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IGNITE: Coaching Up Coaches

IGNITE:  Coaching Up Coaches

first of all just want to say thanks for
this opportunity but you know think we think it’d be a real exciting because it
is football season to have a coach and you know I’m never going to pass up an
opportunity I love opportunities for coaches to be able to be in front of
teachers and administrators because I’m constantly looking for ways to get in
front of you and be able to take away a little bit of that stigma that I know
coaches can get sometimes about where our priorities are in what we care about
and want to be able to bring a little bit of that to you today so you’re
sitting here in your all right we got a coach up here but why are we listening
to a coach and that’s a great question you have to ask Beth Nicklaus and Karen
Cummings so what I’m hoping is just what I can show you a couple things as far as
really understanding how similar becoming a head coach can be to becoming
an administrator that move when we talk about climbing that ladder that’s really
what you push for as far as wanting to move up is as you climb that ladder it
puts you a little bit of further away from what your original passion was
which was having a really large impact on those kids and but really just seeing
you know you get into this excited as a young person coming out of college and
you’re gonna make a difference you’re gonna the impact and you’re gonna have
classes like this one where every kid’s raising their hand and you’re excited
about that I had to throw my picture up there with my guy Kyler who’s doing big
things at OU you I’m a now a boomer sooner on the side I went to a min but I
cheer fro you now too so but you know that was the that’s the fun part you’re
on the front lines you’re in there with kids every day and even more importantly
and you know as administrators you’re not dealing with all the other stuff you
get to focus in on those kids you know now as we move up you know I’m worried
about do we have food ready for after the game do we have the buses set do we
have this and you get you sometimes can lose sight of why you originally did
this because now you’re sitting behind a desk and having to make a lot more plans
than you are as far as having real big impact with those kids and so what you
have to do once you figure out you’re off the front lines is you figure out
what am I going to do to continue to impact those kids well you know I talked
to my dad who was a former high school head football coach I said all right now
I’m head coach dad helped me out of here a
little bit he said well here’s the deal he said you’re moving from coaching up
kids to you’re now gonna need to coach up coaches because those are the guys
that are gonna be on the front lines and have that everyday interaction with
those kids and so what are you doing to coach up your coaches to impact the kids
that way that you want them impacted and I always always kept that with me and so
when we talk about coaching up coaches and I want to throw this up here you
talk about successful coaches and a lot of you those the first two guys you’re
gonna think of you’re think of Nick Saban Bill Belichick and you’re like if
you tell me to act like those two guys all right because those are two the
biggest my way or the highway guys and they’ve had a lot of success with it all
right but I remind you that’s a whole different kind of scenario when you do
that it would be great as principals if we could go just recruit the best five
star teachers that are out there that have the highest star test all right and
they could you know they’d be out there tweet and you know got my 85th offer
from mesquite ice the hashtag blessed and that would be awesome
the same way the same way I wish that’s how we got football players on our team
as you go out and you recruit the best players and you know hey as principals
and as coaches and as teachers we’d be pretty good coaches and principals of
teachers if we got to go out and recruit exactly who we wanted there and the ones
we didn’t want we’ve got you know we’re good all right but we can’t do that all
right and we talked to our coaches a whole lot from urine and year-out when
you’re at a high school coach you’ve got to fit your scheme to your personnel you
cannot fit your personnel to your scheme and I think that’s a big thing when you
look at putting a staff together whether it’s a coaching staff or teaching staff
is you’ve got to take the best that you can find in the certain situation and
they’re not going to walk in the door knowing everything perfect exactly the
way you want it all right that’s what we tell our coaches all the time hey you’re
gonna have to coach them up a little all right you can’t just expect him to walk
in and know how to do everything all right those of you out there that have
been hiring and June and July you know what I’m talking about
I mean the but sometimes we’re looking for a heartbeat and we’re good you know
so what are you doing to train them up all right and what are you doing to make
sure you understand what you have coming through the door all right so two three
quick things that I want to leave you with as far as things that we do within
our program that I think that you could take and use within your staff all right
the first one is as we talk about coaching up or coaching out all right
when we first talk about coaching up coaches all right I tell you I think
about as a young coach and so thinking about if you’re hiring young teachers
when I was at at am going into my junior attained them I got set up at Bryan high
the head coach there was Marty Criswell who was a longtime friend of my dad’s
