1. Coach-Administration Rapport!
Do you have the support of your administration (superintendent, principal, vice principal, etc.)? Too many administrators like to control their coaches! There are hundreds of schools out there with great administrators; there are others with very poor ones. Many administrations don’t want a winning football program. Which one do you have? Successful programs far too often lead to jealously from the others programs. Use your success to help them. Show up at games; have your players be visible and involved. Communicate with your principal. Involve them.
2. Coach-Player Relationship!
Be demanding—demand that the job is going to be done. Too many coaches are worried about losing players! That is the problem with our world today—people are afraid to demand—they are afraid of kid’s retaliation—public or parent reaction! At the first sign of accountability many players/parents will look to take the easy way out, and that means by transferring (if possible) You will only be great if you set high expectations!
3. Coach-School Board Relationship!
I have been confused on the best way to deal with these people, but I would say the best way to handle board members is to work hard and win! A lot of board members come and go! They are no different than principals except they are all political, and they are constantly working for a political advantage! These people can either be your worst enemies or your greatest allies. Get to know the people on your school board. Your job might hang in the balance.
4. Coach-Teacher Relationships!
This could be a major problem with some teachers! In every school there are going to be teachers who don’t want the sports teams to succeed. They degrade football, degrade the coach, and undermine things we are trying to do; however, they are at every game! What do you do about it? Work with teachers. Let them know you are with them on discipline, grades, etc. Show concern with education! Do things for faculty (t-shirts, free tickets, etc.).
5. Media Problems!
Be accommodating but dont say everything. Be careful with your words. Once printed in a newspaper you can never take them back. People will form opinions on you by what they read in the paper; although they might have never spoken with you in their lives. Guard your public perception.
6. Handling Parents and Booster Clubs!
There was a great article I read last week talking about how parents wield tremendous influence over sports programs today. Be fair with the kids, and set expectations in writing. Notify everyone well in advance of scheduling changes. They may disagree with you, or disparage your good name to people in town; but if you have a plan, communicate with parents and keep them notified well in advance of your schedule, they will respect you.
7. Dealing with Coaching Staff!
Do you have assistant coaches who are there to “evaluate you” or “help you?” They all have the answers and far less pressure. If they show Loyalty, knowledge, motivation, communication skills, good teacher, and great work ethic—those guys could be head coaches! No head coach needs problems with the following problems during the seasons, game-day problems, second guessing, insubordination by lower-level coaches. How to combat this—starts with interview in which philosophy is laid, expectations of job description are clearly given, be a “we” coach, eliminate your ego, only have one head coach, back up your assistant coaches.
8. Relationship with the Fans and Community!
Say the right things! Get involved in community affairs (cancer telethons, heart association, SADD, anti-drug programs, etc.). Your true image is not always known on the sideline! By working in the community, the fans and community get to see the real you! Coaches are afraid of the public—show stability.
9. Scholarships and the Recruiting Process!
Have a plan! Make athletes are parents aware of your plan, but let parents know that players do not play for scholarships! Have a meeting with parents and upcoming seniors to review procedure. Review Division 1, 2, 3 talent skills and realistically evaluate each player. Protect your athlete academically, socially, and athletically from the bombardment of coaches! The recruiting process must be the following: spring visits—fall phone calls—verbal commitment (numbers game). What is best for the athlete’s health and welfare?
10. League Coaches and Ethics!
Have you been a victim of unethical practices by opposing coaches? Have other coaches bad-mouthed your players and program? Have your kids been teamed up against by league coaches when voting for all-star teams? Have league coaches bad-mouthed your players to recruiters? Have coaches refused to shake hands after games? How have you handled this?
11. Time Management!
Are you overworking and spinning your wheels? Do not punish yourself! Is an 18-hour day enough?
Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports