FNF Coaches Talk — Leadership Lessons From Belichick, a 3-Hour Commute to Spring Practice, a Quick Rise in the Coaching Ranks

FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coaches. Here are the stories for today.

1. 3 leadership lessons from Bill Belichick (Nashville Business Journals)

It’s undeniable that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is an incredible coach and leader, working for seven professional teams with five Super Bowl wins under his belt. Belichick is a proven leader on the field, and many of his leadership traits can be applied to leading teams in any workplace.

Here are three leaderships lessons this writer has gathered from Belichick.

1. Coach Your ‘B’ Players
Belichick understands (and practices) the importance of focusing on B players, not just the starters or star performers. Belichick focused on managing and coaching the B players so they were ready for anything. The best coaches and leaders can motivate a team through any obstacle.

The writer used the example of Josh Gordon’s suspension last season as a case when the Patriots have overcome the loss of a perceived invaluable players.

2. Develop Your Staff
Everyone has their own set of innate skills, and effective leaders and managers can identify what those skills are and pick out the right training to maximize those skills, as well as pinpoint new ones each employee has the capacity to grow and develop. Leaders who can recognize these innate skills and what motivates employees to improve can help optimize employee’s performance.

Tom Brady is the perfect example of a player who has been developed far beyond his perceived value when he was taken in the sixth round of the draft.

3. Find mentors
Belichick has recognized several coaches throughout his career in the NFL that served as his mentors. Many sports analysts will tell you that almost every NFL coach can be traced back to the Bill Belichick/Bill Parcells duo. But Bill Parcells was Belichick’s biggest mentor early in his career. Belichick was able to see where he needed improvement and sought to learn from the best.

While Parcells and Belichick had conflicting personalities, Belichick knew enough not to cross Belichick and risk insubordination.

What leadership lessons do you provide your staff?

2. One of Midlands’ newest football coaches is going extra mile, literally, for new team (The State)

We all make sacrifices for our respective teams, but this particular sacrifice seems bigger than most.

Will Richardson is beginning his transition back to the Midlands as the new head football coach at Richland Northeast High School. He’s burning up the interstate in the process.

The Cavaliers have been holding their spring practices on weekends, when Richardson can commute to Columbia. He has to finish his teaching contract at Westlake High School west of Atlanta and plans to move to the Midlands full-time in mid-June. Although he chooses to travel over three hours back and forth to Columbia for spring practices, Richardson says it’s worth it.

Richardson believes he’s setting the tone for his team by showing his willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

“I want to be the best at everything, so I want to do the required work,” Richardson said. “I know that it’s important for the kids to see me there, considering they’ve been through coaching transitions since November. I wanted to establish some consistency for those kids and felt the trips are necessary for them to see my face at practice.”

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for your team this spring?

3. How a lifetime of loving to learn and hustle paved John Kuceyeski’s path to Eastern Illinois (Journal Gazette & Times-Courier)

John Kuceyeski, 32, is on the staff at Eastern Illinois, where he’s in his first year as the offensive coordinator. He rose through the ranks despite not playing a snap of college football.

The path into coaching for someone with Kuceyeski’s non-player background usually involves kicking down the door with persistence that borders on overkill. There are examples of successful coaches who did not play football in college at any level – Bill Belichick chief among them – but they’re in the minority of most in the profession.

Kuceyeski, though, found those doors opened for him with his penchant for leaving positive impressions, a skill rooted in his passion for football that approaches neurosis, his life of learning as the son of a coach, his obsessive studying of his mentors, his ability to forge fast connections with players and his advanced mental capacity to process the game’s minutiae.

At Penn State, Kuceyeski’s effort exerted in unloading the equipment truck, shining helmets and blacking shoes gradually turned into work for Vanderlinden, who juggled responsibilities as a defensive assistant and the special teams coordinator. He gave Kuceyeski film of the next opponent’s special teams and asked him to break it down into a typed report for him to read on Sunday of game week after defensive meetings.

“When I would turn the film on, I knew all the details,” Vanderlinden said. “I knew how they aligned, who aligned where, their get-off time, where the balls were going.”

Is there one moment in your career that you would credit for helping you climb the coaching ladder?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!