Tony Vance, Changing a Losing Culture

Turning a team around, both mentally and physically, is tough. Through hard work and creating a culture of perseverance, dedication, and discipline, one coach flipped the script on a struggling team and pushed them to excel. This week, we hear from Tony Vance, head coach and athletics director at Hattiesburg High School, in Mississippi. He shares tips on building a strong and committed football team through encouraging athletes to try their hardest both on and off the field.

When he arrived on the job, his team was consistently losing. The first year with him, they won four games, then five, then eight, then 10. Last year, they were 14 and 1 and the players were recognized statewide as scholar athletes for their high performance in the classroom, as well. Through encouraging both academic and athletic success and the importance of being an upstanding person, his players have come full circle and are now primed for success.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Motivate kids on the field by supporting them in the classroom
  • Teach kids to practice discipline
  • Build culture and character within a team
  • Help kids understand failure as a reason to try again
  • Compete with yourself more than with anyone else


“I’m a big believer if you win in the classroom, you win on the field. If you’re failing in the classroom, you’re going to fail on the field.” -Coach Tony Vance

“It wasn’t all about football. It was about making them better people, and preparing them for life, and giving them the opportunity to be successful.” -Coach Tony Vance

“(It’s important to be) just competing, doing your absolute best, doing better this time than you did last time, and understanding that I have to push myself and I have to compete against that guy in the mirror more so than anyone else.” -Coach Tony Vance

“That’s one of the aspects that I think we’re missing a lot—that self-competition, that self-motivation, not worrying about what’s being said on social media.” -Coach Tony Vance

I don’t think it’s ever too early to start competing, but I think there’s a time and place to worry about winning. There’s a difference.” -Coach Tony Vance

Contact: You can follow Coach Tony Vance on Twitter @tv2p. You can follow the Hattiesburg Tigers on Twitter @hburgtigers.

Facebook Comments

Join the discussion


Episode 97