If USD women’s coach Amy Williams is looking for inspiration for motivating her team in Tuesday’s Summit League championship, Herb Brooks might be a good source.
The legendary hockey coach guided Team USA to arguably the single-greatest win in American sports history in 1980, when his team of college all-stars upset the Soviet National team 4-3 at Lake Placid.
But until that win was immortalized in film a few years ago, few people remembered that the win over Russia was not actually for the Gold medal, it came in the first game of the medal round.
They still had to beat Finland to clinch the Gold Medal the next day. Needless to say, the win over the Soviets would have lost much of its luster had the Yanks not completed the task.
Brooks certainly knew that, and while his players probably did, too, he still emphasized it pretty pointedly in the locker room during the second intermission of the Gold medal game.
According to 1980 team captain Mike Eruzione, Brooks’s speech before the third and final period was short and to the point.
Brooks entered the dressing room, looked at his players and said, ‘If you lose this game, you’ll take it to your (redacted) graves.’ He took a few steps towards the door, turned back and repeated, ‘Your (redacted) graves’, and walked out.
Now, that hockey game had a little more riding on it than the Summit League championship, although USD’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament would be no minor accomplishment. And while ending SDSU’s remarkable run of 5 straight tournament titles and 15 straight tourney wins marks the biggest win of USD’s D1 era, it isn’t that big of an upset.
Still. This is a game the Coyotes really need to win. I’m not suggesting the USD women will take it to their graves if they lose to a 9-22 Denver team, but, well, the win over SDSU isn’t going to be quite as great of a memory if the Coyotes don’t finish the job.
(No Live Chat this week. Sorry)