Saint Peter’s Basketball Coach Shaheen Holloway Gives Us a Lesson in Risk Management: Risk and Insurance


John (Jack) Hampton is a professor of business at Saint-Pierre University, a faculty member at the International School of Management (Paris) and a member of Risk Insider at Risk and Insurance magazine where he was named All Star 2018. He was executive director of the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), dean of business schools at Seton Hall and Connecticut State Universities, and provost of the College of Insurance and SUNY Maritime College in New York.

On Monday, March 14, Saint-Pierre University appointed me director of the sports management program. SPU upset Kentucky and Murray State in the NCAA basketball tournament a few days later.

My risk management dilemma is simple. I had absolutely nothing to do with winning. Does that mean I shouldn’t bask in the glory of campus and use it to get ahead?

I could talk to the local newspaper, or better yet, ESPN. With a little imagination, a simple coincidence could turn into a story about how I shared my vast sporting knowledge with Coach Holloway. Together we have built a disciplined machine that has taken on behemoths and won.

During the off season, we could tour the country as motivational speakers.

From a risk management perspective, this strategy has weaknesses.

What if Coach Holloway let the others know he never met me and didn’t even know my name? Or, what if my best friend from high school accidentally points out that we mostly sat on the bench together watching our teammates play basketball?

The dilemma is easy to understand. Every time we pursue an opportunity, we take a risk. This assumption is visible in the three areas of risk management where I work:

  • Cyber ​​risk. This term refers to losses resulting from failures in our widespread use of interconnected digital technology. A hacker or computer malfunction shuts down our control systems. Disruption can lead to consequences that we have never even considered.
  • Business risk. This term covers financial, strategic and operational risks in an organization. A decision arises whether to develop a new product or enter an emerging market. What’s the benefit? What’s the downside?
  • Higher education risk. This term deals with the risks posed by changing technology and demographics. What changes are needed to mitigate the negative impacts of declining enrollment and significant turbulence on the value of a college education?

Now Coach Holloway’s lesson. He came to Saint-Pierre in 2018. He identified a goal and the skills needed to achieve it:

  • Effective strategies in all aspects of the game.
  • Someone who can shoot 3 points.
  • Players who move, pass and communicate under pressure.
  • Pay particular attention to the other team’s defensive disruption.

Then watch for the opportunity and seize it.

Risk management lessons learned from sport can be useful in other areas. We can give a “Hollowway” view of a game with four minutes left in regulation time.

  • Cyber ​​risk. We are 10 points behind. To turn the tide, we need a stable and secure Internet. Block spam, scams, ransomware and more.
  • Business risk. Some teams lead by 20 points while others trail. Fill the ranks of the organization with qualified and motivated employees. Rethinking the supply chain. Cooperate on environmental challenges.
  • Higher education risk. Face the reality of the impact of technology on the traditional model. Adopt new behaviors. A few teams are ahead while others are behind, some are far behind.

Enough for now. I have to check my e-mails, my texts, my campus mailbox and my notes slipped under the door. You never know when Sports Illustrated has a deadline and the whole organization is waiting for a quote.

I know what I’m going to say. “Go peacocks.” &


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