Sept. 24, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – When defining a coach, you must ask three questions. 1. Where are you coaching? 2. What are you coaching? 3. Who are you coaching?
The term coach is very broad. Obviously, when you coach at the University of Notre Dame there are many responsibilities that you must accept. For instance, the financial structure is mind-boggling when you look at the amount of revenue and the budget issues you must manage. You must also act as counselor to your assistant coaches and players. And of course, there are the X’s and O’s. As you can see, there are many aspects which go into coaching, especially at this university.
However, when you look to simplify coaching, it all comes down to the same thing. Coaches all have the same intentions, or at least the good coaches do. Coaching is taking a group of individuals and make them better, whether that is teaching them life’s lessons and how to deal with setbacks or teaching them a technique.
It is quite obvious that there are different levels of coaching. Depending on your level, there are various responsibilities you must fulfill. In the end, what makes coaching the greatest profession in the world is having the opportunity to affect people. You have a chance, even when you are losing, to train them and help them.
Eddie Robinson has been quoted as saying, “I want them to be a better man for having played the game.”
No matter how big the game gets, the common denominator among coaches is affecting young people. There is not a better training ground in the world to do this than football, and specifically Notre Dame football. Each of our players will walk away from here a better man.
I wish the student body, the professors, the fans and the media could be around us twenty-four hours a day to see how much goes on, off the football field. I have tremendous respect for our players because of all that we ask them to do. What we are trying to do is raise the level of performance, which directly correlates to how you feel off the field. It is all about self-esteem.
When I describe my coaching philosophy, I say first and foremost you must be in this for the right reasons. You need to be consistent in everything you do. Don’t be different with success. The biggest thing to me is to make improvement and make our players better. You must care about each player and give him something to build off of when trying to make himself better. It is a simple philosophy.