Never Yell “COACH” in a Crowded Principal’s Meeting.


I was asked the other day why so many coaches become principals. This got me thinking. After much thought (actually none), I have come to an intelligent theory (actually more of a guess than an intelligent theory).

Over the course of the last few years, I have had an opportunity to meet a lot of principals and through a totally unscientific study I believe 35% are now ex-principals.

This is for a variety of reasons, but the #1 cause is that I don’t think people actually know what qualities are required to make a good administrator. So consequently schools are hiring the wrong types of people.

But you are in luck; I have a theory (I can almost hear people rolling their eyes as I write this).I Only Owned 2 Ladders.

In all of the good principals that I know, they all have one major thing in common. They don’t care.

Suddenly, I have your attention (I bet you’re sorry you rolled your eyes- apology accepted).

Let me clarify; they don’t care what people think of them. A lot of people say they don’t care, but it takes a certain type of character flaw to really not care.

And what makes this character flaw even more challenging is that it can’t be taught. You can’t pick up the “I don’t care” gene in a graduate class, a good mentor can’t teach you, and you certainly can’t fake it (always remember that kids are like dogs- they sense fear and weakness).

When school boards interview for a new principal they confuse themselves by looking for experience, organization, people skills, good leadership qualities, and high grades on a college transcript.

If you are ever looking for a principal, don’t fall into this trap. Keep your eye on the ball and look for someone who doesn’t care (ball, coaches in the title- I crack myself up).

A good principal can care about the kids, the school, the curriculum, the teachers, and the staff- but they can never ever care what people think of them.

I do have to admit that this can be somewhat challenging.

Everyone has a mortgage and car payment so it is important to stay employed. But when you begin to make decisions based on what others think of you, the end is near.

This brings me back to coaches. Why are so many administrators ex-coaches?

There are several plausible theories to consider.

One is that they have families to support and they can’t afford to coach the JV football team for $700 when their kids will be going to college in 8 years. In review, everyone has bills.

Another is that coaches have summers off and after a few years, they usually wander over to the local college and take administrative classes (you can only play so much golf and paint so many houses).

But I think the real reason coaches become administrators is slightly more complex (look at that, I just used the words coaches and complex in the same sentence).

Coaches are comfortable being in charge, giving directions, getting second-guessed/yelled at, and working long hours.

If they weren’t born with the “I don’t care” gene, after 10 years of coaching it is now ingrained into them.

If you have this character flaw, you have a chance. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, tall or short, mean or nice, but somewhere in the deep recesses of your personality, you must not care.

Technically, you don’t even have to have been a coach, but it helps. There are a few chosen ones who have been blessed with this “I don’t care” gift from a higher authority.

Now granted, this gene doesn’t make you the nicest person on staff, but if does give you the protective armor to allow yourself a chance at being successful once hired as a principal.

That is why you never yell “Coach” in a Principal’s meeting. 80% of the people will turn around and 65% of which won’t care.

The other 35%- we hardly knew you.

As a former coach, any disrespect to coaches in this article was purely for the sake of humor (or attempted humor). I still think it is an honor for someone to address me as “Coach”. I will take that over “Mr.” any day of the week. And I sure do miss painting houses.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.