Monmouth Basketball Coach King Rice Inspires AVID Students at RBR
Average students with medium to high standardized test scores looking to improve their GPA and attend college were given some valuable lessons by the professional college coach.
“No matter where you are from, whatever your situation, you can succeed if you are motivated,” King told the captivated audience of Buccaneers.
Mr. Rice was invited to RBR not to solicit future basketball players, but to inspire the schools’ AVID students, who are identified with great potential. Through AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college preparatory program, students are provided the tools to develop that potential and encouraged to compete in the schools’ most rigorous courses.
Coach Rice informed the students to set their standards high. He explained that as the one-time highest high school basketball scorer in the nation, he set his sights on playing in the National Basketball Association.
Rice played basketball in college and several of his teammates, including his best friend, Rick Fox, who went on to play professional basketball for the Boston Celtics and Los Angles Lakers. However, although King Rice did not achieve his loftiest goal, he told the students that as the head coach of a major college basketball team, he feels he has achieved something even more important since he gets the opportunity to positively shape young lives every day.
But his was not an easy path, and he warned the students not to allow obstacles to deter them. His father, while an inspiration to him, never graduated high school. Nor was his mother highly educated. Also, an explosive temper almost derailed his future. He told the students to learn from his mistakes, stating, “Whenever you feel your temper rising, realize that the only person that will hurt is you.”
He was the definition of persistence explaining that he was turned down for five other head coach jobs before Monmouth University decided to give him a chance, crediting his doggedness, optimism and perennial smile.
“Coach Rice connected strongly with our students, who appreciated his candor in telling them of his positive life outcome which endured trials and setbacks, said Rob Donohoe, who supervises the AVID program. "His overall message of persistence, optimism, forbearance and encouraging them to take advantage of all opportunities presented was a powerful one that resonated with our students.”