he’s actually well-known state champ chip coach from being in his time up in
Denison he was the head coach at Bryan high and I got set up through my dad to
be able to go volunteer coach for him and so I went in the door met head coach
Chris Wells great to meet you know first thing he said is you know where do you
see yourself what do you want to do in your coaching career I said well you
know I played quarterback in high school I’ve always figured I wanted to go coach
quarterbacks and then I want to be an offensive coordinator and then I want to
go be a head coach one day he said great you’re gonna work with our outside
linebackers you know and I’m sure my you know 21 year old face going it was like
well what are you thinking well and he said you’ve got to be able to see things
from all sides you’ve got to look at things from a different perspective if
you want to be great if you want to go be you might have an opportunity to go
be a great offense coordinator head coach but if you don’t know how to look
at things from the defensive perspective you’re not ever gonna be as good as you
need to be and that just stuck with me and I went and helped coach the outside
linebackers for that season and it couldn’t have been the better a
better thing for me as a young coach to understand that you know you’ve got to
look at things from different directions when I first started out I put in my
student teaching my wife was a semester ahead of me so of course I followed her
back up here to do my student teach and she got started at West mesquite I asked
to be placed up here and they placed me at south garland High School I found out
in May that I was going to be at South garland so our excuse me so for the
following excuse me for the following fall
so I went up in May knocked on coach Mickey Mouse’s door and said hey I’m
gonna be here in August as a student teacher and I’d love to be with you and
your football team he said free coach great you’re in come on and so he said
the same thing that Coach crystal told me though he said where do you see
yourself what do you want to do I said I see myself as a guy wants to get in the
door I want to learn a lot of things I want to eventually be an offensive
coordinator and then be a head coach he said all right you’re gonna work with
our freshmen and I’m gonna continue to give you responsibilities and teach you
up and train you up on the things I think you need to learn he said and I’ll
continue to do that as long as you want to do that so I was up there on
Saturdays and Sundays and everything that he or his staff told me I was just
taken to a tee but the biggest thing that he gave me is he told me hey the
direction that all this stuff is going in coaching football is learning
technology and everything’s going online and he got me down there on the Bob was
one of the very first ones that understand how to do all that stuff and
as much as I’d like to say it was my football prowess that helped me go get
the offensive coordinator job at Allen I think looking back on it now because
what’s burger tell you he was ready to get a video guy and so it was one of
those little things that I just took from a coach and he took the time to
coach me up and make sure I was going to be as prepared as I needed to be to go
to that next level moving on to to Allen all right working with Coach Westerberg
he taught me a lot about what you have to do when you talk about training up
your coaches and he talked a lot about you have to be willing to let some
coaches fail trying to do things their way
and then coach them up on ways that we can improve things early on when I got
there he was still calling the plays I was the offensive coordinator by title
and was just trying not to screw anything up but he would take games in
the fourth quarter and he say all right I’m gonna let you call the plays for the
rest of this fourth quarter and gave me some opportunities called plays and then
when we came in the next day he said let’s go through all the plays you
called the fourth quarter why’d you call this what looked about the situation
look at the down and distance situation you know was this the best scenario to
be and why did you do that was it based on what you had seen earlier
and it was just constantly giving me opportunity to do it the other thing
that he always had us do is as varsity coaches and Alan when we went to JV
games or freshman games he told the varsity coaches you are not allowed to
tell those guys what to do he said if you want to train those coaches up you
do it Monday Tuesday Wednesday when it gets to Thursday night that’s their
opportunity to learn from what they have success with or what they meant what
they mess up or so it was really hard because you get in there and you want to
get down there and he said but that’s not fair to those guys because all week
long they’ve been coaching those kids Monday Tuesday Wednesday and then on
Thursday night a varsity coach shows up and then tries to run the entire show
they’re not gonna get any better they’re not gonna learn and so what it really
allowed me to do is get opportunities where I would meet with the guys Colin
plays on the freshman and JV staffs during the week hey what are y’all
working on what are you practicing what are you gonna run and then on Friday
mornings we would come up and we’d watch the film together and it was a great
opportunity for us to talk through why we were coaching things a certain way
why we were doing things a certain way because we wanted the kids at that level
to understand why we would do things at the next level and so as principals and
trying to move this back to looking at our side from the football side and your
