LeVelle Moton, head coach of the men’s basketball team at North Carolina Central University, has written a book that he hopes will inspire others.
The Worst Times Are The Best Times speaks to many of the factors that can and do inspire others and draws from Moton’s life experiences. The coach spoke with BlackEnterprise.com about his yearly charity event, the book he just wrote, and how he inspires his players.
BlackEnterprise.com: What made you decide to write the book The Worst Times Are The Best Times?
LeVelle Moton: I wrote this book to inspire people to make great things happen in their lives, whether young people with similar childhoods and a lot of tough decisions ahead of them, or businessmen and -women looking for a push to work hard and create their own paths to success. The Boys & Girls Club of Raleigh was an incredible gift to me as a child — a place to feel safe, stay out of trouble, and be motivated to make something of myself.Â I have had so many great mentors that have guided me along the way, and I wanted to share just a little of that with others through this book.
What is it about?
Growing up underprivileged in some of the roughest neighborhoods in Boston and Raleigh, I had a difficult childhood and was faced with a lot of challenges as a kid. The book is full of honest stories about my personal experiences and the difficulties I had to face to get to where I am today. I wrote about some of the darkest and most inspiring parts of my life, from my father leaving when I was a child to the death of my grandmother, to my mentors at the Boys & Girls Club. Each chapter of the book includes Inside the Locker Room and Chalkboard sections sharing important lessons I learned and empowering information that I hope will encourage readers, whether they are in a situation similar to mine or not, to work hard and dream big.
My friends and neighboring ACC basketball coaches, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, UNC Chapel Hill Coach Roy Williams, and N.C. State University Coach Mark Gottfried, wrote forewords for the book. It also includes special commentary sections detailing related personal experiences of some of my mentors and friends: Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, a hip-hop record producer, DJ, lecturer and rapper, and two members of New Edition, the multiplatinum selling R&B group from the same neighborhood I grew up in.
What do you want people to get out of reading this book?
Inspiration. We all need it. We must understand that trials and tribulations as well as adversity are a natural part of life. No one’s immune. However, you can’t give up hope during those difficult situations because that is when God is preparing you for your breakthrough.
What led you to coach college ball?
After my playing career, I wanted to remain connected to the game so I humbled myself and began coaching middle school. I was fortunate to have some really good players which led to a high school job. I was fortunate once again to have success and NC Central called and asked me to return home—and the rest is history!
How do you prepare to coach your games and deal with your players? Do you have a regular or planned procedure to do so?
Everything is about relationships. I’m very demanding of my team and in doing that, they must first know that you care about them. So my staff and I attempt to spend the most time outside of basketball with those individuals so they know our hearts. The rest is pretty much fundamental once we hit the court.
What suggestions would you give to someone who has an interest in doing what you do for a living?
Do it because you love the game and the kids. My primary responsibility is to build young men into men. That’s not necessarily an easy task, but it’s a challenge that I have a strong passion for.
If you weren’t coaching, what profession would you most likely be involved in and why?
Teaching, definitely. I began as a middle school teacher and the gratification of impacting young people’s lives on a daily basis is amazing.
You just hosted your annual LeVelle Community Day event at the Boys & Girls Club of Raleigh. How long have you been doing this, and what prompted you to start it?
I’ve been doing this for six years. I grew up in southeast Raleigh and I know firsthand the difficulties and challenges that young people and their families face on a daily basis. My Community Day brings tranquility. An opportunity for those families to leave their worries at the doorsteps and enjoy the fun, food, games, entertainment, and school supplies that we give out that day.
Is there anything you haven’t accomplished yet that you’d like to? When do you hope to achieve it?
Definitely FINAL 4! I also have this obsession to be on OPRAH! Not for who I am but for the lives of others that I’ve touched.