One of the biggest, richest sports in the world, college football, pulls off the very neat trick of not actually paying its players. Mostly because they are male and black — and paying them would lead to a bunch of busbody sexist, racist women decrying that it’s not fair, despite the fact that these black males are helping to bring in *billions* of dollars every year through their labors.
But this post is not really about college football, but about producing talent.
Most people who follow college football, for example, think of “talent” as great players; players who go on, say, to leave college and do great in the National Football League (which actually pays its players).
But talent is also the coaching. Which team does the best at producing the best coaches?
No, not Michigan. Not Florida. Not Texas.
Iowa. Which even most Americans probably couldn’t locate on a map. From the Wall Street Journal:
Iowa’s unsurpassed track record at turning college kids into successful football coaches is due, in large part to one man: Hayden Fry. During his tenure from 1979 until 1998—in which he went 143-89-6 and led Iowa to 14 bowl games and three Big Ten titles—Fry quietly built a system designed to groom potential coaches.
“Every one of us has come through Hayden Fry,” said William Inge, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator. “He’s the one who molded us into the coaches we’ve become.”
“Not one of us would have gotten the opportunity to coach without Hayden,” said Iowa graduate and North Texas coach Dan McCarney, who keeps a photo of Fry in his office.
In an interview, from his home in Mesquite, Nev., Fry, who is now 82 years old, said his approach to inspiring future coaches stemmed from the lessons he learned from his father while growing up on a farm in Odessa, Texas.
Fry’s father would tell him he couldn’t go to school until he filled the pickup with hay and fed the cows. “I said, ‘Daddy, we have 2,000 acres and creeks and trees, how am I going to find all those cows?'” Fry said. “He said, ‘All you have to do is drive out and listen. One cow is the leader, the bell cow. Find the bell cow, and you find the whole herd.”
One man, raised on a farm, coaching football in the middle of Iowa has had such an enormous impact on his ‘industry’. Pretty damn impressive.
After all, how many of Steve Jobs’ hires went on to start a successful company? Run a Fortune 1000 company?
Was Steve Jobs only good at picking people who would be great at Apple?
What of other founder/CEOs? Which ones have done the best job of *developing* great — proven — talent? Paypal? Skype? Microsoft?
Would be nice to know.