• Tim Crone: Ditching the coach isn't always the answer

  • It’s the time of year for teams at all levels to consider coaching changes in an effort to improve their programs and develop winning teams.

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  • It’s the time of year for teams at all levels to consider coaching changes in an effort to improve their programs and develop winning teams.
    Contrary to popular belief, the solution doesn’t always lie in a coaching change. The leadership in high schools, colleges and professional teams can be quick to fire a coach in hopes of fixing a problem.
    Before a program can even begin a building process, a clear-cut identity needs to be established and everyone from top to bottom needs to understand that identity with no questions, doubts or hesitations. When all facets make a covenant to a common philosophy, the program has new life and room to grow.
    The commitment of all will serve as glue to hold the team together and a compass to steer the program the right direction through all the ups and downs encountered along the way. All great organizations need a cornerstone to build on.
    One of the greatest quotes I have ever heard comes from Bear Bryant: “A great team, whether it be football or an organization, shares the same heartbeat.”
    I can’t think of any better words to describe a great team more accurately. Most fans believe that winning just happens and are unaware of the importance of the team vision in the development of a consistent program. Athletic pride is a choice, not a skill. Players should ask themselves if they show pride based upon arrogance and entitlement or through the shared joy of a committed inner circle of teammates and coaches.
    To win consistently is a process that does not always begin with a new coach. When I made coaching choices, my No. 1 criteria was to make darn sure that they were on the same page and truly “got it.”
    My second most important requirement was someone who could provide a positive role model. As Coach John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches of all time, stated “Young people need models, not critics.”
    The third most important quality I looked for in the hiring process was the ability to enjoy the process – fun is a key ingredient for players and coaches alike in the team philosophy.
    To sum it all up, the answer is not always to just fire the coach. To understand how the total picture plays into a successful team and athletic program is an absolute necessity.
    n The bowl season seems to last forever. Thirty-two games over a four-week period?! That’s why I believe a playoff system is in order.
    n At least 10 NCAA Division I teams have a legitimate chance to win the basketball national championship.
    n Can you believe the Kansas City Chiefs had five players selected for the Pro Bowl team? Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson are certainly deserving.
    Page 2 of 2 - n My quote this week is from a professional player who truly got it, Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “I don’t get a big charge out of being the leading scorer. The object of competing is winning. I just try to do what has to be done for us to win. That might be anything at any time – defense, rebounding, passing. I get satisfaction out of being a team player.”

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