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Sunday, December 14, 2014


"Leadership is not just one quality, but rather a blend of many qualities; and while no one individual possesses all of the needed talents that go into leadership, each man can develop a combination to make him a leader."

"Fundamentals win it. Football is two things; it’s blocking and tackling. I don’t care about formations or new defenses or tricks on defense. If you block and tackle better than the team you’re playing, you’ll win."

"Most important of all, to be successful in life demands that a man make a personal commitment to excellence and to victory, even though the ultimate victory can never be completely won. Yet that victory might be pursued and wooed with every fiber of your body, with every bit of our might and all our effort. And each week, there is a new encounter; each day, there is a new challenge."

Friday, December 12, 2014


"A lot of people would term it, it’s a young man’s game. I wouldn’t go that far. But I would say it’s an enthusiastic, committed man’s game. And you can be enthusiastic and committed and energetic no matter what your age is. I know I can do it because I do it every day."

- Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Read more here:


"Believe in yourself. It is also important that you sell your program to your players. They must believe in you in order for them to be able to make the sacrifices that will be required of them. Everyone in the organization (your staff, the players, the athletic trainers, the team managers, etc.) must believe that your plan for success will be effective if it is carried out as directed."

-Bill Walsh

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Bob Knight constantly spoke about a big part of winning was to know what lost games for you.  Michael Hyatt, in his most recent blog post wrote of lessons that can be learned by a poor example.  His post, titled "5 Characteristics of Weak Leaders (and How Not to Be One)" is a great look of some habits to be avoided to effectively lead. He came up with his list from reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Hyatt is also a must follow on twitter.

Here is a summation of his blog post but you could (and should) read it in its entirety here.

1. Hesitating to take definitive action. McClellan was constantly preparing. According to him, the Army was never quite ready. The troops just needed a little more training. In his procrastination, he refused to engage the enemy, even when he clearly had the advantage. He could just not bring himself to launch an attack. When Lincoln finally relieved him of his duties, he famously said, “If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.”

2. Complaining about a lack of resources. He constantly complained about the lack of available resources. He didn’t have enough men. His men weren’t paid enough. They didn’t have enough heavy artillery. And on and on he went. The truth is that, as a leader, you never have enough resources. You could always use more of one thing or another. But the successful leaders figure out how to get the job done with the resources they have.

3. Refusing to take responsibility. McClellan blamed everyone else for his mistakes and for his refusal to act. He even blamed the President. Every time he suffered a defeat or a setback, someone or something was to blame. He was a master finger-pointer. Great leaders don’t do this. They are accountable for the results and accept full responsibility for the outcomes.

4. Abusing the privileges of leadership. While his troops were struggling in almost unbearable conditions, McClellan lived in near-royal splendor. He spent almost every evening entertaining guests with elaborate dinners and parties. He insisted on the best clothes and accommodations. His lifestyle stood in distinct contrast to General Ulysses S. Grant, his eventual successor, who often traveled with only a toothbrush.

5. Engaging in acts of insubordination. McClellan openly and continually criticized the President, his boss. He was passive-aggressive. Even when Lincoln gave him a direct order, he found a way to avoid obeying it. In his arrogance, he always knew better than the President and had a ready excuse to rationalize his lack of follow-through.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


To demonstrate competence as you start in leadership, begin with the basics:

Work Hard: There is no substitute for a good work ethic.  People respect someone who works hard.

Think Ahead: Because your decisions affect your team, beginning with the end in mind and identifying priorities are doubly important.

Demonstrate Excellence: The better you are at your job, the higher your initial credibility.

Follow Through: Good leaders bring things to completion.

From "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions" by John C. Maxwell

Friday, December 5, 2014


The following is a brief excerpt from an article on Shaka Smart titled "The Tao of Shaka."  The article was written by Michael Litos for NBC Sports. You can read the entire article here -- it's well worth the read!

“He believes in people more than they believe in themselves,” says current assistant coach Mike Morrell. “He does that with players, GAs, managers, assistant coaches. He’s done it to me. He sees what we can be better than we can. He sees what’s in us.”

Smart doesn’t carry a commanding physical presence. He’s typically average in build and form. If he weren’t a popular basketball coach consistently in the media glare, he could be in line next to you picking up dry cleaning and you wouldn’t notice him.

He can go the route of the screaming coach, and he has, but Smart prefers pointed feedback, typically a positive spin on concepts like having a growth mindset. No matter the first half performance of his VCU team, he doesn’t peel paint in locker rooms. It’s the same thing, a consistent message of what needs to be done to create success.

No, Smart is not a commanding physical presence, but he commands the room through his relentlessly positive words and his caring actions. Spending time with his players is very important to Smart.

That’s perhaps the potion that allows him to connect with players as the leader of the VCU basketball program while helping, as he says, “move them forward” in their life.

That occurs outside the gym and basketball offices, where they see firsthand what types of advantages college basketball players have.

Each holiday season the players shop for Christmas gifts with underprivileged children in their community through a program with Target. It’s jarring for them to have a 10-year-old ask for a winter jacket as their gift. He gives them leadership opportunities as well. Junior Melvin Johnson spoke at a Richmond TEDx event. Smart has meditated with players to help them deal with the pressures of basketball and school life. He is not afraid of the concept of love in a decidedly manly atmosphere. The word love hangs on a plaque outside his office. In fact, he called or texted one of his players, who grew up without a father, to tell him he loved him.
Every day.

