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Thread: What Attributes / Characteristics Make for a Great Coach

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    What Attributes / Characteristics Make for a Great Coach

    Thinking about the Arkansas issues and then reflecting on Penn State and other coaches and schools made me wonder:

    What attributes / characteristics make for a great coach?

    I would love some feedback from the Husker Nation what they think makes for a GREAT coach. Thinking about this not in the context a particular coach but instead, in general, what makes for a great coach. Is it knowledge of game--ability to think well on both sides of the ball? What about communication skills - players, media, fans, etc.? What about values and how you keep them in proper perspective? Other attributes and characteristics?

    Rev.

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    Character, intelligence, compassion, humility, communication skills(speaking, listening), having played the game with skill.

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    having a few rounds at the Legion Club after practice.

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    Winning and not getting caught

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    Attention to detail & always being prepared.

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    Whatever they are ( character, preparation, communication skills, knowledge of the game, recognizing talent, surrounding yourself with good people) both Dr. Tom and Bo have most of them in spades.
    "My job as a football coach is to educate and prepare the kids who come into this program for the rest of their life..." Bo Pelini at the Penn State post game press conference Nov. 12 2011

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    The days of the "great" coaches are gone, lost in the 70's. The great coach was replaced by the great organization that has an exceptional leader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Johnson View Post
    Character, intelligence, compassion, humility, communication skills(speaking, listening), having played the game with skill.
    I'm not sure that I agree with the last item. Many great coaches never played the game that they are coaching. The rest are all on the list of required/desired attributes for sure. #1 above all things for good leadership, in my opinion, is character (or integrity, if you prefer that word).

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    Quote Originally Posted by BGRed View Post
    I'm not sure that I agree with the last item. Many great coaches never played the game that they are coaching. The rest are all on the list of required/desired attributes for sure. #1 above all things for good leadership, in my opinion, is character (or integrity, if you prefer that word).
    I agree 100%. But what I often struggle with is: Just what is "good Leadership" and "character (integrity)"?

    Freguently in the business world, being successful pushes the limits of leadership involving character (integruity). That is from what I see and compete against almost daily. And that drives me nuts.
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    BG Red has a good point about playing the game with great skill. I was thinking primarily of Tom when I wrote my piece. Certainly there have been some great failures, as coaches, who played the game well.

    I would say, that in the business world, there are not many good leaders, which I will take a crack at defining. Most business men are managers and "lead" because they are annointed by those on high not because they instill confidence and a will to support team goals in their team.

    Leadership, in sports(football), not in any particular order, being able to command the moral high ground, bringing 85-120 young men together and achieving unity of purpose, convincing them to forego personal agendas to achieve team goals. Being able to understand your vision and then being able to commuicate that vision to your staff and team in such a way that they buy into and will work hard to accomplish that vision. Showing everyone in the organization that you truly care for them.


    I enjoy this kind of discourse, so critique away.

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    After coming back from running in the "Beat Coach Pete" run in Boise, I was impressed by Coach Peterson's connection with the Boise community on a personal level. People really like Coach Pete, and not just because he wins games and over-achieves with the talent he gets. He is personable, effective and supports his community and university. And having the head football coach be willing to spend a morning jogging with every runner in town was a very cool thing to do. I would love to see Bo do that same thing in Lincoln.
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    While the integrity, & character etc.....is being thrown around, it all sounds good but that is not a requirement to be a great coach. Look at so many of the top coaches in today's game that lack so much in those categories....... I think the only REAL attributes NEEDED to be a great coach or even an above average coach is the willingness to be creative, being able to adjust when that creativity backfires, & being able to communicate your creativity to your staff/players. The integrity and everything, just helps us to like the coach doing these things but not necessarily needed to do the job well.

    Because if integrity and character, were a high priority for successful coaches thing Turner Gill should be coming off of his 2 BCS appearance with KU.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Reign View Post
    Steven M. Sipple@HuskerExtraSip Abdullah says NU offense will be "like a storm." I asked what type of storm. His reply: "What type of storm scares you most?" #Huskers


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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerRedDread View Post
    Because if integrity and character, were a high priority for successful coaches thing Turner Gill should be coming off of his 2 BCS appearance with KU.

    Well, if you don't have integrity/character, you'll end up like Petrino, Tressel, and a laundry list of others eventually...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BGRed View Post
    Well, if you don't have integrity/character, you'll end up like Petrino, Tressel, and a laundry list of others eventually...

    Correct. All are great coaches. Just horrible in managing their personal life. There's a difference. Like Lawrence Phillips was a hell of a back for NU, but wasn't such an all star managing his life.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Reign View Post
    Steven M. Sipple@HuskerExtraSip Abdullah says NU offense will be "like a storm." I asked what type of storm. His reply: "What type of storm scares you most?" #Huskers


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    Quote Originally Posted by One Man Jury View Post
    After coming back from running in the "Beat Coach Pete" run in Boise, I was impressed by Coach Peterson's connection with the Boise community on a personal level. People really like Coach Pete, and not just because he wins games and over-achieves with the talent he gets. He is personable, effective and supports his community and university. And having the head football coach be willing to spend a morning jogging with every runner in town was a very cool thing to do. I would love to see Bo do that same thing in Lincoln.
    I'm thinking Bo wouldn't want to lose, so the scene in the Dictator preview with Borat running comes to mind

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerRedDread View Post
    Because if integrity and character, were a high priority for successful coaches thing Turner Gill should be coming off of his 2 BCS appearance with KU.
    so it's integrity/character and avoiding places like Kansas and Iowa State to name a few.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerRedDread View Post
    Correct. All are great coaches. Just horrible in managing their personal life. There's a difference. Like Lawrence Phillips was a hell of a back for NU, but wasn't such an all star managing his life.
    Short term thinking versus long-term...same as with a workplace. Sure, he might look good and hit record sales in the short-term; but, when he embarrasses the organization, you wish you would have never hired him.

    So, I guess we need to outline the responsibilities of 'great coach'. Is it purely about wins and losses? Or, does it also include representing the university and developing young men to be solid men as adults?

  19. #19
    Well it depends what you want out of your sports. I personally believe the point of sports is to learn life lessons at the college level. I think some general once told a class at a service academy something to the effect of (paraphrasing) "on these fields are sown the seeds that will win future wars". In other words the intangibles of competition, sacrifice, working beyond ones limits, teamwork, ingenuity, quick decisions under pressure, are equally important as the technical skills learned in college. These are things that don't just benefit an officer corps. It's a fact that we pay dearly in treasure and resources for every young mans college education. It's a waste of money if they don't have values. In my opinion.

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    Some thoughts:

    Turner Gill, even though he wasn't going to win at Kansas, could he still be considered great -- maybe more so in the future when he has the chance to recover from Kansas -- on the basis that he knew his values and was willing to stick to them. Call that integrity or character.

    Leadership definition is difficult because there are so many qualities that define leadership and I think these could be different depending on the organization -- sports may be different than corporate fields. How would this work in the area of sports: Leadership is able to cast a vision; rally others around the vision so that they "own" the vision; set the mission so that achievable goals and directions are known; and then move the whole organization roughly the same direction. The whole organization in sports would also include fan base as well as players, coaches, etc.

    I am enjoying reading the various posts -- keep it going.

    Rev.




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