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Why Notre Dame’s Soccer Coach Tells His Staff to “Select Exhausting”


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This can be a particular episode of The CEO Collection for me as a result of we took a visit to Notre Dame Stadium the place I performed soccer as a walk-on alongside my brother throughout the undefeated season of 2012. We went to my outdated stomping grounds to sit down down with head coach Marcus Freeman to speak about management and the way, in some ways, he’s the CEO of their unimaginable program.

Beneath are some highlights of that dialog, which have been edited for size and readability. Watch the complete video above.

The coach as CEO

“A CEO is in command of a giant firm, and my firm occurs to be Notre Dame soccer. On the finish of the day, you are accountable for each choice that impacts the individuals in this system and the outcomes which can be on the sector. So you do not make each choice, however you are accountable for each choice. That is necessary to be sure you perceive. All through my teaching profession, the best satisfaction got here from seeing the gamers you had been concerned with have success.”

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The celebration video that went viral after he was employed as head coach

“It was a blur. However I keep in mind strolling out of that door and seeing the crew going loopy — all I wished to do was hug them. It wasn’t a couple of speech. It was an opportunity to rejoice and be together with your guys, proper? I inform them on a regular basis: I am a teammate. I is perhaps the captain, however I am a teammate. I perceive the stuff you’re going by way of. I am on this combat with you. And I feel they respect that and so they perceive that. Strolling out that door is a second I am going to always remember and one I am going to cherish ceaselessly.”

The that means of his mantra “Select Exhausting”

“It began a few years in the past once I was within the Notre Dame weight room and was understanding as our gamers had been being pushed onerous. And I keep in mind pondering that you could select to undergo the motions or you may select to go as onerous as you may. And that is once I got here up with this considered ‘Select Exhausting.’ We put up an indication you see while you stroll into this constructing that claims ‘Select Exhausting.’ As a result of while you stroll into Notre Dame soccer, you have to have that mindset. We’ll select onerous at this time in apply, select onerous at this time in conferences, select onerous at this time within the weight room. And for the gamers, you are going to be challenged within the classroom, proper? You are going to be in school with a few of the most clever individuals on this world. And it is tough, however finally you have chosen to return right here so select onerous, settle for it, and know that the rewards from selecting onerous each single day cannot be discovered wherever else.”

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Drawback-solving philosophy

“When a crew is not successful, lots of people say, belief the method. My mantra is: repair the method. I spend lots of time evaluating all the things we had been doing. Why aren’t we taking part in higher? What are we doing schematically? Is there one thing our gamers do not perceive? Losses occur and it is part of life. However they damage. As a pacesetter, you do not need to have too many. Repair it with urgency.”

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Retaining gamers within the age of the switch portal

“Look, should you’re the CEO of an organization, you bought to pay your workers, proper? Now if they’ll go some other place and make much more cash, it doesn’t matter what sort of firm you are operating, they will most likely depart. So we have now to make it possible for our gamers can maximize the alternatives of title, picture and likeness. That is necessary, however what else retains them at Notre Dame? What else attracts them right here? And you have to consider it is your tradition. You have to consider it is the way in which they’re handled. Do they take pleasure in being a part of your program? That is so necessary. And that is a message for myself and our different coaches. Let’s make it possible for as onerous as we push them, as demanding as we’re, we’re not demeaning. We wish them to take pleasure in being part of this crew and the entire alternatives that the College of Notre Dame offers.”

Take a look at extra profiles of progressive and impactful leaders by visiting The CEO Collection archives.

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