The Master Delegator

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 11, 2009

The Master Delegator:

“I feel that the progress I have made as a coach, as well as a person, is a direct result of the growth that I have made through my Church callings. I had the opportunity to serve as a bishop in a campus ward while I was still an assistant coach. When I was appointed head football coach in 1972, I decided to approach my role as a coach much the same as I did as a bishop, delegating responsibility to my assistants, putting responsibility on the players for self-improvement in all aspects of their lives, and using personal interviews with players to try to give positive reinforcement and encouragement so that they might do their very best and reach their full potential, both on and off the field.” Lavell Edwards

Over the past few years I have come in contact with many alumni that played for Lavell Edwards.  In speaking with them, I have found that there are many characteristics that they loved about Lavell.  But one recurrent theme always surfaced as I spoke with them concerning the success Lavell had, and how he made BYU football into what it is today….”Delegation”

Lavell was the Master Delegator.  He surrounded himself with a talented, motivated and disciplined staff and players and let them run with all their heart, might, mind and strength with their allotted responsibilities.

As many of you have probably know. Coach Hill is now the official Defensive Coordinator.  I know I know, he got the job last year, but he really didn’t have full control of the reins.  Coach Mendenhall was still making the final decision during the games on all defensive calls last year.  During the 06, 07 and 08 seasons you would see Coach Hill writing every single play, formation, down and distance, his own premonitions and who knows what else on his little paper and clipboard.  He would then turn to Coach Mendenhall and give him his opinion on what defense to run.  Sometimes Bronco would take his advice and other times he wouldn’t.

Let me tell you that I am rejoicing right now that Coach Hill is the Defensive Coordinator and play caller.  Here is my reasoning:

  1. 1. Coach Mendenhall had too much on his plate and it has taken a toll on him the last 3 seasons.  When you are trying to run faster than you are capable of, you don’t spend time having fun and enjoying what you are doing.  This is extremely hard for such a competitive coach as Bronco.  He is very hands on and it took every challenge and humbling experience for him to finally realize that he needed to let go completely of the defensive reins and let Coach Hill have his time to shine!
  2. 2. The position in which Coach Hill found himself was not all that fun.  Imagine you are a surgeon, but you have to work hand in hand with another surgeon in all of your surgeries.  You prepare for the surgery and practice your specific techniques in order to have a successful surgery.  But most of the time during surgery the surgeon you work with overrides your opinion and says “give me the scalpel” and chooses to use a different technique.  Sometimes he gets it right and other times the surgery isn’t as successful as it might have been if your technique had been utilized.  I don’t know if that is the best analogy, but in explaining it to one of the Orthopods that I work with yesterday… well it rang true to him so I decided to throw it onto paper =).  Coach Hill will take this added responsibility and pressure and run with it.  He will prepare our team with the utmost fervor and have success…. Yes I just used the word fervor.

In all seriousness though, you will see Coach Hill excel in his new “official” role.  And as you all saw, Coach Mendenhall’s true personality and emotion about football was exhibited during the Oklahoma game and you will see him more open with the media, more excited, having more fun and being the calm, cool and collective CEO of the program instead of a overly stressed out manager with too much on his plate.