Michael Crane is the assistant women’s soccer coach at Florida Atlantic University and joined the program in April of 2013. Michael comes to FAU after serving as an assistant coach and interim head coach at the University of Cincinnati of the Big East Conference during the 2012 season, where he helped coordinate recruiting events and prospect correspondence throughout the country. Crane began his coaching career at Duke University as an assistant coach and goalkeeper coach, helping the Blue Devils qualify for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and NCAA tournaments.
Michael was good enough to sit down with Winthrop’s managing editor, Ryan Matthews, to discuss resiliency, humility, and coaching development, in addition to the success he and Florida Atlantic University have had on the on the field.
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Listen to the interview:
What is the most critical characteristic or leadership quality required in your position?
Of course the most critical characteristic is resiliency. We are working in an industry where success is something that’s very difficult to achieve. So, having the ability to bounce back or adapt to technological changes is extremely important because others are working to beat you.
From a leadership standpoint, the quality that I think is most required is humility. We deal with student-athletes, administrators, report staff that can all come from a different backgrounds, either from an athletics background or beyond. All are being put in the same arena, working towards the same goals, with one person asked to find success.
So, having the humility to understand whether an issue is a skill problem for an individual, or a group, and working together towards to a common goals is incredibly important.
What has surprised you most about working as a coach?
I can definitely say the amount of failure that every coach must endure, in terms of the recruiting class, or game, or season—it’s never perfect. It can look perfect on paper, but it’s never perfect. There are tons of failures that exist in any sport. The amount of failure you have to go through can be pretty challenging.
Additionally, the amount of management that goes into coaching at the collegiate level, it vastly out measures the amount of coaching. You have to prepare to spend a lot more time, from a management standpoint, dealing with aspects that have nothing to do with the things on the field.
How has the need for information and data evolved during the tenure at both your current position and in the span of your career?
When I got into college coaching in the fall of 2009, Twitter and Facebook were just beginning to be adopted by a lot more businesses and programs. Then it was as slightly less important for a program or a university to process information very quickly. Now, everyone has to have a Twitter handle or Facebook pages, simply for sharing information 24/7. Coaches having direct involvement in the release of information and the sharing of team information is a great benefit for all.
So, it’s definitely changed quite a bit and I’m sure it will continue to grow.
Who are some other coaches or leaders today that inform your coaching style?
You know, in any business you have your successful people and I’ve been very lucky to work with several very successful coaches throughout my career. I don’t think there’s any one coach or leader that could give you all the right information, or one individual who informs my style, but it’s the combination of those influences.
There’s a lot talk about how you develop a perfect coach. There are different methods or schools of thought…also, just having a full resume. But to me, it’s all about the people you surround yourself with—from an administrative standpoint—who you work for and with, those are the people who matter. I have been fortunate to work with a lot of successful Division I head coaches.
What are some success stories for your program and for yourself professionally?
We joined FAU in April, and in about the last probably 7-8 months now, we’re starting to see a turnaround. It’s pretty tremendous, we’re pretty proud of that. We’ve just closed up our first fall season at FAU, having joined Conference USA after being in the Sun Belt Conference. Just within the university, there’s been a lot of progress made.
The success for the athletic department can’t be measured right now in conference championships, and wins and losses. But already we have a great deal of positive feelings for the future and we expect that to pay big dividends.
I have been fortunate to work for and with some very prominent universities and to be a part of some very successful programs. I’ve also been in some situations that haven’t been as successful. Some of my success stories were not, on the surface, successful stories, but rather the bouncing back stories that are even more important because of all the failure we endure as coaches. Getting back up and getting the job get done is the most important piece for a coach. That’s success.