Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for October, 2009

Getting a Head Coaching Job

Posted by admin October - 29 - 2009 - Thursday Comments Off on Getting a Head Coaching Job

Now that football season is drawing to a close, coaching positions will begin to open up and hungry assistant coaches will be looking to secure a HC position! 

I want to share a few tips that may help you in the application process:

1- Be sure that you know what you are getting into before committing to even applying.  I have a coaching colleague who wanted to be a HC so bad that he “grabbed” 2 different jobs without really evaluating what he was getting himself into.  The second one only lasted about a month and he stepped down because the school refused to pay him!  The “red light” should have been that the job came open in late July!  So, do some research on the school; it’s administration and the history of the football program before you apply.  Surely, some bad programs can be turned around with the right person at the helm.  But with no support from the administration or community, you are in for a rough ride.  So ask questions; take a tour of the facilities; talk to players; talk to their parents and boosters— get a “pulse” on the program and school before you sign a contract.  And even before you apply.  You can always say “no” later.

2- If you are going to go through the process, it is important to present yourself to the search committee as professional as possible.  Put together a first class resume and mail it to the principal or AD as soon as possible.  You don’t want to miss deadlines.  When you meet for your interview, dress professionally.  Find out how many people will be on the committee and have a folder of personal information presented to each one of them (bring a couple of extra folders in case more show up.  There’s nothing more embarrassing than to not have material for everyone in attendance!).  Your “philosophy of coaching” is important to have in the material along with information on how you will run your program.

3- When you meet, remember that Body Language is critical to how you come across to the committee interviewing you.  You should have your family “grill” you with questions before you meet for the real deal.  Videotape the family interview session and have your wife or close friend critique your performance.  Non verbal cues like your posture, facial expression, eye contact (very important!) voice volume are all important in how you present yourself.  If you do not know the answer to a question, say so!  There’s nothing worse than watching someone try to come up with an answer when it’s obvious that they do not know the answer!  Simply respond:  “That’s a good question.  I do not have an appropriate response to it right now.  But I will research it and get back to you.”  Then once you find the answer, you be sure to email or call that committee member and tell them what you found out.  When you leave, make sure to shake each hand and thank them for the opportunity to meet with them.  Within a day or so, it is appropriate to write a note, yes write!, and thank the head of the committee again for allowing you the chance to interview.  Some of you may wonder if letters of recommendation help.  Yes… but don’t overdo it.  Two or three letters from “key” people can be helpful; but don’t send a mail truck full of letters to the committee.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the interview is the key.  However, you have to realize that sometimes the interview process is simple perfunctory.  The principal may already have in mind whom he wants to hire; but he is required by his school system to go through the motions of an interview process.  Don’t get frustrated.  There are good jobs out there.  It may require a few “no’s” as you build your resume.  Keep applying!


Posted by admin October - 23 - 2009 - Friday Comments Off on Welcome!

This is my first entry on my first attempt at managing a website.  My goal is to help coaches to understand that it isn’t just “X’s and O’s NOR is it Jimmys and Joes!”  It is preparing properly and taking care of the “little things” that many coaches do not realize their importance.  My principal is a former head coach and has a doctorate in School Administration.  He teaches college classes at night to prospective teachers coming into the profession from other occupations.  He has stated to me that the most important thing he can teach a new teacher is:  classroom management.  Teachers come into school the first day and have no concept of how to organize lessons and manage time.  Within a week, their class is chaos!  The “inmates are ruling the asylum.”  The same holds true for new head coaches.  They fail to pay attention to details and very soon their team is floudering and they have no idea how to right the ship!

For example:  my “Tip of the Month” today will be about how to deal with parents of players whose expectations exceed the talent level of their son.

It’s that time of year and senior football players are on line reading about how many offers “Jimmy Jones” has or that “Bobby Joe” just verbally committed to State U.  Their parents hear about this too and wonder why their son doesn’t have a dozen offers.  It must be the coach’s fault.  Let’s call and rant at him!

So you, as the HC, get the inevitable phone call and the meeting is set up to discuss Johnny’s future.  What the meeting is really all about is to find out why you haven’t gotten their son a scholarship!

The best thing you can do is 1- listen and 2- empathize.  But, most important, be positive.  Let them know that you have sent out his name to colleges (IF you have considered it warrented) and that decisions on who is recruited and who is offered is SOLELY the job of the college coaches. 

A nice “prop” to have as evidence if the player is obviously over-rating himself is to have copies of college football media guides.  Go to the roster and show the player and his parents the average height and weight of the Offensive Linemen.  This is reality hitting that 5’10 in., 225 lb. offensive guard in the face.  You can SHOW them what a Div. 1A offensive lineman is built like.  Then you can find out how serious they are about their son playing college football.  Do they want to look at some smaller school programs?  Would they like you to get in touch with some D3 coaches?  Would prep school or junior college be an alternative?  You come out looking helpful and the family gets a “friendly” dose of reality.