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December 2007

December 2007


The Machiavellian Football Coach

by: Joseph L. Gagliardi
Asst Head Football Coach, Leyden High School, Franklin Park (IL)
© December 2007

Written in 1513 and published posthumously in 1531, The Prince (Il Principe) by Niccolò Machiavelli has become synonymous with ruthlessness and tyranny. Today, it is often read (along with Lao Tzu’s The Art of War, interestingly enough) in business courses as preparation for the cut-throat world these students are about to enter. A careful reading of The Prince, however, yields an insightful view into topics essential to becoming a successful football coach.

Before we set about analyzing The Prince from a coach’s point of view, we must address a central assumption made by Machiavelli. The Prince is written with the underlying assumption that all men are wretched creatures, behaving selfishly for their own benefits. It goes without saying that football coaches are among the most unselfish people around.

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