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Sport and the Growing Good

Sport and the Growing Good

By Peter Miller
The SGG podcast examines how athletics contributes to everyday improvement in our society. We take an embedded approach to tell stories of the "hidden" people and practices on the front-lines of sport.
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#1: Wisconsin men's rowing coach Chris Clark is always pushing the rock uphill

Sport and the Growing Good

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#101: Packers VP Gabrielle Valdez-Dow: “You have to love the business of sports.” (RCS8)
Gabrielle Valdez-Dow is vice president of marketing and fan engagement for the Green Bay Packers. Her career in sports is long and distinguished, including work with the Baltimore Ravens, Florida Panthers, and AEG. As we continue learning about the multi-level leadership of the Packers, her perspective helps us to better understand the broader organizational context. We discussed: 1.  How living and studying in Oregon led her into the field of sports. 2.  Pearls of wisdom gleaned from her father: “love what you do.” 3.  Two influential professors on her journey: Rick Burton and Dennis Howard 4.  The difference between being a fan and the business of sports. “You have to love the business of sports.” 5.  Every day is different. “That’s the beauty of it.” 6.  Servant leadership. 7.  Being a kind of “air traffic controller” in her unit. 8.  Mission, vision, values. What’s noteworthy about the Packers? Stewardship. “Being a steward of our brand, no matter who you are, you are a steward of the brand…We drink the Kool-Aid from top to bottom. What’s best for the brand.” 9.  How she’s changed over the years: “I’ve matured. I’ve relaxed.” 10.  The character and culture is much different here…We don’t have an owner. Everything we do is put back into the team. 11.  Mark Murphy as a supporter of leadership development. Getting her a growth coach. 12.  Jill Ratliff, growth coach. 13.  “The biggest thing for me is listening.” 14.   Using Masterclass for growth for her staff. 15.  How fan engagement is changing. 16.  Getting players on “Call of Duty” and other new, innovative strategies. 17.  “Winning always cures everything.” 18.  The Packers’ community outreach efforts. 19.  Her everyday routines. Working out early. Do not look at email before exercise and morning time with husband. On your resume: add a “personal” section in order to make connections
37:55
September 23, 2021
#100: Packers EVP and Director of Football Operations Russ Ball: “The only thing you can control in negotiations is preparation” (RCS7)
Continuing our Running a Championship System (RCS) series, we are joined by one the key leaders in the Packers organization, Russ Ball. Russ has a long and distinguished record in football – at both college and professional levels. His wise perspectives on leadership, collaboration, and negotiation are honed from years of experience with some of the top coaches and executives in the country. We discussed: 1.  His positive experiences as a high school football player, learning to win and be a leader. 2.  The impact of his high school coach talking to Russ talking to him while they jogged around the track together. 3.  Working as a strength and conditioning coach with Dave Redding. “He had a knack for finding what button he could push for each person…He knew about them…It was the relationship piece.” 4.  Marty Schottenheimer: “One play at a time.” 5.  The Schottenheimer coaching tree, including Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, Bruce Arians, Howard Mudd… 6.  The Schottenheimer preparation process. 7.  The many roles Russ has taken on over the years, and how he’s learned through these roles. 8.  The value of collaboration and communication across the whole leadership team. “Leaders can’t be everywhere and see everything.” 9.  Relationships are at the heart of negotiations. 10.  “Much is lost for the wont of asking.” 11.  There does not have to be a winner and a loser in a negotiation. 12.  Honesty in negotiation. 13.  The importance of precedent. 14.  “Don’t make it personal. Don’t take it personally.” 15.  “It’s ok to disagree. It’s not ok to be disagreeable.” 16.  Showing someone that you care enough to have a tough conversation. 17.  The only thing you can control in a negotiation is preparation. 18.  “If you’re so busy and you don’t ever give yourself a chance… there’s no time to take a moment for creativity.” 19.  Marcus Allen’s example of work ethic and giftedness. 20.  “Don’t count the time. Make the time count.” 21.  What’s unique about the Packers: the ownership structure. 22.  “Our responsibility is to be a productive steward of what we have.” 23.  Ted Thompson’s words about the importance of the Packers to the fans.
55:41
September 8, 2021
#99: Packers shareholders Rudy and Quinn Banyai: Family, friends, and great times with their teams (RCS6)
Since his childhood, Rudy Banyai’s life has been touched by the Packers and other Wisconsin sports teams. His father took him to his first game in 1952. Rudy has worked for the Brewers since 1974 and has been a Packers season ticket holder for 45 years. He also used to work the sidelines when the Packers played at County Stadium. Rudy's son Quinn and the rest of the Banyai family has continued the Packer-rich family traditions. Quinn also worked at Packer games – and he even met his wife Malina (also a long-time season ticket holder) on a Packers road trip. As we learn about the broader leadership context in which the Packers operate, this great father and son duo of Rudy and Quinn joined SGG to discuss: 1.  Growing up in Bayview, playing sports on the playground. 2.  First Packer game was in 1952 at Marquette Stadium. 3.  Favorite players: Bobby Dillon (one eye), Billy Howton, Babe Parilli 4.  Babe Pirelli helmet: Running into a brick wall with a Babe Pirelli helmet on. 5.  Some favorite players: Paul Horning, Ray Nitschke. James Lofton, John Jefferson. Lynn Dickey. Brett Favre. 6.  Taking the bus (and walking up to three miles) to Packers games at County Stadium 7.  Listening to Packers, Braves, and Milwaukee Hawks games on the radio with his dad. 8.  First getting Packers tickets at the Stadium Bar. 9.  Getting Packers season tickets in 1976. 10.  Quinn’s first memory of Lambeau — 12 years old: Packers vs Chargers — getting John Jefferson’s high five. 11.  Getting dropped off to walk to games …with his address and telephone # in pocket in case he got lost. 12.  Working on the sidelines at County Stadium 13.  Ditka and Forrest Gregg arguing on the sidelines 14.  Telling the owner of the Rams, Georgia Frontier, to get off the field 15.  Joe Montana stories when he played for the Chiefs — having bratwurst for his pre-game meal when playing in Wisconsin and signing Quinn’s cheesehead. 16.  Has worked Brewers games since 1974 17.  Worked the locker room area too for football games. 18.  Bart Starr: The first thing he always did was went to his wife Cherry and gave her a kiss. 19.  James Lofton’s “J” on his autograph 20.  How he got a signed football from Jerry Boyarsky 21.  Brewers: Good friends with Pat Listach and Bob Whitman 22.  When he got Mike Matheny to get Hank Aaron’s autograph for him. 23.  One of the best guys from visiting teams: Nolan Ryan 24.  Brooks Robinson: he was a true gentleman 25.  Bob Uecker. “Are you learning, kid?" 26.  Taking a bus load of Pittsburgh Pirates to Lambeau Field with Dick the bus driver. 27.  “We talk about sports…That’s our conversations.” 28.  Quinn’s friendships through the Packers. 29.  Bringing friends down to Packers games: "They were so impressed by Lambeau Field…He still talks about it to this day.” 30.  How Quinn met his wife, Malina, on a road trip to a Packers game in New Orleans. “Despite a Packer loss, it was a big gain!” 31.  Being stockholders in the Packers. 32.  I’ve been with them so long, I feel part of the team. 33.  Lambeau Field: "People just want to go there from all different nations. It’s truly a great experience." 34.  The family’s Sunday morning routine: church, hot ham and rolls, crawlers. Italian beef. 35.  When the Bucks won the NBA lottery. 36.  Going downstairs to watch Packers games growing up. 37.  Growing up all the kids wore their Packers stuff. 38.  Going to a Packers game in 1952 and seeing a Packers player with his arm chained down.
41:39
August 31, 2021
#98 Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst: “Everybody has value” (RCS5)
Brian Gutekunst is the general manager of the Packers. A longtime member of the organization, he was named to his current role in 2018. He is one of the team’s key leaders. Brian joined SGG to contribute to our focus on Running a Championship System. We discussed: 1.  Learning the value of competition from his father, who coached at the collegiate level. 2.  His father as a teacher: “He recognized that he had them between ages 18 and 22.” 3.  Roger Harring UW-La Crosse. Rolen Christianson. Toughness. Work ethic. 4.  Mentor: Ron Wolf. Confidence. Aggressiveness. 5.  Mentor: Ted Thompson. Tough decisions in the day to day “with steadiness, integrity and grace.” 6.  How his own experiences with injuries impacted the ways he leads as a general manager. “Everybody has value.” 7.  “It’s good to have a diverse group of people who have different strengths.” 8.  How he organizes information. “Pack Track.” 9.  “The whole idea of gathering all this information is to make good decisions.” 10.  Why the Packers do not out-source data tracking. Keeping information “close to the vest.” And, when you outsource, quick changes can be difficult to make: “If we want to make a change, it’s within hours. Not within weeks or days.” 11.  The importance of the draft room. 12.  How do you track intangibles – individually and collectively? The value of the Packers’ nine scouts who are always visiting college campuses: “I don’t think anything can replicate boots on the ground.” 13.  “Until you get them into your environment…you never 100% know how it’s going to pan out with each player.” 14.  The value of internal development of staff talent. “We get to know the person…Coming from the outside in, it can be more difficult that way.” 15.  Setting boundaries as GM. Protecting time to sit down and watch tape. 16.  Key to facilitating difficult conversations: Over-communication. “If you don’t give them the whys, then they’re going to create their own.” 17.  The influence of Mark Murphy’s management by walking around: “He’s led by example and that’s taken root throughout our organization.” 18.  Mark Murphy, who in many ways functions as other teams’ owners do, has a deep understanding of the game – deeper than most owners. The impact of his everyday leadership – especially as juxtaposed with team owners in other settings. 19.  Ted Thompson: “I always wonder what it would be like if I could still pick up the phone and ask him, ‘What do you think?’” 20.  Self-evaluation.
35:00
August 25, 2021
#97 Packers Coach Matt LaFleur on keeping a team’s focus clear and simple: “If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.” (RCS4)
Running a Championship System (RCS) continues. Matt LaFleur has served as head coach of the Packers since 2019. Known as a top innovator, Coach LaFleur learned about leadership from his parents and many other top coaches over the years. In this episode of SGG, we discussed: 1.  Core values that he learned from his parents. Integrity. Honesty. 2.  Mike Shanahan: “I’ll never lie to you.” 3.  The best leaders are true to themselves. 4.  Surrounding yourself with great people. Priority in putting a staff together: “Give me the person first and the coach second…In our work there’s so much adversity, It’s so competitive. It’s a roller coaster. You’ve got to have the right kind of people to get through the tough times…Because it’s coming…It all starts with the people.” 5.  “Coaching trees” as being more about the process than the individuals themselves. 6.  Learning from other coaches. 7.  Taking time in choosing a staff, including people who are different and complementary. 8.  On leadership and developing ideas: “Talking to too many people can cloud your ideas… If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.” 9.  “In our messaging to our team, we are very, very basic. But I think if you ask our guys what we’re all about, they’ll be able to tell you.” 10.  “It’s a consistent message that we feed to the guys…The hard part for me, heading into year three, is that these guys have heard it so many times…It’s like, how do you give the same message but present it in a different way?” 11.  Finding ways to empower other people as a leader. “You’ve got to allow people to grow and showcase what they can bring to the table.” 12.  The importance of being present as head coach. “Try to be as visible and accessible to all of your players and staff as possible.” 13.  Role of coach in supporting player leadership: “There is nothing more powerful than a player-led team.” 14.  Strategically tapping into veteran player leadership. “It is powerful when they are delivering the message.” 15.  Hiring detailed position coaches “so that all the little things are getting the same attention.” 16.  The importance of physical space in fostering trust, comradery, and strong relationships. 17.  The challenge of making long-term schedules.
41:05
August 24, 2021
#96 Packers President Mark Murphy on stewardship: "We want to leave it better than we found it." (RCS3)
Continuing our Running a Championship System series, Packers President Mark Murphy, joined SGG to discuss leadership in the Packers organization and beyond. A former NFL all-pro and college athletic director, Mark has led the Packers since 2007. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Learning from his father’s “pearls of wisdom.” 2.  The value of unstructured play for kids. 3.  A college coach who influenced Mark: Fred Dunlap. (weekly goals, great communication). “He’s been a real mentor.” 4.  George Allen. “I was a sponge. I learned so much about coaching and leadership.” 5.  Joe Gibbs. “Just to see him and the way he operated…To see him MWBA (manage by walking around), sitting down talking with players… I feel so fortunate.” 6.  Managing by walking around. “It’s not easy to walk into the boss’ office.” 7.  How the “building bridges instead of burning them” lesson from his father paid off in Mark’s relationship with Paul Tagliabue. “I wouldn’t be in my position today if it weren’t for Paul.” 8.  “If you’ve got a mindset where you’re thinking of others before yourself, that’s the first step.” 9.  Starting each day at the office with a “things to do” list. 10.  As a leader, asking yourself, “Who needs me today?” 11.  “In any organization, the most important thing is communication.” 12.  Regarding Coach LaFleur: “There isn’t a day that goes by where we’re not talking.” 13.  Three most important regular meetings/groups: Executive committee (monthly); Senior staff (weekly); Football leadership (every other week or more). 14.  Important “hidden leaders:” Administrative assistants, head coach’s chief of staff, Darryl Franklin. 15.  Indicators of negative culture in an organization. 16.  Avoiding micromanagement. 17.  Leadership development. 18.  Why aspiring leaders sometimes need to “move out in order to move up.” 19.  Maintaining a learning mindset. Utilizing an executive coach and strategic planning expert. 20.  Staying true to yourself. “People can see through you if you’re not sincere, if you’re acting.” 21.  Learning from league colleagues. 22.  Stewardship. “We have this community asset. My role is to be a steward of Lambeau field… We all feel this great sense of responsibility that this is such a unique and special organization and we want to leave it better than we found it.”
35:27
August 20, 2021
#95 Wisconsin’s Pat Richter recalls leadership lessons from Coach Lombardi (RCS2)
Pat Richter is a legendary athlete and leader in Wisconsin and beyond. While many people first recall his exploits as a multi-sport star and trail-blazing athletic director at the University of Wisconsin, he also has deep ties to Coach Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers franchise, where Pat served on the board of directors. Continuing our Running a Championship System series, Pat joined SGG and we discussed: 1.  As a youngster, learning to be tough and competitive from older guys in the neighborhood. 2.  Playing three sports at UW. 3.  Awareness of football growing up – mostly George Halas and the Bears. There was less interest in the Packers until Lombardi started building. 4.  Seeing Lombardi visit Madison when Pat was still in high school…and his early impressions of Lombardi. 5.  Catching a 73-yard touchdown as a college all-star against Lombardi’s Packers. 6.  Lombardi’s reputation among players: tough, efficient, fair, winner. 7.  One of Pat’s initial practices under Lombardi – taking a hard hit, broken nose, and keeping on playing. “I thought that’s what he’s want.” 8.  “He had a great ability to get you to the end of the rope, so teed off, flustered and things like that … and then he’d pull you back in.” There was a compassion there. 9.  “He was efficient.” 10.  Lombardi’s skill as a psychologist – examples after wins and losses. 11.  Lombardi’s lack of coaching tree. His former coaches and players were not successful in coaching. 12.  “Lombardi time.” 13.  Lombardi’s ability to be both entertaining and cold. 14.  Lombardi being completely drained after games – would fall asleep on bus to airport. 15.  Pat’s son’s interaction with Coach Lombardi at practice. “Hi there, Vince!” 16.  Professionalism. 17.  “The greatness of a loss is not so much determined by what was lost than by what was left.” 18.  Making Sonny Jorgensen the team leader. 19.  Taking a leadership role at Oscar Mayer. “Providing added value.” 20.  Lessons took from Oscar Mayer to UW: culture, strategic planning. 21.  Would Coach Lombardi be successful today? 22.  Keys to leadership: listening, integrity, honesty, creativity, adding value.
42:49
August 17, 2021
#94 Author David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi: “Freedom Through Discipline.” (RCS1)
In the first episode of our Running a Championship System (RCS) series, Pulitzer Prize winning writer and Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss joined us to discuss the life and leadership of Vince Lombardi. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  What David knew of Coach Lombardi before beginning the book project. “I wanted to study that tension between his traditionalism and the world that surrounded him.” 2.  Lombardi’s relationship with the media. 3.  “As a biographer, I’m a profound believer that the early years shape someone’s future in profound ways.” 4.  “I don’t think you can overstate the influence that the Jesuits had on Lombardi as a leader.” 5.  Freedom through discipline. “It’s only through putting in the hard work, of learning something in minute detail that you can then have the freedom to experiment off that.” 6.  What David has learned from freedom through discipline: “It’s only by thoroughly learning the craft that you can have the freedom to improvise off of it.” 7.  How Obama, Clemente, and Rafer Johnson were shaped by early experiences. 8.  Readiness for leadership. “You can’t overestimate being totally prepared in terms of true leadership excellence.” 9.  The precarious status of the Packers franchise prior to Lombardi’s arrival. 10.  How Lombardi became a great teacher. “He taught in a way that didn’t assume anything…And he had a capacity to make complex things simpler, easier to grasp.” 11.  Why Lombardi was “useless” on gamedays. 12.  Lombardi as “master of the psychology of the moment.” 13.  An observation on many great leaders – who are professionally successful but commonly struggle with family: “They’re much better at creating a group of leaders out of strangers than they are out of their own flesh and blood.” 14.  Judging players’ performances in precise, specific ways. 15.  Lombardi as a paradox. 16.  A common sentiment among players regarding Lombardi: “On a daily basis, I hated the guy. But, overall, I loved him.” 17.  Differences between Lombardi and Landry, who referred to Lombardi as “Mr. High-Low.” 18.  Did Lombardi seek difference on his staff? 19.  The limited coaching tree of Lombardi. “The Lombardi coaching tree is just this enormous oak tree and nothing could grow under it.” 20.  The hidden jewel in the story of the Packers: Jack Vainisi, the general manager. 21.  Lombardi’s sense of social equity and justice. 22.  Stewardship and the Packers. “There’s a foundation of community pride.” 23.  “He was proof that this little town in the Midwest could survive against LA and New York and everywhere else. And he gave them enormous pride. That’s part of that community spirit. But the paradox is that he also left because of that.”
