Ron Rivera drops knowledge at NFL / NCAA coaches academy

Some of the top coaching minds in the country are invited to attend the NFL / NCAA coaches academy each year. A few weeks ago, those coaches got treated to Ron Rivera imparting wisdom on interviewing for success and landing your first head coaching job.

A few weeks back, we detailed how Ron Rivera interviewed for eight different head coaching jobs before landing his first head coaching gig with Carolina. That many interviews gives a coach plenty of time to not only hone his craft, but to also make his sure the materials that he brings to the interview are top notch. 

After sitting with Roger Goodell one day, Rivera was told to "debrief" with one of the owners to learn his interview weaknesses and how to improve upon them. It was that conversation that laid the foundation for future interview success.

At the coaches academy, Rivera shared that experience with the coaches in attendance, explaining why that type of constructive information proves to be the difference between a much anticipated head coaching job, and a lifetime as an assistant coach.

Also during Rivera's presentation, the Panthers head coach touched on a few different areas that coaches at every level can benefit from. Below are a few key points from his address.

Have a vision: 
- Have a clear vision for your life, your team, and your career (including goals, and what level you want to coach).

Develop your own style of coaching: 
- Be yourself, don't try to be someone else.
- Just because you played doesn't mean you'll automatically be a good coach or that you know all there is to know. Be a sponge and soak up everything you can at clinics and during visits with other coaches.

Continue to educate yourself:
- Find a mentor. That could be your current head coach or coordinator, or someone that you learned under or respected as a player or from a past coaching stop.
- Learn from any source that you can and start to compile resources and a system to store that information
   - Playbooks / Notebooks
   - Film / Teaching videos
   - Clinic talks
   - Books

Develop your own book:
- Position manual and teaching / drill tapes
- Coordinator book / installation tapes
- Head coaches book that includes your philosophy and how you will operate your program

Develop your network of coaches:
- Stay on top of coaches that have the potential to move up in the coaching profession.
- Keep your own list of guys that you would hire or that you want to coach with. Do your research and don't just hire your friends.

Know who you're interviewing with:
- Do your homework on the team's history, the athletic director, other coaches and perhaps most importantly, the players on the roster.
- Ask the interviewer questions.
   - What do they know about you?
   - What is their vision for the program?
   - What is expected of the position?

Learn from each interview:
- Just because you didn't get the job doesn't mean you've failed, as long as you take the opportunity to learn from each interview.
- After the interview process, ask them to debrief you in order to find your strengths and weaknesses. That's the only way you'll improve on them for your next opportunity.

After you get the job:
- Implement your vision and your plan and stick to it.
- Coach your coaches on what you want, and how you want it done.
- Be flexible. No matter how prepared you are as a first time head coach, something will come up that you didn't expect.

Inside an AD's email inbox during a coaching search

Joker Phillips was fired as Kentucky's head coach on Nov. 4. Mark Stoops was hired as his replacement on Nov. 27. In the three weeks in between, UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart was the target of more than 250 emails from interested parties from all walks of life offering, some more forcefully than others, the Wildcats' leader their advice about how to fix the Big Blue football program.

Louisville Courier-Journal writer Kyle Tucker parsed through Barnhart's email inbox during the most hectic of times in an athletic directors' tenure.

Barnhart heard from the likes of search firms, a former Kentucky governor, the Black Coaches and Administrators, a self-proclaimed friend of Kliff Kingsbury and Kentucky fans. Lots and lots of Kentucky fans. 

According to Tucker, Bobby Petrino was easily the most popular name to reach Barnhart's inbox. He received 60 emails regarding Petrino, with only a dozen opposing hiring the embattled coach. None of the outpourings were more impassioned than one fan who urged Barnhart to hire Petrino because, according to the fan, it was "what Jesus would do."

The other side, though less numerous, was equally forceful. “If you hire Bobby Petrino,” wrote one fan, “my family and I will NEVER attend another football game at Commonwealth Stadium.”

Petrino was hired as the head coach at Western Kentucky on Dec. 10. 

Tucker noted that most of Barnhart's emails went unanswered or received a token "thanks" response. That is, until Kliff Kingsbury's name was brought up. 

“Impressive,” Barnhart wrote to someone claiming to be close to Kingsbury. “Just getting started. Your letter gives me some insight into Kliff. May reach out to you to get a number for him.” Kingsbury was hired as Texas Tech's head coach on Dec. 12. 

Barnhart's eventual hire, Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, was not on the radar for most of the impassioned fans reaching out to the UK athletics director. In fact, the first person to campaign for Stoops was a 13-year-old Kentucky fan who wrote to Barnhart on Oct. 21, two weeks before Phillips' dismissal. “I have been to 78 straight UK home games,” wrote the teen. “Please don’t right (sic) me off, I know my stuff.”

In the end, it was former Kentucky Governor and longtime Wildcats supporter John Y. Brown, Jr., who initially favored targeting Butch Davis but praised the Stoops hiring, who best underscored the pressure Barnhart and his colleagues endure when the weight of their decisions emit this level of passion. 

“I think having a great role model as coach and a winning program has more effect than who the governor is."

Read Tucker's full report here.

Frank Beamer stars in Harlem Shake video

Add Frank Beamer to the list of coaches that we didn't think would star in a Harlem Shake video, who have since proven us wrong.

UCF is getting new uniforms

Central Florida is getting new uniforms from Nike for their venture into a new conference.

The new uni's have yet to be officially unveiled, but the University did release the following artistic renderings.

Overall, no huge changes. The numbers look to be a bit larger, and black pants have been added to the mix. As it currently sits right now, there are no current plans to add a new helmet.

Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel put together an interesting article worth taking a look at, detailing the process and what head coach George O'Leary thinks of the new look (spoiler alert...he's not a fan of the black pants). Tenorio includes some very interesting numbers in the piece, including the cost of the uniforms for UCF, and how much Oregon's mirrored/chrome helmets cost (about $800 per helmet).



Tip of the hat to NikeBlog.com for the pictures

Video: Akron's mat drills

Here's a look at what the staff at Akron is putting their guys through for their "mat drills".

Notice there is a lot of change of direction drills, and each station has a game day application of some kind.

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