Nobody wants to be under a bus

Chris Brown over at Smart Football has posted a letter written by recently-fired Texas A&M head football coach Mike Sherman. The letter is addressed to all high school coaches in Texas. It outlines a philosophy and methodology for relating to players, which, if embraced and followed, will allow a coach to be a true leader. It could apply to a lot of settings, even for office management, or even a family.

It is worth the time to read — it is a bit lengthy — because of its comprehensiveness. After over 30 years of coaching at the high school, college, and professional levels, Sherman obviously had gathered a body of knowledge from his various positions as a leader of athletes who were trying to make their way in a very competitive, and often confrontational, environment.

When I read Sherman’s ninth topic, it made me think of Derek Dooley and many of his press conferences over the past two seasons. If rumors are true regarding player dissent focused at Dooley, perhaps it all comes apart due to his breaking of Sherman’s Number Nine…

IX. Never Throw a Player Under the Bus

I see this all too often at the college level. The Head Football Coach has to assume all responsibility publicly for the player’s performance. Privately it is different. Hold them accountable one on one and in team meetings in front of their peers.


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