Building Resilience Creates Teams of All First Stringers! University of Oregon’s Football Team Proves It!

The University of Oregon final 2014 football season games against Oregon State and Arizona certainly prove the benefits of working towards resilience! As announcers at the Oregon State vs. University of Oregon game constantly commented: “Oregon is the only team to have gone seven years in a row winning 10 games.” Chip Kelly built the resilient team and started the winning streak.

When Chip left to take over as head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, UofO’s Offensive Coordinator, Mark Helfrich, took over as Head Coach. And the UofO Ducks haven’t skipped a beat since then. They survived the departure of Chip Kelly, the brilliant leader who understood the need for resilience in order to overcome adversity no matter what the situation.

More specifics about Chip Kelly, Phil Knight, and other great leaders who understand the importance of building resilience attributes for their teams are in my Book, The DNA of the Resilient Organization. Two years after Chip Kelly left, the team he built (coaches and players) is a great example of what embedded resilience can do for an organization.

As Jason Quick, sports writer for The Oregonian, said after the UofO/Oregon State game, “No team in college football has been as dominant and destructive in their final seven games than Oregon. But more impressive than the seven consecutive weeks of scoring 40 or more points, and more staggering than the more than 24-point average margin of victory in those games, is how the Ducks did it. Their two most decorated offensive linemen watched from the sidelines [injured]; their best receiver blew his knee out before the season started. One of their spiritual and most respected leaders, who also happens to be one of their most important receivers . . . missed his third game because of injury. And the opening day starter at running back missed the past two games. The setbacks, the gut punches, go on and on. Yet, so have the Ducks’ big wins.”

How have they done it?  “As new Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost said, “…ever since I’ve been at Oregon, we’ve lost somebody we didn’t think we could replace, and somebody else has come in and done a great job.  So I trust coach Helfrich and the rest of the staff to get guys ready to play.”

The DNA of the Resilient Organization

The coaches and recruiters say that the Duck football program attracts a special kind of player – “…one who is selfless, smart and mentally tough …” It is ” . . . a program of excellence that focuses on one thing: Every guy out here realizes he is just one of many in the whole process, the whole system. .  .  we’re a team.  . . And everybody is expected to perform on this team. ”

The Ducks figured out how to build a resilient organization – you build unity: one collective heartbeat. 

1 thought on “Building Resilience Creates Teams of All First Stringers! University of Oregon’s Football Team Proves It!”

  1. Sandra, this concept certainly surpasses the long-time corporate notion of simply preparing someone to replace you. Being able to replace the whole team, as needed, piece by piece, with a coach/manager overseeing the training process, certainly works for Oregon.

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