Category Archives: Visionaries

Football Program Visionaries – Who is Darrel Davis?

Today’s post is the second in a series on the three types of change resources in the world of football.   Last time, we talked about a Builder, Urban Meyer.  Today we’re going to talk about Darrel “Mouse” Davis, a true football visionary.  Haven’t heard of him?  Join the club.

As a reminder, Visionaries seldom live in the present because they prefer to look at the opportunities of the future. They are big idea people, often seeing opportunities before anyone else.

Many successful football coaches in the 1960s like Woody Hayes espoused the ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ philosophy.  Hayes and Darrell Royal at Texas believed that ‘three things can happen to a forward pass and two of them are bad.’  So how did we get from that era to today’s multiple receiver, no huddle attack?

Say hello to Darrel “Mouse” Davis.  In the early 1960s as a high school coach in Oregon, he believed his young charges could take on Joe Paterno’s Penn State defense.  Why?  An offense that spread the ball to as many as four wide receivers.

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Davis spread (no pun intended) the news about his offense at all levels of football.  In over 50 years, he coached high schoolers, collegians, and professionals (impressively, in four leagues…the CFL, NFL, Arena, and USFL).

How does a small town high school coach impact decades worth of football players?  He was a Visionary.   He could see the opportunities that passing the ball would give his team and he took full advantage of them.

So, although there are surely some famous Visionaries (John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) and, some would argue, Steve Jobs), they aren’t all ‘celebrated leaders.’  Darrel Davis spent his lifetime ‘spreading the news’ about his vision and it impacted millions…even if few football fans know his name.

Photo Credit: http://www.bloguin.com/crystalballrun

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From Impossible Dream to Reality and Back Again!

Recently, I wrote about Daniel Nava, the 70 pound ninth grader who dreamed of playing Major League Baseball.  Nava saw his dream come true when he hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw for the Boston Red Sox in 2010.  So, you can imagine the frustration he might have felt as he spent the entire 2011 season in Triple-A, one step away from his dream.

After playing in only 88 of Boston’s 162 games in 2012, no one expected Nava to have a major impact in 2013 but, halfway though the season, this writer argues that he deserves a place on the American League All-Star team.

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Nava won’t be playing in the game tonight but don’t be surprised to see him in the future!

From dream (high school) to reality (grand slam in 2010) to dream (2011 in Triple-A) to reality (arguably one of the finest players at his position in the league), Nava’s story shows us that a vision doesn’t always come to pass all at once.  There may be many challenges to the vision that come your way but stay true to that initial vision…one day, you may find yourself in a place that you never even imagined!