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  • Writer's picturePeter Miller

Author Bryan Stevenson observed that, “You can't understand most of the important things from a distance...You have to get close.” SGG's "Football in Wisconsin" special series gets close to football through conversations with coaches, competitors, and others connected with the game in the Badger state. We aim to deepen our understandings of coaching -- and of football's impact on and off the field.

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.


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