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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 2/12/24 - If Andy Reid were a principal, where would he focus his time?

Happy Monday. 


I really enjoyed Super Bowl weekend.  The stories about the relationships Kansas City’s head coach, Andy Reid developed with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and other key players, caught my attention.  I wondered, if Reid were a principal, where would he focus his time?


I believe he would:

  1. spend a lot of time developing trust with teachers

  2. work daily to develop assistant principals and instructional coaches by asking questions

  3. work daily with selected teachers to develop skills and develop personal relationships to leverage impact


Here’s what he did to build trust when he arrived at Kansas City in 2013:

When Reid first started in Kansas City, the team was weathering a rough patch, and he needed to quickly build trust with his players. So he established regular meetings of a “player’s leadership committee,” where one player from each position room was invited to share any of his group’s concerns.

“Whenever we started that meeting, the first thing he would say is, ‘All right, what gripes do you have?’” former Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson told ESPN in 2020. At the meetings, players could complain about anything: the length or intensity of practices, the food in the cafeteria or whatever else was on their minds. It was an open forum for team members to air their concerns.

Reid’s meetings did more than just allow players to vent. They gave him a chance to act swiftly to address their concerns, too. When players said they were wearing pads too long and running too many plays at practices, Reid immediately changed his practice formats, Johnson said.

“It was that quick,” Johnson said. “Most of the things we brought to him, he trusted just like that.”   (excerpted from: CNBC, Natasha Pinon)

If Reid were a principal, he would definitely work daily with his assistant principals and instructional coaches.  Read his own words:

"I've got this coach that's tougher than shoe leather, but he was a teacher of coaches," Reid noted. "He'd have a banana, an onion bagel and a glass of water, and this was at 6 in the morning. He'd go 'If you were presented this defense right here, give me the top three runs and the top three throws you would do.'

"Then he had me explain to him how I would coach every player out there. He'd do this every day to me and just grill me. I was just out of college and he'd just grill me and grill me."


This is how one of the greatest coaches in NFL history got indoctrinated in the coaching world.


At the crack of dawn every morning, Rowen, who would develop three NFL head coaches during his time at San Francisco State in Reid, Holmgren and Dirk Koetter, would make Reid explain how he would coach the techniques to every player on the field for multiple plays against multiple defenses. (Excerpted from: The Andy Reid Story, KC Chiefs’ website:


Here’s how he developed personal relationships to leverage impact:

Reid calls Mahomes at random times to discuss plays, including at 4 a.m. And Mahomes doesn’t mind. The two meet privately in Reid’s office every Friday before a game. It’s Mahomes’ favorite time of the week.

Mahomes speaks as if speed reading aloud. Reid talks like he walks: slowly and usually without going far. But they both process their chalkboard like Max Born and Robert Oppenheimer processed theirs. Reid has said he feels challenged by Mahomes because his aptitude for the game is “ridiculous.” The same adjective would apply to Reid’s.

There is a warmth between Mahomes and Reid that could not be contrived.. Like an old couple, they sometimes finish each other’s sentences. Beyond warmth, there is trust.  Mahomes is honest with Reid when he doesn’t like one of his ideas.  And  Reid says he appreciates it. (excerpted from, New York Times, Dan Pompei)


School leaders aren’t really head coaches…but their work is far more important...and the steps needed for success are remarkably similar. 


When you have your SAM Daily Meeting look at the events you have scheduled for the week.  Can you find events that build trust?  Can you find events where you will ask questions of your APs and instructional coaches to build capacity?  Cany you find events that build relationships? 


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