Coaches Series: George Karl


“External motivation is a failing force. Internal motivation is more powerful.” – George Karl

George Karl is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history with 1,175 Career wins, making him the 6th most winningest coach in the history of the league. In 27 seasons, his teams missed the playoffs twice in full seasons. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2013. 

One of George’s many legacies is his ability to bring change to an organization, and for this change to be immediate. Consider:

  • In his first year with the Cavaliers they made the playoffs after a six year drought 
  • At Golden State, they went to the playoffs in his first year after a 10 year drought
  • With the Bucks, they went to the playoffs in his first year playoffs after a seven year drought
  • With the Nuggets, he inherited a team that was 17-25, and they ended the season 32-8.

One of the most common phrases heard in soccer is “it takes time.” For George, it almost never took time for his teams to have success. How did he achieve such consistency at the highest level of coaching? In this Coaches Series episode, George goes into detail on his experience and success, his coaching philosophy, and much more.

The episode was recorded from a talk George recently gave to 100+ youth soccer coaches. George’s connections to soccer go back to when he coached the Real Madrid basketball team and had the chance to observe Real Madrid’s soccer teams and culture. George has further become a fan of soccer through his daughter Kaci, who has played since she was four. There’s so much good material in here that we thought it would be powerful for players, parents, and other coaches to hear on the Players Podcast platform.

Stream or download the episode through the media player and learn more about George’s coaching journey, the players he coached, the best ways to motivate a player (not what you think!), his quest to constantly improve and grow as a coach, and the foundational impact his time at North Carolina and with Coach Smith had on his coaching career and life.

We think you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for listening!

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