On Saturday, Texas men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Kenyon College. He began with a disclaimer.
“I’m a really emotional guy, and as I look out at you guys I see so much of myself in you,” Smart said. “So I’m gonna try to keep it together, that way it’ll go quicker.”
— Kenyon College (@KenyonCollege) May 20, 2017
One day after congratulating Shaq Cleare, Kendal Yancy, T.J. Ford and numerous other Longhorns on their graduations in Austin, Smart stood on the Gambier, Ohio, campus where he graduated in 1999. His speech lasted about 15 minutes. (You can watch it in full at the bottom of this post.)
He shared several anecdotes from his personal journey to becoming the head coach at Texas, and provided some seminal advice for Kenyon’s Class of 2017.
“Not everyone will understand your path, he said. “Not everyone will see what you see. That’s OK. As a civil rights leader Howard Thurman said, ‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’
“Today, more than ever, the world you’re inheriting needs you to choose a path that makes you come alive and follow it unapologetically. You won’t regret it.”
Smart also dropped a couple “F-bombs.”
“Every day, choose your relationship with feedback and with failure, and choose wisely. Because make no mistake about it, in the real world, those two ‘F-bombs’ are coming.”
— Justin Newell (@jnwl1213) May 20, 2017
It’s not the first time Smart has delivered a commencement speech. You may remember he gave one to UT’s history grads last May. The one he gave Saturday was clearly special to him, though. Smart majored in history at Kenyon, graduating magna cum laude. His 542 assists still stand as the program record for the Lords, who compete in NCAA Division III.
Watch Smart’s commencement speech below.
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