Because of the success of a few well-known grumps, there’s a segment of the football coaching population that believes their job is so big and so hard and so important that they don’t have to worry about being human beings.
But new Titans coach Mike Vrabel is taking steps to make sure he knows all the people around him in Tennessee, and not just the players and the coaches in the bubble that is the football world.
Via Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean, Vrabel told a group of season ticket-holders at an event that he’s met a few of his players, but more of his other co-workers as well.
“I’ve been all over the building,” Vrabel said, “trying to get everything in order first in our building with our trainers, our equipment staff, our strength staff, our security staff, people that help us in the cafeteria in our building.
While that seems like a really basic thing, not every coach has the time to meet the support staff through the building, the “little people” who help keep such large operations moving and take care of details to help the team succeed. Besides, offseason rules keep Vrabel from talking football with his new guys (he’s said hello to some of the rehabbing players), so he’s working on building relationships.
“To be able to sit down and talk to our players and get to know them, get to know about their families, get to know about their charities, about what they do,” Vrabel said. “We’re not talking football. Right now, that’s not important. I believe and we believe as a coaching staff that that’s the only way that you can coach them, by getting to know them. They have to know how much you care about them. Not that you’re going to cut them any slack, to be honest with you, but you’re going to know how they work, how they tick, what makes them go, how we can push them. . . .
“I learned a long time ago that players are more important than plays, and that teammates are more important than players. Our guys will be great players, but they’ll be better teammates.”
Getting to know the people around you is a solid first step. And while it doesn’t guarantee they’ll continue their recent football momentum (they made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 before firing Mike Mularkey), it does set the stage for a healthy workplace.