56:22
August 16, 2021
#93: The professor who played with Xavi: Barcelona’s Jordi Diaz-Gibson describes La Masia and the evolving development of young soccer players
Jordi Diaz Gibson is a respected professor at Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona, where he teaches and conducts research on leadership, schooling, and social networks. Growing up, he was an elite soccer player, competing at some of the highest national levels. From his office in Barcelona, Jordi joined the SGG podcast. We discussed: 1.  Growing up playing soccer in Barcelona, including the influence of his father. 2.  The disconnect between youth soccer clubs and schools in Barcelona. 3.  “Coaching young people as if they are old people…it was not good. It did not have a training focus.” 4.  Problems associated with focusing on short-term results in youth sports. “They stopped liking the game.” 5.  Playing with Xavi. 6.  The impact of coaches on youth athlete development. “You need to really think about how those talents can improve over time. And how can you shape that talent and the way that the athlete is thinking. And shaping the skills…The decisions you make are very, very important for the success and development of the players and the teams.” 7.  The importance of Xavi’s developmental environment with Barca: “He was in the right place at the right time…and he had a great mindset.” 8.  La Masia: Clear system, clear player type, international scouting. 9.  “The same system is applied across all the years of development.” 10.La Masia developing a “360 program” – holistic child development perspective. 11.Carlos Folguera La Masia: “Your dream must be playing there (in the big stadium). But the probability is that you’re not going to make it. And we want you to make the most of your life beyond soccer.” 12.“I learned how to be a person at La Masia.” 13.“You never know how to best support the dream and reality at the same time.” 14.Making difficult decisions about moving on to a different career than soccer. 15.Lessons learned through high-level sport participation. 16.“I really believe in the power of sports. But, as with all powers, we need to think about how to display them and to support kids in the right way.” 17.Jordi’s early focus on youth sports and human development. 18.Maintaining perspective. 19.The challenge of understanding how the game is evolving…and how it may evolve in the future. 20.The critical roles of Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola in developing modern soccer schemes. 21.“Disrupting” the way the game is played.
48:10
April 24, 2021
#92: “He was sharing what he loved.” Tracy Krueger’s life of impact through sports. Reflections from his son, Brendan.
Tracy Krueger was a beloved husband, father, teacher, coach, and referee whose impact could be seen throughout the state of Wisconsin. He was widely known to use sports as a vehicle for “growing the good” in the world around him. In this SGG episode, Tracy’s son, Brendan, joined us to reflect upon some memories of his father. We discussed: 1.  The role sports played in Tracy’s life growing up, including participating as an athlete at UW-Stevens Point and UW-Superior. 2.  Tracy’s guidance for his own kids in sports: If you start it, finish it. Remain committed. Never pressured kids to play sports. “Find that passion and share it with others.” 3.  How Tracy made coaching a family affair. 4.  What led Tracy into coaching. 5.  Tracy’s infectious passion and energy in coaching. 6.  Finding joy and fulfillment when young people developed. 7.  Appreciating “unsung heroes.” 8.  Why Tracy became an official and how he went about it. “He was really a people person.” 9.  Why Tracy spent time with and appreciated the maintenance personnel. 10. A note from a former student. “He believed in me.” 11. Celebrating small victories. 12.“I know you can do it!” 13. “He was sharing what he loved.” 14. Tracy as a mentor and supporter of others. “How can I help this person out?” 15. Baking treats for others.
34:07
April 21, 2021
#91: Milwaukee’s “Uncle” Rick Polk creates space for voices to be heard
Rick Polk is the athletic director at Vincent High School in Milwaukee. He also started the OWN IT mentoring program that aims to support young people in the community and beyond. He’s positively impacted thousands of young people and families over the years. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Learning life virtues from his parents and other adults. 2.  Growing up on 23rd and Locust in Milwaukee: “It was a village.” 3.  The playground at Emmaus Lutheran Church: “That’s where the village started.” 4.  The life-long benefits of sports. 5.  The joy that “two free throws” made by a child instilled a deeper awareness of how much sports mean to young people. 6.  Helping give kids voice: “The small things can go so far in life.” 7.  Directing a youth sports program that offers new sports to kids. 8.  The Growing Up Milwaukee documentary that tells the story of youth in the city and shows how Rick creates space for their voices. 9.  How he became known as “Uncle Rick.” 10.  His “OWN IT” mentoring group. 11.  His journey through difficult life challenges…and the origins of OWN IT. 12.  The importance of bringing the community together. For more, refer to sportandthegrowinggood.com.
32:34
April 17, 2021
#90: Ryan Hoover is a player, coach, parent, and innovator who goes the extra mile
Ryan Hoover was a wildly successful college and professional basketball player. His career spanned over 20 years in the US and Europe. After retirement, Ryan went on to play a critical role at a leading sports technology company and he still serves as an AAU basketball coach on the Under Armour circuit. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  His sports experiences playing growing up – and always looking for the highest levels of competition. 2.  Scouting out the best spring and summer sports experiences during the summers of his youth—and using his allowance wisely to make the most of these experiences! 3.  Today’s AAU basketball world which, unfortunately, includes fewer multi-sport athletes. 4.  How participating in multiple sports can foster humility. 5.  Coaching with KC Run GMC on the Under Armour circuit. 6.  The “Extra Mile” program in his team’s program. Focusing on life skills and holistic development. 7.  How young players are developed in Italy. Weighing costs/benefits of pro teams and junior teams instead of college and high school teams. 8.  Playing with 17-year-old Danilo Galinari, who would later go on to NBA stardom. 9.  Communicating with families in the AAU setting. “We just want them to be a part of a great team.” 10.  His team roles in skill development, career development, and family care. 11.  “Whether we want to accept it or not, technology is having a huge impact on our game.” 12.  Working at Shot-Tracker. 13.  How Scott Drew and Baylor Basketball’s early adoption of technology has paid off.
30:10
April 9, 2021
#89: NFHS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff: A champion for education-based opportunities in a contested youth sports environment
Karissa Niehoff is the executive director of the National Federation of High School Associations. She is a key national leader in promoting robust education-based sports and activities. Karissa is a former athlete, teacher, and coach – with tremendous insights to share. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  The people who influenced her development: parents, coaches, and teachers. 2.  Memories of her Latin teacher: “He was consistent. He was encouraging in his own way. And he just had a way of making you want to do well.” 3.  Her central task at NFHS: “Being a champion for education-based activities.” 4.  Education-based activities as “the second half of the school day” and an “intentional environment where many adults are supportive of the experience.” 5.  Concerns in the broader youth sports environment, including early specialization and under-trained coaching. 6.  Examples of how youth sport involvement can be described and taught in age-appropriate ways. 7.  Lessons learned during Covid times, including remaining nimble and the loss that can occur when sports are removed. 8.  The resilience and creativity of coaches and teachers. “Our school professionals really are the heroes of the year.” 9.  The new era of sports streaming online. What the NFHS offers and possibilities for the future. 10.  The NFHS Network operating in 46 states. Almost 20,000 high schools around the country. 2 free cameras for each school. Hundreds of thousands of events streamed each year – boys and girls, all sports, diverse activities. 11.  Concerns associated with the network. 12.  Words of advice for developing coaches: “Remember why we’re there. Remember why the kids are there…Remember that our kids are individuals…Remember that everything can be done with a positive spin. Every single thing can be done positively.”
36:26
April 8, 2021
#88: Victor and Dawn Barnett of the Running Rebels take the family approach to position Milwaukee's youth for success
Victor Barnett started the Running Rebels over 40 years ago on an outdoor basketball court in Milwaukee. Today, Victor and Dawn serve as co-executive directors and the Running Rebels has flourished as a robust community organization that includes sports and much, much more. They joined the SGG podcast to discuss: 1.  The origins of the program. Victor: “I always knew I wanted to change the world, to make a difference.” 2.  Recognizing talents and skills within young people. 3.  How the “Running Rebels” name came to be. 4.  Why basketball was the place to start. “I introduced them to everything…But I asked, ‘where is the passion of the young people?’ and it was with basketball. And there was a court right down the street…I had to find a way, if I was going to make a difference, how can I get them to want to be with me every day? It wasn’t because I was a great guy. It was because of the basketball.” 5.  Examples of success stories: a basketball player and an engineer. 6.  What is “the full circle?” Dawn: “We pour into young people. We plant seeds in hopes that they will come back around to help the next generation.” 7.  Dawn: “The greatest satisfaction is seeing them become really connected parents in a way that they themselves didn’t have. But because of what was poured into them, they learned how to be there…That’s generational change.” 8.  Victor: “We want to put them in a position to be successful.” 9.  Kevon Looney: Even after he got a scholarship to UCLA and then went to the pros, remained committed to helping the young people in the community. “Can you imagine the example that he gives other people when he’s humble? He’s steady and level-headed.” 10.  Dawn describing how many young people see Victor as a father figure. “When you have that sort of an influence, and you’re able to give guidance, even when a young person didn’t have that in their life, you fill that gap and you show them, ‘This is what a parent looks like. This is what positive guidance feels like, this is what’s instilled in them.” 11.  Dawn: We want to help the community from within. The role models that our young people are looking for are right here in the community.” 12.  Living with integrity and what it means to be a role model. 13.  Using sports terminology beyond sports (e.g., “assist”) and using sports as teaching tools. 14.  Parents and coaches don’t send the right messages in sports – how competitiveness can bring out the worst in people. “When it’s about winning more than the development of young people, then we have a problem.” 15.  Deciding not to pursue AAU basketball anymore. “It become so negative and difficult to stay right in something that is so wrong. So we changed our model…We wanted to step back and be the big brother organization that does it the right way…that helps others.” 16.  Guiding from the side: “Teaching the skillset of making healthy decisions.” 17.  Having a non-judgmental approach in working with young people. 18.  Connecting youth to several adults in the network – the family approach. 19.  The importance of physical space for doing their work: “If we dreamed 40 years ago of what we would like to have, we have it.” 20.  Not forgetting where the program came from. 21.  Taking on a holistic approach to working with young people. 22.  Instilling, understanding, and taking pride in work and life skills. 23.  Collaboration with others in the community, including Work Milwaukee and Quad Graphics. 24.  Unity.
40:31
April 5, 2021
#87 Professor David Bell is a leading researcher on injuries in sport (re-edit of episode #8)
David Bell is a professor in Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a leading expert on injuries in youth sports. In this re-edit as part of the special SGG series on youth sports, we discussed: 1.  What should parents and youth coaches know about sport 2.  The impacts of physical activity in youth and young adulthood years. 3.  Why more and more kids are dropping out of sports at younger ages. 4.  The definition of youth sport specialization. What “highly specialized” means. 5.  What does puberty have to do with specialization? What should parents know… 6.  Why there are higher rates of specialization among young female athletes. 7.  The importance of the triad between coach, parent, and athlete in creating healthy sporting experience. 8.  Recommendations: delaying specialization as long as possible; play on one team at a time; don’t play a single sport more than eight months per year – especially before puberty; play a sport no more hours per week than your age; and take two days off per week. 9.  What can college-level coaches and leaders do to help foster a healthy pipeline? 10.  Previous injury predicts future risk.
30:32
April 3, 2021
#86: Derrick Mayes on parenting a talented young athlete: “Hindsight gave me 20-20 vision on how to do things with my son”
Derrick Mayes was a great college and NFL football player. But today, much of his energy is directed toward parenting an elite young basketball athlete. He joined the SGG podcast to discuss: 1.  His sports experiences as a youngster—including playing contact football starting in 2nd grade. 2.  “Hindsight (into his own sports experiences) gave me 20-20 vision on how to do things with my son.” 3.  The difficult decisions he’s facing as a parent of a young athlete: 1) no tackle football until at least high school; 2) load management in basketball (but, “there’s a lot of work you can put in that doesn’t put wear and tear” on the body); 3) deciding on which high school to attend (“It’s important to know who’s going to be developing him.”). 4.  Public vs. Private school decisions for talented young athletes. 5.  Social media: “I am adamant that sports stay merit-based. Your talent will show through.” 6.  Social media: “It gives a false narrative of what’s important.” 7.  A benefit of today’s high-level youth basketball: Access to innovation in training. 8.  Analytics: “I’m thrilled that my son can apply some of the math stuff to something that he cares about.”
18:28
April 2, 2021
#85: Estella Moschkau: “I learned something from every experience I had on the court and it’s transferred into everyday life”
Estella Moschkau excelled at basketball at Edgewood HS, Stanford University, and UW-Madison. Her sports journey also included years of AAU basketball at regional and national levels. Reflecting on the lessons she learned across diverse teams and settings, Estella joined the SGG podcast to discuss: 1.  Being placed on the “B” team during her first AAU basketball experience – and the lessons she learned. 2.  Playing five years with Wisconsin Elite. 3.  Her difficult decision to play for North Tartan, a Nike-sponsored AAU program in the Twin Cities. 4.  Not initially starting on the North Tartan team. And the value of humility. 5.  High level competition on the EYBL circuit. “I would highly recommend it…It helped toughen me up.” 6.  The family commitment required for making travel basketball work. 7.  Taking a trip to France, Paris, and Amsterdam with her AAU team. 8.  The ins and outs of competing on a national team. 9.  The challenges of keeping a positive team culture in elite youth sports environments where everyone has high expectations for their own experiences. 10.  The new social media environment in youth sports, including the increasing presence of self-promotion (e.g., “I’m blessed to receive an offer…”). “It’s so gossipy!” 11.  “I think every experience you can learn something from...I would go through it again. I learned discipline…I learned something from every experience I had on the court and it’s transferred into everyday life.” 12.  Coaching for Wisconsin Elite. “I just hope that I give them a positive experience…Just to lift them up and make the experience fun…And hopefully to love the game more…I think for young girls, it’s especially important to be positive.”
25:31
March 31, 2021
#84: Devin Cannady: From AAU to Princeton to the Pros
Devin Cannady starred as a basketball player at Princeton University and is now a pro, with experience in the NBA and G League. Devin is also known for developing Isowdev, an simple yet innovative training platform that aims to increase access to skill development for young people. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Playing multiple sports growing up. 2.  The local AAU team that he played on until his sophomore year in high school. 3.  What factored into his decision to change to a national level AAU team, including family sacrifices that had to be made. 4.  The relationships that were important in his AAU journey. 5.  Mentoring his younger brother through his basketball journey. 6.  His mother’s role in leading the family through sports. 7.  How basketball prepared him for success at Princeton. 8.  How and why he developed Isowdev. “It was just a way to stay connected.” 9.  “I can be one of those resources that people have access to.” 10.  “Technology can be a good thing when used properly…There are a lot of things that technology can’t pick up on, such as the feel of the game. There are nuances that make the game of basketball so beautiful. It’s an art form. The way you move is not meant to be rigid and robotic and too technical.” 11.  Creating more access to opportunity in sports.
29:06
March 30, 2021
#83: Intro to the SGG series on youth sports: Reflections from the National Summer Classic
Intro to SGG special series on youth sports. 
16:38
March 30, 2021
#82: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football Kevin Bullis is a teacher first.
Kevin Bullis is the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s football team, one of the most successful programs in the country. Beyond leading his team to many victories, Coach Bullis has impacted hundreds of lives in a positive fashion. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  The impact of his parents who were always “helpers.” 2.  The coaches who influenced him growing up, including Coach Champ who paid attention to detail, kept things fun, and cared for his players. 3.  What he learned from marching band. 4.  The importance of trust…and knowing “why” things are done on a team. 5.  Knowing what concepts and ideas to adopt…and which don’t fit. 6.  “Failure is not an option. It’s a requirement.” 7.  The importance of identity: “Who am I and why am I here?” 8.  “I am a teacher…I’ve always known that.” 9.  UWW football team identity: “Fast, physical, and disciplined”…using these pillars to be the lens for the program. 10.  Lessons learned in 2017. 11.  Holding others to the same standards he holds himself. 12.  What it means for the head coach to “determine the banks of the river.” 13.  Teaching staff and players to be better teachers. 14.  1% goals (specific each day)…and aiming to get 3% better each day. 15.  What you “see, hear, and feel” at a UWW practice: energy and teaching. 16.  “The only people in our program who are not teachers are freshmen during their first semester.” 17.  Never attaching degradation to teaching: “Degradation is a distraction from learning.” 18.  Building trust through teaching each other. 19.  Doing the ordinary things better than everybody else. 20.  Listening with the eyes. 21.  Taking notes. 22.  Holding doors open for others. 23.  No bullies in the locker room. 24.  Team discussions on race. 25.  Showing people you care.
44:29
March 26, 2021
#81: UW-Oshkosh Football Coach Pat Cerroni's journey to the Hall of Fame
Pat Cerroni is a WFCA Hall of Fame coach at UW-Oshkosh. Coach Cerroni’s teams have achieved great success on the field, emerging as one of the top D-III programs in the country. But his biggest impacts may be found off the field, where he’s encouraged a culture of leadership service in his team. He joined the SGG podcast and we discussed: 1.  Learning to see and understand the game at a young age. “That was what intrigued me…The ability to see things was given to me.” 2.  Learning from coaches in Johnson Creek. Gary Garin. “That was the guy I wanted to be.” 3.  How his Air Force experience benefited him: “It really gave me confidence…I thought, ‘I can do anything at this point.’” 4.  His brother’s influence on him finding a way into teaching and coaching. 5.  Gaining appreciation for home by leaving and seeing other places. 6.  Being 19 years-old and in charge of a plane. 7.  Learning from other coaches. “I didn’t mind the journey. I started at the very bottom.” 8.  Learning different concepts from Coaches Taraska (Arrowhead) and Young (Catholic Memorial). 9.  Being aware of perceptions of football coaches in high school buildings…and taking active steps to address them. 10.  Being a teacher first at the high school level…and using teaching principles to coach football. 11.  The team’s leadership council. 12.  Establishing new values, a new theme…and a “brand new team” each year. 13.  Knowing when to let others lead: “I have such a strong personality that I realized a long time ago that sometimes I don’t need to be around.” 14.  Allowing the senior leadership council to write the shared values and theme for the year. “The story is this: The day I shut up was the day we started winning games.” 15.  The spring routine of allowing the seniors to run the off-season program. 16.  Learning from John Gagliardi. 17.  Using a business model to run the team: “forming, storming, norming, performing” 18.  Recruiting players that align with team values. 19.  Assigning assistant coaches duties to allow them to indicate their commitment to the team. 20.  How his team found the right fit for community service: “Be the Match” and “EAA (honor flight).” And the impact the partnerships have had on the team. (Brett Kasper)
36:10
March 24, 2021
#80: Author Monte Burke on Nick Saban: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Monte Burke is a New York Times best-selling author and a former writer and editor for Forbes. As author of Saban: The Making of a Coach, Monte gained unique insight into one of the all-time great coaches. He joined the SGG podcast, where we discussed: 1.  The initial days Monte spent with Coach Nick Saban. The importance of being prepared and demonstrating that he was prepared. 2.  “The greatest role of an interviewer is to be quiet and to really, really listen.” 3.  “All of these people, even the greats, they hear everything. It’s all about how they respond to it.” 4.  How Coach Saban uses the media as another way of conveying his message to players, recruits, and fans. 5.  Saban getting fired by Coach Earl Bruce at Ohio State. 6.  How Saban learned to run a system – including his uneven development at different stops in his professional career. 7.  Using temper flare-ups strategically. 8.  “How you do anything is how you do everything.” 9.  Two sides of Saban: “prickly” and “charismatic.” 10.   Saban’s greatest strength: recruiting. 11.  One of Saban’s initial strategies: Spreading a common message to boosters and getting everyone on the same page. 12.  The role Mrs. Saban plays on the team: gatekeeper and surrogate mother. 13.  Strength coach as “bad cop” on the coaching staff who “sets the tone for the program.” 14.  Putting lots of energy into the “squeaky wheels” on the team. 15.  The importance of routine in Saban’s daily life – and his ongoing discussion of:  “thoughts, habits, and priorities.” 16.  Liking the minutiae of coaching. 17.  “The dangers of ‘relief syndrome.’” 18.  Broader leadership lessons from Coach Saban. 19.  Breaking things down in “little systematic ways.” 20.  Pete Carroll. 21.  Obsessions found in leaders…and some of the down sides associated with being obsessive.
