The Dye-Gest: Leadership From the Top

Coach Pat Dye writes about the importance of top-level leadership in developing a football team.

While my life has been centered around college athletics, in particular football, I enjoy good football at the pro level, too, and I think this year's Super Bowl reflects well on both the New York Giants and New England Patriots organizations.

To be consistently successful on the football field, strong leadership is necessary and that starts at the top. I think that is something that both the Giants and Patriots have.

It's really the same way in college football. If you want to have a successful program, it has got to start at the top with the president, chancellor, trustees or whoever is responsible for the big picture. A college athletic director can't do his job without the necessary resources to be competitive and a head football coach can't survive without support from the university's administration.

I know at Auburn that football coach Gene Chizik and Jay Jacobs, who is running the athletic department as director, have the total support of the university's administration. Without it the Tigers would have not won the national championship in Coach Chizik's second season as head coach of the Tigers.

When I was head football coach at Auburn I was fortunate to have that same type of support and was appreciative of it after being in a situation where that wasn't the case.

When I was hired to be head coach at East Carolina by the president of the university, he was totally supportive of our efforts to build a successful program. We were a poor, upstart, no-money type of football program, but we were able to make progress. Our president didn't give us anything special to make it happen other than great moral support. He understood that you had to win and he did everything in his power to help make that happen.

However, when he left the university hired a replacement who everybody thought was going to be supportive of the football program, too. The first thing he did was tell us that we couldn't go out on the road and raise money to support athletics even though we were successful at that and we got the football program to the point in 1976 that it actually paid its own way for the first time ever at East Carolina. Because of that lack of support, I certainly understand the importance of the right kind of leadership from the top.

Both the New York Giants and New England Patriots have that from their owners and that explains why both of those teams have made multiple appearances in the Super Bowl in recent years. This year's competitive and exciting Super Bowl game is a tribute to how both organizations are run. Both are directed in a first class manner and that trickles down to how the coaches performed and how their players performed the game.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

Premium Subscription Signup

Pat Dye's Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Lodge

Pat Dye's Quail Hollow Gardens

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories