Thursday, March 11, 2010

KU coach Turner Gill gives glimpse of his style: building character, with no cussing

New KU football coach visits Leadership Lawrence class

Turner Gill, the new KU football coach, addresses the Leadership Lawrence class at the Sunflower Broadband offices on Thursday, March 11, 2010.

Turner Gill, the new KU football coach, addresses the Leadership Lawrence class at the Sunflower Broadband offices on Thursday, March 11, 2010.


Members of the Leadership Lawrence class on Thursday got a peek inside the mind of new Kansas University football coach Turner Gill.

What they found is that it is clean cut.

“It probably doesn’t have to be this way,” Gill said in response to a question about how he selected his assistant coaches, “but I decided that I was not going to hire anybody who was going to be cursing and using that type of language. We are here to develop these people as young men, so we don’t need to do that.”

Gill said the policy fits with his belief that coaches must first have a passion for training young athletes. That means communicating with them in meaningful ways, he said.

“I want all of my coaches to be able to explain to our students how they are going to do something and why it is important for them to do it,” Gill said.

Now, Gill wishes he would hear more from young people. He told the Leadership Lawrence crowd that one of the larger concerns he has about members of the 18-to-23-year old age group is that many struggle with verbal communication.

“I really want to help them learn to move their mouths and talk,” Gill said.

Coaches on Gill’s staff often are instructed to pull a couple of players aside after meetings just to talk with them.

“I want to get them talking about something — it doesn’t have to be about football — but something that involves more than just yes or no answers.”

Other thoughts from Gill — who was the guest speaker at the leadership class’ monthly gathering — included:

• Players will be expected to donate at least two hours of time per semester on projects or causes that are designed to help others.

“We all know deep down that when you do something for somebody else, you really end up feeling better about yourself,” Gill said.

• He’s a big believer in note taking.

“If you show up to class every day and take notes in a proper way, you won’t fail a class,” Gill told the crowd. “You may not get an A, you may not get a B, but you aren’t going to fail.”

• Players are frequently encouraged to improve their relationships with family members. Gill told the crowd about a player he had at the University of Buffalo who confided that he did not often tell his mom that he loved her. So Gill set the player up on a schedule to call his mom at 2 p.m. each Sunday. Not only that, Gill would check in with the mother occasionally to see if the calls were still coming.

Suffice it to say, the mother became quite a Gill fan.

Gill also was well received by the Leadership Lawrence class.

“Everything he said resonated with me,” said Mark Hummel, a member of the leadership class. “He didn’t talk about wins and losses. He talked about building young men. It was really refreshing.”

Well, there was a little bit of talk about wins and losses.

“Yes, I know,” Gill said as he raised his hand and waved it, “I’m here to win football games. I know if I don’t, I won’t be here very long. But I understand my purpose, and I know it goes deeper than football.”


hawk316 12 years, 3 months ago

Somebody pinch me. Am I dreaming? The more I learn of this man, the more impressed I am. Folks, this is one quality human being now leading our football program, and we are extremely fortunate to have him. Quite possibly the day will come when it is said of Lew Perkins that his greatest accomplishment while at KU was his decision to hire Turner Gill as head football coach.

KULee 12 years, 3 months ago

Gotta love someone who can see passed themselves, to the things that really matter.

milehighhawk 12 years, 3 months ago

Awful, just awful.

We don't need some goody-two-shoes giving people life lessons, we need a hard-a$$ who will turn them into absolute monsters on and off the field.

I's like he actually CARES about their well-being.

Give me a break.


bpjhawk 12 years, 3 months ago

Wow, is this man human? I'm with 316, I keep getting more and more impressed with our coach. I really, truly hope this translates on the field!

Jayhawk1116 12 years, 3 months ago

I think it's great that Gill wants to make better people out of his players, and I think he's a great role model. But, like Gill said, if he doesn't win football games he won't be here very long. He was hired to win football games as a head coach. He wasn't hired to be a motivational life coach. If he can do both, great!

But, ultimately, his success (and longevity) will be measured in wins and losses. Terry Allen was a great guy and a players' coach too. Great guys don't always make great coaches. I hope Gill can make it work.

johnnyphoton 12 years, 3 months ago

I love it, really love it. So . . . how does this resonate with athletes who grew up cursing?

Gordon Penny 12 years, 3 months ago

Yes, yes, yes. This man is a quality man. We all knew that. There was never any dispute as to his character. I hope he can win games as well as he can talk a good game.

Chris1955 12 years, 3 months ago

I think that Lew may have hired someone who he is grooming for a position beyond Head Football Coach. If I recall the timeline, on Lew's interest level in Turner Gill, Lew's admiration for Turner has existed for sometime. I know some people who have posted on Turner's hire, have speculated about Turner leaving KU to become Bo Pelini's successor. While this indeed may remain a possibility, let me advance my own thought. If the NU Head Coach position becomes available in a few years down the road, what would job would trump Turner Gill becoming the Head Coach at NU? Answer: Turner Gill becoming the AD at the University of Kansas. Turner Gill has used his football ability to become a positive force in the world, and still doesn't believe that he has reached his pinacle yet. I don't think Lew thinks Truner has either.