39:27
March 22, 2021
#79: Gunnar Roberge learned to relish the moment as a Badger football player
Gunnar Roberge grew up playing multiple sports in Sparta and then Seymour, Wisconsin. Gunnar went on to play football at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a multi-year contributor. He joined SGG for the final episode of our special series on football in the state. We discussed: 1.  Starting football at a young age in Sparta, Wisconsin – and being “a big teddy bear.” 2.  The benefits of being on a sports team. “The most valuable piece for me personally was just the sense of family.” 3.  “A lot of my childhood, and even now, I’ve tried to seek out positive adult male role models… And luckily I’ve been fortunate that many of my coaches throughout my football career did a good job filling that role.” 4.  Seymour football coach Matt Molle: “He’s a family man. He taught me about positive masculinity. He taught me it’s good and ok to be emotional. It’s ok to say ‘I love you’ to other men. It’s ok to talk about your feelings. And he taught us all that while at the same time being a hard-nosed football coach.” 5.  His “trust, commit, care” bracelet at Seymour HS – and the powerful story of Coach Molle sharing his own bracelet with Gunnar. “He’ll literally give you the shirt off his back.” 6.  Coach Molle being the first person Gunnar called after his brother passed away. 7.  “The thing about your teammates is that they become your brothers.” 8.  Playing football in “small town America.” 9.  How family helped him throughout his sports journey. 10.  “The person who has had the biggest influence on my life and on my sports journey is definitely my mother. My mother is my hero.” 11.  His mother always ensuring that he got what he needed to be successful in sports. “No matter what was going on, she was always there to support me.” 12.  The poem Gunnar shared with the team at one point during the season: The Station by Robert Hastings. 13.  Gunnar’s football dreams as a 17-year old…and how some of those dreams did not come to realization. 14.  Changing his definition of success in football: Sharing ownership in the team’s success. 15.  “The relationships I had with teammates is what mattered most with me.” 16.  “Imposter syndrome” in college. 17.  Learning to live more in the moment. 18.  “I didn’t get the stadiums full of people chanting my name, but I still had to find something to enjoy about that experience.” 19.  When his career had just ended … and the moments right after that Rose Bowl defeat. 20.  What Gunnar is doing now…and what he aspires to do in the future. 21.  Learning to enjoy school during a time when he was injured. 22.  Would he do it all again?
48:39
December 12, 2020
#78: Seth Davis on coaches' camaraderie... and their comfort with adversity
Seth Davis is a college basketball reporter for CBS Sports, a managing editor at The Athletic, and the author of Wooden: A Coach’s Life and Getting to Us: How Great Coaches Make Great Teams. He joined the SGG podcast to share insights on some of the great coaches he’s covered over the years. We discussed: 1.  What he learned covering high school sports for the New Haven Register: Coaches aren’t that different across levels. 2.  His memory of Gary Palladino, a legendary high school basketball coach in Connecticut telling his player, “I love you!” 3.  A main indicator of coaching quality in youth sports: Demeanor. How are they talking to their players? 4.  Wherever you’re coaching, it’s all about the relationships and authenticity. 5.  Out-coaching the pros in the USA Basketball Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas – winning the gold medal!  “They loved that I cared so much!” 6.  The relationships between coaches from different schools – and why there tends to be more collegiality among basketball coaches. 7.  The peer pressure of giving back at clinics, etc. John Wooden saying, “If you don’t do it, they say you’re a high hat.” 8.  “There’s a real camaraderie among coaches.” 9.  “Whatever business you’re in, you find that it’s a small community. That’s why I say be nice to everybody. Treat everybody well. Because you don’t know where they’re going to be…The same people you on the way up, you’ll see on the way down. 10.  How Armen Keteyian supported him at a key career juncture. 11.  Simple tip for how to operate in whatever line of work you’re in: “Be a mench!” 12.  What should we think about with regard to finding the right fit in terms of where to coach? “Happiness.” 13.  Coaches who “avoid the joy” for fear of losing their edge. 14.  Coaches finding comfort amid tension and adversity. 15.  Recalling Dick Vitale’s words: “I’m at my best as a parent when my kids are going through something tough.” 16.  “Controlling the controllables.” 17.  The challenges that families of coaches face. 18.  Why Seth doesn’t create “hot seat” lists: “I’m not just looking at a coach. I’m looking at a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a boss of a staff. So there’s a lot more involved than just the person who’s in that chair.”
40:21
November 20, 2020
#77: Kimberly HS (WI) football coach Steve Jones on servant-leaders and the habits of winners (new edit of #16)
Steve Jones is the head football coach at Kimberly High School in Wisconsin. He has won multiple championships as well as state and national coaching awards. Coach Jones also teaches leadership courses at the high school and is recognized as a dynamic speaker on leadership development. In this SGG episode, we discuss: To learn more, refer to Coach Jones’ Twitter feed; a brief article and video about the culture of Coach Jones’ program; a short article describing a couple of his keys to sustained success; and short article describing his team’s formula. 1.  His family experiences growing up – especially learning from his brother with disabilities. 2.  The impact that a fifth-grade teacher had on his life. 3.  His daily habits: reading, taking care of his mind and body, early-day inspiration, making intentional contact with people who need him. 4.  “Leading by ‘intentional’ wandering around.”  5.  Servant leadership – what it is and how it takes shape on his team.  6.  Why he doesn’t talk about winning, rather the “habits of winners.” 7.  Kimberly’s camp for kids with special needs. 8.  Centering love in the football program. 9.  Planting seeds as a leader. 10.  The unique positives offered by football. 11.  The ultimate goal of the program. 12.  Kimberly football’s mental skills program – focus on “being present.” 13.  Getting players to find their “performance number.” 14. His struggle to enjoy the process.
47:54
November 18, 2020
#76: Wquinton Smith on Rufus King High School and Milwaukee football
Wquinton “Q” Smith was a standout football and basketball player at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee before becoming a point guard for the University of Wisconsin’s Men’s Basketball team. Q joined the SGG podcast, where we discussed: 1.  What Rufus King is known for: academics and basketball. 2.  The “Wall of Fame” at King. 3.  The neighborhood surrounding King High School. 4.  What makes King such a good school. “Everybody takes pride in it.” 5.  Playing football in the Neighborhood Children’s Sports League growing up. “It prepared me.” 6.  Why Q nearly quit football after his freshman year of high school. 7.  What Q didn’t like about football. 8.  Sub-par facilities and equipment for the football team at King. 9.  How King’s identity as an academic and basketball school may have served as a barrier to the team’s football program. 10.  “If you build it, they will come.” 11.  Why some kids at King couldn’t go out for football. 12.  Dwindling football participation across the country. 13.  Building character and friendships through football. 14.  “Football helped me branch out and meet different people…Once I started playing football, I started opening up to people and trusting people more. And I brought that with me to UW-Madison.” 15.  Ensuring all kids opportunities for out of school sport development.
30:10
November 17, 2020
#75: Former football coach and superintendent Art Rainwater: Embeddedness, honesty, trust, and everyday routines (re-edit of #45)
Art Rainwater was the superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District from 1998 until 2008. He later served as a revered faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Art was formerly a football coach in Arkansas and Texas, as well as a school principal in Alabama. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  His high school football and basketball coaches being “people I could talk to.” 2.  Starting a little league in his Arkansas hometown. 3.  Why he asked the coach of his college if he could join the team as a scout team member: “You really need to experience the things you’re asking people to do.” 4.  Keeping in touch with players he coached 55 years ago. 5.  The school administrator in Texas who first recognized his administrative potential, and the innovative way he prepared Art for a leadership role. 6.  In the coach-player relationship, “kids see through you… you can only be honest if you’re going to be successful with them.” 7.  “The ability to lead is based solely on trust and trust can only occur if you’re truthful.” 8.  Success stories of families he’s worked with, including the Flowers family at LaFollette High School in Madison. 9.  What he looked for in building a leadership team. 10.  Non-negotiable beliefs. 11.  Providing developmental and leadership opportunities for members of your staff. 12.  His daily routines as a leader, including detailed planning, early starts, and generous time allotted each week for individual team members. 13.  Carving out time for reflection. 14.  Being conscious of power in relationships.
44:48
November 15, 2020
#74: Amherst HS (WI) coach Mark Lusic develops relationships and confidence in the weight room (re-edit of #14)
Mark Lusic is a teacher and the head football coach at Amherst High School in Wisconsin. By developing an intensive weight training program, developing deep relationships, and building a winning culture, he’s led Amherst to four state championships and built one of the most respected programs in the state. In this episode of SGG, we discuss: 1.  Learning from Coach John Koronkiewicz about how to listen and develop relationships. 2.  Does “scheme” win games? (no) What does? 3.  Make your average players good, your good players great, and your great players “studs.” 4.  What does the team talk about in the weight room? 5.  Developing a team identity, sticking to it, and putting time into practicing it. 6.  The 600, 800, and 1000 pound clubs. 7.  How kids develop confidence through weightlifting. (see excerpt from student essay below) 8.  Kids needing football more than football needs them. 9.  Asking kids to “pay it forward” one day. 10.  It’s all about the players. 11.  Why he asks his team, “Are you satisfied?” after each game. 12.  His annual “life review.” 13.  Knowing what to do on 3rd and 1. 14.  Being ok with not always knowing the answer right away.
33:38
November 13, 2020
#73: Sheridan H.S. (WY) football coach Don Julian develops leaders and changes lives
Coach Don Julian led Sheridan High School in Wyoming to five state championships and, before that, coached Riverton High School to four state titles. He was also formerly a member of the University of Wyoming’s football coaching staff. Even more than wins on the field, he is widely known as an exemplary developer of leaders. Coach Julian, currently the athletic director at Sheridan, continues to inspire leaders of all levels. As Wisconsin coaches examine how they can impact lives and communities through sports, much can be learned from Coach Julian. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Growing up on a sheep ranch in Kemmerer, WY (the ranch is now on its fifth generation in the family). 2.  Learning loyalty, independence, and ownership on the family ranch. 3.  Ownership: “Unless you own it, you can’t really give it away…Nothing that’s really important to us is given for free.” 4.  The huge span of territory covered by a range sheep operation in Wyoming. 5.  Learning from his grandmother: “Most of her knowledge came from working with animals.” 6.  The importance of leadership – but lack of true understanding/teaching about what it actually is. “We’ll teach them everything about a handoff… But we’ll yell at a kid and tell him to be a leader when, quite frankly, we don’t teach him how to lead.” 7.  “I think we need to plan for leadership.” 8.  “As the seniors go, the season goes.” The importance of the leadership process leading up to senior year. 9.  Taking seniors to the mountains right before fall camp. 10.  Running a “transformational” leadership program built on purpose statements. 11.  Defining the “why?” 12.  Our purpose here is to help kids become great men. 13.  The importance of writing in leadership development, including the value of journaling. 14.  Using break-out sessions to engage kids on various leadership topics. 15.  Creating such a relationship that “we don’t want to let each other down.” 16.  Prior to taking the field, the team is reminded: “Believe in yourself. Believe in the guy next to you. Believe in the plan.” 17.  The “Nissi Flag:” “When the kids are in the battle of the game, and they grow tired and weary, they can look to the sideline and see their team and the Nissi Flag.” 18.  “Bronc football is life-changing.” 19.  The annual “person of influence” night. 20.  One of the most special moments of his coaching career: one of his player’s baptisms, when most of the team showed up. 21.  Success stories. 22.  The necessity of adversity: “I don’t think we can get anything done in life without handling adversity.” 23.  Coming together at the end of every practice and game to identify something specific that they saw a teammate do well that day.
53:34
November 12, 2020
#72: Veterans Day special: Somerset High School (WI) coach Bruce Larson and Army values (re-edit of #31)
Bruce Larson is the head football coach at Somerset High School. He’s recognized as one of the best in state of Wisconsin and, actually, in the whole country, having won the Don Shula National High School Coach of the Year award in 2015. Coach is renowned for winning championships on the field and, more importantly, instilling life-long values and habits in those who play for him. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Somerset as a working class community. 2.  Growing up on a dairy farm in Spring Valley, Wisconsin…where he learned to get things done. 3.  The impact of his high school coach, Bob Thomas – how he made his players feel and the time he invested in them. 4.  UW-River Falls coach Mike Farley. 5.  “Don’t worry about winning – just do it the right way and things will be ok.” 6.  Arriving at Somerset in 1987 as an assistant coach to Brad Nemec. 7.  When everything “fell apart” during his third year as head coach, writing down everything he didn’t like in the program. 8.  DW Rutledge and Dennis Parker, two of his coaching influences. 9.  “What you see is what you coach.” 10.  “If you don’t like it, change it.” The coach is the person in charge. 11.  Using Army values in his program. “Everything we do is built around that.” 12.  “What it comes down to more than anything is attitude.” 13.  “The world is full of educated derelicts.” 14.  The Friday morning routines with the team. 15.  The army transforming a person “into a machine” in 14 weeks. 16.  2002 state semi-finals vs Auburndale: kids falling back on what they know best. 17.  Making changes to the weight training program. 18.  The coaching advice to his sons – it starts with relationships. 19.  When “what you believe in got beat” it hurts. 20.  What makes Wisconsin football unique: tough, hard-nosed kids. Ass-kickers.
40:14
November 11, 2020
#71: Devonte Windham coaches with Madison’s Southside Raiders
Devonte Windham, a graduate of the University of Missouri Law School, is an assistant state public defender in the Madison Trial Office. Originally from the Chicago area, Devonte coaches youth football with the Southside Raiders program in Madison. The Raiders are in their 50th year -- and are widely regarded as one of Madison's excellent community-based youth sports programs. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  The role and benefit in his life growing up. 2.  One of his early influential coaches, Coach Kennedy. “He was one of the first coaches who took an interest in my academic realm.” 3.  Seeking out the Southside Raiders program when he was new to Madison. 4.  The historical tradition of the Raiders. 5.  How being part of the Raiders has assisted his transition to the Madison community. 6.  Periodic intersections of his work and youth football life. 7.  The importance of family engagement in youth sports. 8.  Challenges associated with youth football. 9.  A success story with a particular family amid a very difficult time.
29:51
November 11, 2020
#70: Dr. Alison Brooks studies concussions in sports
Dr. M. Alison Brooks is a professor in the Department of Orthopedics in the Division of Sports Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She played college soccer for one of the all-time college sports dynasties: the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. She is currently a team physician for several UW sports teams and the Associate Director of Concussion and Nutrition Research for the Badger Athletic Performance Program. She joined the SGG podcast to discuss groundbreaking concussion research and football. We discussed: 1.  The role sports played in her life growing up. 2.  The importance of kids having structure in their days. 3.  Studying and playing soccer at the University of North Carolina. 4.  How she ended up pursuing sports medicine. 5.  What makes the concussion study unique, including its size: 45,000+ participants. 6.  An important finding: when athletes delay reporting of their head injury, it costs them more time in the long-run. “They have more severe symptoms and they take longer to get better.” 7.  Another important finding: longer return to play times may result in less frequent repeat concussions. 8.  The majority of athletes who suffer concussions in sports probably don’t develop CTE. 9.  Just having athletes sit and rest for long periods of time isn’t best for recovery. More pro-active rehab approaches are better, including exercise for treatment. 10.  We don’t yet have a definitive test that says, “You have a concussion.” 11.  How do you go about behavior change to better address brain injuries in sports? “It starts with the coach.” 12.  Developing a healthy team culture around head injuries. 13.  “I think we have to be careful about focusing on only the negative and only the risks. Sometimes that gets lost in the discussion…There are research documented benefits of sports…Including reduced risk-taking behavior and leadership, self-esteem, and confidence.” 14.  “There are ways we can reduce risks.” 15.  “There’s not a reason to have lots of contact to the head at a young age.” 16.  Evidence that cumulative number of head impacts (“hit count”) matters. 17.  The joy of working with Wisconsin student-athletes. 18.  The UW athletics administration having the student’s best interest in mind.
42:17
November 10, 2020
#69: Seymour HS (WI) football coach Matt Molle on trust, commitment, and care
Matt Molle is a long-time head football coach and teacher at Seymour High School in Wisconsin. Coach Molle’s success as a coach is well-documented, but many people don’t know how important his roots in the mill town of Niagra were on his trajectory. On this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Growing up in Niagra, Wisconsin. “You had a lot of people in your corner.” 2.  The influence his dad and other coaches had on his early development. 3.  Common attributes of the best coaches: Building relationships. “You have to get them to know you care before they care about what you teach them.” 4.  I always admired and respected that my dad made time for everyone.” 5.  Learning “the grinder mentality” as an assistant coach. 6.  How a principal served as an important mentor to him. 7.  Seymour football: Trust, Commitment, Care 8.  “If you’re a person that can trust others and be trusted; If you can show that you care and you’re committed to a cause… it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about football, being a husband, father, brother, whatever the case may be, you’re going to be ok.” 9.  Leadership classes in the spring. 10.  Showing what “the TCC” look like (videos, pictures, discussions, etc.) 11.  Using TCC for evaluation of the team. 12.  “You’re wearing #4. Let me tell you about these guys who wore #4 before you…” 13.  How he’s changed over the years: “I’ve become more reflective.” 14.  Another change: structure of practice. 15.  How he reflects: with his wife, writing things down, end of year debriefing, taking moments to acknowledge the present moments. 16.  Balancing the various roles in his life. 17.  Routines: early rise and workout; dog walk; quiet lunch period. 18.  His relationship with his former players. 19.  “It’s ok to say ‘I love you.’” 20.  “If all we’ve done is teach you football, we’ve failed.” 21.  Officiating the weddings of former students and athletes.
26:05
November 9, 2020
#68: Homestead High School (WI) football and softball coach Dave Keel: “Coach, you don’t know this, but for the last four years, you were my father.”
Coach Dave Keel earned Hall of Fame distinction in both football and softball during his 30+ years of teaching and head coaching at Homestead High School in Wisconsin. Coach Keel is known broadly for his wins on the field, including six football state championships. But those who know Coach Keel are even more impressed by his care for the young people he led. On this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Growing up playing football at Milwaukee Hamilton High School and UW-LaCrosse. 2.  Learning from Coach Phil Datka at Germantown High School and from John Brody at Homestead. 3.  Common attributes of his mentors: their love of the young people. 4.  Developing the tenets of his program. 5.  One tenet: Getting the most people on the field as possible. “We’re going to have 22 really committed players.” 6.  A second tenet: Get the community involved. 7.  His role within the broader school community. 8.  What makes football unique: it’s uniquely American and it’s significant in our culture and it embodies what our lives are like. “You’ve got two choices when you get knocked down. You can roll over and say, ‘Dang it!’ and walk off the field or you can get up, dust yourself off a little and say.’Hey, I’m going to do my best not to get knocked down again.’” 9.  The social component: Learning to work well with other people through sports. 10.  A difference he’s observed between girls teams and boys teams. 11.  Community impacts of his program. 12.  His efforts in making football safer with USA Football’s Heads Up program: “We’ve seen a tremendous buy-in.” 13.  How he’s changed as a coach over the years. 14.  The leadership skills program he developed at Homestead. 15.  Learning about developing a leadership program from Coach Craig Bohl. 16.  Conflict and “the skill of listening.” 17.  The listening activity he used with his program. 18.  Listening and empathy as being at the heart of conflict resolution. 19.  “Listen with your eyes.” 20.  Recognizing the impact that coaches have upon young people. “Coach, you don’t know this, but for the last four years, you were my father.” 21.  “Every one of these coaches, has that young person on your team…You need to recognize that those little folks out there, there’s more than one that really needs you more than they need the sport… Recognize that and use that to help young people become successful.”
