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For 50 years, he’s led with the basics

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Sometimes, leadership seems downright simple. You plan, and you work the plan.

That’s the credo of Augie Bossu, who at age 90 has taken a break as a football coach at Benedictine High School in Cleveland for the first time since Eisenhower inhabited the White House.

As head coach from 1955 to 1994 (he’s coached the freshman team since then), Bossu won 308 varsity games and four state championships in football-crazed Ohio. He also coached baseball, with five trips to the state’s final four.

Clues to Bossu’s stellar record:
  • He plans. Even now, the Monongahela, Pa., native and letterman at the University of Notre Dame has a plan: to recover from health problems this year and return to coaching next season. If that sounds tricky, consider that he put eight children through college on the salary of a private-school teacher/football coach.

  • He executes. Bossu’s favorite expression: “Let’s get to work.” That sometimes meant having staff over to break down film in his living room until 3:30 a.m.

  • He made his players work, too. The soft-spoken coach pushed his linemen to understand leverage and increase their quickness. And he catered to players’ strengths. Some of his teams threw. Others ran.
Lesson: If your situation seems overwhelming, get back to basics. Plan, and work the plan.

—Adapted from “Coaching legend calls timeout,” Bill Livingston, The Plain Dealer.

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