Dan Tudor

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July 9th, 2018

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Front Porch Thinking for College Coaches

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

Years ago, the president of my college came to speak at an Athletic Department staff meeting.

A very sharp fellow and well spoken, he was wise about the ways of athletics in the college realm. (He had been one of the main administrators in the University of Maryland system during the Len Bias tragedy.)

He sprung an analogy on us that’s stuck with me to this day, and has prompted me to think differently about the job of a coach.

He referred to college sport teams as the “Front Porch” of an institution. And he suggested we think in those terms.

Your team as a front porch

He meant that the front porch sets the tone for the visitor for what they will find inside:

  • Messy porch—messy house
  • Welcoming front porch—welcoming house
  • Tidy, clean front porch—probably the same inside

Front-porch thinking helped me visualize how others outside an institution saw my school and what I did as a coach. Like who? Who might see, or use, your team as a front porch to a school? Well how about:

  • Recruits
  • Donors
  • Dignitaries
  • Community members
  • Journalists
  • Board members
  • Alums

How is your front porch viewed?

Here’s a simple exercise: What does your front porch look like to others?

Fire up your favorite search engine and look up your team. What results return? Dig down in your search, and read not only the content of the results, but also the context. If the results mentions your team in an article about high crime rates, well, maybe, just maybe, your porch is a tad dirty.

You might be surprised how people see your front porch, and what it tells them about what is inside.

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