43:48
November 8, 2020
#67: Coach John Koronkiewicz: “Attitude, character, enthusiasm, team” (re-edit of episode 30)
Following up on episode #66 with Zander Neuville, we have Zander's coach from Waupaca High School in Wisconsin, John Koronkiewicz. "Coach Koronk" served as a coach and teacher at Waupaca High School for 40 years. He spent 24 years as head coach of the baseball program and 32 years as head coach of the football program. He was elected into the WFCA High School Coaches’ Hall of Fame and also into the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame. Coach Koronk won many championships over the years and is respected by coaches across the state. Coach is admired by former players, families, and community members for his positive impact over the years. In this episode (a re-edit of episode 30), we discussed: 1.Playing football for Wisconsin Hall of Famers Jerry Schliem and Russ Young. 2. Growing up playing sports on the farm. 3. His emphasis on creating a positive, fun environment during his initial years at Waupaca—and his emphasis on developing lessons that could be used for life. 4. Leaving the field in a positive mood each day. 5. “Attitude, character, enthusiasm, team.” 6. Playing the Beach Boys on Friday afternoons in the classroom. 7. Being yourself, not faking it, and having a passion for the game. 8. Creating the team as a “home away from home.” 9. Coaching as a gift. 10. Finding a niche for each player – and the coaches “owing it” to each player to get him on the field with a meaningful role. 11. Working in the best interest of the kids by being honest and caring. 12. Coaching as a service to others – not an enhancement of one’s own ambitions. 13. Continuing to learn, even amid long periods of success. “Losing can become a habit – as can winning.” 14. Building a program that the community could be proud of. 15. Doing the best you can and setting a good example for kids. 16. Being proud of and keeping friendships with past players and assistant coaches, including Amherst’s Mark Lusic. 17. The identity of Wisconsin football.
31:29
November 7, 2020
#66: Zander Neuville on the leaders who impacted him and the injuries that shaped his journey
Zander Neuville was a student and football player at Waupaca High School and the University of Wisconsin. Afterinjuries ended his promising career as a tight end, Zander was ready to transition to new horizons. He’s currently in medical school at Northwestern University. Zander joined the SGG podcast and offered rich perspective on the coaches and doctors who influenced him along his journey. We discussed: 1.  The role of sports in his childhood. 2.  Being surprised to be recruited by colleges to play football. 3.  His relationship with Waupaca Coach John Koronkiewicz: He was a really helpful mentor to me. 4.  How Coach Koronkiewicz helped connect him with Wisconsin coaches, ultimately contributing to his opportunity to join the team. 5.  Coach Koronkiewicz’s knack for connecting with his players and treating everyone equal opportunity: “He built an environment that everyone wanted to be a part of…Everyone had the highest respect for him.” 6.  Coach Mickey Turner’s effectiveness and modeling as tight end coach. 7.  Strength and Conditioning Coach Ross Kolodzieg’s impact. “He was someone I really connected with…He had gone through everything that we were currently going through…There was a natural trust with him…I leaned on him a lot.” 8.  How the everyday schedule changes for players during injury times. 9.  The close relationship that strength coaches develop with players. 10.  The two phases of injury: initial shock and long-term effects. 11.  “What sticks with me about injuries is how long they can stay with you mentally.” 12.  Career ending injuries as “divorce.” 13.  “It can get taken away really quickly.” 14.  Injury isolation. 15.  How his own injuries related to his pursuit of medical school. 16.  The injuries were bad for my football career, but I feel like it’s been a positive for my medical school work.” 17.  His relationship with Dr. Baer, the surgeon who operated on him numerous times. 18.  The friendships and exposure to different people that he gained from playing at Wisconsin. “I have a greater appreciation for what everyone is going through and where they came from…Everyone has their own story. And football opened me up to that.” 19.  Football time management lessons: it made the transition to medical school easy.
38:51
November 6, 2020
#65: Jeff Patterson: “If we can stay together as a team, it’s hard to break us”
Jeff Patterson –widely known as “JP” – is one of the most impactful leaders in the Madison area. JP’s barber shop “JP Hair Design” is a high performing organization that offers resources well beyond its doors. And JP’s dedication as a youth football coach in the Madison Memorial program adds another layer to his positive impact on hundreds of lives. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  His dad’s dedication to coaching and positive leadership in North Chicago. 2.  A street in North Chicago that is named after his dad. 3.  “Everybody knew him.” 4.  His dad as a coach: “He had fun with the kids…He didn’t take any junk…He wanted to teach them something… He wanted to be sure that if he had them, they were going to be better than they were when he first got them.” 5.  The youth center in North Chicago was the place where people connected. 6.  The importance of the “Warhawks” mascot on JP’s journey to attending UW-Whitewater. 7.  The significant impact that Bob Eschman, his sophomore basketball coach in high school, had on his life. “He did more than just coach.” 8.  His first priority in coaching youth football: building a relationship with the kids. 9.  His emphasis on growth – both as players and as young men. 10.  Always finding positives in each situation. 11.  Stopping practice to have life lessons. 12.  The importance of communication and transparency with parents. 13.  Working through conflict in youth sports: be transparent and establish guidelines. 14.  Academic progress cards that team 15.  Football can’t be played individually. “Success in football depends upon the team.” 16.  His “pencil activity” that gets kids to understand the importance of team: “If we can stay together as a team, it’s hard to break us. But once you get individuals trying to go off on their own, the team can easily be broken.” 17.  His son Jairus’ growth in and through football. 18.  The collective impact of multiple coaches on young people’s trajectories. 19.  “We’ve got an opportunity to shape what they’re doing outside of the gridiron.”
29:41
November 5, 2020
#64: Kevin Claxton: “I genuinely love the game”
Kevin Claxton played football at the University of Wisconsin from 2007-2011, where he was a four-year letter winner as a standout linebacker on one of the top defensive units in the nation. During Kevin’s time at UW, the Badgers achieved back-to-back Big Ten titles and two Rose Bowl appearances. After his playing career, the Fort Lauderdale native entered the coaching profession, including stints at two of his alma maters, Boyd Anderson High School and the University of Wisconsin. In this SGG episode, we discuss: 1. The adults who impacted Kevin’s life: “Most of my positive influences have come through sports.” 2. Kevin’s uncle, an early influential coach in his life, “Every day he showed up. Never missed a day.” …and other coaches who devoted their time through coaching over the years. 3. “Where I’m from, playing sports is just part of life.” 4. Working through a challenging situation during his senior year of high school with the support of coaches and family. 5. Adjusting to college during his freshman year in Madison – including getting “lit up” in an early practice drill. 6. Learning the level of work and production at the college level. 7. Coaching the scout team – “sometimes you need to get their attention” – especially coming off a big win. 8. Following up with a player after a practice – wanting them to know that “it’s nothing personal when I yell.” 9. The relational bonds that form in position rooms: On video “you see guys at their highest of highs and at their lowest of lows…The guys are just really open and honest with each other. And that’s where those bonds are formed.” 10. Being vulnerable in front of and with peers. 11. “Culture shock” arriving at UW-Madison, where there are not as many African Americans as his home community. 12. Having “open dialogue” with teammates about being a black man on the UW campus. 13. “We had countless examples of guys coming in and working with the young guys..and just being mentors off the field.” 14. “Dan Ott, my learning specialist was great. He was always an open door. He would always make time. He was always there to talk. Or just to listen.” 15. “Not having had white teachers in my life before (college), it was difficult. It was kind of like, ‘why do I have to go talk to this person?’ And Dan was just great, just very consistent. Even when I came in with a bad day, he was just the same person. That was something that was huge for me. And that’s something that I try to emulate in my own life. Just being consistent, regardless of whether I’m having a good day or a bad day.” 16. How he got into coaching. 17. Getting to know the people on your team – not just as athletes, but as full people. 18. The special bonds of the 2019 Wisconsin football team, and how the “hero, hardship, highlight” sharings during the pre-season deepened their shared understanding and trust. “Everyone got a chance to see that guys weren’t afraid to share some of their darkest moments and some of their highlights and just be themselves in front of everybody…I felt like that exercise was one of the most powerful things we did all season.” 19. Highlights from his time in Madison: the relationships and memories and “Being able to travel and do things that I would not have been able to experience if I had not played football.” 20. The toughest aspects of his Wisconsin experience: injuries – including one particularly difficult challenge his freshman year. “Being injured and not being close to family, that was tough.” 21. What got him through difficult injury times. 22. Why he will continue pursuing coaching: “I genuinely love the game.” 23. Being an example to his eight younger brothers. “There are people who look like us who were deprived of education opportunities…It is a privilege for us to be able to do this…Having this education can impact your family for generations.”
57:47
November 4, 2020
#63: Rachid Ibrahim: "Be where your feet are"
Rachid Ibrahim was a standout student and football player at the University of Pittsburgh and, after earning his bachelor’s degree, at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a master’s degree. Rachid won awards and accolades as a running back, but even more, was an exemplar son, brother, friend, student, and teammate throughout his athletic career. Rachid continues to inspire others with his message of resilience and positivity. He joined the SGG podcast and we discussed: 1.  His father passed away when Rachid was five years old. His mother, an immigrant from West Africa, raised him and his brother on her own. “She saw that sports was something that would keep us out of trouble and keep us doing well in school.” 2.  Being spotted with a Senegal soccer jersey in the grocery store… and starting football that same week. 3.  Middle school coaches “saw potential in me that I didn’t even see in myself.” 4.  “She (his mom) got herself a bachelors and a master’s degree while raising us. Academics were always the first thing for us.” 5.  “She knew I was going to handle the football part. She was just concerned about the academics…When I had a chance to pursue a master’s degree, she was really excited. That was what she was most excited about when I came to Wisconsin…That was amazing to her. It was unbelievable to her…I had the opportunity to go to two great schools, Pitt and Wisconsin. Never in my life did I ever think I would be in Wisconsin.” 6.  Facing a torn achillees tendon “I remember crying when they told me my season was over…It was tough, mentally. But then my roommate James Connor got hurt and we kind of fed off each other. We were going to help each other…That’s what the college journey teaches you. Adversity and getting through it.” 7.  Supporting his teammate and friend in his battle against cancer. 8.  “Adversity is something that, if you attack it with a mindset, you can overcome it. With great people in your corner, you can overcome it.” 9.  His relationship with “Coach Chryst, Coach Rudolph, Coach Settle, they’re some of the best people out there. I’m real grateful for all of them. They brough me into the college football journey…I remember as a high school student, sitting in Coach Chryst’s office at the University of Pittsburgh and he offered me a full scholarship. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I’m forever grateful for him. He’s out there leading young men all over the country and giving them opportunities to get a college education and play football…Just having those relationships with those coaches meant a lot to me.” 10.   “The coaches always believed in me.” 11.   His opinions on student-athlete transfer policies. 12.   What Rachid meant when he said, “These guys don’t know how good they have it” a year after he finished his career. “The college football experience is something so unique that very few people get to experience…I was just thinking, ‘Wow, there will never be another time that it will feel like this. That you’ll get to do this again…Nothing will compare. Nothing will bring that feeling again… These are the best times of your life. Being with your brothers…Being a part of that brotherhood, I was just real appreciative that I got to be a part of that for five years at Pitt and Wisconsin…Understanding the blessing we had.” 13.  One of his favorite sayings: “Be where your feet are.” 14.   “I don’t feel like I was supposed to be here. But I am. It would be a shame if I didn’t maximize it.”
44:37
November 3, 2020
#62: Coach Alvarez on staff challenges and vulnerability
How can coaches and leaders make their ways through internal team challenges? In the third interview with Coach Alvarez for the football in Wisconsin series, he discusses challenges associated with keeping a staff hungry. Coach also comments on being the leader through difficult periods and indicators of which assistant coaches are ready for head coach positions.  1.  Assembling his first staff and quickly recognizing that some of his coaches were not going to be able to keep up. 2.  Advice he received from Lou Holtz: “”You work for the university. And if they’re (the assistant coaches) holding you back, they’re holding your program back. They (the university) put you in charge of that program and it’s your responsibility. If they can’t keep up, you’ve got to let them go.” 3.  Having a staff that stayed with them for a long time: they got too comfortable, too complacent. 4.  What are the signs of staff complacency? Recruiting corners being cut. 5.  “It’s easy when you’re winning to get too comfortable.” 6.  Nick Saban’s skill in keeping his staff hungry. 7.  “If you have one guy who starts getting lazy, then everybody else sees it and they start cutting corners.” 8.  Changing as a coach over the course of one’s career. 9.  “I think my interactions with the players were always the same.” 10.  Giving everyone in the program a questionnaire at the end of each season to get feedback on the program. 11.  Navigating close relationships on coaching staffs. Drawing clear boundaries. 12.  Showing strength in tough times. 13.  “Don’t take yourself too seriously. I don’t have a problem laughing at myself.” 14.  The importance of bringing in new coaches. “Don’t be afraid to lose coaches.” 15.  How did he identify promising head coach candidates? “I think there are some guys who just present themselves as head coaches.” 16.  Little signs that Coach Bielema was ready for the head job. 17.  Getting losses out of the system. “Go in Sunday and put the game to rest. Find the good and the bad.” 18.  Tommy Lasorda visiting with the team at Rose Bowls about believing you can win. And that, “you’re better prepared than the guy across the ball from you.” 19.  On his wife, Cindy: “We’ve been a team.” 20.  “There were times I was moping around the house and she’d say, ‘Where in the hell is this ‘deal with adversity’ speech that you give? How in the hell are you dealing with it?’...She’ll snap you right out of it!”
36:44
November 2, 2020
#61: Coach Alvarez's first steps in developing the program in Madison (re-edit of episode #6)
SGG supports the development of coaches who can "grow the good" throughout their schools and communities. Coach Alvarez visited with an SGG room full of coaches and aspiring coaches to describe the plan he implemented when he first took the head coaching job at Wisconsin. 1.  Before taking a new job as a coach, you better have a real clear idea of what is expected of you by the leaders who hired you. “Where is the program today, and how are you going to support me?” You have to know the lay of the land before you take a job. 2.  The importance of identifying and securing the players you need and winning over their coaches. “The best players in the state weren’t staying here.” “I knew I had to win over the state high school coaches… I told them, ‘your program is important…You can visit anytime.’” 3.  How off-the-field problems affect on-field performance. 4.  Develop a thorough plan on how you are going to run your program. 5.  Figure out the best recruits you can get at your school – those that are athletic, academic, and geographic fits. 6.  Before you take the job, establish a detailed list of coaches you will try to bring with you. Know what kind of staff you want and get the staff you need. 7.  You have to sell your plan to recruits and high school coaches – but also to your own new staff. 8.  You must communicate your plan to “every person who touches the program.” You must be clear and precise about what you expect of everyone. You have to implement the day-to-day expectations. “If you do things properly during the day, during the week, things will go well on Saturdays.” 9.  Develop a “staff policy book” that addresses every detail about what you want/expect regarding people’s behaviors and expectations, all the way down to the way you dress and the way you conduct meetings. 10.   Among your staff, develop a specific recruiting plan. “What are we selling? What does this place have to offer.” Deliver a coherent, cohesive message. 11.  Be very specific about the roles/expectations for each of the assistants – including their key role in supporting the academic side of their players’ lives. 12.  Be clear and consistent as a staff about the way feedback is offered to players. 13.  The three questions every coach needs to know of his players: “Can I trust you?” “Are you committed?” “Do you care?” 14.  Develop a player policy book: What do you expect from your players? The importance of the “weekly truth statements.” 15.  The importance of maintaining success by staying hungry and not making compromises.
32:29
November 1, 2020
#60: The Alvarez Notes, South Bend, 1988
Coach Alvarez served as defensive coordinator for Notre Dame's 1988 National Championship season. He discusses his perspective on that experience, including important foundations that were developed for his head coaching career. 1.  The first time he was contacted by Lou Holtz. 2.  Hiring his first defensive staff at Notre Dame. 3.  His working relationship with Coach Holtz. 4.  Why he continually used the word “physical” with his team leading up to the first game of the 1988 season. 5.  “Re-purposing” players who didn’t find success at other positions, including Chris Zorich (“washed up linebacker”), George Williams (“didn’t pass the eye test”), Jeff Alm (“a skinny drink of water”), Frank Stams (“a converted fullback”), Pat Terrell (“a washed up wide receiver”). 6.  “Victory doesn’t always go to the biggest, strongest, fastest man, but to the man who thinks he can.” 7.  “I always want my guys to think they have an edge…I find an edge every week. On Sundays, I’ll come up with some kind of a theme and some advantage that we have. And our coaches will use it all week.” 8.  Coach Holtz was “really good on Friday nights.” 9.  Using Thursday nights to build belief. 10.  Keeping teams from getting uptight before big games. 11.  “Pick up your step. The kids read the coaches. If the coaches are excited, the kids get excited.” 12.  What it means to “think like a shortstop.” 13.  Lou Holtz’s love of Notre Dame. And the importance of representing your school. 14.  Making Michigan State “play left-handed.” 15.  The famous Miami game. 16.  How he built rapport with his defensive unit. 17.  When to be tough on your team: after a big win. 18.  Keeping up morale after difficult losses. 19.  The importance of grading players in practice as an aid to communicating about their roles on the team. 20.  The most gratifying aspect of coaching: following up with players years later and hearing about the impacts 21.  The end of season USC game. 22.  Making the transition from D-Coordinator to head coach – and waiting for the right timing. 23.  The importance of building relationships with players. 24.  Truth statements. 25.  Joe Moore: “he was uncanny in how he taught.” 26.  Joe Moore: “pretend like you’re going to pick that tree up.” 27.  Joe Moore: “I don’t want to be a train.”
53:26
October 31, 2020
#59: A Week in Pasadena
What are the daily and weekly rhythms of a football team? How are relationships developed? What roles do rituals play in team culture? These and other questions are considered in this first episode of a special series examining the game of football in Wisconsin. Using an embedded approach, Professor Miller, describes one week of action... and considers how this one week is tied to multiple layers of preparation across broad time and places. The special series lends close attention to to coaching -- from youth on through college levels. SGG aims to support the development of coaches who "grow the good" throughout Wisconsin and beyond.
