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Monday, October 02, 2006

Better Football Coaching : Learning from the Best : More on Larry Kehres of the Purple Raiders of Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio

When we see the many coaching lapses apparent for teams in NCAA Division IA, we look instructively to Mount Union in NCAA Division III.

We have previously touted Larry (known to most simply as "LK") Kehres of the Purple Raiders of Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio as the best coach in college football.

We are not the only ones to point to the Purple Raiders as exemplary. Al Eisele in his blog at the Huffington Post, writes under the title Bush: Take a Lesson from the Mount Union College Purple Raiders:

"Kehres is one of the most successful football coaches in the country.

What's the secret to his success....

[Learning is the Measure of Teaching - No Excuses]

"I always try to get the assistant coaches who work with me to understand that if there's no learning by the kids, there's no teaching," said the 56-year-old Kehres, whose 29-year-old son Vince is one of the assistant coaches. "I've tried hard to get the coaches to accept that as the only measure of performance, and there are just no excuses accepted. If there's no learning, there's no teaching.....

[Give Credit Where Credit is Due]

If you've practiced well and prepared well and you still lose, then you have to give credit to your opponent. You have to respect the game of football and the other team.""

The site has an article which gives us more positive feedback in the same direction.
It's title?
Learning from the best (by Mark Simon)

Here are some of the things written and said about Kehres in that article by Simon:

[Motivation of Players]

"Players often say that they will run through brick walls for their coach. That's a respect that has to be earned. As Sirianni enters his first season with total control of a program, he knows what the key is....

[Getting Teams to Reach their Full Potential]

"He gets his teams to reach their full potential every year," said [Mike] Sirianni [now himself an extremely successful head coach at Washington & Jefferson College], who was a two-time All-OAC [Ohio Athletic Conference] wide receiver as a Purple Raider and won a national title in 1993. "That's one of the hardest things to do as a coach. Rowan had more talent than Mount Union every year we played them (in the Stagg Bowl) 1993, 1996, and 1998, but we won those games. Rowan had more talent, but Mount Union had the better plan. If we didn't reach our full potential in those games, we wouldn't have won them...."

[Staying Calm and Cool]

"Kehres isn't big on motivational speeches. A typical pregame talk may end something like this.

"Let's go out there at see what happens and we'll make adjustments at halftime."

"Coach Kehres gets better as the game gets tighter," Sirianni said. "When the game starts, he's calm. When it's 28-28 in the Stagg Bowl, he's calm."

[Being Innovative]

"Kehres isn't afraid to try things that may go against ordinary thinking."

[Right Treatment of Alumni and Players]

""Anybody who has been around Coach Kehres picks off certain things," said [Dean] Paul, who was there when Kehres took over the program in 1986 and though he didn’t win a national championship, was a two-time all OAC [Ohio Athletic Conference] running back and team captain. "Like the way he treats alumni.""

[Paul is coach at Thomas More College, where improvement is visible due to his coaching: "Week four of PAC football was highlighted by a pair of fantastic finishes. In league play, Thiel (2-2, 1-0 PAC) opened defense of its 2005 PAC title with a thrilling 17-14 overtime win at Thomas More (2-1, 0-1 PAC). "]

“I look at his stuff now and I'm not afraid to steal it,” Sirianni said with a laugh. “We stole (MU grads) Gary Smeck and Matt Laverde to be part of our coaching staff. We changed our preseason conditioning testing to what they do at Mount Union. We're going to recruit like them too. One of the big things I want to copy is how they treat their young kids. We're going to have an eight- or nine-game JV schedule. That’s a big part of their program. Coach Kehres coaches the second team harder than his first team. You never know when the second team is going to have to start. We hadn't done that in the past, but we will this year. Our second team kids will be worked hard.”

[Being Fair and Impartial]

Erik Raeburn, successful football coach at Coe College, and son of Larry Kehres' sister, is quoted as saying:

"I think (being related) gives me an even bigger advantage. I'm very close with him personally and professionally. I think he treated me just like all his other players."

Also of interest are these articles about Larry Kehres and the Mount Union Purple Raiders:

At the top of the mountain is Division III Mount Union, College Football Insider, Column from The Sporting News, January 5, 1998, by Tom Dienhart and Mike Huguenin, where we read:

[Long-Term Planning - Small can be Big]

"In the '70s or '80s, we wondered if it was really possible for a private college our size to compete nationally in a big-team sport," Mount Union coach Larry Kehres says. "Winning our first title in 1993 showed us we could do it. It also sends that message out to other small colleges, and to our town....

[Everyone has a Mentor]

Kehres ... credits former Mount Union teammate and current Carolina Panthers coach Dom Capers with helping him develop into a great coach...."

From the Portfolio at NYU:
COLLEGE FOOTBALL; The Division III Title Is Mount Union's Goal by Erik Boland, we take the following excerpts:

[Knowing the Game]

"He knows so much about the game,'' said running back Chuck Moore, who won the Gagliardi award this season, given to the top player in Division III. ''I love going to scouting reports on Mondays just to listen to him talk.''

[Practices are For Learning - That's Pressure]

"Rob Adamson, a junior quarterback, said Kehres's practices are one of the reasons his teams are so successful. The pressure of game day, even a national semifinal, pales compared with the pressure of practice...."


''I take the same approach during games he does,'' Grinch, the senior safety, said. ''I see how businesslike he is. That rubs off on the rest of the team...."

[Look Forward, Not Back]

''You can't let the past influence each day, except to learn from it,'' [Kehres] said."

We have coached and we agree. Kehres has it right.

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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