Successful NCAA Division I Baseball Coaches’ Understandings of their Roles and Responsibilities as Leaders in a Higher Education Context
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Certain coaches seem to have a basic blueprint for success that consistently puts them at the forefront of their respective industries. Within this blueprint are various components of leadership. The purpose of this study was to identify how successful NCAA Division I baseball coaches understand their roles and responsibilities as leaders in a higher education context. Eight NCAA Division I college baseball coaches were interviewed. Each guided his respective program to at least three regional playoffs over an 11 year span (2005-2015). A qualitative analysis indicated two major themes, and one minor theme. The two major themes were Winning and Coach as CEO, and the minor theme was Need for Personal Life. First, the coaches recognized that their main responsibility was to win. Before the team can win collectively, each member of the program had to win individually. Second, as the CEO of the organization, coaches understood that it was their responsibility to create a culture of winning throughout their program. This was done by setting high expectations for assistant coaches, and focusing on the overall development of student-athletes. One of the main challenges in strengthening a culture of winning was the entitled beliefs and behaviors of student-athletes. Third, coaches realized that in order to truly be a successful leader, they had to balance their personal and professional responsibilities.