January 1, 2018 • Athletic AdministrationCoaching

Coach & AD’s most popular stories of 2017

Another year is in the books. As we turn the calendar to 2018, let’s take a look back at Coach & Athletic Director’s 12 most popular stories of 2017.

12. Rebuilding a damaged team culture.

An excellent first-person story from Gifford Lindheim, who was asked to be the interim head football coach at Santa Monica College (California) three weeks before the start of fall camp.

Lindheim describes the struggles he encountered along the way, while detailing how he rebuilt a fractured team. The article offers great insight into how coaches can bring their teams back to life after dealing with adversity.

11. Handling frustration in the athletic director position.

It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Columnist Dr. David Hoch offers some ideas for how athletic administrators can overcome some of the most common sources of frustration in their positions. 

10. The seven ‘C’s of a successful athletic program

At the 2017 National High School Athletic Coaches Association conference in Illinois, CMAA Doug Smith presented his seven Cs for coaching.

Smith has been a member of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association for more than 30 years and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2015. Here are his thoughts on what it takes to build a strong program foundation.

9. Eight keys to coaching Millennial athletes.

Are today’s athletes different from those in years past? Some think so, and research agrees.

Jeff Janssen from the Janssen Sports Leadership Center offers some thoughts on the Millennial generation and what coaches can do to connect with them on and off the playing surfaces.

8. Dealing with parental interference in coaching.

Longtime Coach & Athletic Director columnist Dr. David Hoch shared his strategies to help coaches manage problems with parents. They include setting strict boundaries and consequences for those who cross the line. If you haven’t given it a look, make sure you and your coaching staff consider Hoch’s ideas.

7. Ohio high school football coach resigns over parent threats.

Two of the year’s top stories involve coaches quitting their jobs over parents. In Ohio, Middletown High School coach Lance Engleka stepped down after he said parents created an “unsafe environment.”

“I understand the high-profile nature and acceptable criticism associated with being the head football coach at Middletown High School, however, winning and losing at the high school level should not be a life-threatening situation,” he wrote.

6. Dear parents: I want your kid to fail.

An excellent message to parents from Minnesota high school coach Josh Levine. The essence of his message is that failure, adversity and conflict resolution are critical to the learning process.

“There are times when a parent needs to protect their child,” Levine writes. “However, these instances are quite rare. In the majority of cases, the best solution is for the player to take control of the issue.”

5. Iowa State coach warns recruits about profane tweets.

Another helpful reminder that what athletes say on social media can have a dramatic impact on their future.

DK McDonald, the defensive backs coach at Iowa State, took to Twitter to warn athletes about what they say online. “Please remember that you represent the name on the front & the name on the back of the jersey,” he tweeted.

4. Christian McCaffrey: Playing multiple sports is ‘worth it.’

The growing list of professional athletes who support multisport participation now includes Carolina Panthers tailback Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey, the son of three-time Super Bowl champion wideout Ed McCaffrey, played four sports in high school before committing to Stanford to play running back. He was among the 94 percent of first-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft who played multiple sports.

3. Must-read books for coaches and athletic directors.

Coach & Athletic Director polled readers this fall, asking their recommendations for the best books that teach leadership, motivation and team building. We compiled a list of the 22 most popular options.

2. Petition asks Michigan association for competitive balance.

A former Michigan high school football coach started a petition to create competitive balance between public and private schools. The petition was to be delivered to the Michigan High School Athletic Association, but it remains short of the goal of 5,000 signatures.

“Private schools represent only 14% of MHSAA schools, but they are winning two or three times as many state championships as they statistically should,” the petition reads. “For instance, private schools have won 40% of the state titles in football, 54% in hockey, 41% in girl’s basketball, and 53% in girl’s soccer since the year 2000.”

1. Michigan HS ‘Coach of the Year’ resigns over parents.

The year’s top story came from Michigan, where Gladstone High School boys basketball coach Clayton Castor stepped down amidst intense pressure from parents. What was most surprising: Castor was coming off an 18-6 season — the program’s best showing in 20 years — while earning coach of the year honors along the way.

“At the end of the day, the reason why I am resigning is because of parents,” Castor wrote in his resignation letter. “I don’t want to deal with them. The last five years I have coached at Gladstone I have given it my life. My time could have been better spent doing other things.”

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