Coaching Leadership

As a person who lives in Knoxville, you can’t help to hear about U.T. football coaching…especially these past few weeks.  For the past three years, The University of Tennessee’s football program has been steadily declining and piling on loosing games.  From someone on the outside looking in, it the team appeared to have a lack of leadership from when it came to performance on the field.  This led the University to fire their head coach and search for another coach who can inspire their team and coach them back up to the status U.T. once had in the SEC.

While the University was searching for a new coach, everyone kept jumping on and off different bandwagons.

Jon Gruden

  • Before he denied the rumors of taking the job: Everyone praised Jon Gruden and declared him a “Tennessee Boy” coming home.
  • After he shot down the rumors of being U.T.s next coach: People were very quick to point out the fact he has NEVER been a head coach of any college.

Mike Gundy

  • Before he decided to stay at Oklahoma State: U.T. fans praised Coach Gundy for coaching his team to the Big 12 Title last year.
  • After he decided to stay at Oklahoma State: U.T. fans remembered the following clip.

Charlie Strong

  • Before he decided to stay at Louisville: People where quick to point out how he got his start in the SEC.
  • After he turned down Tennessee: People where quick to point out how he wasn’t a top tier coach.

Before U.T. was desperate enough to reach out to Bobby Petrino, the University approached Butch Jones and he graciously accepted the head coaching position at U.T.  During his press conference on Friday, Coach Jones focused on leadership and team building both on and off the field.

Tennessee fans are worried, but here’s an example of what Jim Mora was able to do this year with UCLA.  For those who aren’t familiar with Coach Mora, just keep in mind Coach Jim Mora didn’t have a great winning record coming into his coaching job at UCLA.

  • Last season, the UCLA Bruins were 6-8
  • This season, under Coach Mora, this team is 9-3 and the Bruins are competing in bowl game later this year.

What’s the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team?  Did he recruit a whole new class of football players?  No, in fact most of the starters this season where on the team last season.

Coach Mora and his staff of coaches actually coached up the team to a winning record.  Mora is even a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.

It’s amazing what good coaching can do for a team, even when it comes to business.  While learning about Coach Mora’s success at UCLA, I thought about companies that were at a low point but turned things around by receiving new leadership.  When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, he was able to turn Apple into a household name.  As Domino’s CEO, J. Patrick Doyle has led the company to high profits while repositioning the restaurant chain as the top pizza makers in the U.S.

Even on at my place of employment, I have seen a department at our Bank improve this year largely due to new leadership from an individual who is an excellent coach.  This particular leader is able to work well with our CEO and is able to grow her staff by providing open communication and giving them opportunities to learn.  Instead of finding fault, she is able find the potential in her team; which has improved profitability throughout her department.

Do you have a leader in your life that helps you excel by coaching you through the good times and the tough times?  Maybe it was a high school coach, a teacher in you had in school or maybe its your boss at work.

For all the Vol fans out there, I hope Coach Jones is able to lead your team to success this year.  That is unless they play the Mountaineers of West Virginia.


About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

4 Responses to Coaching Leadership

  1. Steve Grimsley says:

    Now that UT has settled on Butch Jones as its new head football coach, any comment?

  2. Dave Lewis says:

    Jeremy .. well stated. It’s a foregone conclusion that Tennessee fans are among the most “opinionated” fans in the Kingdom of SEC football. Some have basis for their opinions and some have emotions as a basis. Others, such as myself, enjoy and support UT football and accept that, like the weather, football fortunes change and as they change, coaching changes are made. Some are knee-jerk reactions, some are to rid a program of jerks, and the balance are to make the changes necessary to find the right mixture of leadership, knowledge, and inspiration coupled with recruiting, discipline, and the intestinal fortitude to enforce rules when broken. Let’s hope that we have a winner in Butch Jones and his ability to turn our program around in a way that befits the University and in a manner that enables the deep pockets of of the boosters to remain solvent so they can recover for the next travesty, when it comes.

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