Leadership in Sports Julie Nierstedt, amanda McVearry, Mary Neely, Becca Waddell, Sutton Satcher

What is organizational leadership?

There is no single way to define leadership.

  • Contextually defined
  • Different depending on the person, occupation, organization, organizational level (Zaccaro & Klimoski, 2002)

Doctors Hersey and Blanchard defined leadership as, “the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation”

Leadership Communication Forms

Task oriented communication

  • Emphasis on the task rather than the individual performing the task
  • Does not take into account the feelings and opinions of others
  • Close supervision

Relationship oriented communication

  • Emphasis on the creation of a supportive, trusting, and respectful environment
  • No close supervision
  • Seeks and Acknowledges opinions and feelings (class powerpoint)

Leadership in Clemson Athletics

Wayne Neely, Clemson Football (1972-1975)

Wayne Neely, 1973

Wayne Neely played under Red Parker and Hootie Ingrum.

He highlights three valuable characteristics of leadership: emotional sincerity, equal treatment, and recognition of hardwork.

Mary and her dad at a Clemson game.
Coach Bill Spiers
Coach Brad Scott

You are tied for the 9th longest assistant football coach in Clemson’s history. What is the one thing you have noticed that makes Clemson stand out amongst the rest?

"The city of Clemson is a true college town that supports the University tremendously. The family atmosphere and the genuine concern that the faculty has for their students separates Clemson from the rest."

In dealing directly with the highschoolers making the transition to college what is the biggest piece of advice you could give them regarding leadership?

"Have patience and understand that the transition is not always easy and it requires time management, structure and commitment. Leadership and respect is earned not given."
Clelin Ferrell
Hunter Renfrow

What makes Clemson Football stand apart from the rest?

"Clemson stands alone in terms of its culture and family atmosphere. The leadership over the football team is why we have been so successful the past few years. Coach Swinney is a Godly leader that genuinely cares for every person associated with the program and that is why it thrives. A lot of coaches say they care about you, but Swinney shows it and loves it and that’s why we have been successful."

As a player, what do you define as leadership?

"A leader is someone who isn’t afraid to do the right thing or speak up even if he is going to be condemned for it. They are a person who can get a group of people together and empower them to do great things. They get people to WANT to do things."

How leadership has evolved over time

Task-Oriented to Relationship-Oriented

Coach Ingram to Coach Swinney

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Stanton Seckinger: "A leader is someone who is able to inspire a following of people and pull them together and push them towards a common goal.”

Connecting Classwork

Clemson Football has establishing a unified culture of strong leaders developing strong athletes who are leaders in their own rights.

Consultative style of leadership and supervision

Personal Reflection

Leadership does not have a one single definition.

Clemson's leadership style is defined by creating better people both on and off the field. They are relationship oriented and require both players and coaches to earn respect.

Leadership is set by example here at Clemson.


Ferrell, C. (2017, April 28). Leadership [Personal video interview].

Neely, C. W. (2017, April 18). Leadership [Telephone interview].

Pratt, A. Leadership Styles & Communication Forms. Lecture, Clemson.

Renfrow, H. (2017, April 16). Leadership [Telephone interview].

Scott, B. (2017, April 21). Leadership [Personal interview].

Spiers, B. (2017, April 21). Leadership [Personal video interview].

Zaccaro, S. J., & Klimoski, R. J. (Eds.). (2002). The nature of organizational leadership: Understanding the performance imperatives confronting today's leaders (Vol. 12). John Wiley & Sons.

Created By
Sutton Satcher


Created with images by Sweet Carolina Photography - "Clemson vs. Boston College" • hectorir - "Clemson Cheerleaders" • mblouir - "Tiger" • Shaggy Paul - "IMG_3877.JPG" • Shaggy Paul - "IMG_3851.JPG"

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