Looking for Leaders? Look First to your coach, then your Captains !


Picture Credit: Yale University

As an Eli, IAI admires the 22 year tenure of a true gentleman, Thomas A. Beckett, Athletic Director at Yale University. Tom has been consistent in his Boola Boola career: “Athletics at Yale builds on a great competitive tradition as well as the outstanding talents of our coaches and student athletes.” What IAI really likes about Tom is that he updated the Yale Athletic Department mission statement a couple of years ago: “WIN, AND OFTEN” right? Not quite, the focus is on leadership:

The mission of Yale varsity athletics is to attract outstanding student athletes, who aspire to undertake the challenge of a high-level education while proudly representing Yale University in the pursuit of championships. Through exceptional facilities and coaches, Yale Athletics ensures that our students learn the important values of leadership, integrity, discipline and teamwork.  The aspiration is that in the course of preparation and competition, students enter a co-curricular laboratory for learning that will fit them to lead in all of their future endeavors.

Make winning a TEAM Habit: When he was reappointed to a second five year term in 1997, President Levin lauded him, “Tom has worked tirelessly and effectively to revitalize Yale’s athletic facilities and to develop community outreach programs that link us with the young people of New Haven.” He set as his goal then, the New York Times reported, “to be champion of champions.” One of the greatest football coaches of all time, Vince Lombardi declared, “Winning is an all-time thing; winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”


Picture Credit: Quotesgram

Seek out mentors, and define your vision: From his own foundation site, Vince is acknowledged for “his ability to teach, motivate and inspire players helped turn the Green Bay Packers into the most dominating NFL team in the 1960s. A tireless worker, Vince ” started his coaching career at West Point in 1949, while learning under the direction of the great Red Blaik. (Under his mentor Blaik), Lombardi identified and developed what became the hallmark of his great teams……simplicity and execution.”

Inspire your family of scholar-athletes and always be ready to play: Hanover High School Girls Ice Hockey Coach John Dodds was inducted into the New Hampshire Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016. John’s teams have won seven straight New Hampshire state titles (NHIAA Division 1) and explained in the Valley News, “It’s like any game: We emphasized being focused and ready to go right off the bat.” The Hanover High School Girls’ Ice Hockey program is likely the oldest girls’ public high school ice hockey programs in the country, playing competitively against secondary and preparatory schools in New England since 1987. The team’s web site makes the mission clear: “Excellence on the ice and in the classroom are team expectations and traditions, as are community service, and a team vibe and morale based on a family-like culture.”


Picture Credit: HNIB-news.com -John in the middle

Put your best foot forward: Recently, Yale opted to outfit all sports teams with new equipment from UnderArmour under a full departmental partnership which now encompasses 20 schools (Maryland, Notre Dame, Auburn, the Naval Academy and others) – a phenomenon that Ideas About Innovation showcased on September 29th, 2016 here.

There is no “I” in team: Part of the culture of TEAM is the uniform, the cheers, the competitive spirit and, yes, the mascot. Yale Athletics conducted a national search for the next mascot after the passing of Sherman (Handsome Dan XVII) until it located an Olde English Bulldogge who was born on Sept. 23, 2016, and is a true New Englander, coming from a breeder in Maine and delivered for “mascot training” two weeks ago. Yale was the first American university to embrace a mascot way back in 1890.

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