Many coaches have earned the label of being a "players coach", but new Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre added some insight the other day when John Henderson of the Denver Post listened to his rebuilding plan and told him that he sounded like a "players coach" to him.
Coach Mac responded by comparing his coaching style more to that of a good parent, than a "players coach".
“I don’t know if I’m exactly a player’s coach. A lot of people say a player’s coach is ‘Ah, they’re having fun. Let them do whatever they want.’ I care deeply about my players. I don’t use them as pawns. And they know that." he explained.
“They also know I hold certain standards high and we’ve got to meet those standards. I’d like to say I’m a good parent. A good parent can laugh with their kids but at the same time they know there are certain standards and I hold them accountable.”
At the end of the season, he takes some time for self evaluation, and asks the outgoing seniors for some honest input.
“Every year I’d critique myself. I’d critique my staff. I’d look at what we needed to change, positives and negatives. I’d meet with the outgoing seniors: ‘Hey, be realistic with me. Anything you see?’ And I’ll say, ‘I didn’t see it that way. You’re right.’ Other things they’d say, I’d go, ‘We’re going to keep doing that.’”
A lot of coaches that we visited with down at the convention do the same thing, noting that meeting with those outgoing seniors shows that their opinion is valued and that they have a permanent stake in the future direction of the program.
For MacIntyre, the results are hard to ignore. After inheriting a two win San Jose State team heading into 2010, the Spartans struggled to a 1-12 finish in 2011 as him and his staff laid the foundation, and the next season MacIntyre won 5 games, and capped that off with an 11 win season for the Spartans this past year. The quick turnaround catapulted his name towards the top of the list of hot off season names, eventually landing him in Boulder.
It's obvious that with just a few seasons under his belt as a head coach, Mac has his formula figured out, and it's working.