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Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney is Dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Halle Chair in Leadership.

Define Great Coaching

Phil Jackson is certainly one of the winningest coaches of all time. There's no doubt that he's found a way to integrate a few New Age principles into his coaching bag of tricks. It's hard to deny that he is in the top five or ten coaches of all time in professional sports, but Jackson has always had excellent players to work with.

Bum Phillips, the coach of the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1980, gave the best description of a great coach. Speaking of Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, Phillips said that he "can take his players and beat yours, then take your players and beat his." Now that's the measure of a great coach--a better measure than championships won.

One would like the standard of greatness in coaching to also include a coach's effort to turn his young charges into men who will function effectively in society after the games are through. Here, people like Tony Dungy and Joe Gibbs come to mind. Readers no doubt will have other nominations.

By Paul R. Portney

 |  June 16, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Category:  Sports Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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