Starting Over in the Basement

TAGS: head football coach, reflection, interview, evaluate, Coach G, goals, coaching, football

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We have just hired a new head football coach at our university. It was a different experience for me, for I was honored with the opportunity to be on the committee to hire him. It was nice to be on that side of the business for sure, but that just shows the great situation I am in here with answering to our athletic director directly and running our program as such. It gave me a unique perspective for sure and made me look at a lot of things that I would have never looked at had I not have been on that committee.

At first, I thought it would be easy, for my mindset had such tunnel vision that I would hire the guy who was what I thought and pictured as the best football coach available. That changed right away once we started meeting our candidates and really looked at how we all interact and affect each other in the campus community. I knew a head football coach had to wear a lot of hats, but I was blown away at what the job really entails. I have been beyond blessed to work with a bunch of really great head coaches, and honestly, they made it look easy.


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Now I have a newfound respect for the position and could not be happier with the choice we made. I have said it before and will say it again: culture is what wins games and keeps you employed, and lack of culture does not. I think our players will benefit the most from this hire because our culture lines up with what our new head coach’s culture will be, so it will match up perfectly. I will be the first one to say if you are working with a coach and a program where your cultures do not line up (which I know we all have to do at one point or another), it makes it very hard on you, and it is even harder on your athletes. As Genghis Khan’s mother once said, “Two rams' heads spoil the soup.”

The other thing that this unique situation did was force me to evaluate my program almost looking from the outside in. I had to have all my ducks in a row because when I was interviewing candidates, they were also interviewing me in a way. I know it is a new year, and everyone starts to look back or forward at this time, and maybe it is a good thing to act to re-evaluate what you are doing with your programs and why.

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It took a lot of reflection and breaking down the strength program from the ground up. I had to really look at why I do what I do, and I was determined not to use the worst excuse in the world: “Because that is how I have always done it.” I could not get better as a person, coach, husband, or father if I lived by that mantra. What if I gave my wife the same pair of slippers for Christmas because that is how I always did it? Or if the town built a direct new street to cut off 10 minutes of commuting, but I took the old way because that is how I always did it. Stupid, right? But after reflecting and looking at some things, there were a few spots in my program that I felt were the same old, same old and wanted to change them, and with this being a perfect time, I decided to change them.

I know as strength coaches, we slave over almost every decision we make with our athletes, our own workouts, and our staff and administrators. You have got to know when to fight the battles you know you can win, and know when to take it on the chin if it means you will win the war in the long run. We were almost getting into a situation where we were fighting all the battles and lost the focus of winning the war. We were fighting all the battles, winning some, losing some, and definitely getting to where we wanted and needed to go.

With all of this being said, our strength program is putting blinders on. We are going to push forward and completely start this thing over. We are going to focus on winning the war (player development/injury prevention/building character/attention to detail), and let all the other pieces fall where they may. We are going to slow things down and reteach form, let our players know exactly what we want from them, and what they will get from us.


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This spring, we will concentrate on getting every player and coach on the same page. Some things will move along faster than others, and others may take some time. I don’t care. I don’t care if they take 20 reps to learn how to do high knees or push-ups; then it will take that long. I want our strength program to be bulletproof, and I feel that getting back and starting over in the basement will get us to the roof a lot faster than if we start half-assing the frame and walls of the house. We will run this spring under the Bruce Lee quote: “I do not fear the man who knows 10,000 kicks; I fear the man who does one kick 10,000 times.

I can say I am very excited, and I know the players will be once we give them the overall view of what we are going to do and where we are going. I think that empowering everyone will give us a much better perspective for the future, and we will be able to build off of that during spring ball and into the summer. Start crawling in January, and be at a full sprint by June. That is the plan, anyway, and if we are not sprinting until August, then so be it. At least we will be doing what we do and doing it the right way. That is all we can ask.

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