Accepting Responsibility – Super Scoop

I had just been named the head coach of the Marion Harding Presidents baseball team, and the word excited just didn’t do it justice.  I was taking the reins from an iconic and well liked coach who had served in that role for more than 30 years.  Looking back now, I should have taken greater advantage of listening and learning under him as an assistant coach.  However, as many know, youthful ambition and confidence can blind us into thinking we’ve already got things figured out.  I was a three year captain on my college baseball team and knew I wanted to develop a first class high school baseball program.  So, I not only paid close attention to every college learning opportunity, but I bought and read every book on baseball coaching I could get my hands on.  In my mind, I was ready!

Immediately after being announced as the new coach, I started organizing and planning everything under my control.  I had plans for everything, and began immediately by setting up youth coaches clinics to ensure Marion youth leagues were teaching the fundamentals such as proper hitting, throwing, catching, and pitching mechanics.  At each of these clinics, I was out in front and providing detailed information on how best to teach these kids.  I was moving forward at an incredibly fast pace and nothing was going to get in my way.

Then, one day in the coaches locker room, one of the longtime assistant coaches asked if we could talk for a minute.  He said something like this, “Chad, I appreciate all of these new things you’re trying to do and I see your vision for the program.  However, every time you talk about things, it is always about what you want and what you are going to do.  Not once have you ever mentioned anyone else.”  I literally felt like I had been punched in the gut with his words because he was 100% right.  I knew I was only taking my ideas and thoughts into consideration.  I hadn’t ever asked the players or the coaches what they thought might be best for the program.  That was a pivotal moment in my life when I decided no achievement was worth it if you don’t have people to share it with.  I knew I needed to immediately apologize to my coaches, players, and others.  I needed to own my actions no matter how difficult.  

Our Kenton City Schools Wildcat Culture Playbook calls for all employees and students within our system to own our actions and do what is right, even when difficult.  We must realize the impact that our actions have on others.  We realize we make mistakes, but we take ownership and make efforts to improve.  My assistant coach was open and candid with me, even when it was difficult.  I had to hear a difficult truth and adjust my thinking. This is also called for by our playbook with an emphasis on talking with people, not about them.  Although it was a difficult situation for both my assistant coach and myself, it changed the direction of the program WE led alongside our other coaches, players, and parents.