Anson Dorrance is the winningest team sport coach in collegiate history with a 92% winning percentage in the past 41 years coaching the University of North Carolina’s women’s soccer team. In 2009, Dorrance became the first coach in NCAA history to win 20 championships coaching a single sport. Here are some excerpts from a 2016 interview with Dr. Wade Gilbert:
- Constantly grow as a coach. “I want my life to be one of never-ending ascension” Coach Dorrance loves to learn. He regularly attends coaching and leadership seminar both as a speaker and as attendee
- His approach to learning reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “When one person teaches, two people learn.” He shared that one of the reasons he so enjoys speaking at events is that it gives him an opportunity to learn through the questions that are posed to him. The questions keep him sharp and force him to explain and reflect on how he coaches. He firmly believes that he grows as a coach each time he answers a question.
- He is a voracious reader, always on the search for a great book on leadership or coaching. Early in his career he identified five great coaches and selected the five most prominent qualities of each. He then used these qualities to create his own model of effective coaching that became the foundation for his coaching philosophy.
- He keeps a comic strip from Calvin & Hobbes (his favorite) on his office door that reinforces constant growth. In the strip the main character shouts out “I want my life to be one of never-ending ascension”
- He acknowledges that he certainly has evolved as a coach over his career and continues to evolve as he recently past the 40 year mark of coaching. For example, at the start of his career he viewed athletes as chess pieces that he controlled in a giant chess match with an overriding goal of winning. His mindset has changed over time and he now places much greater emphasis on building meaningful connections with his athletes and developing successful people through soccer.
--Adapted from asep.com