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Rick Coles is in his 23rd year as a faculty member and coach for Ripon College’s football program, where he currently serves as the team’s offensive line coach. He served as the team's offensive coordinator for 16 years from 2004-2019. He also serves as Ripon College’s Pieper Chair of Servant Leadership. Below is an interview with Coach Coles that addresses leadership behavior beyond the X’s and O’s. The interview was conducted and edited by Mickey Babjak, Erik Frafjord, Daniel Garcia, Reece Schreckengust, and Zach Gustafson, all members of the Ripon College Business Leadership course in the fall semester of 2021.

Please summarize your own personal story from adolescence to your career as a leader. How did you first decide that you could be an effective leader?

Well . . . I don’t really know how to answer that. My personal story as a leader...you know I’ve been involved in organized athletics since 7th grade, and I probably led by example, maybe a little verbally through that. I think sometimes circumstances put you in a position where you either have to become a leader or you don’t stay in those circumstances; and I think coaching and teaching are a couple of those circumstances. I don’t know if I am considered by others as a leader or not, I just . . . I do me and you know . . . I think that some people anyway look at me as someone that leads, but I think the circumstances of my life are what put me in a position of leadership.


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