I’m a BIG believer in having a proper Chain of Command for your athletic department; one that is strong and effective.  There are many reasons that a Chain of Command is necessary.  The phrase “Chain of Command” is most readily associated with the military, where their entire existence is heavily built on the command structure.  In fact, without a proper Chain of Command, our Marine Corps would not have the reputation that it does, nor would our Soldiers in the Army be nearly as effective as they are at doing their job.




For some of the same reasons that the military uses a Chain of Command, Athletic Directors, as well as Head Football Coaches, must have one in place for the workplace that they supervise.  Not having a Chain of Command in place may leave your coaches, student-athletes, parents, and administrators frustrated and without guidance.

I believe there are three important components to making a Chain of Command strong and effective.

The first component is making sure that your superiors, ie the vice principal or principal that you report to, and the person that that person reports to is completely on board with your Chain of Command philosophy.  If the folks “above you” as the Athletic Director, are not on board with what you want to accomplish, you will end of frustrated with the Chain of Command is not supported because it will be ineffective. 


My 2003 Linfield Christian football team. A chain of command MUST be strong, together and unbreakable!

I’ve experience that first hand in my own career.  I’m sure many of you have been in a place where you had to make a difficult decision.  You spent days, weeks, maybe even months pouring over how to pull the trigger on the decision you had to make as the AD, or Head Football Coach.  Finally, you made the decision, and sure enough, somebody didn’t like it, so they went to your superior to complain. 

Your superior allowed for the complainer to voice his or her opinion without your knowledge, and BAM, the Chain of Command just fell apart, and you are frustrated!  Have you been there?!  It’s not a fun place to be. 

Therefore, the very first component of the creating a great Chain of Command is that your superiors must be on board!  They must buy in to the philosophy that you have.  If they don’t buy in to what you are trying to do with a structure and format of leadership, soon enough, your legs will be cut right out from under you, and you will end up frustrated.

More tomorrow on the other components of a strong and effective Chain of Command . . .

One comment on “CHAIN OF COMMAND Pt 1

  1. Coach, great start to an important subject. As a former member of the military, breaking the chain of command is the highest “cardinal sin” as it usually contains the disobedience of a direct or indirect order, lack of discipline, and failure to follow procedures and protocols. The difference is that in athletics the collateral damage is usually a busted play at minimum or a fractured relationship(s) at the most. In military life, the impact could be much worse with the possibilities of altering or ending lives. Nevertheless, both circumstances erode the foundations of trust and can create dissention within the ranks or inside the leadership team of any organization.

    Look forward to the next post.

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