The Spartan Podcast

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Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis talk with Spartans Head Football Coach Mark Dantonio and Spartans Head Ice Hockey Coach Tom Anastos.

Both coaches discuss how they develop leadership on their teams and talk about the challenges and opportunities involved in building consistent winners in college athletics.

“Football programs are made up of so many different people, so there can’t just be one person leading,” says Dantonio. “Sometimes leadership is thrust upon our players and then they have to put other people in front of themselves, and then they push the others.”

Dantonio adds that leaders have to have confidence in themselves and the ability “to take some shots.

“To me leadership is about being an optimist, telling the truth and being trustworthy, staying fresh, and then getting involved if you want change. If you can push people in their intangible areas, then you can go further. And that’s what we try to do.”

“Developing leadership is a major focal point for us in trying to reestablish the culture we’re looking for in the program,” adds Anastos. “A key is attracting the type of kid who embraces the leadership role; not everybody wants to be in that kind of role.

“We try to put people in situations where they have to take on leadership. I also think your most experienced players should be your leaders, but you can’t force it on them. They have to earn it.”

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