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Jeff Janssen's Books

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Championship Coaches on the Importance of Leaders

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You won't win consistently without good team leadership. It's just that plain and simple. You've got to have players who are willing to buy into your system, demand the best from themselves and their teammates, and hold their teammates accountable. Pat Summitt, Tennessee Women's Basketball Eight-time National Championship Coach

Talent is important. But the single most important ingredient after you get the talent is internal leadership. It's not the coaches as much as one single person or people on the team who set higher standards than that team would normally set for itself. I really believe that that's been ultimately important for us. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Men's Basketball Three-time National Championship Coach

Having great leadership is a big key to success. It's really the leaders' team because they are the ones whom the rest of the players, especially the freshmen, look up to when setting the standards. Our team will go as far as our leaders are willing to take us. Mike Candrea, Arizona Softball Eight-time National Championship Coach, USA Softball Olympic Head Coach

On every team, there is a core group that sets the tone for everyone else. If the tone is positive, you have half the battle won. If it is negative, you are beaten before you ever walk on the field. Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers Four-time Super Bowl Winning Coach

Leadership on any team is critical to success... Often leadership is awarded by being elected captain by your teammates or selected by the coaching staff. However, not all leaders are also captains, and just because you are not a captain doesn't mean you cannot lead. Lauren Gregg, Former U.S. Soccer National Team Assistant Coach

Leadership is extremely important. I tell every team that it's the seniors' team. If they do a good job leading, then we're going to have a great year. Roy Williams, North Carolina Men's Basketball National Championship Coach

Because I understand how important leaders are to the success of the team, I've worked hard at selecting the captains and helping them develop the leadership qualities that I feel are important. Jerry Yeagley, Indiana Men's Soccer Six-time National Championship Coach

The final piece in a championship team is leadership. The most attractive type of leadership to me is the student-athlete who is a coach on the field. I want a driving force who won't let standards slip. That's how teams with ordinary talent can win championships. Without leadership, even a team with great talent will struggle to become a champion. Anson Dorrance, North Carolina Women's Soccer Nineteen-time National Championship Coach

Teams that have strong leadership have a decided advantage. If you look at the great NBA teams of the past 15 years, one of the common threads is they all had great veteran leaders with the group: Larry Bird (Celtics), Magic Johnson (Lakers), Isiah Thomas (Pistons), Michael Jordan (Bulls). Each had his own style but they all demanded excellence from the people around them. Not just once in a while, not just when things were going good for them, but all the time. Rick Pitino, Louisville Men's Basketball National Championship Coach

Our coaches believe the single most important characteristic necessary to build a winning program is leadership among the student-athletes. Dick Baddour, North Carolina Director of Athletics

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