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Leadership made of Pittsburgh steel

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

One definition of leadership is looking for what needs to be done and then doing it. By that definition alone, Tom Mawritz is a leader.

The volunteer football coach, age 51, from Pittsburgh has been coaching the South Allegheny Youth Football Association since its first practice four years ago.

“There’s a lot of people who help, but some of the parents you never see or hear from,” says Glen Young, the association president. “Here’s a guy who has no one related to him in the program; he’s just doing it out of love for the game and the kids.”

Aside from his dedication, some other aspects of Mawritz’s leadership:

Perspective. “Some coaches, you can hear them yelling three miles away,” Young says. “Tom always has a very calm voice. If he sees a kid doing something wrong, he takes him aside and explains how to fix it.”

Persistence. The children see a stick-to-it attitude. “If he’s not at practice, you know there’s something wrong,” Young says.

Reliability. “Anything I need, he’s always here,” says Brian D’Antonio, head coach of the 12- and 13-year-olds. “He’s the most reliable guy I’ve ever coached with.”

Passion. Mawritz’s influence extends to the coaches, too. “I was taking all this stuff for granted,” says D’Antonio, who’s been reignited by his fellow coach’s passion for teaching and learning. “He reminded me why I started coaching.”

Mawritz received the Pittsburgh Steelers MVP Award this fall, and for the past three years, the youth association has bestowed a Tom Mawritz Extra Effort Award.

“The keyword is ‘positive.’ I mean, you have to be,” Mawritz says in a Steelers video. “There’s no other way to go about it. You start being negative on things, that’s the way it’ll go.”

— Adapted from “Passion for kids keeps man coaching,” Kate McCaffrey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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