He needs to control his emotions and learn how to win close games. There were several references to his fiery personality during his press conference. This was a comment about him "intimidating staff" when he walked in. If you look at his face it clearly made him uncomfortable. People might love his fiery personality but it worked against him at Holy Cross.
As I have posted often on Crossports, my first encounter with Tom that we both remember vividly was at a local Holy Cross alumni club meeting which I hosted - the first he attended - perhaps within a couple of weeks of him being hired as our head coach.
We had heard about his fiery personality so after the AD and he spoke and time for Q&A, I said: "You come here with a reputation for being 'intense,' would that be an accurate description?" He looked at me and he was caught just momentarily off-guard that someone (who he could break in half) would have the temerity to ask him that. But then he said, "I would rather think of it as being 'focused'." Often we would be at other alumni events in which he would laugh and say, "Tom (me), do you remember the first time we met and the first question you asked me?" and then regale the other alums about our encounter.
We were "friends" (more like close acquaintances, never went out for a beer with him) over the rest of his time at Holy Cross and we were always honest with each other - good and bad.We had a trust. He has always been gracious and polite and warm with me and my wife (who loves him for his honesty . . . . and maybe his good looks too).
I know that I never played for him, being many years older, but I have spoken to some of his former players, after they were "safely" away from him. Without fail, they all said that he turned them from boys to men and they respected him. Tom told me that his job was more than just a football coach but saw his role as preparing his players for their lives after college where they would find as hard as football was, life afterwards was harder. Not everyone can either take that or see that. Maybe I just encountered those who could. He comes from Irish immigrants and had to work for everything he got. Perhaps he is a throwback to another era?
He had justifiably been seen (I've known a number of coaches at Holy Cross) as the hardest working guy on campus - coaches or anyone including faculty and staff. He is a workaholic (his poor wife!) and hates to lose. I have no doubt that he is tough on his assistants and hard to work for because he is as demanding of them as he is on himself and many can't take that pressure.
So, you understand where I am coming from, I've analyzed why I like Tom and wish him success at Lehigh, except when you guys play the Crusaders. I wasn't a coach but a manager/leader/executive for many years. I often heard from my former subordinates (again, after they were "safely" away from me and no fear of retribution) that I was a "tough, demanding boss" who they often said was the best they ever had because I drove them to accomplish things they thought was beyond their capabilities. They also said, "You were demanding but never asked anyone to do anything that you wouldn't do yourself and you listened to us and would change your mind if we had a convincing argument."
That's what Tom Gilmore is like. He definitely is not for everyone. Yep, he's emotional but as he said in the press conference, he thinks he has matured. The Tom Gilmore I know will go out of his way to prove that this was the best decision that Lehigh could have ever made.
I admit my bias but I think you got a good one.
Excellent post. You hit the nail on the head in characterizing Tom. He is a 'throwback' and some today don't like that mentality, but think he is one who can also adapt. Your quote, highlighted above, is an excellent description of a leader. The attitude of 'hating to lose more, than wanting to win" is a common characteristic. I think our culture needs to toughen up a bit, demand excellence of each other and hold each other accountable. At a school like Lehigh, pursuit of excellence must be a given. We won't always achieve it, but when we lose, we need to lose like champions. I think we've lost some intensity over the past couple years, and I look forward to its return.