I have been meaning to update my website logo for a long time and I have recently been inspired by the courage and selflessness of a man who gave his own life, Coach Aaron Feis. I wanted to write a bit about these coaches that have inspired me to try and follow in their footsteps.
Top row: left to right
Aaron Feis – Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) – I started my coaching career at Deerfield Beach HS in south Florida and Douglas was in our District. Coach Feis is an amazing hero. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Bill Walsh and Paul Brown – for more on the interesting relationship between these two, read this article on The Peter Principle. Bill Walsh – he had the greatest impact on our sport of any coach in my lifetime and his greatness is evidenced by his Coaching Tree that still continues. He has also wrote a number of books, including the greatest football book ever written, Finding the Winning Edge. For more reading on Coach Walsh go here.
Paul Brown –he was the most innovative coach of his time. Coaches who played or worked under Paul Brown: Don Shula, Blanton Collier, WeebEwbank, Bill Walsh, and Chuck Noll. Shula said this about him, “He was just a classroom teacher, that was his strength. He was smart. He hired good people, and those assistants were usually good communicators.” For more reading, go here.
Pete Carroll – creating competition is everything and it drives the effort and preparation that it takes to become a champion. I love his book, Win Forever.
Dan Quinn – go here to read how he turned the Atlanta Falcons from a neighborhood into a brotherhood.
Bob Ladoceur – legendary coach of De La Salle HS (CA) who set a national record for 11 consecutive wins. His book, Chasing Perfection: The Principles Behind Winning Football the De La Salle Way, is very underrated and one of the best football books ever written.
David and Willie Shaw – you look up proud father in the dictionary and it will have a picture of Willie Shaw’s face on there. This is one of my favorite pictures: the son who gets the opportunity that his father never did. David Shaw has won three of the last five Pac-12 titles and is making a name for himself as one of the best coaches in the game.
Willie Shaw - a former Air Force sergeant who was atremendous Defensive Coordinator in the NFL and at Stanford, where the DC position is now officially called the “Willie Shaw Director of Defense.”
Gary Patterson – the godfather of the 4-2-5 Defense that has been ranked number one in the country five times. He has built the TCU program from scratch, moving it up into one of the premiere programs in the country. He and Nick Saban are the only two-time winners of the AP Coach of the Year.
Bill Snyder –is arguably the greatest coach in college football. He resurrected a Kansas State football program that was entrenched as the absolute worst program in the country and 210 wins later he has twice turned this program around. His coaching tree includes Bob Stoops, Mike Stoops, Vic Koenning, Jim Leavitt, Bret Bielema, Mark Mangino, Phil Bennett, and Carl Pelini.
Manny Diaz – his ability to think outside-the-box to help his teams play fast and physical makes him one of the top football defensive coaches in the country. He also gets bonus points for being a reader of football blogs. See article Manny Diaz Fire Zones.
Greg Mattison – his Defensive Line dominated Ohio State and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith in the 2006 National Championship and he is one of the very best. He helped me to learn DL Play quite a bit when he was at Florida.
Tom Osborne –his book, Faith in the Game, helped inspire me to become a coach years ago. He served as the Head Coach at Nebraska for 25 years, winning 255 games along with 3 national championships.
Scott Frost – already making a claim as one of game’s best and brightest coaches, coming off an undefeated season at UCF. His impromptu clinic talk at UCF in 2017 was very impressive and probably the best I have ever heard. Go here to read 2017 UCF Clinic notes.
Nick Saban – brilliant defensive mind has six national championships…and counting.
Bill Belichick – has won five Super Bowls as a Head Coach and two as a Defensive Coordinator. I got to hear him speak once at the 2009 Florida Clinic and it was amazing, see notes here.
Don Shula – NFL’s all-time winningest coach with 347 wins. Coached the NFL’s only undefeated season in 1972. I did an article on his book, Everyone’s A Coach, here.
Bottom row: left to right
Chuck Heater – I think he is the best coach in football because of his ability to communicate and inspire his players. Read more in the paper I wrote: Coaching.
Dave Aranda – a fellow football clinic junkie: “All of the major pieces to what we do now, a lot of them came from coaching clinics.” I think he is similar in many ways to a young Tony Dungy, and he gets major cool points for trading football videos with me years ago when he was at Hawaii.
Bobby Bowden – he built the FSU program from nothing, won 388 games, two national championships, and had his team ranked in the top five for 14 straight seasons. Mike Bianchi said, “Yes, Nick Saban is a great coach who restored a program. But Bobby Bowden is a greater coach who created one.”
Steve Spurrier – the Head Ball Coach revolutionized offensive football and the passing game at the collegiate level and he made the sport a lot more fun in the process. He is also the winningest coach at two different schools. I did an article with great video of the Fun-N-Gun offense here.
Pete Jenkins – he is arguably the best Defensive Line Coach ever. His videos are an outstanding and highly recommended resource.
Dick LeBeau –famous for popularizing the Zone Blitz scheme, beloved by his players, and respected as one of the bestdefensive coaches in the history of the NFL. Bill Belichick said, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league.” See articles: Triple Inside Fire Zone, Buck and SS Fire Zone, and Strong Scrape Fire Zone and Adjustments.
Craig Howard and Tim Tebow– Coach Howard is best known as Tim Tebow’s high school coach, he also won a national championship at Southern Oregon in 2014. He was a big help to me as a young coach and much of my Football Program Manual contains his wisdom. I shared his notes from the 2009 Florida Clinic that included Bill Belichick and Jon Gruden here.
Tim Tebow – he is still on the website logo, albeit in a smaller role. He will be long known for his competitiveness, leadership, and consistent Christian witness as an athlete. I did this piece on him when he and the 2011 Denver Broncos were doing crazy things that year.
Eddie Robinson - Coach Robinson spent 57 seasons at Grambling. He earned 408 college football victories to set the NCAA’s benchmark for wins in Division I and coached four future NFL Hall of Famers.
Vic Koenning – one of the best and certainly the most underrated Defensive Coordinator in the country. He has turned around the Troy defense in three years in his return stint and reduced their points per game by three TDs. He has also been a great help to me in my coaching career.
Vince Lombardi – won five NFL Championships including the first two Super Bowls, and the Super Bowl trophy is named after him.
Tom Landry – he finished with the third-highest win total in NFL history and won two Super Bowls. He was one of the most innovative coaches in the game, having invented the 4-3 defense. His faith helped him as a coach: “As a Christian, I know my life is in God’s hands. He has a plan for me. Therefore, I never worry about tomorrow or never worry about winning or losing football games. That knowledge gives me a lot of composure in tough situations.”
Chip Kelly –one of the most innovative offensive minds in the game of football today. He popularized the No-Huddle scheme and one-word play calls. He is also responsible for many other innovations in the practice week schedule and with sports science and player health.
Mike Tomlin and Tony Dungy – the first two African-American football coaches to win a Super Bowl. Mike Tomlin was also the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl and he has been a consistent winner, winning six division titles in his eleven seasons so far. He also has the highest winning percentage of any coach in the history of the great Steelers franchise.
Tony Dungy - set NFL records for most consecutive playoff seasons (10) and consecutive 12-win seasons (six), and left with the highest average of regular-season victories of any coach in league history (10.7). But the best thing I admire about Coach Dungy is his Christian faith and servant leadership, as it is something I hope to emulate in my coaching.