How many thank you notes have you written in your life?
If you really like that stuff, maybe 100?
Thank-you notes have gone out of style in recent years due to nearly every aspect of life having moved online, but Texas A&M head coach Buzz Williams refuses to forgo the age-old tradition. In fact, he makes it a point to write 180 thank you notes each month.
Buzz Williams is as old fashioned as it gets
There aren’t many old-school coaches left in college basketball, but Williams is surely one of them. In a recent interview on Barstool Sports’ Pardon my grip podcast, the Texas A&M manager revealed that he rarely goes online and reads as many books as he can in his spare time.
“I literally don’t use a computer,” Williams said. “I read four books at a time, and I read one book a week, and I’ve been doing that for years.”
Since becoming head coach in 2006, he has been involved in what he calls “WCET”.
“If you look at my calendar right now – it’s my 15th year as a head coach – that daily discipline is: write, call, email, text. So if you look my schedule, there are nine disciplines a day that I practice. I will have quiet time for an hour every morning. I will read a book a week.
But Williams’ old-school style goes far beyond quiet times and reading.
Williams writes 180 thank you notes each month
Williams still believes in the lost art of thank you notes, but not just for the birthday presents he receives. No, the 49-year-old actually finds 180 reasons to write a thank you note each month. He keeps a rotating list of 120 names to write each month, and he adds two more names every day.
“So I’m writing 120 people. Sixty have to develop a relationship with, 30 are the people I basically work for, and 30 are basketball-related, wherever I work. That’s 120, and then I write two thank you notes every day, so that’s 60. So that’s 180 notes I write every month.
Williams adds more names to her list of thanks after hearing about a Texas A&M student receiving a scholarship or reading an article about a local hero in the newspaper. He thinks everyone deserves a pat on the back, even if it comes from a stranger.
“It helps me keep my feet on the ground,” he said. “I want to write thank you notes. It keeps my heart in the right place. I want to learn. I want to read. I want to study. It’s the only way for me to be malleable enough to keep up with this business, the rhythm of this world.
Texas A&M players must also write thank you notes
Williams believes in thank-you notes so much that he forces his players to write them down every night before a game. The only rule is that they can’t write a note to anyone they’ve already written to, and no one can have dinner until everyone has sent their letter.
“The first person they will write is their mother. The second person they will write is their grandmother. The third person they will write is their aunt. The fourth person is if there’s a male figure in their life, but when you get to number five or six, they don’t know who to write to,” Williams said. “Most of them have never written a thank you note. They don’t know how to address the envelope. They don’t know the person’s address.
“So it’s been a tradition for, I guess, 15 years now. If we spend a night in a hotel, before dinner, you have to write a thank you note. That’s the ticket to eat.
A little hard ? Maybe, but Williams thinks he’s teaching his student-athletes valuable lessons they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
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