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  • Peter Miller

SGG #82: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football Kevin Bullis is a teacher first


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.

Kevin Bullis is the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s football team, one of the most successful programs in the country. Beyond leading his team to many victories, Coach Bullis has impacted hundreds of lives in a positive fashion. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed:

1. The impact of his parents who were always “helpers.”

2. The coaches who influenced him growing up, including Coach Champ who paid attention to detail, kept things fun, and cared for his players.

3. What he learned from marching band.

4. The importance of trust…and knowing “why” things are done on a team.

5. Knowing what concepts and ideas to adopt…and which don’t fit.

6. “Failure is not an option. It’s a requirement.”

7. The importance of identity: “Who am I and why am I here?”

8. “I am a teacher…I’ve always known that.”

9. UWW football team identity: “Fast, physical, and disciplined”…using these pillars to be the lens for the program.

10. Lessons learned in 2017.

11. Holding others to the same standards he holds himself.

12. What it means for the head coach to “determine the banks of the river.”

13. Teaching staff and players to be better teachers.

14. 1% goals (specific each day)…and aiming to get 3% better each day.

15. What you “see, hear, and feel” at a UWW practice: energy and teaching.

16. “The only people in our program who are not teachers are freshmen during their first semester.”

17. Never attaching degradation to teaching: “Degradation is a distraction from learning.”

18. Building trust through teaching each other.

19. Doing the ordinary things better than everybody else.

20. Listening with the eyes.

21. Taking notes.

22. Holding doors open for others.

23. No bullies in the locker room.

24. Team discussions on race.

25. Showing people you care.