Pro football Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi might have what it takes to lead another football team to greatness.

Pro football Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi might have what it takes to lead another football team to greatness.

The Packers legend whose name is synonymous with success in professional football died more than 30 years ago. But his lessons live on.

Truman football coach Jeff Floyd said he’s hoping the Patriots will take those lessons to heart in an effort to turn their program around.

Floyd is having each of his players read “That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory” by John Eisenberg this summer.

Floyd read the book earlier this year and then passed it on to Truman athletic director Eric Holm. Holm suggested the team add the book to its summer training program.

To launch this rather unique program, Floyd gathered his team in the lecture hall at Truman High School where they were each loaned a copy of the book.

He then quizzed them on what they knew about Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers.

A short movie about Lombardi followed, which was sprinkled with some of his many famous quotes.

Then Floyd told his players why he wanted them to spend at least part of their summer reading.

“We talk about all the time (how) they’re student athletes,” Floyd said. “They’re students first.

“Reading is important. It’s a good predictor for success. The better reader they are the better chance they have in life.”

Floyd asked the Patriots how many of them wanted to go to college. Most of the hands in the room went up.

He then said one of the best indicators of collegiate success wasn’t the ACT, SAT or even GPA. It was reading aptitude.

However, there are a lot of good books out there. There are even a lot of good books about football.

The fact that Floyd picked “That First Season” wasn’t just because he thought “it was a good book.”

When Lombardi took over the Packers, they were a model of futility. Green Bay turned in the worst record of the season the year before and hadn’t had a winning season in a decade.

It’s almost a mirror image of the struggles the Patriots have had to endure over the past 10 years. They’re a combined 29-73 over that span and went 0-10 in 2010.

“There’s just a lot of parallels to the situation,” Floyd said. “They’ve (the Patriots) had one winning season in the past 10 years here.”

Lombardi turned the Packers around in one year and took them to a division championship. The surprising thing was he did it with mostly the same players, which was a point Floyd emphasized. A number of those players went on to Hall of Fame careers.

Floyd said the book shows how Lombardi brought the turnaround through the way things were done, not who was doing them.

If the Patriots can take that lesson from the book, he said Truman might be able to turn its program round as well.

“It’s a culture thing,” he said. “We’ve got some athletes here. I think we can have some success.

“There’s some things culture-wise that have to be changed – coming to meetings, coming to practice, practicing harder.

“All the things that Lombardi experienced in Green Bay, similar things are going on here.”

The program will continue throughout the summer with Floyd doling out reading assignments.

Reading will be interspersed with various events and speakers that coincide with what the players are reading.

“There’s lots of good movies on the NFL in the glory days,” Floyd said.

Floyd was working on having some surprises for his players.

They’ll have to work for it though. In order to make sure his players are doing the assigned reading, Floyd has them doing small assignments. For the first section, he is going to ask a related question on his blog and has asked his players to respond.

He said he’s expecting a good response.

“I think the bulk of them will read it and get something out of it,” Floyd said. “I think we have a lot that will invest in it.”

It’s a sign that culture might already be changing for a Truman team that went winless last season.

“We’ve got more people in here now that are investing in our program,” Floyd said. “This is part of investing in our program.”

During the presentation, Holm promised the players they would get something out of it if they tried. Floyd encouraged them to write down anything they did take out of it.

He said even if only a couple do take something from the book then the program would be a success.

“If it’s something that’s going to help one or two kids, then it’s worth it,” Floyd said.