Ed Molitor, Sr., father of CEO of the Molitor Group Ed Molitor Jr., has been coaching for 42 years, but his experience with coaching reaches far beyond that. For his son and many others, Ed has been the personification of the answer to “what does a coach represent?” With football and baseball passions in his youth, basketball wasn’t really on his mind until high school.
In his freshman year of high school, Ed decided to try out for the basketball team, and when he made the team, his life-long love of basketball started. During his time playing high school basketball, Ed first witnessed what separates the bad coaches from the good ones.
These early coaches, including the coach sophomore year who cut him from the team, made a lasting impression on Ed and ultimately helped shape his life and career.
These early influences were a driving force in Ed learning the answer to the question leaders–both in sports and business–ask themselves every day, “What does a coach represent?”
For Ed, coaching has been a lifelong journey. With his deep roots in sports, coaches have always been a huge part of his life. In his early years, between football, baseball, basketball, and boxing, Ed experienced various coaching styles.
As he moved on to college, Ed continued to see different coaching styles and even started to think about what he would do if he were ever in a leadership position.
Ed served as the Assistant Basketball Coach at DePaul Acadamy from 1966-1968. This position was his first time in an official coaching role. During this time, Ed started to get an idea of how he wanted to represent himself to his team members.
As Ed continued his coaching career, he slowly started to piece together what makes a coach effective and leads a team to achieve great results. As he continued to observe the other coaches he worked with and reflected on the best coaches he had during his time as a player, one thing stuck out to him more than others.
Every great coach Ed worked with served as a positive influence for their players.
The Early Years of coaching
During Ed’s earlier years as a coach, he noticed that the other coaches he worked with continually encouraged their players. His first years working at DePaul Academy were the years of civil unrest, and many of the players on his team came from backgrounds heavily influenced by this movement. For these students, getting to school every day and getting to practice was a challenge.
During these years, Ed’s coaches showed a resilience that they passed on to their team members. Ed’s head coach at DePaul would pick up these kids from their neighborhoods in Chicago just to make sure they would get to school and practice safely. His resilience and positive influence went on to impact these students in profound ways.
During this time, Ed realized that coaching was about far more than simply showing up to the court and telling the players what to do. These early years helped to shape how Ed would coach for the rest of his career. Seeing these first players’ positive impact and resilience, the head coach showed him that a great coach represents far more than someone simply yelling orders.
For Ed, returning to his core values for all his coaching positions was essential. For him, a coach is a teacher, a counselor, a decision-maker, a leader, and more. He believes that coaches are forced into so many scenarios when dealing with teenagers that many coaches may not have thought they would deal with that each experience is a learning opportunity, and every coach’s philosophy will change with each new experience. However, the core values will always be there.
Ed’s core values are respect, dignity, and understanding. For him, he realized that there are outside forces his team members are going through, and to be a successful coach, he has to provide whatever that team member needs to get on the court and do the best he can.
Because each team member is different–they all have different personalities, skills, and experiences, he always fell back on treating everyone the same and deciding what was best for each individual and the team.
To treat each team member the same yet still treat each person differently based on their unique personalities and experiences, Ed switched his expectation of accomplishment but not his expectation of effort. Often, this meant keeping the age-old adage, “patience is a virtue,” in mind.
As a coach, Ed realized that it wasn’t just his patience that was tested but also his team members. He realized that each player was working at their own pace, and as one teammate advanced and another struggled, it could be challenging to manage expectations and keep the struggling player engaged and encouraged.
Because he saw how tough it could be for his team members to stay inspired for different reasons, Ed realized he had to inspire each of his players. If he could encourage them to show up for themselves and the team, then not only would the team perform better, but the players would also start achieving their potential.
So what does a coach represent?
In his 42+ years of coaching, Ed realized that a coach represents a positive influence, inspiration, a leader, a teacher, a counselor, and so much more. It’s an ever-evolving role that means different things to different people, but for him, it all boils down to his core values.
If you find yourself still asking “what does a coach represent?”, check out our full interview with Ed Molitor, Sr. For more great insights into coaching and leadership, don’t forget to visit our website.