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  • Writer's picturePeter Miller

Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.

Monte Burke is a New York Times best-selling author and a former writer and editor for Forbes. As author of Saban: The Making of a Coach, Monte gained unique insight into one of the all-time great coaches. He joined the SGG podcast, where we discussed:

1. The initial days Monte spent with Coach Nick Saban. The importance of being prepared and demonstrating that he was prepared.

2. “The greatest role of an interviewer is to be quiet and to really, really listen.”

3. “All of these people, even the greats, they hear everything. It’s all about how they respond to it.”

4. How Coach Saban uses the media as another way of conveying his message to players, recruits, and fans.

5. Saban getting fired by Coach Earl Bruce at Ohio State.

6. How Saban learned to run a system – including his uneven development at different stops in his professional career.

7. Using temper flare-ups strategically.

8. “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

9. Two sides of Saban: “prickly” and “charismatic.”

10. Saban’s greatest strength: recruiting.

11. One of Saban’s initial strategies: Spreading a common message to boosters and getting everyone on the same page.

12. The role Mrs. Saban plays on the team: gatekeeper and surrogate mother.

13. Strength coach as “bad cop” on the coaching staff who “sets the tone for the program.”

14. Putting lots of energy into the “squeaky wheels” on the team.

15. The importance of routine in Saban’s daily life – and his ongoing discussion of: “thoughts, habits, and priorities.”

16. Liking the minutiae of coaching.

17. “The dangers of ‘relief syndrome.’”

18. Broader leadership lessons from Coach Saban.

19. Breaking things down in “little systematic ways.”

20. Pete Carroll.

21. Obsessions found in leaders…and some of the down sides associated with being obsessive.


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