Thursday, February 26, 2009

It starts with the interns

Nice note out of Indiana where Hoosiers coach Tom Crean not only had team manager Mike Santa suit up last night for IU's game against Northwestern (wearing jersey number "1"), but got him some playing time near the end of the game.

According to Coach Crean, the 5-foot-9 Santa (on the left) earned the right to play.

“I didn’t do this as a reward. It is a special deal to be a manager here. Those guys come out here and they work. [The managers] bring a great deal of competitiveness and energy to our practices. Those guys, they come in and they make it more competitive for our guys. We’ve got to have real competition – well, those guys try to help provide that.”

It raises an important point about getting good people in place at every level of a team -- not just players and coaches -- but equipment managers, video coordinators, administrative assistants, and -- as Ron Shapiro discusses in his book -- interns.

Shapiro, a well-known agent-attorney and author of the book "Dare to Prepare," is the father of Mark Shapiro, GM of the Cleveland Indians. In his book, Ron writes that "Mark spends almost as much energy and focus on hiring his interns as he does on signing up his draft picks."

"That's one of the most important details in my business, believe it or not," Mark said. "It starts with the interns. Every single time we hire at that level we are looking for an impact person. As a culture, we obsess about our entry-level hires. We do rigid interviews, thorough checks on references and background, test analytic thinking. And we look to create a track for succession and promotion."