AHCA – Assistant Coach to Head Coach

A new feature this year was a panel focused on professional development for coaches. David Quinn, Mike Cavanaugh, and Jim Montgomery all spoke on the transition from assistant coach to head coach. Here are some of the highlights.

David Quinn:

  • Connections, Networking & Experience – working camps can connect you with people you would never have known otherwise
  • A breadth of experiences was critical to him – he worked different jobs at different levels, allowed him to speak to a variety of challenges
  • You never know – you never know who you’re around or who you’re talking to – treat people how you want to be treated – he told a story of two people who came to watch his practice and then talk with him afterwards, they were sent by a school to see what he’s all about and how he treats people
  • Be prepared to take on challenges, build a diverse resume and eliminate reasons for people not to hire you

Mike Cavanaugh:

  • Head Coaches must empower their assistants to learn and do the things that head coaches do
  • You never know what a Head Coach does until you are one – you can do it but you never truly understand the experience

Jim Montgomery:

  • Work with good people and good organizations that support you and that you believe in
  • Do a good job and work with good people and you’ll be rewarded
  • Establish who you are – your beliefs drive who you are, how you practice, how you play and how you recruit

When putting a staff together, all three coaches looked for people that can recruit. If you can’t recruit, you can’t coach in college, but you also have to bring something to the table other than recruiting (video, goalies, communication, etc). They also look for someone who can coach – sometimes the HC has to go on the road and recruit, so they need someone who can run the show in their absence.

In the hiring process, all three spoke about how you have to be yourself and be honest in your interviews. Don’t try to answer how they want you to answer, answer honestly. Being able to speak from experience is a helpful factor – relate thing to what you have done and seen and it will help your interview.  Honesty and enthusiasm in interviews  can be the most important thing.

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