Sooner or later all head coaches suffer a tough loss. It might be a game that you thought you should have won, a mistake that cost you in a close game, an official’s blunder or a bad play call. The game ends suddenly and a short time afterward someone from the media is asking you a tough question.
It is important to know that you as the head football coach may very well be defined not by your victories, but how you handle your defeats. Nothing you can say after a loss will change the outcome of the game. If you are being interviewed by a television or newspaper reporter, you need to think of that interview as a speech in front of a huge room of people. No one cares that much about what the winning coach says. All of that stuff sounds the same. But everyone wants to listen to the losing coach, just to see who he is going to blame for the loss.
Some losing coaches whine about the officials or bemoan the fact that the team didn’t play well. They may refer to a play that cost them the game. None of that will impress anyone. Even people that don’t have character hate to hear coaches make excuses.
Always prepare yourself for those moments. Compliment the other coach and team for their play. Refuse to make excuses. Don’t take the bait if the reporter wants you to criticize the officials. Use the media time to build your program and promote your team brand. When the interview ends, whatever your parents or players see or read should make them proud that you are their coach. Take a bad situation and make it into a winner.
Georgia suffered a bad loss to Texas in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia coach Kirby Smart was first class in the post game interview, refusing to make excuses and showing great respect for Texas in their victory. He also sent some important messages to his team. He solidified for everyone associated with Georgia football that he was the leader of the Bulldog program.
Check out this 8+ minute video and prepare yourself for that tough loss next year. Take advantage of the media opportunity to sell what you stand for. You never know who is watching.