side as a principal is how many times do you have a chance to take the time
before a teacher teaches a lesson and say hey how are you gonna go through
solving equations right here how are you going to talk through parent functions
sorry I’m a math guy so that’s my only thing I can go with but you know how
many times do we do that or do we wait till afterwards and we’ve done a
walkthrough we’ve gone to watch a lesson and said well why’d you do it like that
this is the way you need to do it and so are we taking the time to go train up
those teachers on better ways to do things especially young teachers to give
them all the help that we can give them okay you talk about hiring young
teachers hiring young coaches what about older more experienced ones well that
big thing for me as far it goes what your hiring process is alright and
I’ve got my nice little picture of somebody getting interviewed right there
in my interviews when we look to hire somebody the number one thing I would
say is we’re gonna go through what my non-negotiables are and we’re gonna put
it all out on the line and if that isn’t a good fit and they don’t agree or I
don’t think that they they’re gonna be on the same page with us let’s call it
what it is and move on and find somebody that’s gonna be a better situation but
for us when we sit down for my coaches in order to have the impact that I want
them to have on our students and our athletes alright first one thing I tell
them you’ve got to love kids and that’s a oh yeah I love kids well no this
cannot be a hobby for you this has got to be your passion this has got to be
your life you got to understand if you’re not willing to give a kid a ride
home every day you can’t work on this staff if you’re not willing to throw in
a couple dollars to buy stuff for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for these
kids you cannot be a part of the staff we go through 20 loaves of bread a week
in our mesquite high school locker room peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you
know how it is with kids how do they see love feed them alright I love you a lot
when we feed them okay grades all right I explained very much to those coaches
as soon as they are interviewing with me I require them when we get our first
project report we’re gonna run a report you’re gonna take every single one of
your kits that’s your position group and any class that they’re failing you’re
gonna email that teacher and ask what can we do better to help them and the
first time I did that one of the coaches that was still left from the old staff
he said well coach that’s that’s 24 emails I’ve got he said I’ve got 24 kids
family I said well I guess you’re gonna send 24 emails then and on top of that
how many of those kids are failing more than one so you’re probably got about 36
emails to send and for some coaches I mean when I say it becomes a hobby to
them it’s not important enough they don’t like all that extra work but
that’s why I try to do it on the front and then say this is what you’re gonna
do or you’re not going to be a good fit for this staff we’re gonna make sure
that these kids understand that we want them more to be not only to be a
successful football player we want them to be a successful kid in the classroom
the other last thing is time commitment I go through exactly what our week of
practice in season and out of season is so they know how much time I expect them
to be committed to I also tell them though with what my policies are as far
as family and I tell them if you ever miss a doctor’s visit for your wife
that’s pregnant to be at practice I’m a fire you
all right I make sure they understand that while there’s a large time
commitment to what we’re doing all right I’m a Family Guy also and I expect you
to let me know that and we will cover for you and so we go through all that in
those interviews and I’ve had those interviews and brought those things up
and found out pretty quickly that this guy wasn’t going to be the right guy for
us and so I just taught it you know when you’re not hiring in June and July how
many times are you doing that in your interviews where you say this is how we
do things at mesquite high school this is how we do things at Poteet high
school this is how we do things at Shaw Elementary this is how we do things at
this school and if this isn’t for you hey let’s shake hands and move on last
thing to do as far as when we talk about coaching up coaches all right is in the
in the August we bring every single one of our coaches up from middle school
high school and we bring them up and have staff meetings and I go through our
vision and our expectations and I want to make sure that they understand
exactly what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and I think we get to staff
development sometimes and we talk about a mission statement or we talk about a
vision and there’s a whole lot of the what and not enough of the how and I
think that’s something that you’ve got to be really really great at in those
meetings is explaining how do we expect to do this so we take an expectations
list and I go through this with every one of our coaches and it has head coach
expectations I want them to know what to expect from me under that I have
assistant coach expectations this is everything I tell them that I expect
from them and that I am evaluating on them on as a coach at the bottom we have
player expectations we go through this thing with our entire team they
understand what I expect of me and what they can expect of me they understand
what they can expect from our assistant coaches and the rest of our staff and
they have expectations that we have for them
