Jim Caldwell delivered leadership speech at Morehouse

Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell spoke at Morehouse College on Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell spoke at Morehouse College on Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell delivered a speech titled, “The Six Pillars of Effective Leadership” to a crowd of about 350 students in the Bank of America Auditorium at Morehouse College on Tuesday.

The event was sponsored by the Morehouse Management Club. Caldwell took questions from a panel of students from Morehouse’s Journalism and Sports Program and then from the audience.

He stayed afterwards to take a picture with Morehouse head coach Rich Freeman and the football team, which made the school’s first appearance in the Division II playoffs last season.

(I chatted with him afterwards. I didn’t get any information on what the Colts are doing with the 22nd pick, five picks in front of the Falcons. He politely told the crowd he couldn’t talk about the lockout. He noted that the Falcons are slated to play at Indianapolis next season. Also, we talked about some PFWA business with the hope that the Colts start giving better access to their local media.)

Before I get to his speech, he noted that Peyton Manning has over 400 passing plays and 50 running plays at his disposal when he’s barking out signals at the line of scrimmage. That’s a bunch! I just thought he had a few plays and was making all of those goofy gestures to confuse the defense. The Falcons had 32 plays in their no-huddle attack last season.

ON TO THE SPEECH: The Six Pillars of Effective Leadership

1. Competence

2. Humility

3. Authenticity

4. Motivation

5. Passion

6. Service

1. Competence: In order to be competent he stressed that concentration is key.

He singled out Manning, here.

“He’s as bright of a guy that you’ll ever be around,” Caldwell said.

He spoke about Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers: The Story of Success.” He supported Gladwell’s notion that it takes 10,000 hours of work to perfect your craft.

“Commit to becoming an expert,” Caldwell said.

He noted that the first players to get cut in the NFL are those players who can’t learn the material fast enough.

2. Humility: He showed a clip of Manning at the line of scrimmage calling a series of plays.

“He’s confident and extremely humble,” Caldwell said.

He warned them about being dazzled by false prophets.

“I think we all know a lot of folks that have a whole lot of style, but no substance,” Caldwell said.

3. Authenticity: He told the students to be comfortable in their own shoes and spoke of how difficult it was following Tony Dungy as the head coach in Indianapolis.

“I had to be myself,” Caldwell said. “I couldn’t be Tony Dungy. There is only one Tony Dungy. He transcended our sport. . . I had to be very comfortable in my shoes.”

4. Motivation: He doesn’t like players who are motivated by money, because once they get a big contract their play dips.

He doesn’t like the players who are publicity hounds because they can be dysfunctional in pursuit of selfish goals. (Read: Reality shows.)

“No one lasts, but the self-starters,” Caldwell said. “They are highly competitive. They are those ‘Type A’ personalities that are driven by success. You have to make sure that you keep challenging them on a daily basis.”

5. Passion: “You’ve got to have passion in what you do,” Caldwell said.

6. Service: He noted that the coaching business in a service industry.

“I try to serve (my players) and help them get better at what they do,” Caldwell said.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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14 comments Add your comment


March 30th, 2011
12:56 am

Thank you Coach Caldwell for making the trip to speak to our Future Morehouse Men

Najeh Davenpoop

March 30th, 2011
2:38 am

I’m guessing end game clock management wasn’t one of the topics of discussion?

Tuesday NFL Wrap

March 30th, 2011
6:33 am

[...] Caldwell delivered leadership speech at Morehouse (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell delivered a speech titled, “The Six Pillars of [...]

Falcon James

March 30th, 2011
8:08 am

Well, they is a couple thing that ring true. First, the big contract money have a huge impact on player performance, see “Dunte Robinson” for instance. Bring on the replacement player so we have a season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 30th, 2011
10:49 am

Najeh — You are correct. Game clock management was not discussed.

