They have always been the iconic role models that have shaped thousands of lives, from little league to the highest level of competition. They are dedicated and driven, mercurial and emotional, volunteers and mercenaries, teachers and mentors. They are coaches. Yet for all the time, effort and value they put in, these men and women usually never get the recognition or capitalize on their success as much as the athlete. Sure there are the superstar.Lombardi, Parcells, Torre, Bryant, Jackso.that have crossed over into the mainstream, as much as for their personality as for their onfield success. However as a group, probably because the very nature of coaching is selflessness and the field is so transient, coaches have rarely united as a brand to drive revenue and interest in the profession.
However that has changed in recent years, as large groups of coaches have been able to unite and become very effective in leveraging their experience and time in philanthropic endeavors. Whether it is coaching in tuxedos, wearing pins for Alzheime.s or Autism awareness, getting teams to wear pink for Breast Cancer, not wearing shoes to generate interest for destitute children in Africa or raising money for cancer awareness by staging events and special tournaments, the coaching fraternity has found its niche as a brand. The latest example of a mass fundraise for cause was documented recently in the New York Times, where Villanova football coach Andy Talley went through his vast network of former players and their families to build a huge chapter for a Bone Marrow registry.
Is the mass fundraising and awareness effort by coaches just an extension of their usual selfless work, or can it lead to bigger branding opportunities on a commercial leve. There are always the coaches and former coaches who break through in beer commercials, and other individuals who find their niche in other business campaigns, usually after they have retired. But for a non-traditional brand that is looking to find the right core group of motivated, well spoken and dedicated spokespeople, whether they are head coaches or the mass of assistants, perhaps the coaching fraternity is an undervalued asset. It certainly has been on the charity side, and the results there have been outstanding.
Some other good reads…USA Today had a good profile of Nike CEO Mark Parker…Hoops Hype had a list of the top 10 NBA players on Twitter…and the Sports Business Journal had a good piece on the new partnership between Bloomberg Sports and MLB.com…