01:21:55
October 30, 2020
#58: Playing for Coach Pat Summitt: Sydney (Smallbone) Storey’s reflections on learning from a legend
Sydney Storey (formerly Sydney Smallbone) was an exceptional basketball player at South Bend St. Joseph’s High School and the University of Tennessee. She went on to coach at St. Joseph’s, where she led her team to another Indiana state basketball championship. Sydney, who later earned an executive MBA from Notre Dame and transitioned fully into the business world, joined the SGG podcast to reflect on her experiences playing for one of the all-time great coaches, Pat Summitt. We discussed:  1. The first time she saw Coach Summitt at a summer tournament: “When Pat walked in, I think the gym pretty much went silent…She really was a show stopper…I instantly wanted to play for her.”  2. How Coach Summitt carried herself, her charisma and demeanor.  3. Why Sydney and her teammates referred to Coach Summitt as “Pat.”  4. “She really took the time to get to know you individually…She wanted to know about our daily life and not just our life on the court.”  5. Where Coach Summitt held individual players.  6. Coach Summitt’s emphasis on communication, something you can always control: “A noisy gym is a winning gym.”  7. Coach Summitt’s excellence in teaching: “Her practices were long, intense, and intentional. Everything we did had a purpose.”  8. “We were held accountable on every drill. Everything mattered. Instant feedback was something we always got.”  9. How Coach Summitt communicated roles to players, many of whom were challenged to accept supporting roles after having been stars in high school: “We all got treated the same.”  10. “She always had a pulse on how you were doing and how you were handling any given situation…Everyone bought in.”  11. The time Coach Summitt made the team managers run sprints.  12. How Coach Summitt handled losses. “She was really good at judging where we needed to go to work.”  13. “It truly was her life… So when we lost, she took it on her shoulders really heavily.”  14. Coach Summitt’s limitations: “Because she cared so much, it was hard for her to dial that down.”  15. How Coach Summit addressed the team at halftime when they trailed Rutgers by 22 points at halftime: “We’re going to win this game.”  16. How she developed her own coaching identity, know what to draw from Coach Summitt and what was not reasonable to expect of high school players.  17. Her emphasis on developing her team’s “knowledge of the game” while coaching at the high school level.  18. Sharing coaching responsibilities with her assistant coaches.  19. Why she chose to not continue on the coaching path (for now).  20. Leaning on and learning from her athletic director, former Notre Dame volleyball coach Debbie Brown. “I confided in Deb Brown, as my mentor, every day before practice.  21. Her favorite memory of Coach Summitt: “I just remember her walking up to me, gave me a big hug, looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘Thank you.’ And that was all she had to say…Those two words meant the world to me coming from Pat.”
47:08
September 29, 2020
#57: Missouri Professor Ty-Ron Douglas: “Our brokenness is a platform for our purpose”
Ty-Ron Douglas is an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Missouri. He is also actively engaged in his community – as a pastor, parent, entrepreneur, and leader. Dr. Ty, a native of Bermuda, was an accomplished athlete as a youngster who continues to see sports as vehicle for individual and community improvement. He is an inspirational leader, teacher and author whose work has been profiled at the highest levels. Dr. Ty joined the SGG podcast to discuss: 1.  Growing up playing soccer and cricket in Bermuda. 2.  Hitting a ceiling in sport. 3.  Lessons from his barber and mentor. “From him, I learned how to be a teacher.” 4.  The black barbershop as an educational space. 5.  “He saw me through the various stages of my journey. He literally gave me my first haircut. He saw me in boyhood. He saw me in my teenage years. And he was always there…For those of us who know of the transience of life, it is beautiful to have constants. He was a constant.” 6.  “From him I’ve learned how to have joy.” 7.  Finding joy in sports. 8.  Athletic spaces as “sanctuaries.” 9.  “Homophily”: finding commonality with others through sports. 10.  “I have a theory that our athletes are probably and perhaps the most underutilized educators in the world.” 11.  Border crossing – moving from space to space and building bridges. 12.  “Where we come from experiences how we see things and how we engage the world.” 13.  Thinking of “integration” instead of work-life balance. 14.  His “So Amazing Life” perspective that permeates all that he does. 15.  When things are broken, where do I go? 16.  “Broken crayons still color.” 17.  Where do you find your wholeness? 18.  “Our brokenness is a platform for our purpose.”
31:57
August 28, 2020
#56: Wisconsin Professor Rich Halverson shares insights for coaches on technology, leadership, and learning
Rich Halverson is a professor and associate dean in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A native of Manitowoc, WI and former school principal, Professor Halverson is a scholar, author and international leader on technology, leadership, and learning. In this episode of the SGG podcast, he addressed a key question facing many coaches: How can I use technology to help members of my team learn and my team get better?  In our conversation, we discussed: 1.  His early interest and work in technology. 2.  Adapting technology to a pre-existing practice. 3.  A big problem: When technology developers don’t have a sense for the settings where practice occurs. 4.  William James: “People change their practice when they have a felt need.” 5.  Technologies must answer questions that people cannot answer on their own. 6.  “Human centered design.” If you’re trying to change people’s practices, you must understand those practices. 7.  “Old-school” coaches and leaders accepting and adapting to innovation and technology. 8.  “Sometimes you can measure things that you can’t see. Sometimes you can see things that you can’t measure. Good leadership is hybrid leadership.” 9.  Relationships still matter the most for learning and trust-building. But relationship-building creates closed networks. Combining relationship networks with technology can deepen and enrich networks and practice. 10.  How to better use video: The key is formative feedback. Specific, just-in-time feedback. As soon as possible! Video has the power of immediacy. 11.  The learning principles that can be found in TikTok videos. 12.  Technology does not replace work. 13.  “If I was a coach or a principal at a school, I would liberate the tools that are in kids’ pockets (phones)…The machinery is absolutely accessible.” 14.  Kids’ expertise with technology – and how we can better tap into it. 15.  “Our obstacles are social, not technological. The delivery mechanisms and the technologies are fully available to solve all these problems, but it’s our beliefs that hold us back.”
35:13
August 27, 2020
#55: Naismith Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief: “Love what you do and do what you love…and change the world!”
Sidney Moncrief was an NBA superstar with the Milwaukee Bucks, earning countless awards and accomplishments, including the ultimate honor of being selected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Sidney’s successes are not limited to the court, as he’s also emerged as a leader in business, coaching, writing, and consulting. In our conversation in the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  What he learned from his high school coach, the legendary Oliver Elders: “He placed a very high emphasis on being a quality person. That superseded anything you did on the court… He made us realize that life was much more than just basketball.” 2.  “We knew he cared about us as people.” 3.  “Your impact lasts beyond those three or four years that you have with those players. It’s going to stay with them for a lifetime. If you instill just selfishness and you caring about being a winning coach without caring about them academically or as people, that’s what they’re going to spill out for the rest of their life. If you show them love, you show them compassion, you show them that accountability matters, that being a good teammate matters, being a good person matters, character matters, that’s what they’re going to show for the rest of their lives.” 4.  The critical time that Coach Eddie Sutton offered compliments to Sidney and his teammates – an occasion that built their confidence and spurred them on to the Final Four the next season. 5.  The importance of Coach Sutton’s assistant coaches giving him advice to instill confidence in his players… and Coach Sutton’s willingness to listen to them. 6.  What it felt like to get “called to the coach’s office.” 7.  “Greatness was not even part of our mindset. He interjected that greatness theory.” 8.  The importance of timing in coaches’ conversations with their teams. 9.  His wake-up call to the physicality of the NBA – and how Coach Don Nelson guided him to playing defense at the highest level. 10.  The thing that really makes you a great coach: Maintaining high expectations of players. 11.  “Players today need to know why they’re doing certain things.” 12.  The influence of his upbringing on his development as a tenacious competitor. 13.  The importance of having experienced players as models for younger ones to learn from. 14.  Discipline as an everyday part of life. 15.  His new book. 16.  Exercise, rest, rejuvenation, and personal care: “There’s only so much film you should be watching…The players don’t get the best you when you’re constantly watching film and are constantly stressed out.” 17.  Knowing and respecting the different motivations that players bring to the table. 18.  What he means by “tenacity” in his new book. “Pace, aggressiveness, focus, determination…” 19.  “Love what you do and do what you love…and change the world!”
31:10
August 26, 2020
#54: Jay Bilas wrote the book on toughness
Jay Bilas authored the book Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court. He provides a detailed analysis of specific aspects of toughness, including what it looks like in a sports setting and how it can be developed. Jay draws upon his experiences as a Duke basketball player, as an attorney, and as a commentator for ESPN to shed light on multiple dimensions of toughness. Coaches of all levels can find meaningful insights in Jay’s book. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  The impact that a drama teacher had upon him: “He was as influential upon me as any coach I’ve ever had.” 2.  What he learned through public speaking and forensics competitions as a high school student. 3.  The role his mom played in requiring him to take on uncomfortable challenges – including ballroom dancing. 4.  John Ebeling, “the toughest guy I ever played against…When I played against him I realized, ‘that’s what I should aspire to be.’” 5.  Growing in toughness through your teammates: “toughness is contagious.” 6.  Duke teammate David Henderson’s competitive spirit: “You were going to try to match him because of the amount of respect you had for the way he went about things…You didn’t want to let him down in that regard.” 7.  “Whether you’re the best player or the last person on the depth chart, you can raise the level of your organization by your performance and by the way you do your role.” 8.  On former Duke player Grant Hill: “You can be incredibly tough and incredibly nice at the same time…He had a wonderful balance of being a cut-throat competitor when he was playing and then being the nicest, most thoughtful, and polite person you could ever meet.” 9.  Being smart about playing – or not playing – through pain. 10.  The importance of saying no: “Sometimes the most important word in your life is no. And in order to say yes to your priorities, there are times you need to say no to other things.” 11.  “Sometimes it’s the tough thing to do to sit out and take care of yourself the right way.”
29:01
August 13, 2020
#53: Waunakee (WI) HS head football coach Pat Rice always puts the kids first
Pat Rice is a Hall of Fame coach at Waunakee High School. Coach Rice’s teams have won six state titles and his overall winning percentage is among the highest in state history. More importantly, Coach Rice has positively impacted countless lives over the course of almost 30 years as head coach. He’s recognized as one of the best coaches in state history and as a leader from whom young coaches can learn. On this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  How coaching is different from when his dad coached at McFarland HS: it’s a year-round process. 2.  “My dad always put kids first…It starts and ends with the kids.” How Pat’s tried to model this lesson in his own coaching life. 3.  Being a “coach of coaches” – using the curriculum for player development and coaching development. 4.  How technology has changed coaching – and how Coach Rice views “techy young guys” as important members of his staff. 5.  The development of pillars and identities on the team. 6.  Getting buy-in on the offensive line by developing the “Hogs” and making the offensive line a high-profile position. 7.  Staying on the trending, forward-thinking side of the game and not lagging behind in innovation. “You have to stay in front of the curve.” Continually learning and not being satisfied -- including making the change to the spread offense even though the team was in the midst of a long streak of great success. 8.  Not going half-way in making changes – being fully committed to changes that are made. (including the example of Nick Saban making the change at Alabama) 9.  “My staff knows that their thoughts and opinions are respected and we’re in it together.” 10.  The nuts and bolts of end of season meetings on “where can we get better.” 11.  Working with a neighboring school to evaluate each other’s programs. 12.  “If you’re going to make changes, you’ve got to be willing to listen to other people.” 13.  Having a staff that is passionate, committed, loyal, and knowledgeable. 14.  The positive, meaningful role created for parents via the booster club. “Make the parents part of the equation…We’re all trying to move this forward together.” 15.  Keeping interactions with parents positive and fun. 16.  “We don’t want football to be the pinnacle of their life…We want football to be a part of their life. Something they can build from.” 17.  End-of-practice conversations with the team that center on bigger life issues and developing into better young men. 18.  Focusing on the journey and appreciating it. “Once Friday night comes, the hay is in the barn and we’re going to give it our best shot…If you aim completely at wins and losses, then you’re missing the mark.” 19.  Always staying together, getting up, and bouncing back together. The opportunities provided by setbacks – “that’s when they need you the most.”
51:56
August 10, 2020
#52: University of Wisconsin-Madison Dean Diana Hess says that disagreement is not always a bad thing
Diana Hess is the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a leading expert on productive classroom discussion. As many coaches in and beyond Wisconsin are regularly challenged to lead their teams through challenging issues, Dean Hess presents a range of research-supported, practical insights on listening, learning, and moving forward together. We discussed: 1.  Coaching gymnastics at the YMCA and at Downers Grove High School, and the lessons she learned from coaching. 2.  Her research on how middle and high school teachers can help their students discuss controversial issues. 3.  Disagreement about issues is not a bad thing. 4.  Distinctions between “topics” and “issues.” 5.  Live controversies vs. settled topics. 6.  “When students learn how to participate in discussions of controversial issues, they learn an awful lot about how to think, how to articulate their views, and how to listen to people with whom they disagree.” 7.  “We want our students to learn how to talk with people they disagree with.” 8.  Asking students to prepare in advance of discussions about controversial issues – but not necessarily to have a firm opinion about them. 9.  The importance of getting everyone to participate in discussions – and how to do it. 10.  If you want everyone to participate, preparation is the best way to do it. 11.  Sports provide us a wonderful opportunity to learn with and from others who are different from us in a number of ways. 12.  “It is important that the coach sets a really high standard for how we’re going to respect one another.” 13.  Listening. 14.  “What I want on my leadership team is genuine disagreement about what we should do...But at some point, we have to make a decision.” 15.  “There are some times when a group makes a decision that, for whatever reason, you just can’t support. And then, you really have a hard decision to make. Do I stay with this group or not?”
31:06
July 31, 2020
#51: University of Illinois Associate Dean and Professor Chris Span on mentoring, knowing context, and letting kids explore
Chris Span is Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Professor Span also serves as a Faculty Athletics Representative to the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA. Chris is a prolific scholar – a historian of American education – who is widely regarded as one of the leaders in his field. Notably, he is the author of the acclaimed book From Cotton Field to Schoolhouse: African American Education in Mississippi, 1862-1875. Originally from Gary, Indiana, Professor Span is also an elite pocket billiards player who learned the game as a youngster in Chicago and went on to travel the country competing at the highest levels of his game. He shares rich research and life-informed insights for coaches on history, knowing context, mentoring, and parent involvement. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  His “accidental” journey to becoming a professor – including the advisor at Illinois (JoAnn Hodges) who supported him at a key juncture…And why he still shovels her driveway all these years later! 2.  How another mentor, his former professor Paul Violas, encouraged his trajectory to graduate school: “Maybe you should have a little more confidence in yourself because there seems to be people who have a lot of confidence in you.” 3.  Why JoAnn Hodges made a difference: “She spoke to me like we were family… I had never met anyone in college who spoke to me like a family member.” 4.  “I believe that maybe she saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself at that point in my life.” 5.  How he became an elite pocket billiards player – and the relationships he formed along the way. 6.  What his mentor, Bugs, “the Michael Jordan of pocket billiards,” said to Chris when Chris considered leaving school to pursue billiards full time. 7.  The importance of knowing the history and context of the places we work. “How am I a part of this larger narrative?” 8.  “No matter your station of life, you should be able to relate to people at their level.” 9.  The danger of hubris when coming into a new place or a new position. 10.  “Don’t shy away from the past, but don’t let the past guide you to the point where you are debilitated by it.” 11.  Mentoring by showing and listening instead of speaking. 12.  Dean James Anderson’s mentoring by storytelling. 13.  The kindness and compassion of his wife, another important mentor in his life. 14.  Being flexible and adaptive. 15.  “All young people need to grow into adulthood through trial and error.” 16.  “If parents lay the foundation for their kids, it will bear fruit.” 17.  “I’ve learned far more from my failures than from my successes.”
52:12
July 29, 2020
#50: Wisconsin Professor Bob Enright, the pioneer of forgiveness studies
Bob Enright is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the founding board member of the International Forgiveness Institute, Inc. He pioneered the social scientific study of forgiveness and is the author of over 120 publications, including seven books. Professor Enright is not just a leading scholar, but also a world leader in fostering forgiveness in conflict zones such as Belfast, Athens, Liberia, and Galilee. Many of the coaches we’ve learned from on the SGG podcast have noted the importance of overcoming conflict on teams and developing trusting relationships. Forgiveness is at the heart of this trust and Dr. Enright shares some insights on forgiveness that can greatly help coaches and team. We discussed: 1.  How he came to the study of forgiveness…and the risk he took in doing so. 2.  When you forgive, “you get your life back, your energy back.” 3.  Why forgiveness is important in competitive settings, like team sports. 4.  The difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is a “moral virtue that we offer when we are mistreated.” It is unilateral. Reconciliation is “when two or more people come together again in mutual trust.” It is dependent upon both parties. 5.  When we forgive, we seek justice. 6.  Forgiveness is not an acceptance of injustice or an excusing of injustice. 7.  Why it is important for leaders of teams – coaches in particular – to model forgiveness. 8.  Forgiveness is a counter to resentment that can linger for many years. 9.  Aristotle says you grow in any virtue through three things: “practice, practice, practice.” How do sports help us with this practice of forgiveness? 10.  One who forgives on a team is saying, “This is a human being and a teammate who is more important than what just happened.” 11.  Preparing for the injustices that are to come for us…and still being committed to ending the injustices. 12.  Forgiveness deals with the effects of injustice. The effects themselves are often worse than the injustice itself. The injustice may be one particular act in time (or even numerous acts), but the effects go on and can be passed on through generations. 13.  Coaches can play a role in stopping the hurt of injustice. 14.  Bob’s experiences working on forgiveness in Palestinian communities. 15.  Aristotle: “Never practice a moral virtue in isolation from the others.” 16.  Why just “fixing” an injustice does not bring about healing. 17.  Eight Keys to Forgiveness and the Forgiving Life as tools for coaches to begin learning about how to cultivate forgiving cultures on teams. 18.  Self-forgiveness is harder than forgiving others. One step to begin: forgive someone else first, then apply the same process to yourself.
43:53
July 15, 2020
#49: Thom McDonald of Championship Productions discusses connecting and innovating as a coach
Thom McDonald is the Commissioner of the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference and the Director of Basketball at Championship Productions. Thom was a successful high school and college coach before becoming one of the game’s important shapers of teaching and learning through innovation. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  The value of growing up near coaches and being an elementary school teacher. 2.  Becoming known as a “camp guy” as a high school coach and at Drake. 3.  What Rudy Washington saw when he watched Tom at the state tournament: “You don’t know who’s watching you, when they’re watching you, or why they’re watching you.” 4.  Gene Keady: “The first thing you should do every day is shave. Because you never know who you’re going to meet. And that person could change your life.” 5.  His trip to Philadelphia with Rudy Washington to learn from John Chaney and how it made so many future opportunities possible. 6.  Being willing to “take steps backwards in order to move forward.” 7.  How he went about building huge camps: hard work and getting the best people to come. 8.  Camps: “It made me a better coach and it gave me instant credibility.” 9.  “If you’re in the profession but not with someone who can help you, it’s not worth it.” 10.  Being offered the Florida State position from Leonard Hamilton. 11.  Making the decision to leave coaching. 12.  How championship productions has changed the ways coaches learn. (Pat Knight example). “We have the best authors on the planet.” 13.  Bill Bergan as worthy of being a Hall of Famer: “He’s a pioneer. For what he did, when he did it, and how he sustained it.” 14.  Bob Knight: “When you watch his videos, it’s pretty basic. It’s about expectations and imagination. Some of the most successful coaches on the planet are the most simplistic and demanding coaches on the planet.” 15.  “The coaches who stand out are the ones that know how to teach.” 16.  “Video is really important, because video does not lie.” (even when it comes to communicating with parents – you have all those factual things you can go to) 17.  Using both “gut” and analytics. 18.  The many “peripheral” people who make a living off the game of basketball: “They’re all needed, all wanted. You’ve just got to find what is best for you and go from there.” 19.  Webinars and the future of learning as coaches: accessibility and sharing. “I think the future is here. This is the new normal.”
