back to Knoxville sometime in the future. Until someone experiences it, you just never know how special a place Tennessee is….and even with the way things came down this week, I hope you will conitinue to feel that way. The Big Orange Nation will miss you….God’s speed to you and your family.

  7. ROBERT G. FOX says:

    THIS IS YOUR AND MRS. P USHER FRIEND FROM UT (CANDY USHER). MAY YOU AND MRS. B HANG TOUGH
    LOVE EACH OTHER AS YOU NEVER HAVE ALONG WITH THE LITTLE ONE IN YOUR ARMS AS ONLY A GIFT FROM GOD SHOULD BE HELD. DURING THIS TIME I WILL LIFT YOU UP IN PRAYER AS ONLY WE WHO BELIEVE KNOW
    HOW TO DO. REMEMBER THIS: WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU IN LIFE WILL ONLY MAKE YOU STRONGER.
    MAY GOD CONTINUE TO HOLD YOU GUYS AND MOST OF ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND.
    BEST OF LUCKAND GOD BLESS
    ROBERT G FOX 865-705-8939 865-986-2611

  8. Randy says:

    Great entry coach. I know we dont know each other personally but we are all family in the vol nation and ill be praying for you and your family. I coach a recreation league team also so if theres any bball advice you feel free to share that would be greatly appreciated as well. Thanks for your time

  9. Gene Dalton says:

    One of the most interesting blogs I’ve read. Real life drama. Not like those “canned” articles by sports writers. Good luck coach. Really sorry your leaving UT this way, but have every confidence that high quality coaches like you and the other BBall coaches will find work shortly.

  10. Mikki Jacobs says:

    Will be praying for the future for you and your family. God bless.

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