2017 Coaches Inc. Institute Recap


On June 23-24, the third annual Coaches Inc. Institute took place at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. Coaches Inc. clients and sport administrators gathered at the event for a chance to network with others in the industry. On Friday, one-on-one meetings and mock interviews between administrators and coaches helped clients sharpen their interviewing skills. Saturday’s schedule featured several speaker panels and presentations designed to prepare coaches for dealing with a variety of situations. Different ideas and strategies were discussed regarding topics such as how coaches can move up within the industry and how to best deal with the media. Below is a brief recap of each of Saturday’s panels and presentations:


Speaker Panel: Elevated – Moving Up from Within

Longwood University Director of Athletics Troy Austin, University of Maryland Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Dustin Clark and Canisius College Head Hockey Coach Trevor Large kicked off the morning session by sharing their insights on how they each were able to benefit from internal promotions. Austin, who served as Longwood’s director of athletic development and later as interim athletic director, noted the importance of treating each day on the job as an interview and a chance to make a positive impression on coworkers and supervisors. Clark followed up by emphasizing the importance of loyalty. Clark felt that the loyalty he demonstrated to his head coach was key in his being promoted from director of basketball operations to assistant coach. Lastly, Large echoed Clark’s points by noting that the biggest advocate in helping him get promoted from assistant to head coach at Canisius was former head coach Dave Smith. By building a strong relationship with Smith, Large earned Smith’s endorsement to Canisius officials when Smith left to take over the hockey program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  


Presentation: Coaching 2 Connect

Team chemistry and synergy is vital to success. Marc Guevremont and Gordon MacFarlane from Coaching 2 Connect discussed how their service can add value to a program by helping coaches understand how to connect on a personal level with each of their players. In this way, a coach can promote conditions necessary for team growth and set the foundation for a strong culture of performance. Marc and Gordon’s process involves having coaches and players take a short survey to identify their personality type. From there, coaches can adapt to players and informally assign roles such as “leader” or “energy guy” to each of them with the goal of first better understanding individual players, and ultimately achieving a balanced roster through strategic recruiting. Coaches Inc. clients were evaluated using the tool and several expressed interest in personally using Coaching 2 Connect for their own programs.


Presentation: Financial Matters

Joe Dunn, Senior Vice President of Business Development of the Richmond Market for George Mason Mortgage, LLC, held a panel on financial matters and mortgages. Coaches tend to deal with mortgage issues more often than people in other professions due to their frequent relocations. Dunn explained the mortgage tools and options his company provides. Building and maintaining a high credit score was a point of emphasis.


Presentation: Parker Executive Search

Grant Higgison, Associate at Parker Executive Search, gave a presentation on how Parker works with professional and collegiate programs to hire coaches. Parker’s clients will give them a rough outline of their desired candidate profile and Parker researches potential candidates based on this profile. Once Parker identifies a group of candidates and presents them to its client, it is then up to the client to make the final hiring decision.


Speaker Panel: Coaching Searches

The coaching world is similar to a tight knit fraternity in that having the right contacts can often make the difference in securing a particular job. Panelist Anthony Henderson, Associate Athletics Director for Development at the University of Akron, stressed that when hiring a coach, he looks at both their level of success and level of competition. Troy Austin added that when a coach is being interviewed for a job, it is critical that they thoroughly know their core values and genuinely believe in them. The goal of this panel was to allow coaches a glimpse into what administrators are looking for when hiring a coach.


Speaker Panel: Excelling at the Low and Mid-Major Level

Low and mid-major sport programs do not have the same resources as high-major schools. Budgets are smaller which limits the number of administrative staff, coaches and scholarships available. Jasmonn Coleman (Assistant Director of Athletics at the University of Richmond), Troy Austin and Kery Davis (Director of Athletics at Howard University) all agreed that fundraising is essential to excelling at their respective schools. These administrators also explained how cooperative and innovative coaches can help both parties do their jobs more effectively. For example, rather than complain about an athletic department’s limited resources, coaches are better served by working with administrators to come up with creative solutions.


Presentation: Working with the Media

The USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach discussed the importance for coaches of building strong relationships with members of the media. Being available to speak and being cooperative with reporters will put coaches in a positive light. Auerbach also shed light on a story she is currently working on regarding the issue of transfers in college basketball. After polling basketball coaches in attendance, the consensus seemed to be that the issue is not going away anytime soon and coaches will simply have to adapt. For example, if coaches observe that one of their players is outperforming expectations, they must understand that there is a strong possibility they could lose that player to a bigger program. Rather than bemoan the situation, coaches will be better off taking proactive steps such as adjusting their recruiting strategy.


Speaker Panel: Coaching Issues

Off-the-field/court issues will inevitably arise for a coach and knowing the proper protocols for dealing with these situations can mean the difference in a coach retaining or losing their job. Former Claflin University Head Women’s Basketball Coach Deont’a McChester and Sacramento State Head Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Katz talked about recent issues that they have experienced at their schools. McChester explained how his strained relationship with administration made the situation worse when an incident occurred within his program.  On the other hand, Katz was able to work with his administration and rely on guidance from Coaches Inc. to ensure that he followed University procedures when faced with his own off-court incident. Tanya Vogel, Senior Associate Athletics Director at George Washington University, went further in explaining how coaches can help themselves by building strong relationships with their administrators so that they are more likely to receive the benefit of the doubt in certain situations. Vogel recommended that coaches invite administrators to their practices so that they can see the coach’s style and day-to-day interactions with staff and players. If coaches and administrators are on the same page, it makes the job easier for both parties.


The third annual Coaches Inc. Institute was a great experience for everyone involved. In addition to the opportunity to network and build relationships with other coaches and administrators, coaches were able to take away a variety of tools and tips that will help them succeed moving forward in their respective sports.

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