Paddy O

March 30th, 2011
11:20 am

This is pretty funny. In two years, Caldwell has effectively made Indy a non-playoff team. The first year, due to dull and stupid decisions, he blew the Super Bowl. He will be terminated within another 2 years, as Indy continues its pursuit of mediocity. But, the AJC has never been too oriented towards constructive criticism in its sports pages. More comedic and analystic.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 30th, 2011
2:53 pm

Paddy O — Relax. He was talking to kids and trying to make a difference.


March 30th, 2011
3:52 pm

Thanks D.O.L. for all you do and thanks for a very nice article. As a teacher and a man that tries to set a positive influence on younger men I love these kinds of lessons. I will borrow from this and hope not to commit plagiarism. I also worry about the state of mind of some of the regular blogger here and on many blog sites when they have such negative attitudes and so much pent up anger. I can only pray for them. I will, however leave you with this Lou Holtz quote,’Desire, plots the course: Courage, goes the distance: Commitment, finishes the race.


March 30th, 2011
6:27 pm

HBCU Classic Sports Draft Board 2011 (11-21)

11. Jason House 5′11,185 FS Southn 10 ints 2009
12. Chris Adingupu 6’0, 189 FS PView All-SWAC
13. Phillip Sylvester 5’9, 185 RB FAMU All-MEAC, 4.39/40
14. Ray Webber 6′2, 218 WR UAPB FCS All-American
15. David Mims 6’8, 348 OT VA Union 3x All-CIAA
16. Josh Harrison 6’4, 285 OG SC State All-MEAC, 3x MEAC Champ
17. Dejuan Fulghum 6’0, 220 OLB Tx South 2010 SWAC Defensive POY
18. DeAngelo Branche 6′0 220 RB Norfolk FCS All-American
19. Andre Carroll 6’4, 280 DT Del St. FCS All-American
20. Frank Kearse 6′4, 302 DE Ala AM 2x All-SWAC
21. Marshall McFadden 6’1, 230 LB SC State All-MEAC,3xMEAC Champ


Paddy O

March 30th, 2011
6:46 pm

DOL: From what I have seen of Caldwell, he is an excellent man – very studious, deliberate and cautious. However, Dungy took those same traits and blended them with savvy and shrewdness, and little more intuitive force of personality (confidence combined with wisdom?), with an overarching calmness. It was a blow to the NFL when Dungy hung ‘em up. That said, this year is key with Mr. Caldwell & the Colts – a lot of their problems stem from being good for so long, and weak drafts the last few years (OL, WR).

All I'm Saying Is....

March 30th, 2011
7:00 pm

Paddy-O: Hmmm, let’s see: Caldwell is 24 and 8 in 2 regular seasons and 2 and 2 in the post season including one Super Bowl appearance. As for the decline from year one to year two of his tenure, I suppose injuries (ex. Bob Sanders), loss of key players (ex. Dallas Clark), and aging of your players (ex. offensive line) combined with sub-par drafts (which Caldwell does not run) had nothing to do with Indy’s troubles of late? That typed, they still made the playoffs each of the past two years. In fact, they were 10 and 6 and finished in 1st place in their division last year. Man, that really stinks. The Falcons should have such troubles in the future.


Adrienne Gallien

April 1st, 2011
10:35 am

THANKS for capturing my son, David Hughes a junior at Morehouse in the very act of networking with the Coach. Posting this photo was a hit with my San Jacinto College (Pasadena, Texas) speech students that had to make a 3-5 presentation this week offering to work (volunteer or paid) according to their present skill set and passion to a person in their chosen profession. I told them opportunity does not knock it stands waiting to be recognized. David siezed this opportunity to create a inroad in his field. THANKS again and again for the photo and the encouragement you brought to all the young men of Morehouse, especially David Hughes!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 1st, 2011
1:29 pm

Adrienne Gallien – Thank you for your kind words. Perfect lesson on networking for David. I just hope he’s not on the Morehouse football team because my Howard Bison are going to do some networking at RFK is Sept. on the Maroon Tigers.

Charles Lawrence

April 2nd, 2011
6:30 pm

I second that motion !………Howard Bison Alum also .