It’s August, and that means both pro and college football seasons are coming soon – many college teams will kick off their season at the end of the month.
Last season I provided a few glimpses of how the 14 principles of The Toyota Way were applicable in sports, including a few examples with Notre Dame football. One of those examples was about Principle #9:
“Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.”
The 2012 version of Notre Dame football featured a staff of coaches who had been with head coach Brian Kelly for many years prior, including following him to multiple coaching stops like the University of Cincinnati and Central Michigan University, places he had success. There were only a couple new coaches being replaced from the 2011 season. By having limited turnover the coaching staff could hold firm the message and process of a successful program and share it with the players while also having limited need to get newly-hired coaches acclimated with one another.
As I asked at the end of that particular post:
“After two straight 8-win seasons at Notre Dame, will Kelly’s coaching philosophies bring the winning tradition back?”
Well, the Irish turned in a 12-win season that culminated in an appearance in the BCS Championship game in Miami. The team’s success was due in no small part to the tightly-connected coaching staff. It helps to have a Heisman finalist linebacker and an award-winning tight end too, but the coaches put those pieces together.
Sure, there were overtures for Brian Kelly to go to the NFL or defensive coordinator Bob Diaco interviewing for head coaching positions elsewhere but no one left.
Now Notre Dame has a familiarized staff with a collective BCS Championship appearance under their belts. Despite the loss of players who were great leaders from that 2012 team, does anyone want to bet against this staff on having another great season?