Minnesota Football: How Do Coaches Affect Culture?

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

How do Jerry Kill's words and actions affect the culture that is being built in the University of Minnesota football program?

For the last couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about how culture permeates a college football program. My thinking about this began when the APR scores were announced and the football team posted the highest score in the history of the program. How did that happen? And how did it happen so quickly?

The easy answer is that Coach Kill changed the culture. But we hear about coaches changing the culture of a team all the time. What does that mean?

How does a coach change and/or create culture? Is it conscious, or is it simply a by-product of who they are? What does what a coach says and does communicate about his overall program? Do those things rub off on players?

Journey with me, won't you?

Glen Mason

Mase was a program builder. Kent State, Kansas. He came to Minnesota to do the same. He was brought in to bring the Gophers back to their glory days.

But Glan Mason never believed Minnesota could be a top-of-the-B1G program. He made no bones about saying that the Gophers couldn't compete with Michigan & Ohio State for recruits. As a result, we have the following comment from TDG Community member Rencito, in response to a comment that someone made about Mason losing recruit James Laurenitis. I thought this statement summed Mason and his teams up well.

Capture_medium

Glen Mason spoke openly about not being able to compete with the top-tier schools for recruits. He rarely went after top-tier recruits, and when he did, he didn't know how to handle them.

If you don't believe that you are capable of prosperity, how will you hang onto it when it's in your grasp?

Tim Brewster

Brew had no head coaching experience, but was a guy who came into Dinkytown as the anti-Glen Mason, talking about Rose Bowls and B1G Championships from Day 1. It seemed like he was really going to change the culture and some people (/points emphatically at self) were really excited about this new attitude.

Brewster landed some impressive recruits, the kind of recruits that typically only gave Minnesota a passing glance. He did this despite a 1-11 campaign in his first season. In year 2 Brew's squad came out 7-1, and things were on the rise!

Then the season fell apart. Meanwhile, those highly touted recruits were having trouble becoming eligible to play for Minnesota, and even the ones who did make it to Minneapolis weren't making an impact on the field.

It turned out Brewster could shoot the bear, but he had no idea what to do with the bear once it was in the cabin. (To add insult to injury (and to further destroy this analogy), Brewster couldn't even figure out how to get the bear to go to class.)

If you talk about success and how badly you want it, but you have no plan to get it, can you possibly reach it?

Jerry Kill

Coach Kill immediately tempered the expectations of Gopher fans. He told us they'd need to start getting kids to go to class. He told us they'd need to start getting kids into the weight room. He told us they'd need to start recruiting kids to fit their schemes. He told us they needed to increase the team speed. He told us these things would take time.

Year 1 was difficult as the Gophers went 3-9. The team improved from week to week, and as they began to believe in the process, they began to believe they could win. That belief led to bringing keeping Floyd back to in Dinkytown and to beating Illinois to end the season.

The foundation that Coach Kill began building from Day 1 has lead to a record APR score for the football program and has lead the program, for the time being, out of any concern of academic sanctions. Kill preaches education, fundamentals, patience, speed and strength on a daily basis.

If you have a proven plan for success, a belief in that plan, and the discipline to stick to that plan, despite the people who doubt you, can you possibly fail?

--------------------------------------------------------------

The saying goes "a fish rots from the head down." If leadership is rotten, regardless of the make-up of those in the organization itself, the organization will also likely become rotten.

But the converse of this saying is also true. When the leader of a program is exceptional, regardless of the make-up of those in the organization itself, the organization has a chance to become exceptional as well. Exceptional leaders do this by bringing in people who share their make-up, or molding people who don't into sharing their beliefs.

Glen Mason didn't talk about the culture he was trying to create, but he wasn't shy in what his beliefs were about the culture at the University of Minnesota.

Tim Brewster talked constantly about the type of culture he was trying to create at Minnesota, but he didn't have a real plan to build the program into that culture.

How do Jerry Kill's words and actions affect the culture that is being built in the University of Minnesota football program?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Daily Gopher

You must be a member of The Daily Gopher to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Daily Gopher. You should read them.

Join The Daily Gopher

You must be a member of The Daily Gopher to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Daily Gopher. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker