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Enterprise Marketing & Promotions Management

Management Lessons Learned From a Legendary Coach

By / July 2016


With the recent passing of the legendary Pat Summit, much has been written about her building of the Tennessee women’s college basketball program into a national powerhouse, and the management style she used to accomplish that with multiple national championships. Often referred to as the Tough Love Godmother, she was known for her intensity and demanding style. Whenever she and her team stepped onto the court, the only goal was perfection.

Several weeks ago I came across an article that showed some other dimensions of Summit’s leadership. It accentuated two other qualities that I believe great leaders possess. First, off the court, Summit was always there for her players, ready to help them be better in their personal lives with advice and counsel. And secondly, the story tells of how Summit learned the importance of managing through others – in this case, the outstanding point guard Michelle Marciniak. Summit was having trouble getting a heralded freshman to play more aggressively and up to her potential. Summit turned to Marciniak to help talk to this freshman about stepping up. It was Marciniak who motivated the young player to improve and lead Tennessee to three consecutive national championships. The freshman was the great All-American Chamique Holdsclaw.

So too in business, great leaders are there for their people, beyond just the workplace. And great leaders learn to manage through others. Great leaders realize they cannot do in by themselves, so they employ others to help maximize the performance of everyone.

Summit’s legacy includes many accolades and accomplishments in the sports world. But more importantly, she leaves many young women who are better people because of her. That is something she no doubt would be most proud of in her career – a next generation of leaders.

Contributed by Dave Henry, Board Member at Aptaris and Senior Marketing & Advertising Executive
Dave has over 40 years creating successful brands that customers love and companies depend upon. Nationally recognized for building the businesses of several large grocery retail chains, his career includes SVP of Marketing for Winn-Dixie and senior executive at Price Chopper Supermarkets and Star Markets division of Jewel Companies. He has been a leader at organizations such as the Food Marketing Institute and National Grocers Association. You can follow Dave on Twitter at: @d_f_henry.


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