Committed to Excellence | Mike Singletary

by Texas High School Coaches Association


Your legacy as a coach finds its foundation in your core beliefs and your commitment to excellence both on and off the field or court. How do we define excellence? How do we maintain the highest standard of excellence? And how do we commit ourselves to being all that we can be EVERYDAY for the sake of the young student-athletes we serve daily?


The Coach

Mike Singletary, also called Samurai Mike, American gridiron football player who was the middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) from 1981 to 1992. The remarkably durable Singletary played nearly every down and missed only two games in his 12-year career.

Singletary’s father was an assistant minister whose strict adherence to rigid church doctrine prevented his son from playing football until he reached junior high. Although he was told that he was too small for the game, Singletary discovered a talent for delivering hard, decisive hits to ball carriers while playing linebacker for his high school team. In college at Baylor University, he averaged 15 tackles a game and was consensus All-American and Southwest Conference Player of the Year in both 1979 and 1980. Despite standing only 5 feet 11 inches (1.8 metres) tall, he established a reputation for hitting hard enough to break helmets—both his own and his opponents’—with his ferocious tackles.

Singletary was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft. Despite not starting for the first seven games of the 1981 season, he still managed to earn NFL all-rookie team honours. Singletary secured his hold on the middle linebacker position from 1982 and, beginning in his breakthrough season of 1983, Singletary was the Bears’ first or second leading tackler in each of his last 10 seasons. He played in 10 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1983 through 1992 and was first-team All-Pro in seven of those seasons. He was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1988, the former award coming after a season in which Singletary anchored what is often considered the greatest defensive unit in professional football history, as the 1985 Bears allowed just 12.4 points per game in the regular season and won their three play-off games by a combined score of 91–10 en route to a Super Bowl title.

In 2003 he became the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens, and two years later he accepted the same position with the San Francisco 49ers. When head coach Mike Nolan was fired during the 49ers’ 2008 campaign, Singletary was promoted to interim head coach. He led the team to a 5–4 record during the remainder of the season and was given the permanent head coaching position in 2009.

In 1998 he was awarded his sport’s highest honour when he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Since his retirement from professional football Singletary has been a regular on the Fortune 500 company lecture circuit. As a motivational speaker he's known for dynamic talks on leadership, teamwork and corporate diversity--a very hot topic today. Singletary has delivered successful presentations for such prestigious clients as ServiceMaster, Purina, AT&T, UPS, Bayer, Wal-Mart and Allstate. "Successful Meetings" Magazine lists Singletary as one of the hottest, engaging speakers available today.

Singletary's unique experience comes from his tenure as the captain of the NFL's Chicago Bears. As captain of the Bears, Singletary had a gift for bringing different facets of the organization together. He worked with upper management, middle management, and the players, helping them understand each others perspectives, appreciate their differences, and work together to get the most out of the organization. Building bridges is Mike's nature.

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Caterory: Coach Development/Leadership and Coaching