Sallisaw’s Derek Barlow – “Passion for Success” Presented by McKey Equine Hospital of Sallisaw

Presented by Dr. Trent and Marci Stites – McKey Equine Hospital

Sallisaw girls basketball coach Derek Barlow knows full well the need for courtroom preparation. Following a 12-year career practicing law, Barlow left the legal system to pursue a lifelong passion for helping young people pursue their dreams.

And according to the Lady Black Diamonds head coach, there’s a common thread for practicing law, coaching as well as in life.

“Whether in the courtroom or on the basketball court, preparation is mandatory if success is desired,” explained Barlow.

Barlow’s courtroom experiences in Arkansas brought success but also left a hunger for coaching.

“I had always coached my kids teams when playing AAU basketball,” Barlow explained. “The more I was around all the kids it became a compelling desire for me that my heartfelt passion was coaching and working with young people.”

While teaching Anatomy, Physiology and Biology for three years at Northside High School, Barlow’s coaching trail began in Fort Smith by coaching football and basketball at Darby Junior High before the University of Arkansas graduate moved to Cedarville trying his hand coaching junior high school girls basketball.

Wanting to move to the high school level, Barlow crossed the Arkansas River to enter Oklahoma becoming the head boys basketball coach at Wister prior to the move to Sallisaw as girls basketball coach.

Crediting the influences of other coaches including Chris Brown of Howe along with Chris Bryant of Van Buren and Rickey Smith of Ft. Smith, Barlow had his game plan for developing a winning program at Sallisaw.

In his first meeting with this year’s team, Barlow shared his coaching philosophy with an “ALL-IN” expectation.

“The players and I agreed that we wanted to identify a direction for success. I shared from my heart that success would require a commitment to practice with intensity to get better everyday and develop the fundamentals at game speed,” explained Barlow. “It’s all about the process more than the outcome. Believe that if we can identify the things to be successful and pursue that everyday with focus and hard work, the outcome will take care of itself.”

And as the tipoff of the basketball season begins, the process for success continues to grow with the Lady Black Diamonds who have embraced the “ALL-IN” approach to prove that coach Barlow’s decision to follow his passion to coach was the right verdict for everyone.