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  • Peter Miller

SGG episode #31: Somerset HS (WI) football coach Bruce Larson grounds his program in proven values


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.

Bruce Larson is the head football coach at Somerset High School. He’s recognized as one of the best in state of Wisconsin and, actually, in the whole country, having won the Don Shula National High School Coach of the Year award in 2015. Coach is renowned for winning championships on the field and, more importantly, instilling life-long values and habits in those who play for him. In this episode of the SGG podcast, we discussed: 1.  Somerset as a working class community. 2.  Growing up on a dairy farm in Spring Valley, Wisconsin…where he learned to get things done. 3.  The impact of his high school coach, Bob Thomas – how he made his players feel and the time he invested in them. 4.  UW-River Falls coach Mike Farley. 5.  “Don’t worry about winning – just do it the right way and things will be ok.” 6.  Arriving at Somerset in 1987 as an assistant coach to Brad Nemec. 7.  When everything “fell apart” during his third year as head coach, writing down everything he didn’t like in the program. 8.  DW Rutledge and Dennis Parker, two of his coaching influences. 9.  “What you see is what you coach.” 10.  “If you don’t like it, change it.” The coach is the person in charge. 11.  Using Army values in his program. “Everything we do is built around that.” 12.  “What it comes down to more than anything is attitude.” 13.  “The world is full of educated derelicts.” 14.  The Friday morning routines with the team. 15.  The army transforming a person “into a machine” in 14 weeks. 16.  2002 state semi-finals vs Auburndale: kids falling back on what they know best. 17.  Making changes to the weight training program. 18.  The coaching advice to his sonsit starts with relationships. 19.  When “what you believe in got beat” it hurts. 20.  What makes Wisconsin football unique: tough, hard-nosed kids. Ass-kickers.