38:05
June 2, 2020
#48: Madison Memorial HS (WI) girls basketball coach Marques Flowers: "The goal was to create a community and a sense of belonging”
Marques Flowers is the head coach of the girls basketball team at James Madison Memorial High School. After a highly successful playing career alongside his brothers, Coach Flowers has elevated the Memorial team to new heights. His program is one of the best in the state and Coach Flowers is making a positive impact on many lives – both as a coach and as a social worker at the school. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  His early love of sports and how his moves from Chicago to Iowa to Wisconsin shaped his family’s opportunities. 2.  Being the big brother in his family: leading by example. 3.  Playing for Cecil Youngblood at Beloit College, who invested in Marques “not just as a basketball player, but as an African American young man.” 4.  His mother: the values that she modeled every day, her sacrifices, and her commitment to finding ways for her boys to pursue their talents and interests, even amid financial challenges. 5.  The funny story about when his mom assembled a basketball hoop. 6.  Why Marques keeps costs down for participating in his program. 7.  Basketball as a meditative and therapeutic activity for kids. 8.  “Sometimes you just gotta roll the balls out and let the kids play.” 9.  Why having safe spaces for girls to play hoops is especially important. 10.  “The way you play is the way you live…If you want to become a better basketball player, you also have to think about what’s happening in other aspects of your life.” 11.  “Our goal is not to make themselves the best basketball players they can be, but the best people they can be.” 12.  The importance of connections: “You can’t win with people you don’t know.” 13.  The value of having a diverse program and school. 14.  The complementarity of his social work and coaching roles. 15.  “Sports give kids a low risk environment to practice resiliency. Nobody’s lights are going to get turned off, nobody’s going to lose a meal if they turn the ball over.” 16.  “If you’re doing it right, your kids should be connected to each other to the point where they can tell when someone’s going through something.” 17.  “Sport is a place where kids can learn to trust.” 18.  “Sport forces you to be vulnerable. Being on a team forces you to be vulnerable. It also forces you to learn how to connect with people. And empathize.” 19.  “I wish everybody in our country could get that understanding that we are all connected. If I’m not doing well, you’re not doing well…If we’re not aligned as a community around the idea that all of us have value and all of us matter, it’s hard to be successful…If we have pockets of our community that are not thriving, then that brings us all to a place where we’re not thriving. And that’s what team sports teach you.” 20.  “The goal was to create a community and to create a sense of belonging.”
46:58
May 29, 2020
#47: Chicago Bears director of player engagement Soup Campbell’s door is always open
LaMar “Soup” Campbell, a native of Chester, PA, is the director of player engagement for the Chicago Bears. He enjoyed a successful playing career with the Wisconsin Badgers and Detroit Lions before transitioning to a variety of leadership positions and front office settings. Soup completed his masters degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Wisconsin and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Growing up in Chester, PA. 2.  Transferring to Strath Haven and playing for Coach Clancy and Coach Jesson. 3.  Looking up to LeRoy Burrell. 4.  His mom hanging up the phone on Joe Paterno. 5.  Repeatedly making successful transitions. 6.  Barry Alvarez coming to his house to recruit him. 7.  Valuing conversation and getting to know others. 8.  Returning to Madison to get his undergraduate degree…and then moving on to masters and PhD programs. 9.  Being smart about proximity and daily routines in developing trust. 10.  Always keeping his door open. 11.  Modeling the behaviors you seek from others. 12.  Having meaningful conversations during the “in-between” time. 13.  His daily “walk of the building.” 14.  His experience in the Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis Department at the University of Wisconsin.
43:54
May 28, 2020
#46: The University of Wisconsin's Dr. Claudia Reardon is a leader in the “golden age of mental health” for elite athletes
Claudia Reardon is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Claudia works with Badger athletics, the International Olympic Committee, the NCAA, and other leading sports in supporting the mental health of athletes. She’s published widely in the field and is recognized as one of the leaders in the field of sport psychiatry. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Growing up in a household of high-level athletes – and what research tells us about having parents who exercise. 2.  How she got into the field of sport psychiatry. 3.  What her article, “Mental Health in Elite Athletes,” says about sleep and its impact on athletes (and why coaches need to be aware of this). 4.  Insignificant sleep leaves athletes at higher risk of injury. 5.  How can coaches optimize environments for mental health. 6.  Common situations that can stress athletes’ mental health: times of high training load and injury times. 7.  Communicating with parents about mental health. 8.  Promoting psychological flexibility. 9.  “Having a game-face on the field doesn’t mean you have to have a game-face off the field 24/7.” 10.  Poor mental health is associated with heightened injury risk. 11.  Mental health differences across sports. Reasons why individual sport athletes are at significantly higher risk of depression than other athletes. 12.  Issues relating to body image and eating disorders. 13.  Taking on a process-oriented outlook to foster growth. 14.  The golden age of mental health. 15.  The IOC’s diploma and certificate programs focusing on mental health in sport
34:13
May 25, 2020
#45: Art Rainwater led teams and schools with honesty
Art Rainwater was the superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District from 1998 until 2008. He later served as a revered faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Art was formerly a football coach in Arkansas and Texas, as well as a school principal in Alabama. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  His high school football and basketball coaches being “people I could talk to.” 2.  Starting a little league in his Arkansas hometown. 3.  Why he asked the coach of his college if he could join the team as a scout team member: “You really need to experience the things you’re asking people to do.” 4.  Keeping in touch with players he coached 55 years ago. 5.  The school administrator in Texas who first recognized his administrative potential, and the innovative way he prepared Art for a leadership role. 6.  In the coach-player relationship, “kids see through you… you can only be honest if you’re going to be successful with them.” 7.  “The ability to lead is based solely on trust and trust can only occur if you’re truthful.” 8.  Success stories of families he’s worked with, including the Flowers family at LaFollette High School in Madison. 9.  What he looked for in building a leadership team. 10.  Non-negotiable beliefs. 11.  Providing developmental and leadership opportunities for members of your staff. 12.  His daily routines as a leader, including detailed planning, early starts, and generous time allotted each week for individual team members. 13.  Carving out time for reflection. 14.  Being conscious of power in relationships.
40:36
May 22, 2020
#44: Wisconsin women’s soccer assistant coach Marisa Kresge: “The more time you invest in someone, the better things will be”
Marisa Kresge is an assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin’s women’s soccer team and also a youth-level coach in the Madison area. After a successful college career, where she served as captain of UW’s team, Marisa’s coaching career is off to a quick start. Marisa’s players speak very highly of her – and she’s learning the ropes from Paula Wilkins, one of the most respected coaches in the game. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Playing competitive youth soccer with coaches who challenged her and instilled values in her. 2.  Understanding the developmental levels of the players she coaches. 3.  Leadership and cultural changes on the UW team during the 2013-14 seasons: “It changed our entire program.” 4.  Serving as captain of the UW team – and why she took on a vocal role. 5.  How an injury sowed the seeds of a coaching career in her mind – the injury was “a blessing in disguise.” 6.  The importance of kids loving the game and investing in it at a young age. “It has to be player driven.” 7.  Routines she uses with her teams – keeping it fun and engaging. 8.  Remaining open to new environments when transitioning into a new assistant coaching job. 9.  “It takes time to get to know someone, and the more time you invest in someone, the better thing will be.”
34:43
May 18, 2020
#43: Clovis West H.S. (CA) basketball coach Vance Walberg is one of the top innovators in the game
Vance Walberg is the head coach of Clovis West’s basketball team. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he’s thrived at high school, community college, Division 1 college, and NBA levels. Coach Walberg is highly-regarded by coaches across the country, and in creating and generously sharing the dribble-drive offense, is known as one of the best innovators of the modern basketball era. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  The impact of growing up as the middle child in a household with six boys. 2.  Getting cut multiple times in sports as a middle schooler… and always bouncing back, ultimately becoming the top player in the league. 3.  His wife Rose’s impact on his career as a coach. 4.  The 6:30am shooting opportunity that he presented to his teams: Going from 2 to 40 “everyday” kids in developing a hard-working program. 5.  Chris Hernandez. “When your best player is your hardest worker, you’re in for a special season. 6.  Why his teams don’t shoot free throws or have water breaks during practice. 7.  The long-term dividends of Chris’ “10,000 free throw summers” – and the thank-you call he placed after a big Stanford victory. 8.  His open-door policy with parents – including at practice. “Come by and see how hard your son works.” Rules: “Don’t come see me right after a game (24-hour rule). Don’t ask me to compare your son to another player.” 9.  His daughter as a coach at the cross-town rival school. 10.  The importance of his family in his life – and the way he prioritizes his role as a husband and dad above basketball. 11.  “Getting my team to be 2, 3, 4 points better the following year.” 12.  His purposeful commitment to learning and innovation, including the 1987 deal he struck with his athletic director that allowed him to learn from the best coaches in the country. 13.  “Seeing the game through angles.” 14.  Gaining ideas from other coaches – including what not to do. 15.  Giving back to the game by sharing ideas with the thousands of coaches who contact him. 16.  Working with George Karl and John Welch.
42:29
May 14, 2020
#42: Pat Connaughton tells the kids of Arlington, MA: “You’re not alone. You’re with us”
Pat Connaughton is not only a popular player for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, but also the President of the With Us Foundation, which creates access to sports for all kids. A native of Arlington, MA, Pat went on to excel in both basketball and baseball at the University of Notre Dame. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles prior to his senior year of college, but ultimately chose to pursue his NBA dream. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  “A lot of who I am stems from my parents” …who taught him… “don’t let something frustrate you, let it fuel you.” 2.  Fidelity House and one of his early coaches, Tim Graham. 3.  How his parents and coaches “challenged me in the right way.” 4.  Why he started With Us in 2016. 5.  The importance of actually being present at the camps and in developing relationships with the kids. 6.  The impact that can be made through developing and re-developing everyday athletics facilities. 7.  What influenced him to develop an “other-centered” focus: his parents and his university. 8.  His mom saying “do your best” rather than always focusing on others. And his parents’ encouraging him to be well-rounded (including the dreaded piano lessons on Wednesdays at 2:30!). 9.  Making efficient use of gap time during the season. 10.  Developing a resourceful network of people to learn with and from. 11.  Doing Zoom calls with kids to talk about life, developing good habits… and letting them know that “I was in your shoes at one time.” 12.  “I want them to feel like they are a part of something. You’re not alone. You’re with us.” 13.  Aspirations for the future, on and off the court. 14.  Living and playing in Milwaukee, where the Bucks are building a “family-like culture.”
34:23
May 12, 2020
#41: Casey FitzRandolph believed, committed, and won Olympic gold
Casey FitzRandolph is an Olympic gold medalist, world champion, and one of the great speed skaters in history. A native of Verona, WI, Casey’s journey is inspiring for competitors and instructive for all coaches and leaders. Casey gained widespread fame and admiration on the world stage, but his success was the result of years and years of hard work, sacrifice, and belief. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  Gaining early inspiration from Eric Heiden. 2.  Coach Bob Corby. 3.  His parents’ remarkable support and commitment (and their cool family van). 4.  Setting the goal to win Olympic gold at a very early age – and a willingness to do whatever it took to get there. 5.  Coach Lyle Lebombard – who was both “old-school” and “cutting edge” – and emphasized technique in becoming one’s best. 6.  The importance of having an elite training facility in Wisconsin, the Pettit National ice Center. 7.  Hard working, tight-knit Wisconsin families being well-suited for speed skating (e.g., Eric Heiden, Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen, Chris Witty, Kip Carpenter). to th 8.  Learning a lesson from every situation – and getting better after his first Olympics. 9.  Being welcomed as a training partner and friend by Mike Ireland and Jeremy Wotherspoon, top Canadian skaters. “We shared blood, sweat, and tears.” 10.  “At the end of the day, this is all about getting to our personal best.” 11.  The critical importance of instilling belief. 12.  Finding advantage over competition on the mental side. Three aspects: a) visualization; b) relaxation; c) perspective. 13.  The current state of coaching in youth sports.
49:22
May 10, 2020
#40: Turina Bakken is always looking out for the underdog
Turina Bakken is the Provost at Madison College and a long-time competitor, coach, commentator, and leader in a variety of sports contexts. Turina also holds multiple academic degrees, including a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. She’s widely respected for her dynamic leadership – and her story is full of rich lessons for coaches and all leaders who aim to promote the good through sport. In this episode, we discussed: 1.  Growing up playing multiple sports in a small Minnesota town – including the creative games she would play with her brother. 2.  Picking the least talented kids first on the playground – valuing everybody and the contributions they can make. 3.  Her father’s influence and his steadfast support over the years – even to the point of purchasing Badgers gear (quite a commitment from a life-long Gopher fan!). 4.  How her creativity as a teacher was influenced by her participation in sports. 5.  Lessons learned from her grandma – who was elected mayor at age 75 by a write-in vote. 6.  Management by wandering around. 7.  Playing for a soccer team in France – taking risks, being a “complete and utter outsider for the first time in my life.” 8.  Being “a very intentional observer” who “is always on the lookout for the hidden gem, the underdog.” 9.  “Authentically being me has helped me gain respect.” 10.  Her grandma’s saying, “do it your own wrong way.” 11.  Not taking oneself too seriously, keeping a “lightness” in her work, and remaining approachable. 12.  “Take yourself off the stage and put the spotlight on other people.”
41:22
May 9, 2020
#39: Coach Freddie Owens remains committed to Milwaukee
Freddie Owens is an assistant basketball coach at Loyola University in Maryland. Coach Owens was previously a star player for the University of Wisconsin and, over recent years, he’s gained a reputation as an outstanding coach in his stops at multiple colleges. Even as he has moved around to coaching positions throughout the country, Coach Owens has maintained a deep commitment to his hometown, Milwaukee. Most notably, he started the Milwaukee Coaches Association, who develops and supports coaches in the city. In this episode of SGG, I was joined by Freddie and fellow UW basketball alum, Wquinton Smith, to discuss: 1.  Growing up playing basketball in Milwaukee. 2.  His father’s influence on him on and off the court – including working toward the goal that Freddie set as an 8 year-old boy to be a Division 1 basketball player. 3.  Coach James Gordon, his coach at Milwaukee Washington High School, and the identity that his teams took on. 4.  Coach Curtis Weathers and his everyday support helping to get Freddie prepared for college. 5.  “Taking bits and pieces of each coach I’ve worked with to build my own identity.” 6.  His ongoing commitment to Milwaukee and why he started the Milwaukee Coaches Association. 7.  The impact of the charter school movement on Milwaukee basketball. 8.  Interviewing for coaching positions.
44:00
May 7, 2020
#38: Andy North’s devastating medical prognosis in the 7th grade led him places he never could have imagined
Andy North is a two-time U.S. Open champion and one of the most respected names in golf. After his long, successful professional career, he’s enjoyed a great run at ESPN – along with a wide range of other pursuits on and off the course. Andy’s also a loyal, lifelong supporter of the Wisconsin Badgers. Andy joined the SGG podcast, where we discussed: 1.  His dad’s background as a coach – and the innovations he made capturing video and focusing on the mental sides of the game. 2.  His dad’s lessons about the difference between “just goofing around” and “purposeful practice.” 3.  The value of playing a team sport for individual sport athletes. 4.  Being a “good player on a bad team” and being a “bad player on a good team.” 5.  The injury that catapulted him into golf. 6.  Lee Milligan’s long-time influence in his life. 7.  The competitive fire of his friend Michael Jordan…and the fire within all great competitors. 8.  How many golfers get too “bound up technically.” 9.  His college coach understanding “if you need help, come to me” as opposed to trying to get overly involved in changing kids’ games. 10.  Differences between his generation of athletes and today’s athletes. How playing multiple sports assisted in “learning how to use your body.” 11.  Keeping things simple. 12.  The importance of knowing yourself as an athlete. 13.  Helping UW football team’s kickers. 14.  “The great players are the guys who can go out there with nothing (on an off day) and figure out a way to get it done.” 15.  Not letting others know you’re nervous and talking yourself into everything being ok. “Get to where you enjoy being there.” 16.  Visualizing his next day’s round as a method of preparation. 17.  The value of “figuring things out” without an entourage of supporters. 18.  Common attributes of the great coaches he’s been around. 19.  Byron Nelson’s comment that to be good in golf “you have to be really, really smart or really, really dumb.” 20.  Making it through ongoing injuries, mentally and physically – and “never-ending” rehab. 21.  What he learned about working on TV from Hubie Brown and John Madden – “they told me something I didn’t realize.” 22.  “Empathy” in coaching (including the example of his dad communicating with his high school players’ girlfriends.) 23.  “Sometimes the smartest thing a coach can do is sit down and be quiet for five or ten minutes.” 24.  The young coaches he’s impressed by.
44:41
May 5, 2020
#37: Cuba City High School (WI) basketball coach Jerry Petitgoue: “A great coach can change a life”
Jerry Petitgoue is the head basketball coach at Cuba City High School in Wisconsin. He is the all-time leader in wins in Wisconsin (over 900 wins!), he’s won three state titles, been elected to multiple halls of fame, and received countless other awards. After more than 50 years of coaching, he’s still going strong, serving as executive director of the robust Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association – and was even voted as the Wisconsin state coach of the year in 2020. 1.  Getting his work ethic from his parents. His father was a miner and his mom worked in a factory. 2.  His high school coach, who only recently passed away. 3.  His advice to new coaches: “I would take all the psychology classes that I could take” and “I would have a mentor.” 4.  Learning to play Euchre from his grandfather. 5.  Being a teacher and coach in Cuba City. 6.  Why younger coaches should have “someone with gray hair on the bench” as a mentor. 7.  “I want to coach kids the way I would want to be coached. And I look at them like my sons.” 8.  Stirring up interest in the game by distributing mini-basketballs to newborns at the local hospital. 9.  The importance of being a teacher in the school where you coach. “I wanted to be the best history teacher I could be.” 10.  The importance of being able to read body language. 11.  How his year of studying broadcasting in Chicago helped him as a teacher and coach. 12.  Balancing coaching and family (how Hudl has helped). And the important role his wife Joan has played in his life over the years – including with the WBCA. 13.  The life lessons learned through athletics. “You get yourself up off the ground and you compete.” “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” 14.  Continuing to learn the game with other coaches, including good friends Will Rey and Jeff Boos. 15.  Keeping things simple. 16.  Keeping things engaging and fun (even telling pre-game knock-knock jokes).
