MENTORSHIP by Kevin Sutton

A good teacher can teach students anything. A great teacher helps students discover it within themselves. I think this philosophy exemplifies the definition of a mentor.
Throughout my coaching career of 30+ years, I often reflect and take inventory of the people who have served as mentors to me. Each poured into me as a person, and as a coach, helping me to grow. They created a balanced learning environment by allowing me to learn from them, while also respecting my need to grow individually. Throughout the mentoring, they supported some of my ideas and vehemently disagreed with others. Regardless, their investment they poured into me was greatly appreciated.
Serving as a mentor is truly an honor! The role comes with great responsibility, and therefore should be taken seriously. Mentors “pour” into the lives of their protégés to help them reach their goals, chase their dreams, and most importantly, discover within themselves the talents and self-confidence to be successful.
Through the years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to speak at numerous coaching clinics or academies. One such great event was the USA Basketball Coaching Academy in Portland, Oregon. A young, female coach who heard me speak at the academy, emailed to ask if I would serve as a mentor to her as she successfully navigates her coaching career. I told her I would be honored to.
I really believe that it is important to share your experience and knowledge with others who you feel are passionate about and greatly respect the game. It has been a privilege to have served as a mentor and spoken at clinics on this topic.
To me, a mentor is a person who is secure and confident – willing to share, educate and guide. Mentors are often training their successors. Great leaders leave situations better than they found them by training those they mentor to learn from the mistakes they have made.
Being a mentor is the epitome of a Servant Leader. We all need mentors to learn from and we all should want to be a mentors that shares your knowledge.


Kevin Sutton is an Assistant Coach at Rhode Island University. As Head Coach, he built Montverde Academy into an elite program coaching nationally ranked teams that compiled a 186-33 record. Sutton has had stints as an assistant coach at The University of Pittsburgh, James Madison, Old Dominion, George Washington and Georgetown. You can visit coach Sutton’s personal website at: