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Photo: Appalachian State will have new uniforms this fall

College football programs like to pair new beginnings with new uniforms. A new coach or, in App State's case, a new conference feels like a great time to break in new uniforms.

After winning three national championships at the FCS level, the Mountaineers will end their four-decade affiliation with the Southern Conference and join FBS's Sun Belt Conference, beginning officially on July 1. 

This photo was tweeted over the weekend by Mountaineers running backs coach Chris Foster. I'd say it's a definite improvement over their previous look.

 App State uniform

It's hard to tell from this angle, but it appears App State will also have a new helmet this fall.

Appalachian State will open their first FBS season at Michigan on Aug. 30. Gee, I wonder if those schools have ever played each other? 




Arkansas State is auctioning off the opportunity to be a head coach for a day

Arkansas State has come up with a great way to promote both their program, and their spring game.

The Red Wolves Foundation is auctioning off the opportunity to step into Blake Anderson's shoes as the head coach during the annual spring game. The current bid is sitting at $2,500 as of this morning.

Astateauction

Coach Anderson provided some perspective on what the winning bidder would be getting via his Twitter account.

 

I really like this idea. It's not only great pub for the program, but it gives one fan with some extra spending money a taste of what a select few FBS head coaches get to experience on a handful of Saturdays per year.

If you've got some extra coin laying around and just can't wait any longer to be a head coach, you can place your bid on the once-in-a-lifetime experience here via Ebay.




This is one of the greatest moments in all of sports

Just in case you missed it following UConn's national title performance last night, here's a look at what is truly one of the greatest moments in sports; One Shining Moment, 2014 edition.

With the College Football Playoff coming this fall, is there any chance college football tries to do something like this (with their own spin of course) following the national title game?




Tom Crean has an idea football coaches should borrow

You're probably already aware of this but, in case you aren't, Indiana basketball is a big deal. A very big deal. It's in the echelon of blue-blood college programs - along with Kentucky basketball, Alabama football, North Carolina basketball, Oklahoma football and a couple dozen others - that people orbit their entire lives, their entire identities around. They were dressed in Hoosier crimson shortly out of the womb, and they'll be buried in Hoosier crimson when their time comes, but not before dressing their kids and grandkids in that same Hoosier crimson. 

It was those people I thought of when I saw this tweet from Indiana head basketball coach Tom Crean today:

While it's obviously great public relations to give fans a chance to be a part of their favorite team's locker room, that's not what I like about this. 

I like it because those are the people Indiana basketball plays for every night. The players are the ones who wear the uniforms, train in the weight room, and play in the famed Assembly Hall, but many of them were brought in from other states to be a Hoosier for anywhere between one and four years before they're off to somewhere else. The people writing what it means to be a Hoosier, they'll never wear the uniforms, but they cared about Indiana basketball 10, 20 and 30 years ago, and they'll still care just as much 10, 20 and 30 years from now. 

And it'll be those peoples words on the players' minds next season when Wisconsin, Michigan or Michigan State are in town for a big game, because those are the people who will recite that night's box score from memory a quarter century from now. 

If I'm, say, Mark Helfrich, and most of my roster isn't from Oregon, I want the words of some life-long Ducks fan that has hated Washington from the time the Huskies clubbed the Ducks on an annual basis on the mind of my players before they run out to face Washington this fall. 




Documentary: The life of a JuCo coach

Take a look at this documentary following the life of a JuCo coach from the good people at Santa Monica College. SMC is the Junior College program where legends like Isaac Bruce, Steve Smith, and Chad Johnson honed their craft for two seasons before eventually going on to successful careers in the NFL.

The thirteen minute documentary focuses mainly on offensive line coach John Landwehr, and head coach Gifford Lindheim and how they've worked their way through the coaching profession, the challenges of being a JUCO coach, their coaching style and career aspirations, and how coaching at the JUCO level affects their family life and how they make major life decisions.

Coach Landwehr provides some interesting perspective because as the documentary is being filmed, he's working through his final days at SMC because he has accepted an offensive grad assistant job at Marshall. While it's a great opportunity over 2,000 miles away, it's a journey that he'll take alone (at first at least) while his longtime girlfriend stays behind and works.

Coach Lindheim provides some great insight into his coaching and recruiting philosophy, and the way that he approaches his job everyday. After listening to some of his answers, and how he interacts with player it's easy to see why he's able to easily connect with players, and why coaches will work for next to nothing in order to have their name attached to the SMC program. If you're looking for a a reason why the program has returned to the top of the food chain in a powerful California JUCO system, look no further than coach Lindheim.

Everyday we all see coaches names on The Scoop page and High School Scoop page, but it's so easy to forget that each one of names are actual people working their way through the profession, making sacrifices and life altering decisions while striving to change the lives of every player they come in contact with. This documentary is a great reminder of that, and I highly recommend carving out 13 minutes this afternoon for it.




The five things Google looks for when hiring

I don't need to sell you on the merits of Google, but here I go anyway: The company reported nearly $60 billion in revenue in 2013. That's nearly $16 billion more than 2012. Its stock is currently trading for nearly $530 a share. Chances are you've used one of its products today, probably multiple times. By any account, it's one of the most successful companies on the globe.

The tech behemoth could limit its hiring to name brand institutions from the Ivy League and its peers and be done with it but, like everything else Google does, it looks at hiring differently than everyone else and, again, like everything else Google does, it's more successful than just about everyone else. In fact, on some teams, as many as one out of every seven Google employees has no college education at all. 

Google doesn't care what you know. It cares if you know how to think. Google doesn't care if you have leadership experience on your resume. It cares if you know when to step up and lead, and when to step back and follow. 

There are five factors Google looks for in any potential new hire:

1) General cognitive ability. "It’s learning ability," said Google's senior vice president of people operations (seriously, that's his title) Laszlo Bock told the New York Times. "It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”

2) Leadership. "In particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. Traditional leadership is, were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there? We don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”

3) Ownership. "“It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in.... Your end goal is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.”

4) Intellectual humility. This, Bock says, is where the value of a degree from pick-your-top-end-school diminishes. “They, instead, commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot or I didn’t get the resources or the market moved. ... What we’ve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. They’ll argue like hell. They’ll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, ‘here’s a new fact,’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh, well, that changes things; you’re right.’"

5) Expertise. “If you take somebody who has high cognitive ability, is innately curious, willing to learn and has emergent leadership skills, and you hire them as an H.R. person or finance person, and they have no content knowledge, and you compare them with someone who’s been doing just one thing and is a world expert, the expert will go: ‘I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do.’"

To translate this into hiring football coaches, perhaps your staff would be best served by challenging hiring norms, where three years as a GA and five years as a position coach means a coach is ready to become your coordinator because... he spent five years as an assistant and three years as an assistant. If your defensive line coach takes another job, maybe the best replacement spent the past five years outside of coaching. Or maybe the best replacement isn't a defensive line coach at all, but it's an offensive coach with an innate gift for connecting with and inspiring everyone he touches.

Here is, we thought, the most important paragraph in the piece. 

 “If you take somebody who has high cognitive ability, is innately curious, willing to learn and has emergent leadership skills, and you hire them as an H.R. person or finance person, and they have no content knowledge, and you compare them with someone who’s been doing just one thing and is a world expert, the expert will go: ‘I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do.’ ” Most of the time the nonexpert will come up with the same answer, added Bock, “because most of the time it’s not that hard.” Sure, once in a while they will mess it up, he said, but once in a while they’ll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that.

Let's again translate this into football terms. There's value in hiring an offensive line coach with 25 years of experience and every imaginable blocking scheme and technique emblazoned into his brain. But, then again, designing a blocking scheme isn't a taxing intellectual endeavor (sorry, O-line coaches), and most smart people can deduce the best way to block a stretch play, and the inexperienced person may even come up with a scheme no one else would have considered. But if that inexperienced coach is a superior motivator and is a joy to be around, don't worry about the blocking schemes, he'll learn those eventually. 

If it works for Google, it can work for you. 

 




AthletiCloud - High School Coaches need to see this

Every few years you see a product and you immediately "get it" and think to yourself, "Wow, how have we not had this before?" Well, prepare yourselves for that moment; because I have seen it and invite you to do the same below. 

Allow me to introduce you to AthletiCloud, a simple, cloud based, mobile management app for high school teams. 

I have used it and over the next few weeks I plan to pass along a number of the "success stories" from other coaches who are using the platform; but allow me to show you some of the capabilities...

I'll share a few screenshots below; but really, to get the full effect, go ahead and visit AthletiCloud.com and have a look for yourself.

They offer free 30 day trial; but honestly at only $99 per team (per year), really this is one of the biggest no brainers I've seen in a long time. 

OK, a couple of the key features:

Team & Group messaging from your phone

Messaging

Need to text the team that practice got moved...or maybe text the parents of the JV team that the bus had a flat tire...or maybe you only want to text the quarterbacks...or perhaps just the coaching staff...all of that can be done simply and easily from your phone with the app. 

Emergency

AthletiCloud

You're off-site and a player has a medical emergency. Open the app, pull up the player, push one button to text his emergency tree (defined by his parents) to alert them that you will be calling shortly and then call the pre-defined contacts. An incredible timesaver during what can be a very stressful and challenging time. Plus the app contains all of the players medical clearances, etc...

Mobile Attendance 

Attendance

Not only can you quickly and easily take attendance wherever you want on your phone or iPad; but you can also set the system to take action based on the results...this is something you need to see. 

Task Management

TaskManager

Need to assign tasks for the staff...well, no more sending emails which might or might not get read, no more keeping binders of paper...the task management featured (designed by a long-time football coach) will quickly become a feature you absolutely rely upon to keep the staff and team on the same page. 

There are several other features I plan to highlight over the coming weeks and months (emergency, equipment, team banker, etc...). I truly believe this is one of those platforms that nearly every high school team in the country will benefit from and I look forward to sharing stories like the one below from coaches across the country as they adopt the platform. 

Visit AthletiCloud.com now.

Full Disclosure: I have personally met with the principal owner of AthletiCloud and have used, and provided feedback on, many of the features of the system. AthletiCloud is an advertiser with FootballScoop. 




HS program delivers their 2014 motto with this video

The Liberty North high school (MO) football program is heading in a new direction in 2014. The coaching staff decided to get together with the outgoing senior class to deliver their message of being "selfless" to the future players of the program.

The most powerful things about this video is that the outgoing seniors were part of the first football team fielded at Liberty North back in 2010. That first season they went 0-9 and have since laid the foundation for the future success of the program. Now this video allows them to leave a different legacy with the program.

The word "selfless" was chosen because the staff felt the word can serve as the solution to every problem that the 2014 team encounters, including problems on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

The coaches answered what the word meant to them, and asked the outgoing seniors to do the same. The result was this video that communicates the concept to the team.

Not only did we find this to be an excellent idea that was very well executed, but we felt it definitely worth sharing with the rest of the coaching community.