Leadership is something every coach desires in players.

Good leadership, of course.

Bad leadership is also there, never forget it.

Also kindly remember that doesn’t always mean the players on the team.

In Ohio, Howland girls’ basketball coach John Diehl’s contract was not renewed after going 407-198 in 26 seasons.

“The people that understand sports, there is such a fine line winning a district final and a regional game,” the 64-year-old Diehl told John Vargo of tribtoday.com. “There’s such a fine line. The teams that usually win are the ones that have mental toughness.

“I’ve learned over the years you can coach mental toughness in kids that don’t have it when you get them. Some kids get it, like kids come with speed. You can coach mental toughness, not being scared of the situation.”

Every coach coaches on a one-year contract that gets reviewed each year by the local Board of Education.

When a contract is not renewed, there is a reason.

In the article, Diehl said he was told there was “philosophical differences on how I develop mental toughness in my players.”

I’m going to translate — “The coach yelled at my kid.”

Don’t for one minute think this came from a player.

This came from parents.

Now, Diehl is not the first coach nor will he be the last coach not renewed because of some disgruntled parents.

The problem there is really simple to me — a chain of command was not followed. If there was a problem, it should have been addressed. Doesn’t sound to me like it was.

I’m not saying every coach deserves to be renewed with no questions asked.

Questions need to be asked.

I’m saying they need to be asked in the correct manner.

If a player has a problem, the player talks to the coach. Not the parents.

If the player wants more playing time, then the player goes to the coach.

If the player has another type of problem, then the player goes to the coach.

If the parents have a playing time problem and the player does not, there is no problem.

I really hope each school and each school district has a chain of command that is followed because, if it is not followed, it makes for some really messy situations.

If it’s not followed, it allows parents freedom to complain to whomever they wish, leaving the coach on the outside.

Chain of command:

Player to coach

Player/parents to coach

Player/parents to coach and AD

Player/parents to coach, AD and principal

If that doesn’t solve anything, then it’s a really big problem and more people need to be involved.

It also means those four steps don’t happen with every sitaution.

If a player or parents choose to subvert the chain of command to anyone, the first questions should be, “Did you talk to the coach?” Or, “Have you followed the chain of command?”

If the answer is no, then the conversation has to end right there — whether it’s the AD, principal, board member or superintendent.

That’s where leadership comes in.

Follow the chain of command.

Leadership also comes inside the locker room.

If a player has a problem, talk to teammates and get it figured out.

The majority of things that arise can be solved on this level and, quite frankly, coaches relish this.

What coaches do not relish is when parents go to a superintendent or a board member with complaints and those complaints are heard and acted upon.

Not only does that coach not like the scenario, every other coach doesn’t like that scenario because they feel if the chain of command is not followed in one instance, why have it at all.

p Leadership is the key to success.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a state championship, because those are really hard to win (219 high school football teams in Kentucky and six state champs), and that percentage is lower in boys’ and girls’ basketball and soccer, volleyball, baseball and softball.

Leadership means something to every coach and every staff.

Not everyone leads the same way — and not everyone is a leader — which is what makes leadership so important.

Mike Mathison can be reached at 270-505-1758 or mmathison@thenewsenterprise.com.

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