Sunday, August 31, 2008

Giving assistant coaches ownership

Happened to come across the Maryland-Delaware football game yesterday and heard the game announcers talking about how Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler had passed on several big-time jobs to remain at UD.  

It got me curious about Coach Keeler, so I did some research and found his success as a head coach really took off after he made the decision 5-6 years ago to delegate more responsibility to his assistants.

Said Coach Keeler:  

"I think I've learned the magic of my success is hiring great people.  That's the best thing I do. I let them coach.  I need to give them ownership.  I'm very heavily involved in everything, but I'm smart enough not to meddle when I shouldn't meddle, and I think that's why we've been successful."

According to his offensive coordinator:  

"This is the best possible situation you can be in as a coordinator.  He's the head coach and he's ultimately responsible for the results of the team. But as offensive coordinator, I'm ultimately responsible for the results of the offense. So, you want to be able to make the key decisions. One of the reasons I love working for K.C. is, I have the opportunity to make those decisions."

By trusting his coordinators the freedom to do their jobs, Coach Keeler is able to focus on a number of important off-the-field issues:

"There are some things I want to do. I want a new weight room. I want a new academic center. I want a new athletic training room. I want enhanced locker rooms. I want to do something with the stadium. If I'm not leading the charge, who is?  I've gotten more involved in a lot of things. So, I've had to learn to put a lot of faith in the people I hire."