Step 1: Building a championship program with Hall of Fame Coach Sherri Coale. 

Step One: Culture First. 

When taking over the reins of an athletic program, there are several firsts you need to consider. One of the first things to consider is your philosophy on winning now versus building a culture to win later. It begs the question: Does winning produce a championship culture, or does establishing a championship culture produce winning? It is the chicken or the egg dilemma. 

When I asked Coach Coale’s opinion, she answered, and without reservation, “You have to establish the culture.” Coaches must not let their minds become hampered by the fear of not winning immediately. They must let go of this idea and lasso the need to build a championship culture starting day one. Furthermore, Coach Coale would say “luck and talent” can cloud your thinking when you win early. It is not sustainable. Stalk, seek and hunt for that winning culture.  

Once you have established that you are intentionally attacking the culture of our program, the focus turns to how others view your program. How do we determine this? Answer: You meet with everyone connected to the program. In athletics, it could be other sports coaches, administrators, professors, residence life, admissions, campus security, etc. Anyone who has a pulse on the program. This insight can help guide your next steps.  

The second step is establishing what we stand for. Why are we here? What are the expectations and standards we will live by? Our vision and our values? Determining what we stand for is vital in the journey to excellence.

Understanding each program/organization is different. Resources may limit you in areas that could affect what you can or cannot do. Personnel changes within the organization could be critical as well. Regardless of the things beyond your control, building a sound foundation with a championship culture is your immediate goal and within your control. Let the work begin. #URtheCulure!

Dr. Barry Davis

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