and we go through every single one of those and take the time to do it if this
is something anybody would like to see I don’t mind sharing it but the biggest
thing on this is this is what I use to get hired for this job this was in my
book that I came to my interview with so that dr. V would know and Steve Bragg
would know this is what you can expect from me and so I tell those coaches I
said this right here helped me get this job this is what I promised I was going
to do so these are mine non-negotiables these are the things we’re gonna do if
we’re gonna be a successful staff I think it’s always important when you do
that stuff to make sure you you spread that out and make sure everybody in your
team on your staff understands what the expectations are and what your vision is
for everybody the last part of the coaching up I said something about
coaching up or coaching out and we don’t ever like to talk about coaching out all
right but there comes a time where you do have to discuss that thing when I
talked to coach Westerberg when I got my first said job I said what do you think
the thing is that I’m gonna struggle with the most
he said honestly I think the thing you’re gonna struggle with the most is
when you have to be a jerk and he used a different word than jerk but I tried to
clean it up for you but the other one you know Tom you know what he probably
told me and and I kind of laughed but he’s right all right
idiot when you’re part of a team and you’re an assistant coach or you’re a
teacher you want to be light you want people to like you you want to be you
you like that people want to be around you want to like you when you move up
into an administrators role all right that’s probably the hardest thing for us
as we do that is you’ve got to step up and be the jerk sometimes when I think
about the staff meetings in Stata you know every staff development when we get
in there and have a staff meeting all right I’m gonna be honest with you
principals as as teachers sitting there and we have the same thing set hey guys
we have y’all gotta do a better job we’ve got to do a better job of having
more grades in the computer by week two or week three and as a coach and they
know how much I’m looking in at those grades I can tell you who the six
teachers are but we want to do this broad thing we
don’t want to call anybody out we don’t want to be the jerk so we’re just gonna
bring it back into another staff meeting or another email and say hey guys we
need to do a better job of putting grades in the computer all right or
we’re gonna set these new policies and we’re gonna punish everybody instead of
grabbing those six and getting them in your office and sorry that’s how we do
this coaches if somebody in our coats and stuff is not getting it done all
right I’m gonna do it professionally I’m not gonna call him out in front of
everybody but they’re gonna come into my office
we’re gonna shut the door and I’m gonna tell him exactly what needs to be done
I’m gonna coach them up the first time and then the next time if it’s not
getting done then we’re gonna discuss coaching the mountain moving on and
getting somebody else on our team and while you don’t want to constantly be
switching people out on your staff the biggest thing is is don’t don’t let one
or two people affect what you have going on with their staff and so I don’t know
if that’s a really great message that sometimes you need to be a jerk but be a
jerk sometimes it would really help with a whole lot of things and like I said
you really don’t want it to affect your entire team your entire staff you don’t
want staff frustrated with with you because we can’t get the message across
the same happens with kids we have kids sometimes that quit
themselves and then we have some kids sometimes that I quit and it’s a hard
thing because you’ve invested a whole lot of time in that person the same way
you might have invested a whole lot of time in that teacher but if it is
affecting your entire staff you get sometimes you got to coach them out the
last thing that talking about impacting students through how you impact your
staff this is one of my favorite quotes of all time okay they don’t care how
much you know until they know how much you care all right and I love that
people can find these pictures of me like this because that that’s just that
raw emotion and passion happiness I have I’m so genuinely excited for kids when
they do something well and really anywhere but especially in this school
district the love the hugs the smiles the things that you can do for those
kids you realize pretty quickly that it may be some of the only ones they see
that day or that week and it’s a big deal to me it’s
something that I talked to our coaches a lot about and we talked about love and
kids all right but when we talk about that impact that you have on the kid as
an administrator as a head coach is are you loving up your teachers so that they
can show that love to students all right and I’m talking about more than jeans
passes all right because I know every principal that’s the way you so love to
teach it hey I know this isn’t going to be very fun but you can wear jeans so
things that I do and make sure I do because I worked for some great head
coaches and I and I worked and worked and worked and worked and that one of
the only things I would say that I learned from them about how what I was
not going to do when I got to be a head coach is as hard as we worked and we did
things is how often did they hey you did a great job hey thanks for doing that
you did a great job and so when I got to be a head coach I made a point to tell
