JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While the fire is still there, the approach is a little different for Tom Coughlin.
“The way to great leadership starts with service to others,” the former Jaguars and Giants Head Coach and now Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations said when he was introduced Thursday. That’s a departure from his former self where “top down” management was his hallmark.
Not to say Coughlin won’t still set the tone and make the decisions, but his “modern day” philosophy of motivation and leadership is updated from his first stint in Jacksonville.
“Tom Coughlin will be the dominant personality in the building,” long-time Jaguars reporter Cole Pepper said. “But he’s updated his leadership style a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how he works with the other two (head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell).
Quoting Pablo Casals, Coughlin said he wanted to follow the great cellist’s example of “getting better each day.”
Marrone might have a different style but carries the same philosophy when it comes to leadership.
“I try to win every day. You have to earn the right to win every day,” he said, which coincidentally is the title of Coughlin’s’ second book.
“He’s my mentor,” Marrone said after the press conference. “It’ll be great to have him right down the hall, only feet away to pick his brain when I need to.”
It became apparent to owner Shad Khan after talking to Coughlin about a role with the team that Marrone was a serious candidate.
“Tom gave me two names that he could work with, that he thought were good coaches, and Doug was one of them,” he said. “I didn’t know how close their connection was until I talked to Doug about working with Tom and he said, ‘That’d be fantastic.’”
"I have a vested interest in the success of the Jaguars in Florida," Coughlin said in his opening statement. "When people come together as a team, only then do you have a chance to win."
But it wasn’t until the questioning started that Tom’s fire started to blaze.
When asked if the focus would shift to winning, Marrone started to talk about that being the goal and that’s what they were trying to do.
“If we’re not here to win, what the hell are we here for!” Coughlin said, interrupting and causing a big laugh from the assembled media and guests.
Quick to point out that in his two years in Jacksonville he had “felt the pain” Jaguars fans have felt with losing football, Marrone sent a message to his players.
"Our players should be working right now,” he said.
And although he had said in the past he wanted to coach again, Coughlin said that this role, with input across the organization, is what he anticipated at this point in his career. But he was clear about the path the Jaguars will be taking.
"There's no easy way to success,” he said. “Mr. Khan's story is the great American dream. I'm thrilled to be back. Team above all else."