I believe that the best CEO's in the business world, not only make their companies the best they can be, they also find, cultivate, and mentor their sucessor. Continental Airlines' CEO, Gordon Bethune chose this stategy with his successor Greg (can't think of his last name). It led to very seemless transition, and continued success for Continental Airlines.

Now whether or not Turner is aware of this plan or not, only time will tell. He probably is not. Personally, I think this theory makes sense, considering the better resumed candidates who expressed interest in the job, and who didn't even get so much as an interview with Lew.

At Lew's age, he is approaching his end game as an AD. I think that Lew is looking at not only rebuilding KU football, but also trying to find someone dynamic enough make KU a national dynasty in football and basketball. People love a winner, they absolutely go nuts over a wholesome winner. Tiger Woods proves this theory. It's too bad he misrepresented himself to the public.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

treidy 12 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, yeah, we all know he is a good man and a so called players coach. But I am still not impressed. Has not proven himself as a coach and still hasn't proven he deserves to be at KU.

Please no more articles unless about him until he actually does something like win a game at KU or even better win a game in the Big 12 or perhaps win a BCS Orange Bowl. Until he does that lets stick to football articles about the players, the recruits, the schedule, the depth chart, etc.

Mangino_Maniac 12 years, 3 months ago

I don't know folks... is it just me or is Turner someone you couldn't share a beer with while talking x's and o's?

Lone_salina_kufan 12 years, 3 months ago

Personally, I think coaches that have rolled up worksheets have worked very well for KU. (See pic)

John Brown 12 years, 3 months ago

Sounds intelligent. How does the use of profanity improve meaning or understanding in communication of goals or instruction? Using profanity is kind of like speaking louder to someone who speaks a different language. The dumbness rests upon the profane or loud speaker.

John Boyle 12 years, 3 months ago

milehigh and treidy and others, Yes by all means lets hire a coach that is a lying cheating drunk to coach college athletes. The overwhelming majority of KU's athletes (and athletes at Texas, Florida and all other major programs) do not go on to play pro ball. The game needs more coaches with the integrity shown (so far) by Mr. Gill. You can have integrity and win. And you can certainly refrain from swearing and ranting and raving to get a point across to young people. If that is how you act, they just tune you out anyway. Show respect to get respect. It is an old adage but still true to this day. You guys are comdemning him as a bad coach before you have seen any results. You assume that you have to be some sort of jerk to win games. That is not true at all. I like what I've seen, let's wait to judge until we've seen the results of his coaching style.

headherbie 12 years, 3 months ago

He is all about character. He is cut from the same cloth as Tom Osborne who he played under and as been a winner everywhere he has ever been. It was a tough choice for us Husker fans between Gill and Pelini, but our program needed to reestablish the Blackshirts. Most Husker fans will be rooting for Gill, except when he plays us and we want him to build the Kansas program. It would be good for us all. The North Division needs to become more balanced with the South. We need more stronger programs so we are not so much the laughing stock of the conference and the national media can't make fun of us anymore.

Jim Williamson 12 years, 3 months ago

"Yeah, yeah, we all know he is a good man and a so called players coach. But I am still not impressed. Has not proven himself as a coach and still hasn't proven he deserves to be at KU."

As someone who's been watching KU football for 35 years, I have to ask: what do you think KU has done to deserve a top-flight coach?

hskrzfan34 12 years, 3 months ago

As a life long Husker fan, I can tell you, that I think KU fans will be very pleased with Coach Gill. He's an amazing man. Don't forget, he's a big Tom Osborne under study, student & former player. You guys have some real class over there at KU now. The only game I hope you all lose each year, is to the Big Red!!!! :) Whatever you do, please beat Mizzou.

KURocksChalk 12 years, 3 months ago

Very interesting speculation Chris1955. You could be dead on. I think he would be a perfect AD. His style and values scream AD. He can surround himself with bean counters for the business side of things if needed, but he has the most important attributes it seems. In fact, why stop there? How about Governor? After he wins a National Championship I think he could win and instill some character back into government.

I still think that we will be at least 6-6 in his first year. I hope even better.

Joseph Kuebel 12 years, 3 months ago

Mangino_Maniac (anonymous) says… I don't know folks... is it just me or is Turner someone you couldn't share a beer with while talking x's and o's?

Are you kidding me?? I would guarantee Turner's wife knows more about X's and O's than you indicated by your username you obviously have no intelligence.

hawkward1 12 years, 3 months ago

Well, let's see how many *&^%ing Orange Bowls this get us! If we just flushed $4M good contract dollars down the toilet on a Terry Allen type so that we don't have the image (gasp) of a large, profanity-laced tirade of an accomplished football coach waltzing up and down the sideline in a custom-made sweater, can someone cuss at that?

Mangino_Maniac 12 years, 3 months ago

CaliHawk33... doesn't sound like you'd be much fun to share a beer with either... ;-)

BTW... I picked my username nearly seven years ago, so I've been here awhile. Relax.

Tim Bingaman 12 years, 3 months ago

Seems like a crazy way to pick a staff.
TG: "What is your favorite movie?" Candidate: "Air Bud: Golden Receiver" TG: "Great Movie, I too love talking dogs" TG: (Accidentally spills a boiling cup of hot coffee on applicant's crotch) Candidate: "GOLLY, OH MY GOLLY!!" TG: "hired!"

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