54:13
April 30, 2020
#36: Madison Memorial HS (WI) football coach Michael Harris wants his players to leave as better people
Michael Harris is the head football coach at Madison Memorial High School. He has achieved great success, including leading the Spartans to an undefeated 2019 season. Coach Harris is widely respected across the community as a positive leader on and off the field. On this SGG episode, we discussed: 1.  A significant life challenge that he experienced in 8th grade – and the important role that a coach played in helping him through it. “He recognized that I was longing for a sense of belonging.” 2.  Playing football at UW-Whitewater. 3.  “There are some kids who need football more than football needs them.” 4.  The importance of sharing his own story with the team – and asking the players to share their own stories. 5.  His team’s four core values: courage, integrity, positive work ethic, and unconditional love. 6.  “I want them to leave here as better people.” 7.  The importance of being in the building as a teacher at the school. “The students want to see how you respond to uncertainty or uncomfortable situations…It’s up to us to be ambassadors in the building.” 8.  Pausing during his team’s games to ask younger children, “what do you see here?” 9.  The importance of routines and rituals, including his game-day distribution of black-eyed peas to his team. 10.  The importance of life-long bonds being formed through sports.
41:26
April 28, 2020
#35: Coach Bo Ryan: “It’s not so much what you say, it’s what you accept”
Bo Ryan is a Hall of Fame basketball coach, who achieved great success at multiple levels of the game. Notably, Coach Ryan led UW-Platteville to four national championships and the UW Badgers to more victories than any other coach in school history, including multiple Big Ten conference titles, and two Final Fours. His awards and accomplishments are too numerous to list and his impact on the game throughout the US is widespread and lasting. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Watching his dad’s influence on young people as a three-sport coach in Chester, PA. 2.  How his dad kept things simple in sports – not trying to trick anyone or play favorites. 3.  Coaches being in it for the kids, not themselves. 4.  Always learning and working toward getting understanding between coach and players. 5.  “It’s not so much what you say, but what you accept.” 6.  Why “walk-throughs are a no-no.” 7.  The “voice in the locker room when the coaches aren’t around” can mean 5-10 more wins a season. 8.  The value of experience – you can’t learn a lot of these things in a book. 9.  Growing up across the street from Coach Jack McKinney. 10.  The role of camps as a developmental opportunity for young coaches. 11.  “Do what you do, and do it better than what the other team can prepare for. We have never tricked another team or coach into a victory.” Stick to the absolutes. 12.  The great compliment that Coach Wooden gave him. 13.  Keeping players focused and “present” amid high-pressure, big-hoopla game environments. 14.  “The best teachers are the ones that always make the students feel like they’re the ones that got the answers.” 15.  How video from his UW-Platteville days helped some of his Badger teams learn. 16.  The “impact of a hard cut”… an example of how each small part affects the whole unit. 17.  “Spreading your wings” to learn from different types of coaches and settings. 18.  “Getting five defensive players to guard three offensive players” and being guided by a few simple concepts.
42:00
April 26, 2020
#34: Coach Dick Bennett (part 2): “You have to recruit guys you can lose with”
Dick Bennett was one of the great coaches in Wisconsin basketball history. In part 2 of our SGG conversation, Coach Bennett discussed: 1.  The “brotherhood” among coaches. 2.  How his son Tony and bible study influenced the formation of Dick’s beliefs and core pillars: humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness. 3.  Modeling his life and ways of coaching after Christ. 4.  Getting “players you can lose with” – those who will stay the course during difficult times. 5.  How do you get players to play defense like that? “Every night!” (…and pay attention to the ball pressure) 6.  A lesson from Vince Lombardi: Execution comes through repetition…and keep it simple. 7.  The third great coach in the Bennett family. 8.  Wisdom from Ben Hogan on how to get really good at something. “It’s every day.” 9.  “Stay the course, push them – without being nasty.” 10.  His annual summer gathering with former players. 11.  The importance of the time you spend with players, especially at the high school level: “They’re like sponges.” 12.  Owning up to mistakes and apologizing.
30:43
April 24, 2020
#33: Coach Dick Bennett (part 1): “All there was to the job was a love of the game and a love for the kids”
Dick Bennett was one of the great coaches in Wisconsin basketball history. Coach Bennett mastered the “re-building of programs,” achieving success at every stop from small high schools to major Division 1 programs – including leading the Wisconsin Badgers to the NCAA Final Four. Coach Bennett has served as a mentor to countless players and coaches, and he impacted countless lives along the way. In part one of our conversation on the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Reconnecting with his high school basketball coach, Jerry Grunska, who had a significant influence on Coach Bennett wanting to become a coach. 2.  Why high school was his favorite level at which to coach. “All there was to the job was a love of the game and a love for the kids.” 3.  Making early mistakes and learning on the job during his first years as a high school coach: “I don’t think I made it quite simple enough.” 4.  Taking a coaching class from Marquette’s Al McGuire, attending clinics around the Midwest – and sitting, listening to Adolph Rupp, John Wooden, and Henry Iba. 5.  Seeing the game the same way as Bob Knight – who almost became the Wisconsin Coach. 6.  The Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. 7.  Advocating for Terry Porter in tryouts for various national teams. 8.  Having dinner with Coach Knight in Bloomington the night before playing the Hoosiers, and maintaining a long-term friendship with him. 9.  Coach Knight’s proposed “son swap” that never happened. 10.  Al McGuire’s advice about scheduling opponents.
42:15
April 23, 2020
#32: Ben Askren on the importance of relationships in coaching: “How did your best coaches treat you?”
Ben Askren was an accomplished college wrestler, winning two national championships and a Hodge Trophy. He then wrestled for the US in the 2008 Olympics and, later, achieved success and notoriety in MMA. These days, Ben is active on multiple fronts in the sport of wrestling, including his work with young wrestlers through the Askren Wrestling Academy. Ben joined the SGG podcast and discussed: 1.  Playing multiple sports as a kid. 2.  “The only thing you can really control is effort.” 3.  Giving kids responsibility and allowing them to experiment. 4.  Remaining open-minded. 5.  Performing in high pressure situations, the game is the same, don’t worry about what you can’t control. 6.  Competing under pressure. 7.  Building relationships first. 8.  “Think about the best coach you ever had.”
13:22
April 21, 2020
#31: Somerset High School (WI) coach Bruce Larson grounds his program in time-proven values
Bruce Larson is the head football coach at Somerset High School. He’s recognized as one of the best in state of Wisconsin and, actually, in the whole country, having won the Don Shula National High School Coach of the Year award in 2015. Coach is renowned for winning championships on the field and, more importantly, instilling life-long values and habits in those who play for him. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Somerset as a working class community. 2.  Growing up on a dairy farm in Spring Valley, Wisconsin…where he learned to get things done. 3.  The impact of his high school coach, Bob Thomas – how he made his players feel and the time he invested in them. 4.  UW-River Falls coach Mike Farley. 5.  “Don’t worry about winning – just do it the right way and things will be ok.” 6.  Arriving at Somerset in 1987 as an assistant coach to Brad Nemec. 7.  When everything “fell apart” during his third year as head coach, writing down everything he didn’t like in the program. 8.  DW Rutledge and Dennis Parker, two of his coaching influences. 9.  “What you see is what you coach.” 10.  “If you don’t like it, change it.” The coach is the person in charge. 11.  Using Army values in his program. “Everything we do is built around that.” 12.  “What it comes down to more than anything is attitude.” 13.  “The world is full of educated derelicts.” 14.  The Friday morning routines with the team. 15.  The army transforming a person “into a machine” in 14 weeks. 16.  2002 state semi-finals vs Auburndale: kids falling back on what they know best. 17.  Making changes to the weight training program. 18.  The coaching advice to his sons – it starts with relationships. 19.  When “what you believe in got beat” it hurts. 20.  What makes Wisconsin football unique: tough, hard-nosed kids. Ass-kickers.
40:57
April 18, 2020
#30: Waupaca High School (WI) football and baseball coach John Koronkiewicz built programs the community could be proud of
John Koronkiewicz served as a coach and teacher at Waupaca High School for 40 years. He spent 24 years as head coach of the baseball program and 32 years as head coach of the football program. He was elected into the WFCA High School Coaches’ Hall of Fame and also into the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame. “Coach Kronk” won many championships over the years and is respected by coaches across the state. Coach is admired by former players, families, and community members for his positive impact over the years. In this episode, we discussed: 1.Playing football for Wisconsin Hall of Famers Jerry Schliem and Russ Young. 2. Growing up playing sports on the farm. 3. His emphasis on creating a positive, fun environment during his initial years at Waupaca—and his emphasis on developing lessons that could be used for life. 4. Leaving the field in a positive mood each day. 5. “Attitude, character, enthusiasm, team.” 6. Playing the Beach Boys on Friday afternoons in the classroom. 7. Being yourself, not faking it, and having a passion for the game. 8. Creating the team as a “home away from home.” 9. Coaching as a gift. 10. Finding a niche for each player – and the coaches “owing it” to each player to get him on the field with a meaningful role. 11. Working in the best interest of the kids by being honest and caring. 12. Coaching as a service to others – not an enhancement of one’s own ambitions. 13. Continuing to learn, even amid long periods of success. “Losing can become a habit – as can winning.” 14. Building a program that the community could be proud of. 15. Doing the best you can and setting a good example for kids. 16. Being proud of and keeping friendships with past players and assistant coaches, including Amherst’s Mark Lusic. 17. The identity of Wisconsin football.
31:49
April 18, 2020
#29: St Anthony’s High School (NJ) Coach Bob Hurley is his players' coach for life
Bob Hurley coached the St. Anthony’s team in Jersey City for 50 years – 45 as head coach. He is recognized as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, having won innumerable championships and being one of just a few high school coaches to be voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In this episode of the SGG podcast, Coach Hurley discussed: 1.  Growing up playing sports at St. Paul’s in Greenville. 2.  High school coach Jack McCoy giving him a chance to play in a summer basketball league. 3.  Becoming an athletic director at age 19. 4.  The impact of being the oldest of four children. 5.  How the “recreation man” helped improve his self-esteem. 6.  “The anonymity of fighters” – the unrecognized people who lay the groundwork for us all. 7.  Behind the scenes moments that helped shape David Rivers’ future. 8.  What he prioritized when consulting his players on college recruiting decisions (quality of school and a coach “on the way up”). 9.  Why it’s important to maintain contact with his former players during their first semester away at college…and his perspective that a “high school coach is coach for life.” 10.  Basketball being “over-coached and under-taught.” 11.  Keeping the gym open for young kids and teaching them the game via the Hurley Family Foundation. 12.  Advice from Chuck Daly to pay your dues as a young coach: “It takes five years to get comfortable.” 13.  Why he pushed so hard to make his players better.
40:12
April 17, 2020
#28: Hamilton High School (AZ) football coach Mike Zdebski leads a national powerhouse
Mike Zdebski is the head football coach at Hamilton High School, the biggest school in Arizona and a traditional football force. Before beginning at Hamilton, Coach Zdebski spent 29 years on the sideline in Michigan, where he achieved at the highest levels and was elected to the Michigan High School Football Association’s Hall of Fame. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  The scale of high school football in Arizona, including high-level media attention. 2.  The friendships he developed through football. 3.  Learning the game while coaching with Pat Fox. 4.  Giving assistant coaches opportunities to continue learning while he was at Walled Lake in Michigan. 5.  Why he took over as head track coach… and encouraged his football players to run track. 6.  Identifying college coaches to learn from – including Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen – and the importance of developing trusting relationships with them. 7.  Using Zoom to promote learning for his football staff. 8.  Weekly leadership meetings for his players. 9.  Once a month team-building activities – centered on community service and fun. 10.  Reading together as a team. (you win the locker room first) 11.  Weekly team meetings. 12.  Why he took on a new challenge…and some of the specific elements of turning around a team that had experienced difficult times. 13.  Building a youth program. 14.  The impact of personal training on young football players. 15.  Providing support to his players in contacting colleges and supporting them through the recruiting process. 16.  Why there’s no need for “rah rah” speeches before games – but how important routine and focus are in developing mature teams. 17.  “Learning to be yourself” as a coach.
41:32
April 16, 2020
#27: Marques Johnson’s first and most impactful coach was his father
Marques Johnson is a commentator for the Milwaukee Bucks on Fox Sports. Marques had a distinguished career as a player: from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, to UCLA, and then in the NBA. One of the great players of his generation joined the SGG podcast to talk about his dad, some of the famous coaches he played for, and other coaches he’s observed over the years. We discussed: 1.  Marques’ father’s background coaching in Natchitoches, Louisiana and his “basketball bible.” 2.  Learning the game from his dad and competing at Sportsman’s Park (now called Jesse Owens Park). 3.  Growing up with future NFL great James Lofton. 4.  What he and his friends learned by playing the game with a ball of aluminum foil. 5.  Playing for Crenshaw High School’s legendary coach Willie West. 6.  Coach Wooden’s saying, “You don’t treat every player the same, because they’re not the same.” 7.  Coach Wooden’s meticulous notes after each practice. 8.  What Coach Wooden did for the only time before the title game in 1975. 9.  Don Nelson’s willingness to ask players for input. 10.  The Bucks’ 1983 sweep of the Celtics and why Coach Nelson didn’t want to “poke the bear.” 11.  Keeping a team “even keel” and keeping emotions in check through the ups and downs. 12.  Coach Mike Budenholzer’s growth as a head coach including the use of strategies such as “breaking bread,” “daily vitamins,” and knowing how to keep players’ best interest at the forefront. 13.  How he’s changed the ways he works on basketball with his own kids over the years – “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
31:52
April 15, 2020
#26: Coach Donovan Dooley develops the quarterbacks of Detroit and beyond
Donovan “Donny” Dooley owns and runs “Quarterback University,” where young quarterbacks are trained and developed “52 weeks a year.” In the growing industry of private skills development in youth sports, QBU has emerged as one of the football leaders in the Midwest. In this episode of the SGG podcast, Donny and I discussed: 1.  Learning the cerebral side of quarterbacking at a young age as he grew up in Detroit. 2.  Less than 1% of young quarterbacks making it. 3.  His parents’ influence on his and other kids’ lives through football. 4.  Detroit's PAL, inner-city black quarterbacks, and the early beginnings of QBU. 5.  Being a mentor, friend, and critic to his players. 6.  “What are you gonna do when you meet you?” 7.  The private coaching industry – and his concerns with parents. 8.  Parents as social media promoters of their kids. 9.  Providing access for inner-city families. 10.  His relationship with high school coaches. 11.  When counseling his players on how to make college choices, “don’t chase the logo.” 12.  Success stories off the field. 13.  His continuous learning from trusted leaders in the field.
27:25
April 10, 2020
#25: Commissioner Jim Delany jousts, laughs, leads... (and learned from Dean Smith)
Jim Delany served as Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference for over 30 years. Jim played basketball for Coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina. He is recognized as one of the most influential leaders in all of sports. Jim learned from, worked with, and helped shape a long list of great coaches. In this episode, we discussed: 1.  His remarkable direct and indirect lineage, which includes the likes of: James Naismith,  Ernest “Prof” Blood, Jim’s dad, Jack Dalton, Joe Lapchick, Dean Smith, Larry Brown, Eddie Fogler. 2.  Why his dad advised him to pursue law school. 3.  Coaching as “an art not a science” – which makes it difficult to predict who will be good at it. 4.  The value of experience… and the misleading indicators that the NCAA tournament can provide. 5.  Being an extrovert – who likes to “joust and laugh” – and growing up in a diverse, complex community. 6.  Sharing ownership of ideas and initiatives and building a culture of collaboration among competitors. 7.  Dean Smith as an innovator and builder of a “community of trust.” 8.  Why UNC won the close games. 9.  Why Coach Smith designed some defensive schemes to give up easy shots. 10.  Being passionate, curious, frank, prepared, and creative every day. 11.  Learning the “gestation period” for ideas. 12.  Guiding, supporting, and leaning on his Big Ten team. 13.  Re-committing to physical activity in his 60s. 14.  Learning from others (Gavitt, Byers) – and “not needing to make every mistake yourself.”
32:30
April 8, 2020
#24: Coach Craig Bundy sees the big picture
Craig Bundy is an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer whose impact on players, teams, and communities transcends the football field. Coach Bundy “sees the big picture” in sports, focusing on not just wins and losses, but upon the ways we can grow the good through teamwork and competition. In this episode of SGG, we discussed: 1.  The impact that his high school football coach had on his life. 2.  Becoming a head high school coach “way, way too early.” 3.  What he learned when he left coaching to try a career in sales. 4.  Learning the game at the University of Illinois and other stops along his journey. 5.  When yelling is necessary. 6.  Seeing the big picture when working with kids. 7.  Communicating with parents. 8.  The Best Buddies partnership. 9.  The “Team Together” concept – which emphasizes selflessness. 10.  How service-related work can contribute to winning on the field. 11.  The unique role of football in individual and community lives.
32:17
April 7, 2020
#23: Professor (and polymath) Jeff Duncan-Andrade challenges leaders to learn from coaches
Jeff Duncan Andrade is widely revered as a leading professor and dynamic speaker. He’s also a public school teacher, author of books and articles, and the founder of a school. But did you know that he was also a championship-winning high school basketball coach and, before that, an elite athlete? In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  How travel basketball opened the world (and universities) to him beginning in middle school. 2.  How sports revealed his “inner math and science nerd.” 3.  Developing an identity, becoming a better person, and having fun in sports. 4.  What he wished coaches would have helped him understand. 5.  The end of his college athletics dream…and Dr. Harry Edwards’ life-changing hour with him. 6.  Why he (literally) burned his college sports gear. 7.  The good and bad aspects of the trend toward more coaches being “institutionally detached.” 8.  Why schools should recruit teachers of color with coaching backgrounds. 9.  Why he asks leading university schools of education if they have consulted with their football and basketball coaches. 10.  “Presence is profound.” 11.  The multigenerational “community participation” lessons that schools should learn from sports and churches.
49:19
April 6, 2020
#22: Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst breaks backboards…and builds football teams
Paul Chryst is the head football coach at the University of Wisconsin. He’s led the team to great heights, both on the field and off. Recognized as a leading mind in the game, Coach Chryst serves as a model from whom other coaches in Wisconsin and beyond can learn. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Shattering the backboard during a high school basketball game. 2.  Noticing high school football programs that have organized “systems” and passion around their programs. 3.  His impressions of the benefits and potential problems associated with the growing private coaching industry. 4.  Being the “young guy in the staff room” for many of his formative years as a coach. 5.  What he looks for when hiring young coaches. 6.  How he organized all the coaching information he picked up over the years. 7.  Deek Pollard’s motto: “It’ll feel better after it quits hurting” … and Coach Chryst’s emphasis on working hard and having fun together. 8.  Why he wanders among the players during each day’s pre-practice stretching time. 9.  Starting over on Sundays each week during the season. 10.  Listening to other coaches, and asking the right questions at the right time. 11.  Continually seeking new and better ways to coach and lead. 12.  “Football brings us all together, but at the end, if all we have is football, then we’ve missed something.”
53:43
April 3, 2020
#21: Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw asks questions to promote learning
Muffet McGraw is the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team. Her teams have won two national championships and competed in nine final fours. Coach McGraw was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and is widely recognized as one of the all-time great college basketball coaches. In this episode of SGG, we discussed: 1.  Going into a bubble on gamedays. 2.  Being grateful and supporting others during difficult times. 3.  Learning from former St. Joseph’s Coach Jim Foster. 4.  Coach Pat Summit as a gracious leader in the game of basketball. 5.  The impact of social media on her relationships with players. 6.  Various strategies she’s used to get to know her players. 7.  Why she loved Niele Ivey the first time she saw her play. 8.  Talking with players about “the three things you need to do” this season. 9.  Asking questions to the team instead of always telling them what to do. 10.  Giving players a voice in game preparation. 11.  Watching other coaches’ practices and having conversations about making the right systems work. 12.  Why she watches football practice… and how she collaborates with other coaches on her campus. 13.  Learning about leadership from ROTC. 14.  Areas where she is still trying to develop. 15.  How she monitored her “tone” with her players.
