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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.

Pat Cerroni is a WFCA Hall of Fame coach at UW-Oshkosh. Coach Cerroni’s teams have achieved great success on the field, emerging as one of the top D-III programs in the country. But his biggest impacts may be found off the field, where he’s encouraged a culture of leadership service in his team. He joined the SGG podcast and we discussed:

1. Learning to see and understand the game at a young age. “That was what intrigued me…The ability to see things was given to me.”

2. Learning from coaches in Johnson Creek. Gary Garin. “That was the guy I wanted to be.”

3. How his Air Force experience benefited him: “It really gave me confidence…I thought, ‘I can do anything at this point.’”

4. His brother’s influence on him finding a way into teaching and coaching.

5. Gaining appreciation for home by leaving and seeing other places.

6. Being 19 years-old and in charge of a plane.

7. Learning from other coaches. “I didn’t mind the journey. I started at the very bottom.”

8. Learning different concepts from Coaches Taraska (Arrowhead) and Young (Catholic Memorial).

9. Being aware of perceptions of football coaches in high school buildings…and taking active steps to address them.

10. Being a teacher first at the high school level…and using teaching principles to coach football.

11. The team’s leadership council.

12. Establishing new values, a new theme…and a “brand new team” each year.

13. Knowing when to let others lead: “I have such a strong personality that I realized a long time ago that sometimes I don’t need to be around.”

14. Allowing the senior leadership council to write the shared values and theme for the year. “The story is this: The day I shut up was the day we started winning games.”

15. The spring routine of allowing the seniors to run the off-season program.

16. Learning from John Gagliardi.

17. Using a business model to run the team: “forming, storming, norming, performing”

18. Recruiting players that align with team values.

19. Assigning assistant coaches duties to allow them to indicate their commitment to the team.

20. How his team found the right fit for community service: “Be the Match” and “EAA (honor flight).” And the impact the partnerships have had on the team. (Brett Kasper)


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