Norris Vaughan and Dan Hinds are different types of coaches and found success their own way.
Chances are, however, if somehow they were ever on the same coaching staff they might be a little more alike.
It’s what the good coaches — just like the top people in any field — do.
They steal a little bit of influence from every source they can while staying true to who they are in order to forge their own way of doing things.
“Coaches have to be themselves, but when you come across a good one you try to learn from them and take away something you think works for you,” said Vaughan, who started his 28th season as a head coach, fourth at Mountain Pointe, this week.
Hinds, who is in his 12th season, all at Desert Vista, as head coach, said it would be cheating yourself if you didn’t try to glean a little bit of something from everyone you come across in your chosen profession.
“You learn as you go,” he said. “I had some great coaches coming up and it was new to me when I was hired. In those situations, you fall back on what you know, but over the years you find your own way.”
Hinds said his biggest influences were his dad, Bennie, who coached Pop Warner in Tempe for years, Karl Kiefer, from his time as a player under him at McClintock, and former Northern Arizona coach Larry Kentera.
For Vaughan it was high school basketball coach Bubba Ball, a no-nonsense disciplinarian who won two state titles in Georgia in the 1950s, and Erk Russell, the defensive coordinator (1964 to 1981) at Georgia for 17 years before winning three national titles at I-AA at Georgia Southern.
In reality, their biggest influences may have been themselves as they both readily admit as most would they are different coaches today than in their first couple of seasons.
“I was crazy,” said Vaughan, whose first head coaching job came in 1984 at Heard County in Franklin Ga., where he spent the first 20 years of his career at four different schools. “When you first start you are probably a little more intense than you realize. Some people might not believe I’ve calmed down over the years, but I’m different now.”
The one thing Vaughan sticks with no matter if it was in his first year at Heard County, his first coaching job in Arizona at Wickenburg, or his fourth with the Pride, is the fact that you cannot be fake in front of the players.
“You can’t fool the kids so be who you are,” said Vaughan, whose team is coming off a 6-5 season, the 19th winning season of his career. “In coaching if you try to be something you are not, you are going to be in trouble. The players pick up on the fake stuff so you have to be genuine.
“I am what I am.”
Hinds started to understand more about his responsibility once he had his first child as dealing with parents — a huge part of the job — became a little more important.
“All of a sudden I knew where they were coming from,” Hinds said. “Once you have your own you have a different perspective on things and understand a lot more. Until then you think they are crazy, but really they just love their kids and want the best for them.”
So each man enters another season doing what they love a little different than when they began.
They’ve changed and so has the game over the course of time. By the end of the 2012 season, which includes a Sept. 7 meeting in the Ahwatukee Bowl at Desert Vista, they will learn even a little more about themselves.
And yet both Hinds and Vaughan will also stay true to who they are.
“You have to,” Hinds said. “If you aren’t stable as the head coach the program as a whole will suffer.”
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