When Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks, people listen. Not only does he know how to communicate with his players, he’s also good at talking to college graduates. Make that very good.
In a recent study done by NPR (National Public Radio) of commencement speeches going back to 1774, Tomlin’s May 2008 address to the Saint Vincent College gradating class has been named as one of “The Best 300 Commencement Speeches, Ever.”
Tomlin is in great company on that list as he shares the honor with Mother Teresa, John F. Kennedy, Bill Cosby, Bill Gates and the Dalai Lama, just to name a few.
Thanks to Youtube, you watch Tomlin’s 2008 speech below.
While Tomlin’s not really considered to be a head coach that’s very media friendly, we do know that he’s good with his players.
Earlier this year, ESPN.com reporters asked players across the league which head coach they would most like to play for and Tomlin came in second behind Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
According to Scott Brown of ESPN.com back in January, Tomlin might have received more votes in that survey had some of the Steelers’ players that he polled not answered the question as the coach they would most like to play for aside from their own. In addition, Brown also eloquently wrote about why players like playing for Tomlin.
Tomlin’s greatest strength is his ability to connect with his players and motivate them. He has done this while also maintaining a clear line between a coach and his players that is necessary for the kind of sustained success Tomlin has enjoyed, the last two seasons notwithstanding.
The seventh-year coach is cool, confident — and, yes sometimes arrogant — and if there is any doubt how much faith the Steelers’ players have in him, witness the second half of last season.