I heard Lane Kiffin this morning on the Clay Travis podcast.  Say what you will about the coaching history of Lane Kiffin.  But as Clay said to him: “You’ve coached with two of the best coaches in history in Pete Carroll and Nick Saban.”  I agree with that sentiment.

Kiffin on comparing the two.

“They are completely opposite on how they do things.  But, they are two of the best because they have a philosophy that is very different from each other, but they have it nailed.  And they will both tell you that it takes a while to do that.  It doesn’t happen over night.”

“Both have coached for a long time.  As Pete has said before, he got fired twice then he really came together and figured it all out.”

“More than anything, they are both phenomenal recruiters.  Unbelievable recruiters.  They recruited totally different ways, but they were relentless at it.  USC teams had more draft picks than any other teams, and Alabama has completely changed the SEC.  Nick Saban changed the SEC because of the recruiting.”

The reason this conversation struck me was because it is SO important for young head coaches to be themselves!

You can win being like Pete Carroll who is Mr. Enthusiastic, Mr. Happy, and Mr. Positive.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll smiles as he chats with running back Marshawn Lynch during warm up before their pre-season NFL football game against San Diego Chargers in San Diego, California August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL) - RTX12EGN

You can win being like Nick Saban who is Mr. Serious, Mr. Button Upped, and Mr. All Business All The Time.


The thing that many young head coaches struggle with determining how they are going to lead, who they are going to be “like.”  There are SO many different philosophies out there of how to be a coach.

I went through the same thing when I was a young head coach at the age of 27.  I wasn’t nearly ready to be a head coach, now that I look back on that time.  I’m 41 now, and I think “holy smokes, did I make some big mistakes!!”

One of the things that I really struggled with my first year, second year as a head coach was just being me.  My first year, I tried hard to be just like my high school coach, someone who I grew up admiring.  But that wasn’t really my leadership style, or who I really was.  And the kids knew it.

Then I tried to be like the guy I replaced there.  And I wasn’t really like that guy naturally either.  And the kids knew it.

It took two years to settle in to who I was!  ME!

The take away here about Carroll vs. Saban: find out who YOU are, and BE that coach!


Chris Fore is a Special Education Teacher in Southern California.  He is also the Special Teams Coordinator at Victor Valley College.  He coached high school football in Southern California for 16 years, including 8 as a Head Coach.  Fore has published 28 Kick and Punt Returns and Blocks, as well as the Shield Punt Manual.  He is a speaker with the Glazier Clinics, and a Coaches Choice author.  Fore runs Eight Laces Consulting, and also teaches in the Masters of Physical Education program at Azusa Pacific University.