Living in Georgia, there is much conversation regarding Mark Richt and how his calm demeanor is affecting his team’s performance. Before providing my thoughts, I would like to provide a little history on other low-key personalities in the sports world.
- Tim Duncan. Tim’s level of intensity was often maligned early in his career, particularly when Shaquille O’Neal was winning 3 NBA titles earlier this decade. However, once the San Antonio Spurs began winning titles, Tim’s low-key approach was deemed soothing and perfectly suited for the marathon season of the NBA. This personal approach was also attributed to the team peaking at playoff time and not earlier in the season.
- Eli Manning. Eli’s calm style caused many to be concerned if he possessed the leadership skills needed to command a huddle, quarterback a NFL team, and survive New York. Tiki Barber even questioned his approach in a book. However, when he won a Super Bowl, his style was seen as relaxing and theraputic enough to fit perfectly in the high demands of the NY market.
- Tony Dungy. After Coach Dungy was fired as the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s coach, the fiery Jon Gruden won the Super Bowl the following year. Tony’s perceived lack of intensity was viewed as holding the organization back. However, once he won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts, he was viewed as a leader of men and a model of personal dignity and behavior.
This brings me back to Mark Richt. No one questioned his style when the Georgia Bulldogs were #2 in the country a couple of years ago.
What is at play here is The Law of Momentum which states that momentum is a leader’s best friend. Georgia currently has no momentum. When a leader has momentum, they look better than they really are. If your organization lacks momentum, you look worse than you really are. Coach Richt is a great coach. UGA simply is not winning currently, and thus incorrectly reflects negatively on Coach Richt. Have patience and learn from the diversified strengths of the previously mentioned highly skilled, low maintenance personalites.