We picked up our first college football pre-season magazine yesterday. It’s the Athlon Sports college football preview.
Inside the magazine, Athlon rates the best coaching hires in the off-season.
According to Athlon, of all the twenty-one head coaching hires, the best hire was Jerry Kill (Minnesota) followed by Al Golden (Miami).
Both hires, if you remember however, were met with much skepticism in their respective cities, Minneapolis and Miami. There were few fans from either school that truly felt “great” about the hires. It’s safe to say, nobody believed, “We hit a homerun.”
That’s where the athletic departments at Minnesota and Miami (FL) come in. From the very first day when each coach was hired, both universities have marketed the heck out their respective head coaches.
Both Miami and Minnesota hired a company called 3 Penny Films to film a number of behind-the-scene videos that have been regularly uploaded to YouTube. The films have become a huge hit. The fan bases love them and they are excellent for recruiting.
Most importantly, 3 Penny Films has been able to capture the personality of Jerry Kill and Al Golden. If you didn’t know the coaches before, now you do.
Because of the films, it’s now hard to find a person in either city that isn’t excited about Kill or Golden. Neither coach has changed. It’s just that their personality, values, and leadership skills have been publicized.
FootballScoop talked this week with Miami (FL) director of football operations Tom Deahn, who said, “I call them (3 Penny Films) ‘Spielberg’ because they are the absolute best at telling a story. We give them some story lines and they produce it terrifically.”
Deahn added, “Our fans love the films. They are a huge hit. Everywhere Coach Golden goes to speak, people talk about the films.”
Deahn explained to us that Al Golden was initially unsure about allowing the access to an outside company, but granted a half-hour meeting to the company that wanted to chronicle the revival of Miami football.
“After five minutes, Al said, ‘That’s it. I’ve heard enough. We got to do this. It’s a no-brainer.’”
At Minnesota, the idea started when Jerry Kill said in a staff meeting, “This campus and the city of Minneapolis are unbelievable. I can’t believe how nice this place is.”
Kill asked his staff for suggestions on the best and quickest way to show recruits just how nice of a city Minneapolis is. That’s when defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys suggested 3 Penny Films. Claeys had a connection with one of the producers at 3 Penny Films from years ago during his time at Southern Illinois.
Kill agreed and the Gophers hired the company. Things have taken off, ever since.
Minnesota director of football operations Dan O’Brien told FootballScoop, “Coach Kill initially wanted people to see the city of Minneapolis and how incredible this place is. He kept saying, ‘People have to see this place.’”
O’Brien said the first couple of films were so well received, the Gophers decided to keep going. What a great decision by the Minnesota staff.
Now, the entire Gophers’ fan base, all the alumni, all the people in the city of Minneapolis know who Jerry Kill is, what he’s about, what his personality is like. (Watch this video)
To us, it’s not a coincidence that the two schools that have done the best job of marketing their coaches in the last six month were listed at the very top of Athlon’s list of best off-season hires. There is no question in our mind that neither coach would have been listed as high if it were not for the films, which have significantly helped the transition and created a ton of enthusiasm within both fan bases.
For that reason, FootballScoop would like to compliment the athletic departments at both universities for their creative thinking and willingness to budget for this type of marketing. It’s well worth it.
The only thing we wonder is why more schools haven’t done the same.
Here is an example of one of the Miami (FL) all-access films produced by 3 Penny Films: