From the Editor: September 2017

Cultivating Character

Coach Muschamp defines the attributes of an effective leader

The coming of September marks the last tastes of summer relished over Labor Day, the return to “the routine,” the first hints of the refreshing fall weather to come, and the start of football. USC fans have much to look forward to as Coach Will Muschamp leads the Gamecocks in his second full season. 

While projections and statistics are abundant, we at CMM wanted to step back from the field and take a peek behind the scenes at what the normal, daily routine looks like for the Muschamps. To learn about how Carol and Will met, what Will sees as the greatest challenges he has faced, and how their family feels about life in Columbia, read Aïda Rogers’ article on page 54. 

I also took the opportunity to ask Coach Muschamp about his views on effective leadership. Leadership for him starts with exemplifying the positive character traits he hopes to grow in his players. “There are a lot of roles that are involved in wearing the head coach’s hat,” he says. “For my players to see me not just in the role of their coach, but also in the other roles of a husband and a father here in Columbia is really important. I try to really embrace that so I can show them how it is done the right way. I think that example should speak for itself.”

In Coach Muschamp’s experience, his father, Larry, was that strong mentor in his life who taught him how to lead and whose legacy he strives to carry on through his relationships with his players. “My father was a great story teller, a great teacher, a great husband, a great father, and a great example for me growing up. In our society today, the father figure is absent from a lot of households, and as a coach, I love that responsibility to be part of that role for a young man who hasn’t had a positive male influence in his life.”

Will hopes that his example from the top will cultivate a community of players who can together achieve greatness both on and off the field. While all of the leaders on his team have the commonality of experience and the contribution of peak talent to the team, some lead quietly while others do so more vociferously in making a positive impact on their teammates. Similarly, as a coach, Will makes it his job to reach players individually in their differences, finding unique “buttons” to push causing each one to tick. 

“Some are what I call self-starters and don’t need a lot of instruction to be motivated, whereas others need constructive criticism every now and again. There is a key to every young man, and it is my job as their coach to find that key and within that to have them understand that the team always comes first, and they have to earn anything they get. With that selfless model of unity over the self, great things can happen.” 

Well said, Coach, and good luck this season! 

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