Some of the top coaching minds in the country are invited to attend the NFL / NCAA coaches academy each year. A few weeks ago, those coaches got treated to Ron Rivera imparting wisdom on interviewing for success and landing your first head coaching job.
A few weeks back, we detailed how Ron Rivera interviewed for eight different head coaching jobs before landing his first head coaching gig with Carolina. That many interviews gives a coach plenty of time to not only hone his craft, but to also make his sure the materials that he brings to the interview are top notch.
After sitting with Roger Goodell one day, Rivera was told to "debrief" with one of the owners to learn his interview weaknesses and how to improve upon them. It was that conversation that laid the foundation for future interview success.
At the coaches academy, Rivera shared that experience with the coaches in attendance, explaining why that type of constructive information proves to be the difference between a much anticipated head coaching job, and a lifetime as an assistant coach.
Also during Rivera's presentation, the Panthers head coach touched on a few different areas that coaches at every level can benefit from. Below are a few key points from his address.
Have a vision:
- Have a clear vision for your life, your team, and your career (including goals, and what level you want to coach).
Develop your own style of coaching:
- Be yourself, don't try to be someone else.
- Just because you played doesn't mean you'll automatically be a good coach or that you know all there is to know. Be a sponge and soak up everything you can at clinics and during visits with other coaches.
Continue to educateyourself:
- Find a mentor. That could be your current head coach or coordinator, or someone that you learned under or respected as a player or from a past coaching stop.
- Learn from any source that you can and start to compile resources and a system to store that information
- Playbooks / Notebooks
- Film / Teaching videos
- Clinic talks
Develop your own book:
- Position manual and teaching / drill tapes
- Coordinator book / installation tapes
- Head coaches book that includes your philosophy and how you will operate your program
Develop your network of coaches:
- Stay on top of coaches that have the potential to move up in the coaching profession.
- Keep your own list of guys that you would hire or that you want to coach with. Do your research and don't just hire your friends.
Know who you're interviewing with:
- Do your homework on the team's history, the athletic director, other coaches and perhaps most importantly, the players on the roster.
- Ask the interviewer questions.
- What do they know about you?
- What is their vision for the program?
- What is expected of the position?
Learn from eachinterview:
- Just because you didn't get the job doesn't mean you've failed, as long as you take the opportunity to learn from each interview.
- After the interview process, ask them to debrief you in order to find your strengths and weaknesses. That's the only way you'll improve on them for your next opportunity.
After you get the job:
- Implement your vision and your plan and stick to it.
- Coach your coaches on what you want, and how you want it done.
- Be flexible. No matter how prepared you are as a first time head coach, something will come up that you didn't expect.