BANG!! That is the simple four-letter word Jay Wright, head coach of the Villanova Wildcats, spoke when the final shot left Kris Jenkins’ hand, arced through the air in Houston, Texas, and splashed through the net. Millions of people saw the greatest Final game in NCAA Tournament history, but few really know the story behind that final play and legendary shot.

I’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of football, basketball, and soccer games over the past 40 years. I witnessed great performances, but mostly potentially great teams underperforming and just playing “good.” It was really a pleasure to watch a great team play great. The reason a great team actually played great was the masterful job Coach Jay Wright did with his team over the course of a long season and a historic run to the NCAA title.

As I sat in my seat (eight rows off the floor) somewhat stunned by what I had the privilege of watching over the previous ten seconds at NRG Stadium, I thought, “This has to teach us a bunch of valuable life lessons.” The top lessons being about sacrifice, hard work, commitment, execution, and confidence.

You see, when North Carolina’s (Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s own) Marcus Paige, hit a crazy, clutch, desperation three-pointer to tie the game with 4.7 seconds left after trailing most of the second half, we all thought, “This game is going to overtime!”  But then the greatest finish in history unfolded…

The stadium was going absolutely berserk after Paige’s shot…the Villanova players calmly walked to the bench and looked into Coach Jay Wright’s eyes. What they observed was a calm, confident coach.  He simply said, “OK, let’s run ‘Nova,’ everybody got it?” The players said yes, and the rest is history. Villanova has a play for the final few seconds that they run in practice every day. The play depends on how much time is on the clock…0-5 seconds, 5-10 seconds, or 10-15 seconds.  “NOVA” is the play for 0-5 seconds…the players have practiced it hundreds of times, each of them knew their role on the floor and are committed to playing their role to give the team the highest probability of success.

This is an amazing lesson for investors! You see, when we get into crunch-time – five seconds on the clock – and we don’t already have a play to run that we’ve practiced and perfected, we will probably lose the game . . .Why?  Because investors typically make really bad decisions when under tremendous stress. At Foster Group, our advisors put our clients’ financial plans in place and structure their portfolios to best execute their plan. A coordinated effort, executed with precision. If you have a plan before those crazy, desperate times are on us, we can have the greatest chance at winning our own championship!

4…3…2…1…BANG!!…you win!


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