Coach's Corner: Tim Crone 9/26

Tim Crone

By Tim Crone former Blue Springs Activities Director
Posted: September 26, 2012 - 10:57 AM

Through my 37 years in education I had the opportunity to be a teacher, coach, guidance counselor and athletic administrator. It was a terrific career that rewarded me great kids, dedicated teachers, and coaches who dedicated their entire lives to the coaching profession.
I have to admit that coaching was what I loved most and it is a part of my life that will forever remain close to my heart. There is no better feeling in the world than when a former athlete calls, e-mails, or runs into me and the first words out of their mouth is “Hi coach.”
Coaching the game of football provides a special opportunity for the coach to have a positive impact on a young athlete in many, many ways. The game itself is important, but nothing is as important as teaching life lessons.
That is why it is a concern for me that superintendents and school boards have the ability to apply pressure to coaches to win for fear of losing their job. It is rumored in the coaching community that area administrator meetings are establishing requirements for coaches to win “or else.”
It is a ridiculous leadership approach to building programs. In order for a program to be great, no matter at what level ­ - high school, college or even pro - everyone from top to bottom must have the same vision. The man at the top needs to assure those under him that support will be there as long as hard work and dedication prevail.
An administrator making the statement “win or be gone” is detrimental to establishing a winning program. In the book “Turning Around Athletic Programs,” author Bruce E. Brown states the following as what to look for/avoid when accepting a coaching position.                         
  1. Don’t ever work anywhere that administration doesn’t want to be great or doesn’t support their coaches.
  2. Don’t take a job where the last coach was fired by parent pressure – you are next.
  3. Don’t take a job where they have had three coaches in five years. In these cases the administration either doesn’t know who to hire or they don’t support who they hire.
  4. Great schools attempt to excel in everything they do – music, drama, foreign language, athletics, etc.
All of us respect and understand that superintendents and school boards have a responsibility to establish a positive learning experience and the classroom should be top priority. However, activities programs should also partner with education to develop a well-adjusted and productive student.
Bottom line – to threaten a coach with the loss of job when winning is the sole criterion just does not work. Coaches need support and vision from the administration along with sound principles and guidelines. Success comes with cooperation.
Two quotes that should be heeded by people in power come to mind. The first is from the colorful NFL Hall of Fame player, Joe Namath:
“To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he’s going.”
The second, one of my all-time favorites, is from President Dwight D. Eisenhower:
“A platoon leader doesn’t get his platoon to go by getting up and shouting – I am smarter, I am bigger, I am stronger, I am the leader. He gets men to go along with him because they want to do it for him and they believe in him.”