It was important to Smart that the player understood that he could have a strong, positive male role model in his life. It’s the real life part of his job that Smart very much enjoys and very much takes seriously, even amid being the overseer of college basketball’s havoc.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

It isn’t exclusive to players. Smart cares about everyone and everything, and a part of that caring is holding people accountable and challenging them. Attention to detail matters. Wade was Smart’s first hire, and he remembers the very first scouting report he prepared. It was for Bethune-Cookman, a game where VCU wrote a check to get an easy victory at home to open the season.

“I thought I had everything for him,” recalls Wade. “He started peppering me with all sorts of questions I would’ve never anticipated. I thought I was thorough but I wasn’t close.”

Smart wanted video of the Bethune-Cookman freshmen, which meant Wade had to call high school coaches. Smart wanted every detail on the seventh or eighth man in the rotation.

“He stretches you,” says Wade. “He’s always asking questions and you better have the answers. I thought ‘that’s how we are going to do it.’ You think you’re prepared but not at that level. I learned that’s how you do it in the big time. And I appreciate that from him.”

Thursday, December 4, 2014


A special thanks to my friend Lason Perkins for passing this on to me.  It's a interview session with Pete Carroll that includes a Q&A at the end.  Coach Carroll goes into great detail of his Win Forever philosophy.  The entire segment is two-hours and it's well worth the watch -- in fact, I guarantee you won't be able to not watch it in it's entirety.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Teaching Point: On inbounds denial- we are always going to have our hands up in the air.
·         “Show the official our hands.”
·         Do not foul in the press
·         Don’t want to get beat over the top or to the middle
·         Ball Defense-pressure: linebacker blitzing the quarterback
·         Pressing is hard to coach because you are giving up freedom
·         We do not want to allow offense to clear us out and bring the ball up.
·         Do not influence the side line

·         Short choppy steps-“close down the trap”
·         Don’t allow “step thru”
·         Back tip: don’t lunge… run through the ball… tip with inside hand
·         “Trap on the ball, steal off the ball”
·         When do you trap the first pass
    o   Ball inbounded small side, below the block
    o   “Coffin corner”
·         What we do in regard to full court press is based on who takes the ball out of bounds
·         May not turn them over but want constant pressure-goal is to be disruptive

Unsuccessful Press:
1.       Foul
2.       Give up lay-up
3.       Or an open 3

·         Inbounder defends goal-don’t let ball get inbounds
·         Level of commitment if you want to press
·         Steal: pass quickly cause defense will converge
·         On trap on the side- all 5 defenders must be on ball side of court
·         Stunt vs. shaky ball handler-“we want him to handle.”
·         It’s the duration of constantly pressing that makes it effective
·         Passing teams take away preparation time from their opponents because they    
           spend extra time on press offense

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I absolutely love this story from "Leadership Gold" by John Maxwell.  It speaks to the importance of preparation.  Not just preparation of studying for an exam the night before or prep work the week leading up to a game.  But the years of training -- the lifetime of grind -- all to prepare for a single moment in which you may or may not know when it arrives.  Here is the story shared by Maxwell:

As a small private jet approached the runway, we were celebrating the success of the week. Then, in a moment, everything changed. The plane was hit be wind shear and dropped straight down to the runway, the wheels hitting out of balance. All conversation stopped and our eyes widened as we realized we were in danger. The pilot, without hesitation, pushed the throttle and launched the plane back into the air. In a split second we went from celebration to sober reflection. We all realized that could have been it! We sat quietly as the plane circled the airfield, and a few minutes later we landed safely.

We all applauded and now began to relax and breathe. As we got off the plane, we thanked the captain for keeping us safe. I said to him, “That was a close call. You responded so quickly to the crisis. When did you make the decision to put the plane back into the air?”

His reply amazed me: “Fifteen years ago.”

He went on to explain how as a young pilot in training, he decided in advance what decision he would make for every possible air problem. “The choice was made long before the crisis,” he said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


There was an article earlier this week on The Bleacher Report written by Lars Anderson on Coach Nick Saban and his offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.  While you can read the lengthy article here in it's entirety, here are a few of my take aways (my comments in bold/italics):

There is no current collegiate football coach more successful than Nick Saban yet after a single loss he spent time in the off-season looking for ways to improve -- ways that included change.
The head coach felt like he had to do something. After Alabama was stuffed on two 4th-and-short plays in the fourth quarter of last year's Iron Bowl against Auburn—a game that Alabama would lose 34-28—Nick Saban decided he needed to revamp his offense. Without telling his staff, Saban invited recently fired Lane Kiffin to Tuscaloosa for eight days last December to "brainstorm" and analyze the Tide's offense, especially its weaknesses.

The best coaches don't just develop their players, they develop all those in their program including their assistants.
"I want to be learning and growing. Coach Saban teaches his coaches every day."  -Lane Kiffin

Benjamin Disraeli once said that "The secret to success is constancy to purpose."  From my time at LSU, Coach Saban's laser-like focus was legendary.
"In all my time with Nick, I think we only had one conversation that wasn't about football. He's the most focused, driven person I've ever met."  -Lane Kiffin

The best coaches have given great thought and detail to all aspects of their program.  And many put it in writing.
Kiffin is learning Saban's template for running a program and literally reading Saban's book on winning, a nearly 200-page, bound document in which Saban details every aspect of running a program, from proper sleeping habits for players to nutrition and motivation.