SWAT Series Part 5:
Defensive Coordinator Ideology
Gino Arcaro
CLN Consultant, Head coach, Niagara X-Men


Coach Arcaro

A “coordinator” is a teacher, curriculum

designer, strategist, and academic leader.

“Great call, coach!” This may be the worst statement that a coordinator can hear because of the potential consequence - it misleads.

It can change the real focus of what a coordinator does and what a coordinator is. “Coordinator” is often confused with “play-caller.” When candidates apply and interview for “coordinator” positions, they often focus exclusively on play-calling ability - what they have done or what they will do.

There are two syndromes that contribute to this:
- the “genius” syndrome
- the “video game” syndrome

Prior to the 1980s, the “genius” tag was reserved for those who solved world problems or made scientific discoveries. At some point, calling passes or blitzes changed the “genius” rules. The popularity of football video games emerged from the play-calling urge - the desire to become a “play-calling genius.”

Unfortunately, play-calling became a need - a need to contribute, a need to be recognized, a need for a coaching identity. It became synonymous with the job of “coordinator” even though play-calling is not a coordinator’s primary role or even his secondary role.

Play-calling is an outcome. It is the result of the combined effect of a coordinator’s total experience and of how a coordinator has done his job. Play-calling is a form of rapid-decision-making that emerges from the totality of all the coordinator’s competencies, skills, abilities, and characteristics that precede play-calling.

A “coordinator” is a teacher, curriculum designer, strategist, and academic leader. He forms the unit context, organizes/ensures delivery, motivates, plans and carries it out.

To succeed at the four roles, a coordinator must possess 15 competencies/traits: ... To read this article, and for full access to all CLN resources, get your MEMBERSHIP NOW.