30:40
April 2, 2020
#20: Wisconsin soccer coach Paula Wilkins defines effort for her players
Paula Wilkins is the head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s women’s soccer team. After competing at Division 1 and national levels, she’s been a successful coach in major college soccer – at both Penn State and Wisconsin. Coach Wilkins is full of wisdom. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  The advantages of playing soccer with boys until age 16. 2.  Her first soccer coach – and his long-term impact on her trajectory. 3.  The ways her college coach trusted her – and prepared her for a coaching future. 4.  The characteristics of successful youth soccer coaches – including honesty. 5.  Learning about recruits from opposing club coaches and opposing club players. 6.  Looking for a special talent/skill in a young player, and how the skill shows when times are tough. 7.  The changes she made in 2013-14, including improvements in communication. 8.  Defining effort. 9.  Her everyday habit of touching base with each of her players during warm-ups. 10.  Writing out each day’s practice plan and theme so players know what to expect before they begin. 11.  Letting former players know about their lasting impact on the program. 12.  Getting things in order before something bad happens.
32:53
March 30, 2020
#19: Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery builds confidence in his players
Fran McCaffery is the head basketball coach at the University of Iowa. He was the youngest Division 1 head coach in the country at Lehigh University at age 26 and has enjoyed numerous successes and accolades at multiple stops in the ensuing years. Coach Fran is one of the best. In this SGG episode, we discuss: 1.  Getting noticed and supported at a young age in Philadelphia by Sam Rines, who ended up coaching Kobe Bryant. 2.  What he’s looked for in an AAU program as a father of four kids. 3.  The funniest teammate he’s been around – and the importance of humor on a team. 4.  Team personality as part of culture. 5.  Having purposeful conversations with players who are different – and knowing how to reach each of them in meaningful ways. 6.  Basketball not being “a game of perfect.” 7.  Getting through the long winter grind of the season – and locking in on hoops while class is out of session. 8.  Building confidence in players. 9.  Being there for players when the going gets tough.
43:23
March 28, 2020
#18: Wisconsin basketball coach Greg Gard describes his mentors...and the rivals he's befriended
Greg Gard is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin. As a winner of multiple conference titles and numerous awards, he’s recognized as a leader in the profession. Those who work with Coach Gard admire his skill and steadiness as a leader in Madison. In this SGG episode, we discuss: 1.  His early interests in college basketball – and why he was initially an Iowa Hawkeye fan. 2.  His experience as an eighth-grade basketball coach. 3.  Attending Bob Knight clinics as a young coach. 4.  Coaches as teachers who pay attention to detail. 5.  The importance of interpersonal communication on teams. 6.  Being vulnerable as a head coach. 7.  Developing a staff that has diverse ideas, but a unified voice. 8.  His relationships with other head coaches, including Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo, Dick Bennett, and Matt Painter. 9.  The decrease in high school coaches working inside the schools. 10.  “Being where your feet are” – paying attention to the job in front of you – not other jobs you covet down the line. 11.  Researching the intangibles of potential recruits. 12.  Where he sits (and why) when he attends a high school game to recruit. 13.  Why he talks to secretaries and janitors at the schools he visits. 14.  Seeking quality family time as opposed to chasing “balance.”
40:13
March 26, 2020
#17: Wisconsin wrestling coach Chris Bono started wrestling at age five…and the rest is history
Chris Bono is the head wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin. He was a three-time All-American wrestler at Iowa State and was the NCAA champion at 150 lbs. Coach Bono has quickly developed the Wisconsin wrestling program into one of the best in the nation. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discuss: 1.  Starting wrestling as a five-year old. 2.  The difficult position he was put into as a new coach right out of college. 3.  The importance of developing deep relationships with the student-athletes. 4.  His daily routine – which starts very early (4:15am). 5.  Pearl Jam. 6.  The importance of positive habits…but also setting goals and enjoying “little successes” along the way. 7.  Why he’s changing the team’s practice schedule for the season ahead (the importance of remaining adaptable and being willing to change). 8.  How he’s responded to failures over the years: “Keep doin’!” 9.  Forcing opponents to “wrestle our style.” 10.  What’s involved with being a head coach – the “CEO” of the program. 11.  Why he asks potential recruits to send videos of a match they lost. 12.  What he pays attention to when he watches a potential recruit compete and when the recruits and their families visit campus. 13.  Keeping up with the ever-changing ways that young people communicate technologically.
36:23
March 26, 2020
#16: Kimberly HS (WI) football coach Steve Jones built a program of servant leaders
Steve Jones is the head football coach at Kimberly High School in Wisconsin. He has won multiple championships as well as state and national coaching awards. Coach Jones also teaches leadership courses at the high school and is recognized as a dynamic speaker on leadership development. In this SGG episode, we discuss: To learn more, refer to Coach Jones’ Twitter feed; a brief article and video about the culture of Coach Jones’ program; a short article describing a couple of his keys to sustained success; and short article describing his team’s formula. 1.  His family experiences growing up – especially learning from his brother with disabilities. 2.  The impact that a fifth-grade teacher had on his life. 3.  His daily habits: reading, taking care of his mind and body, early-day inspiration, making intentional contact with people who need him. 4.  “Leading by ‘intentional’ wandering around.” 5.  Servant leadership – what it is and how it takes shape on his team. 6.  Why he doesn’t talk about winning, rather the “habits of winners.” 7.  Kimberly’s camp for kids with special needs. 8.  Centering love in the football program. 9.  Planting seeds as a leader. 10.  The unique positives offered by football. 11.  The ultimate goal of the program. 12.  Kimberly football’s mental skills program – focus on “being present.” 13.  Getting players to find their “performance number.” 14.  His struggle to enjoy the process.
46:07
March 26, 2020
#15: Fannie Lou Hamer HS (NY) basketball coach Marc Skelton writes, teaches, and learns authentically
Marc Skelton is an author, teacher, and renowned head basketball coach at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in New York City. His teams have won championships and his students succeed beyond their time at the school. In this episode of the SGG podcast, Coach Skelton and I discuss: 1.  Taking care of his students and players at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in New York. 2.  Overlaps in teaching and coaching. 3.  Being authentic to “who I am” as a coach. 4.  The New York Times article about his team. 5.  His “Trojan Horse Theory” of basketball. 6.  Players making transitions to their post-basketball lives. 7.  The importance of self-care for coaches. 8.  What he’s learning these days. 9.  Watching Brad Stevens coach.
31:18
March 22, 2020
#14: Amherst HS (WI) football coach Mark Lusic develops team identity
Mark Lusic is a teacher and the head football coach at Amherst High School in Wisconsin. By developing an intensive weight training program, developing deep relationships, and building a winning culture, he’s led Amherst to four state championships and built one of the most respected programs in the state. In this episode of SGG, we discuss: 1.  Learning from Coach John Koronkiewicz about how to listen and develop relationships. 2.  Does “scheme” win games? (no) What does? 3.  Make your average players good, your good players great, and your great players “studs.” 4.  What does the team talk about in the weight room? 5.  Developing a team identity, sticking to it, and putting time into practicing it. 6.  The 600, 800, and 1000 pound clubs.  7.  How kids develop confidence through weightlifting. (see excerpt from student essay below) 8.  Kids needing football more than football needs them. 9.  Asking kids to “pay it forward” one day. 10.  It’s all about the players. 11.  Why he asks his team, “Are you satisfied?” after each game. 12.  His annual “life review.” 13.  Knowing what to do on 3rd and 1. 14.  Being ok with not always knowing the answer right away. Excerpt from Amherst HS student essay on how weightlifting built his confidence: "I didn’t always believe in myself. It finally clicked last year. To understand how I found my confidence, you need to know that I have always been a scrawny kid. I wanted to get stronger, so I started going to the weight room in the mornings in middle school. However, I never really saw or felt the results I wanted. Every morning, I would see everyone lifting heavier than me. Even though I felt like giving up, I continued waking up extra early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and lifting. This went on until Junior year. I knew I was improving, but I thought it wasn’t much. Junior year was when I figured it out. I stopped comparing myself to everyone else lifting. The only person I compared myself to was who I was the day before. I realized that I am myself, and no one else has any effect on me. Although I still don’t really look like it, I became much stronger than I ever had. I worked hard to improve myself every day. At the end of the year, we had max out week, which is when we do as much weight as we can for one rep for bench, squat, and deadlift. All I wanted since I started lifting was to make it to the six hundred pound club, which is where your combined maxes added up to at least six hundred. I managed to get 165 pounds for bench press. For squat, I maxed out at 225, and, for deadlift, I maxed out at 275. If you do the math, those numbers add up to 665 pounds. I finally accomplished my goal from middle school. I got my numbers written on the paper in the weight room and a t-shirt, which I wear proudly. My confidence spread through my life. I felt more confident with my school work. Whether it was someone I normally did not talk to or a complete stranger, I found it easier to talk to people. I also found it easier to ask for help. I always try to learn from my mistakes, but this helped me learn to ask for help, so that I did not have to make mistakes that could be prevented."
30:01
March 21, 2020
#13: Hoover HS (AL) football coach Josh Niblett’s players take notes on “Mindset Wednesdays”
Josh Niblett is the head football coach at Hoover High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Coach Niblett’s teams have won multiple state championships and have been recognized as one of the top programs in the country. Coach Niblett is an educator who values the deeper life lessons that can be learned through sports. He described: 1.  Agape love – and what it looks like on a football team; 2.  Weekly “Mindset Wednesday” discussions with his team; 3.  How he sharpens his edge; 4.  His team’s core value of respecting cultural differences; 5.  The “lighthouse” effect of lessons learned from the team; 6.  Finding a common denominator among team members; 7.  The team's word of the year: “E.D.G.E.” 8.  What he still struggles with; 9.  How he develops personal relationships with individual players; 10.  Twenty years of Wednesday evening Bible study with his team and family; 11.  “Change pace, change place, change perspective;” 12.  Being honest with players; 13.  Hating losing more than loving winning; 14.  The books he recommends to developing coaches, especially the Program.
25:34
March 5, 2020
#12: Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez (part 2): Considering student-athlete readiness
Coach Alvarez joins SGG to discuss readiness on the field and in the classroom. Coach Alvarez is the athletic director at the University of Wisconsin. Formerly, he was a championship winning coach at high school and college levels. Coach discusses: 1.  Finding the right fit in the recruiting process; 2.  How did he know which players to take a chance on? 3.  What did he expect of his assistant coaches? 4.  What supports young student-athletes need.
20:53
March 5, 2020
#11: Youth Sports: Four lessons from Jane Addams
We can learn valuable lessons about coaching and sports from Jane Addams, the famous social worker and leader in the early 1900s. This episode of SGG describes four specific ways that today’s leaders can learn from Jane: 1.  Identifying the basic needs of your team in order to make bigger things possible; 2.  Developing and sustaining teams as “places of enthusiasm;” 3.  Starting with what is right in front of you; and 4.  Gaining “sympathetic entry” into team members’ lives – meeting them where they are.
16:01
March 5, 2020
#10: Wisconsin lightweight rowing coach Dusty Mattison on steadiness, organization…and the school bus stop
Coach Dusty Mattison is the highly-regarded head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s Lightweight Rowing program. We met at the Porter Boathouse, where she described 1.  Lessons she learned from her background in swimming; 2.  Teaching “the basics;” 3.  The importance of everyday steadiness; 4.  Some of her key organizational strategies; 5.  Her “practice binder” – and the down-to-the-minute practice plans that she develops; 6.  Why she utilizes email instead of apps for team communication; 7.  Her use of a “daily focus” for each practice session; 8.  Why she pumps music during early morning practice sessions; 9.  How organization at home affects her coaching; 10.  Developing a balance between coaching and family life; 11.  Finding the balance between technology and old-school work in training; 12.  Encouraging athletes to develop life skills; 13.  Weekly check-ins with individual athletes.
27:30
February 27, 2020
#8: Youth Sports: Professor David Bell tackles youth sport specialization
As the youth sports industry continues to rapidly grow throughout the US, Professor Bell warns us of some problems with the athletics pipeline. He discusses: 1.  What should parents and youth coaches know about sport? 2.  What are the impacts of physical activity in youth and young adulthood years? There are widespread physical and social effects. 3.  Why are more and more kids dropping out of sports at younger ages? 4.  What is the definition of youth sport specialization? What does “highly specialized” mean? How is this different from just being a “single sport” athlete? 5.  What does puberty have to do with specialization? What should parents know? 6.  Why are there higher rates of specialization among young female athletes? 7.  The importance of the triad between coach, parent, and athlete in creating a healthy sporting experience. 8.  Recommendations: delaying specialization as long as possible; play on one team at a time; don’t play a single sport more than eight months per year – especially before puberty; play a sport no more hours per week than your age; and take two days off per week. 9.  What can college-level coaches and leaders do to help foster a healthy pipeline? 10.  Previous injury predicts future risk.
29:39
February 11, 2020
#7: Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez was ready for his first 60 days
Coach visited with us to describe the many details he addressed when taking over a struggling Wisconsin football program in the early 1990s: 1.  Before taking a new job as a coach, you better have a real clear idea of what is expected of you by the leaders who hired you. “Where is the program today, and how are you going to support me?” You have to know the lay of the land before you take a job. 2.  The importance of identifying and securing the players you need and winning over their coaches. “The best players in the state weren’t staying here.” “I knew I had to win over the state high school coaches… I told them, ‘your program is important…You can visit anytime.’” 3.  How off-the-field problems affect on-field performance. 4.  Develop a thorough plan on how you are going to run your program. 5.  Figure out the best recruits you can get at your school – those that are athletic, academic, and geographic fits. 6.  Before you take the job, establish a detailed list of coaches you will try to bring with you. Know what kind of staff you want and get the staff you need. 7.  You have to sell your plan to recruits and high school coaches – but also to your own new staff. 8.  You must communicate your plan to “every person who touches the program.” You must be clear and precise about what you expect of everyone. You have to implement the day-to-day expectations. “If you do things properly during the day, during the week, things will go well on Saturdays.” 9.  Develop a “staff policy book” that addresses every detail about what you want/expect regarding people’s behaviors and expectations, all the way down to the way you dress and the way you conduct meetings. 10.   Among your staff, develop a specific recruiting plan. “What are we selling? What does this place have to offer.” Deliver a coherent, cohesive message. 11.  Be very specific about the roles/expectations for each of the assistants – including their key roles in supporting the academic side of their players’ lives. 12.  Be clear and consistent as a staff about the way feedback is offered to players. 13.  The three questions every coach needs to know of his players: “Can I trust you?” “Are you committed?” “Do you care?” 14.  Develop a player policy book: What do you expect from your players? The importance of the “weekly truth statements.” 15.  The importance of maintaining success by staying hungry and not making compromises. 16.  Being honest with parents and players, including questions about playing time. 17.  Putting players in uncomfortable positions in practice in order to prepare them to perform in difficult situations. 18.  What Coach Alvarez learned from Bob Devaney, Hayden Fry, and Lou Holtz.
45:15
February 11, 2020
#5: Youth Sports: Ten minutes in a Saturday morning gym
What happens when families and communities come together every weekend for youth sports games? SGG presents ten minutes of condensed Saturday morning basketball action. What do we hear in these ten minutes? 1. A community of volunteers coming together…running concessions, coaching, running the clock; 2. Parents meeting each other and developing relationships; 3. Young athletes cheering for each other and have fun playing a game together; 4. A kid getting a bloody nose; 5. Teammates communicating with each other and coordinating their actions on the court; 6. Parents cheering for their teams; 7. Coaches giving the players instruction, encouragement, and correction during the game...and across the years.
10:01
February 4, 2020
#4: Youth Sports: If it costs that much, what are the effects?
The costs of sport -- financial, social, psychological -- are considered in this SGG youth sport episode. Main themes include: 1.  Over 60% of parents will pay between $1,200 to $6,000 per year on their child’s sports, with nearly 20% of parents paying close $12,000 per year (Refer to Utah State’s Families in Sport Lab); 2.  Parents who invest extensive time and money on youth sports commonly develop “return on investment” perspectives that endure beyond youth sport experiences; 3.  Specialization in one sport often means leaving other opportunities behind; 4.  What are the implications for coaches? Coaches can respond to the focused messages of club programs with research-supported counter-statements. Coaches can slow unhealthy trends in youth sport.
17:32
February 3, 2020
#3: Wisconsin softball coach Yvette Healy develops competitors
Yvette Healy is the head softball coach at the University of Wisconsin. She’s led the team to great heights during her ten years in Madison. Coach Healy discusses: 1.  The value of small group practice sessions; 2.  Why an indoor dirt field is important; 3.  Her daily routine – splitting time between the office and the field; 4.  One of her coaching models, Eugene Lenti; 5.  Building a competitive atmosphere; 6.  Developing belief on a team; 7.  Designing practices that are fun and competitive; 8.  Making players uncomfortable in drills; 9.  What coaches can learn from watching kids run the bases; 10.  The best advice she received from Barry Alvarez; 11.  Being more present to the team; 12.  Having “side-to-side” conversations with players; 13.  Modeling self-challenge; 14.  Building relationships off the field with the coaching staff.
24:07
January 31, 2020
#2: Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield thinks carefully about team spaces
Kelly Sheffield is the head coach of the University of Wisconsin's volleyball team. Fresh off a run to the national championship game, Coach Sheffield discusses: 1.  His initial team goals during his first season at Wisconsin in 2013; 2.  Why he chose to hold a critical team meeting in the top corner of the field house; 3.  His purposeful design of the team’s locker room; 4.  The messages that are conveyed by different spaces where the team gathers; 5.  The film room’s “classroom” feel; 6.  Player seating in the film room; 7.  His “goulash” style of learning from other coaches; 8.  Being unafraid to ask questions; 9.  How to make large amounts of information simple and useable for the team; 10.  How he utilizes the days and weeks immediately following the season; and 11.  Preparing for top rivals’ specific strengths and strategies.
30:28
January 30, 2020
#1: Wisconsin men's rowing coach Chris Clark is always pushing the rock uphill
Chris Clark is the head coach of the men's rowing team at the University of Wisconsin. Reflecting on his years as leader and competitor across the world, he discusses: 1. Dwelling on failures (7:04). 2. Eliminating impediments (11:50) 3. The myth of Sysiphus and the momentum of a team (12:20) 4. Multi-sport athletes who "know they know nothing" (16:00) 5. The value of athletes with "the right attitude" (19:55) 6. Finding his first rowing mentors at Orange Coast College, the national team, and beyond (25:00) 7. Reassessing coaches years after being on their teams (27:45) 8. Oxford Coach Mike Spracklen's patience with young "Heater" Clark... and the lessons Heater learned (28:20) 9. Coaching at Navy...while delivering pizzas (33:50) 10. His perspective that "nobody is above or below anything" (34:30)
36:15
January 30, 2020