As everyone on campus and in Nebraska is aware, the Husker football team has a new head coach: the one and only Scott Frost, the Wood River, Neb., native who led NU to a share of the national championship in 1997.
His first Husker team will be on display for the first time this month, and there’s more hype surrounding the football program than there’s been in at least a decade. And it’s not without reason.
Now, clearly I’m not closely involved with the Huskers’ program, and after watching the program struggle for relevance for most of my life, I’ve learned to take offseason hype with a grain of salt.
But it’s hard to be skeptical of the positivity oozing from the media. And given Frost’s track record as a head coach — taking 0-12 Central Florida to an undefeated record in two seasons — the proof is as vivid as Memorial Stadium’s new LED lights that Frost and Co. know what it takes to unify a group to work toward one goal. That is a skill that’s valuable beyond football.
First, Frost’s approach only makes me more excited to see how the Huskers fare this season and beyond. But second, it inspires me as I enter my biggest leadership role yet as The Daily Nebraskan’s senior culture editor.
Senior offensive tackle Tanner Farmer said in an Aug. 2 press conference that under previous head coach Mike Riley, players strayed off in multiple directions, without much coach-enforced order.
That’s all changed with Frost in charge.
“This year has been something that’s truly special for me, being able to experience this, have [coaches] that come in, really truly care about the guys, want what’s best for us as well as for them, push us to be the best that we can be, and really make it seem like a family,” Farmer said in the press conference.
From what I can tell, Frost leads with a set of principles that start with genuinely caring for the people he’s guiding. When he took over at Central Florida, he met individually with each player to get to know them, and like Tom Osborne during Nebraska’s glory days, he preaches the power of team unity. Frost said when he played for Osborne in the ‘90s, everyone on the team would “run through a brick wall” for the head coach.
To be a leader, you need to build trust with your followers, not necessarily so they’ll run through a wall for you, but so they feel comfortable in the direction in which you’re guiding them. If I accomplish anything at The DN this year, I hope I can establish that sort of bond with my staff.
Even if Frost proves one day to not be the answer Husker Nation’s been looking for, he’ll at least have served an example of how to lead through trust. Let him be that example for you.
Oh, and Go Big Red.
Senior culture editor
This letter was originally published in the September 2018 edition of The DN.