myself I was constantly going to be telling my assistant coaches when they
did something well thank you you did a great job man I really appreciate how
you did that so as principals I know how busy you get I get busy too but how many
times do you go in the mornings and walk around your school and just stick your
head in teachers room and say hey how are you all doing in here y’all doing
great okay the only time they see you all right and because I here believe me
I hear the other side of it when teachers and coaches and people complain
about principals all right so I’m trying to help y’all out is well the only time
I seem is when they’re doing a walkthrough the only time and that’s a
skater the only time I seem is when they come in and then I get nervous do I have
the right teks on the board have I done this have it done this is all my kids
quiet and you know we want to know that you genuinely appreciate what we’re
doing as teachers and coaches and so just take the time in the morning and go
walk around the school stick your head in the door and check on those teachers
because that is going to go on to the students alright the amount of love that
you show to those teachers all right because that’s what just like I said at
the very beginning we don’t get as strong of an impact on those students
anymore because not on the front lines again alright so
what are you doing to make sure your staff and your teachers are showing them
that same type of love wrap this up always reppin alright this is our other
last thing that we do within our program people give me a lot of crap for saying
out yet for all you’re just a Twitter guy and you’re all over social media and
you’re all that and like I like this stuff alright unfortunately it’s
necessary to what we do now alright but the thing that I like about Twitter is
it’s forced people to come up with a brand it’s forced people to come up with
their hashtag their motto what what are you gonna be about alright and when I
got that job in San Antonio at a school called Brandeis I came up with we’re
gonna rep the be alright because they had to be on everything and when people
saw that be everybody was going to know what to expect it and we did this big
thing with our coaches our staff about what it means to always be reppin and
then two weeks later of March Madness all these guys came out in these Nike
shirts that said always reppin I immediately went to my t-shirt guys
stole the idea then made up t-shirts that said always reppin but it became
something that we talk about all the time rep the em didn’t sound as cool as
rep the B so we moved we moved to something else but we talked to our kids
all the time about you are always representing mesquite high school and we
use examples of even when you leave here and we we show them newspaper articles
where it says former so-and-so high school kid got arrested for doing
something former so-and-so kid did this or did
that and so what we talk to them all the time is you’re gonna leave from here one
day and it’s you’re gonna say former student from mesquite high school former
football player from mesquite high school but you’re in charge of what they
say after that okay great example that Rashard Higgins okay
former mesquite high school football player donates five thousand dollars to
Ruby Shaw elementary for backpacks so we talked to them all the time what are you
doing to make sure you represents the right way that goes to teachers also we
have I actually have meetings with our coaches about going to staff development
alright and how we as coaches are going to act at staff development I encourage
them I don’t want all the coaches sitting at one table
I want you sitting with your department scoot around be with other teachers and
get with other departments start building those relationships with those
people all right but I also talked to him about when we
go to staff developments district-wide and we’re going to other schools how
many times do you talk to your teachers about what the message is when they’re
around people from other schools we want everybody to think our schools the best
we want everybody to wish they could be at mesquite high school and so we talk
to them all the time you’re gonna be positive you’re not going to say in
another meeting staff development we got to do this meeting good
hey oh man well hey we’re here we can we can work together we can figure stuff
out we constantly want them to be positive about what’s going on because
we want people to come work at mesquite high school we want people to be on our
staff and so when we talked to Artie our coaches or I I expect have the same
expectations for them that we have our students I expect them to always be
reppin mesquite high school in the right way because we are I thought I was going
to forget that I did they did but I don’t think there’s
any other way to really describe how great this thing is about always ripping
than these feeder patterns that we’ve started now and I I’m so I I was just so
fired up when I’ve had my first meeting with with dr. V and he talked to me
about what we were trying to do with the feeder programs because now we can do
something like this always reppin message from all the way down from
elementary schools all the way up and I encourage you as much as possible to get
into those elementary schools and get everything going all the way up to the
high schools so that all of these students here in Mesquite ISD it can be
impacted the way that we know they should I know some of those were
stretched trying to put coaches with principals alright but just trying to
share my heart I appreciate this time thank you very much

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