Monday, September 1, 2008

UCLA coach sticks to his guns

Excellent Piñata Manager™ lessons are all around us. Tonight's UCLA-Tennesse college football game is a case in point. In his first game as coach of his alma mater, UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel (a former UCLA star quarterback himself) watched in dismay as his young replacement quarterback, Kevin Craft, threw four interceptions in the first half, including one that is run back for a go-ahead touchdown. On national TV.

In the second half his quarterback comes out and looks like a world-beater, leading the Bruins to three scores and, ultimately, a pressure-packed 27-24 overtime win against a nationally ranked opponent. What changed at halftime? Neuheisel said there was no question he was going to stick with his quarterback. What did he tell him at halftime that turned things around? In a post-game interview with ESPN, Neuheisel said: "I told him I threw four interceptions the first time I played, and I ended up having a pretty good career, so we're going to stick with you."

Piñata Manager™ lesson of the week: Pick talented people, prepare them well, and then have confidence in them, even when they take a beating. That's pretty good leadership.

A round of hickory burgers from Westwood institution "The Apple Pan" for Rick Neuheisel and the rest of his coaching staff.

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