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The Forcier Family: Hard work pays off

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SBNation is currently engaged in the Iconic Families series, part of which is this story on former Spur Doc Rivers and his son, Austin. In our own installment, J. Gomez looks at Chad and Todd Forcier, and their journey to jobs with the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers.

The work Chad Forcier is doing with Kawhi Leonard is preparing him for the rigors of his second season
The work Chad Forcier is doing with Kawhi Leonard is preparing him for the rigors of his second season

To most Spurs fans, Chad Forcier is an unknown; when we think assistant coaches, we think Chip Engeland and Mike Budenholzer. But while sifting through player's twitter accounts for a story on what the Spurs player have done this past summer, his name kept coming up. Forcier organized workouts with the Spurs younger players (Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, to name a couple) who seemed to respond with respect and admiration.

If Chad Forcier is a virtual unknown to most of us, his brother, Todd Forcier is someone we've never even heard of before. Unless we are University of Kentucky alumni or Trail Blazers fans, since Todd has been a strength and conditioning coach first with the Wildcats and now in Portland.

As far as NBA families go, its hard to compare them with high profile siblings like the Miller brothers or even the Lopez twins. And yet their story is so, well, Spurs, for lack of a better expression, that it needs telling.

Neither Todd nor Chad played college ball but they knew they wanted to devote their lives to basketball. Their dreams of becoming coaches didn't mount to more than getting a high school gig. Unlike other families being profiled by SBNation today, they didn't grow up child prodigies with immense physical gifts, nor did they build a glowing reputation as basketball masterminds. The Forcier brothers took the old fashion road to success by working harder than anyone else and hoping it would eventually pay off.

Chad scored a temporary gig in the nutrition department for the Seattle Supersonics, which he turned into a three year apprenticeship under George Karl and Tim Grgurich through sheer will. He juggled his studies with his job but never lost the eagerness to learn, to improve himself in pursuit of his ultimate goal of being a coach. He managed to get his younger brother in the organization and guided him through his early struggles, as Todd recalls in this interview with Matt Calkins:

My brother had called me and was like ‘where the hell are you?' and I told him that I was gassed," Todd said. "I'll never forget what he said next. He said ‘get in the car and get your (behind) down here. It doesn't matter what's going on, this is an opportunity in the NBA that nobody else has in the world. And some day, it's going to be gone, and you're going to want it back.' I'll always remember that day. I think everywhere I've been since, that's been my outlook. I'm just going to outwork everyone."

After hearing a story like that, it's easy to understand why players enjoy working with coach Forcier and why Pop entrusts him with the development of the young-uns. Chad Forcier didn't let his younger brother get away with giving less than all he had and I'm sure that's what he does for the Spurs. When you work hard for everything you have, like Chad and then Todd did, laziness or complacency are not options. You keep at it until you succeed.

Todd went on to graduate college and started working in Kentucky and then Portland while Chad, aided by Rick Carlisle, scored a job as an assistant in Detroit and Indiana which eventually led him to San Antonio. There was a lot of hard work that was required of the brothers to get them where they are now but I doubt either would complain about it or feel like they've arrived. Work ethic like theirs is not something you lose overnight and the ambition, hunger and commitment they have demonstrated along the way aren't things that are easily satisfied.

So while the NBA limelight may shine on other families, it's important to remember that determination pays off. And that's what Pop, another guy that wasn't blessed with the natural ability needed to make it in the league as a player, has been trying to instill the organization since his arrival. If you're ever tempted to think that pounding the rock is a silly mantra that has nothing behind it, just remember Chad and Todd Forcier.


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