(photo credit: IU Athletics)
I didn’t expect to see such a powerful display of leadership when I flipped SportsCenter on in the background before the rest of the family woke up on a Sunday morning. I expected to see a couple of wild catches and crazy dunks but what came next caught my eye so much I rewound and watched the postgame interview several times.
Indiana University isn’t exactly known for being a college football prowess. The program has only had two winning seasons in 25 years and when sports enthusiasts think of Indiana University, the images that come to mind most certainly start with basketball.
But, not this year and not today. Over the course of Tom Allen’s tenure as the Hoosier’s head coach, they’ve gone from 5-7, to 5-7 before going 8-5 in 2019 and this year they are 6-1 and ranked 12th in the nation BEFORE their win yesterday. Read that again.
While the stats and turnaround are remarkable, the sideline interview after beating Wisconsin showed something even more powerful. As Coach Allen is being interviewed, one of the IU players interrupts the interview with, “Recruits, come play for this man, best coach in America!” Coach Allen responded, “I just love this football team.”
As he finishes the sentence, another player interrupts and says, “Best coach in America!”, and the chaotic interview ensues with one player after another hugging and celebrating with their Head Coach.
It hasn’t always been filled with celebration and cheers. Here’s a look at the Coach’s postgame speech after their only loss of the year.
So, what stands out in watching these two moments captured on camera?
Coach Allen Cares About PERFORMANCE:
“I’m ticked off at the result.”
But the only way that he can say that he’s ticked off one week and have players respond that he’s the best coach in America is because Coach Allen also…
BELIEVES and ENCOURAGES
“You guys are special.”
“There’s special things ahead of you.”
“Stay Together. You understand me? Stay together.”
“I LOVE this team.”
Over and over, he has coached and challenged and through it all he has believed in, encouraged, and loved his team.
That is why the Indiana University team is performing well and having a whole lot of fun doing it.
What area can you grow in more today? Is it more challenge or more love? More belief or more encouragement?
Cheers to leaders growing in the way we love our teams!