Coach Terry Curtis of UMS Wright addressed a large group of coaches last Wednesday as he relayed his thoughts on “Leadership.” Curtis a veteran off 44 years in coaching, is one of the state’s most successful coaches. He currently serves on the AHSAA Central Board of Control and works as President of the Alabama Football Coaches Association.
Coach Curtis said that in order to practice leadership a coach must first understand “followship.” Assistant coaches should be loyal to their head coach or go and find another job. He stated that all coaches should have a mentor to share problems and get some valuable advice. Coach Curtis advised younger coaches to be patient about becoming a head coach. It takes time to learn the skills needed to run a program and they should take time to learn and pay their dues. He said that “one of the worst things you can do is to take a head coaching job just to be a head coach.”
Coach Curtis asked the head coaches present, “how much time do you require of your assistants?” He stated that the divorce rate among the coaching profession was high, and part of leadership was “working smart, not long.” He says that his coaches do not work on Saturdays, that the players don’t come in on the weekends and that he never asks his coaches to stay and watch film after practice. “Some of my coaches beat the players out the door after practice, and that’s okay. They need to go home to their families.” Curtis also challenged the head coaches to start thinking about what their legacy will be. ” We need to get integrity back in coaching. We need coahces who can follow the rules. The coach is the most important person in that community. If you are breaking the rules, how do you expect your players to follow them.”
He talked to the coaches about doing some fun things with the players and bonding with them. He discussed some of the things his program does to include the parents and former players including a game day parent breakfast, Thursday night senior meals with a former player speaking, game day lunch with former players and allowing parents to attend the pregame meal. Coach Curtis has also done a 3 day camp for many years, using the experience to bring his team a little closer.
He also talked about the importance of getting along with other coaches and networking at clinics and conventions. Curtis stated that “coaches should take care of coaches. We should like competing against each other. We have guys now that lose to someone and they don’t want to talk to them.” This goes back to the need for integrity and character in coaching. Coaches have to show sportsmanship, especially when they lose. ” Coaches,” Curtis said, “should build each other up.”
He finished by telling the audience that the single most important thing in coaching football is “team chemistry.” Coaches should have a philosophy in the areas of fun, discipline and parent control to help build their squad’s team chemistry.