The coaching profession is literally filled with innovators, excellent communicators, and great coaching minds that have been fired at one point or another in their career. It’s part of the life we’ve chosen.
What separates the Pete Carroll’s and Bill Belichick’s of the world from the guys that get only get one shot running a team comes down to two simple questions: What did they learn and how have they grown from their opportunity in the head coach’s chair? Those are the questions that decision makers ask themselves before giving a guy another shot to be a head coach.
That was the topic of a piece from Bleacher Report on Josh McDaniels, now in his second stint as the offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick in New England. McDaniels worked his first stint as the Pats offensive play caller into a short stint as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. McDaniels started off hot, winning his first 6-straight games, but that was followed by losses in 17 of his next 22 games, and he was let go shortly after. Now, back with the Patriots calling offensive plays, McDaniels can reflect on his experience as a head coach, and that opportunity has allowed him to see his second stint under Belichick in a different light.
Bleacher Report’s piece includes a number of pointers from McDaniels on what he learned during his time leading the Broncos, and how he’s using it to be better the second time around, if a team decides to give him another change. The notes include everything from how he’d handle play calling duties as a head coach again, to how he interacts with his coaches, players, secretaries, and even whether he’ll use profanity or not.
One of the pieces of advice that will ring true to a lot of folks out there is rather simple. “You need to write down everything you would do differently if you ever get a chance to be a head coach again,” McDaniels’ father Thom, a veteran of the coaching profession for nearly 40 years as a high school coach, told him. “Do it while everything is fresh in your mind. Over time, add to it.”
That’s exactly what Josh has done, adding notes into his Excel spreadsheet like “LISTEN better. To anyone who tells me something. There are so many people who can help us win & have wisdom I don’t have,” and “Be considerate of assistant coaches’ time, their emotions & make sure they always know how much I care. Push them, hold them accountable and love each one of them personally,’ and stuff as simple as “Lean on my faith and be myself.”
The full article from BR has a ton more of McDaniels’ notes to himself in it, as well as some more wisdom from his father, and plenty more advice for coaches who are looking for ways to continually grow.