Chris Cosh: Man, Myth and Leader of Men

Motivating men.  Since the dawn of time, when the first man stood in front of a group of men and said, "Uh, who's gonna go get the food?" human beings have yearned for leaders.  Men of strength.  Men of purpose.  Men with gravitas.

Men...like Chris Cosh.

Sure, most leaders are successful.  Most leaders inspire you to greatness.  Most leaders don't allow their defense to give up 683 yards of total offense to, well, Baylor.  But Chris Cosh isn't that kind of leader.  He's the kind of leader that says, "I'll be Goddamned if I don't keep doing what doesn't work because I'm teaching these kids about persistence.  I'm teaching them about sawing wood.  I don't care if they're actually the piece of wood that's being sent through the buzzsaw; it's the principle of the thing.  We've got a plan, and we're sticking with it.  Even if it doesn't work."

When faced with adversity, most great leaders look for solutions to problems.  They look for creative ways to achieve their goals.  Hannibal crossed the Alps.  The Trojans made a horse.  Chris Cosh played mostly man defense against a team with better athletes.  It doesn't matter if that makes as much sense as dropping a sailboat in the middle of the Sahara.  It's consistency, and that's the most important thing.

It doesn't matter if you're consistently bad, like Cosh was as a coordinator at South Carolina.  Or when he was bad as a coordinator at Maryland.  Or now that he's awful as a coordinator at Kansas State.  It's about doing the work.  It's about keeping your head down and plowing through.  Even when it's obvious that keeping your head down prevents you from seeing obvious things like your team getting torched by the zone read again and again, or realizing that your team ranks 118th in the nation in rush defense.

None of that matters.  It's about being an example.  It's about being a lighthouse in the middle of a storm.  Sending your beacon, however dim it may be, out to the lost souls at sea looking for safe harbor.  Even if you can't figure out how to line up a safety and use him to stop the run or the pass, you can always be there.  A rock.  A useless, heavy, burdensome rock.

When I think of Chris Cosh's leadership, I think of Rick Moranis in Little Giants.  I think of a guy who really doesn't look or act like he knows anything about football, but somehow, some way, once in a great while, he may inadvertently Forrest Gump his teams to a win. And I bet, when he addresses his unit on Saturday against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, it goes a little something like this.

 

Motivational speech from the film 'Little Giants' (via TheBiscuitMafia)


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