Dan Tudor

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September 3rd, 2018

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The Real Bosses of Coaches

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

I want to share one of those “priceless” things you learn early in a college coaching career, and you wish someone had told you about on your very first day. (Or if they had told you, you wish you had listened a little more intently).

When I first started coaching (as a college assistant coach), I was under the impression that I had three main bosses: the Head Coach, the Athletic Director, and the President of the school.

My view of the world was basically “Keep those three bosses happy and all would be great!”

Boy was I mistaken.

The REAL Bosses

Although those three were my supervisors and superiors, and they wielded some power, they weren’t my REAL bosses.

There were other bosses—hidden ones—who could make-or-break my day at work. Actually, they could make-or-break my coaching career.

These REAL bosses were the folks who truly wielded the power.

They had complete control, on any given day, to either make my work life easy or difficult.

I was at their mercy, and when I started coaching I didn’t even have a clue.

Luckily, I caught on…real quick.

And at the exact moment I caught on the chances of my career being longer than one season wickedly improved.

Who were those bosses?

Boss #1: Athletic Department office manager

Total control of money matters, recruiting information, time sheets, transportation requests and just about anything else that dealt with the organizational aspects of coaching rested in this person’s hands (or on their desk). That was a lot of power.

Boss #2: Fleet manager

He controlled the gas pumps/cards and any vehicles used for transportation or recruiting (two critical items for any college coach).

Boss #3: Athletic Trainer

Bluntly, on a daily basis she had control over who participated, and who sat out. I thought I made the line-ups, but one word from her and those line-ups were not even worth the paper I scribbled them on.

Boss #4: Admissions Director

The director of an admissions office can have a bigger impact on your roster than you, no matter how proficient you are at recruiting. That’s power.

In The Army Now?

Like the sergeants in the Army these folks knew how to get things done. And like sergeants, they deserved respect for what they knew and what they did.

As I said, luckily I caught on to this real quick—but so many coaches don’t.

The same thing happens in almost every business—there are those hidden bosses.

And what if coach somewhere besides a college? You still have hidden bosses. Do you know who they are? Who really has the power and control over your job?

This is really worth dwelling on

More than once I’ve counseled a new coach about these REAL bosses, and more than once I’ve seen coaches not treat them right.

Those coaches rarely last very long. Not because of their won/loss record, rather their poor treatment of a hidden boss came back to haunt them in ways they probably could not foresee.

Unfair? Not really.

Just a lesson to be learnt about how things (organizations) really work. Pay attention to your REAL bosses.

Your career will thank you.

And A Request

I have a goal, to help 1000 coaches improve their experience as a coach. If you’re willing, would you please share this with one coach who matters to you? If only one coach reads this because of you, the net results is that you help them have a better experience and help me get one step closer to my goal. A double-win. Actually a triple-win, because we might keep a hidden boss happy and who knows what impact that could have on us!

Thanks for considering this.

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