Summer 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Margot Galt

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Nick McCarthy

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Tony Capecchi


The research question addressed in this project was, what factors contribute to an elite high school football program. The motivating factor for this capstone was one teacher-coach’s desire to understand what differentiates lasting levels of on-the-field success for high school football programs. This capstone was designed to ask high school football coaches their perspectives and methods in their respective high school football program. Previous studies on the definition of elite, organizational culture and support, coaches, and athletes aided the researcher in obtaining background information of successful organizations in various domains. Five high school football coaches, who met the criteria of elite, and four non-elite high school football coaches participated in the in-depth interview research. Participants responded to questions that asked for information regarding the categories of: background information of the head coach; assistant coaches; personnel and their use; philosophy and schematic approaches; practice structure; community interaction; perceptions of elite success; and challenges faced. The responses to the interview questions with elite and non-elite football coaches show that the four main thematic findings across all questions and categories on factors contributing to an elite high school football program were: 1) mentorship beyond the game; 2) organizational and cultural alignment; 3) staffing; 4) simple focus.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Case Study, Focus Group, Interview


Leadership, Motivation, Athletics, Coaching, Organizational Culture

Included in

Education Commons