The "I" in Win

The "I" in Win

Elite leaders relentlessly seek unique angles to make their team or organization the best. Hosted by Luke Mertens, an experienced teacher, coach, and entrepreneur, The "I" in Win weekly podcast interviews coaches, educators, and other leaders who have instituted an overlooked but simple strategy to achieve success: personal connections. Our guests have accomplished more, both personally and professionally, by focusing on making better people. They will share how our listeners will benefit by obsessing less on outcomes and more on the journey of changing lives.These inspiring stories of positivity are rooted in the belief that every “I”ndividual has value, regardless of talent level, and the more ‘I’s we impact in this world, the more everyone wins….that is The “I” in Win!New episodes released every Tuesday.

Episodes

September 20, 2022 51 min

Onto #3 of the top 5 most downloaded episodes of Season 1...Today's guest, John Nee, has been a teacher and coach at his alma mater St.Rita High School on the south side of Chicago for the past 25 years. In addition to his classroom responsibilities as an English teacher, Coach Nee is head coach of the baseball team and an assistant varsity football coach. He's passionate about impacting kids and today's going to discus...

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We are continuing to countdown the top 5 downloaded episodes from Season 1, and the 4th most downloaded episode is “Nothing Without Work” with Jim Konrad who has had a unique path into education. While in medical school, he was coaching a youth team and fell in love with the idea of teaching and coaching for a career, so he left medical school after his second year to pursue a career in education. 

In 1997, Jim was hired by his alma...

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Welcome to this special edition of The “I’’ in Win podcast, as we officially wrap up Season 1! Since launching the podcast last September, I have released 52 episodes, met coaches, teachers, and other leaders literally across the country, and received well over 10,000 downloads…all of which if beyond my wildest expectations. To celebrate, I am re-releasing the top 5 most downloaded episodes of Season 1, and #5 is...

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August 23, 2022 9 min

Welcome to this special edition of The “I’’ in Win podcast, as we officially wrap up Season 1! Since launching the podcast last September, I have released 52 episodes, met coaches, teachers, and other leaders literally across the country, and received well over 10,000 downloads…all of which if beyond my wildest expectations. However, onne question I continue to get is “Why?"

So I wanted to share the genesis behind The “I” in Win...

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#50. This episode features Michael Wiggins, Head Boy's Soccer Coach at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois. Coach Wiggins has been a head coach for over 28 years, and during that time, he has tallied 385 wins. He has also coach for (4) All-Americans, earned Coach of the Year honors multiple times, and won a state title in 2014. In this episode, we discuss:

  • Coach longevity
  • His soccer central program
  • How he develops better peop...
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    July 19, 2022 34 min

    #49. Today we are joined by Sarah Teipel, who is the new Head Girls Basketball Coach at Mundelein High School in IL.  Coach Teipel spent the previous 9 years as head coach at Dundee-Crown (Carpentersville, IL), winning 2 conference championships, 4 regional championships, a sectional title in 2020 & was twice named Coach of the Year.

    In this episode, we are going to discuss:

  • Building relationships, 
  • Establishing standards, 
  • Focusin...
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    #48. In this episode, we welcome in Greg Jones, assistant football coach at University of Oregon.

    In this episode, we dive into how coach Jones made the leap, after 30 years of success in the high school level, into the Power Five; what he's learned from the process of now being a D1 coach; how he has built championship programs at all the stops he's made along his career; and how he has earned trust both at the high school...

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    #47. This episode features Hank Plona, who has been the head men's basketball coach at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa for the past seven years. During that time, Coach Plona has amassed 196 victories, which is the most wins in junior college.  He has also had 57 players graduate and sign at D1 schools, also the most in junior college.

    In this episode, we're gonna dive into coaches who have influenced Coach Plona, ho...

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    #46.  This episode features an uncommon leader who exudes positivity. Jeremy Kauffman is a social studies teacher at Deerfield High School (IL) and head track as well as head cross-country coach at Lake Zurich High School (IL).

    In this episode, we cover a multitude of conversations in the world of coaching and education, such as coaching boys versus girls sports, coaching middle school versus high school, and coaching his own child...

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    #45. Today we have on Bob Pieper, who has been in education since 1991, working first at Crete-Monee High School in Crete, Illinois, before coming to Glenbrook North (Northbrook, IL) in 1997, where he's been ever since.

    Bob has done it all in education: Teacher, Dean, AD, Head Football Coach, assistant for wrestling, baseball, basketball, and track. Bob has been a featured speaker for the Illinois Athletic Director's Confer...

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    #44. This episode features Kevin Devitt assistant basketball coach at Niagara University. In this episode, we'll discuss Coach Devitt's fascinating journey to becoming a D1 basketball coach, what it takes to get to that level, what his vision is once he becomes a head coach, and how we keep the main thing, the main thing as coaches. 

    To sign up for weekly notes from each episode, CLICK HERE.

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    #43. This episode features Chris Fore, a veteran educator, athletic director and football coach from Southern California. Coach Fore currently serves as the principal at the Palmdale Aerospace Academy (Palmdale, CA). He's also authored three books, been featured in numerous publications, and since all of that is not enough to occupy his time, he also operates two websites: Coachfore.org that provides coaches and athletic direct...

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    May 24, 2022 43 min

    #42.  Jim Konrad had a unique path into education. While in medical school, he was coaching a youth team and fell in love with the idea of teaching and coaching for a career, so he left medical school after his second year to pursue a career in education. 

    In 1997, Jim was hired by his alma mater,  Naperville North HS (IL), and became the head soccer coach in 2003. NN soccer program accomplishments during his 18 years as HC:

  • Myro Rys...
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    #41. This episode features Southern Illinois University Head Basketball Coach, Bryan Mullins, where he gives his thoughts on:

  • Finding balance between personal/professional life
  • Learning from Coach Moser & Loyola's magical Final Four 
  • NIL, transfer portal, and recruiting today's athlete 
  • Building a program
  • Who is the best hooper from Chicago?
  • To sign up for weekly notes from each episode, CLICK HERE.


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    #40. This episode features Hall of Fame coach, Mr. John Belskis, who has amassed over 200 wins in his career, including 2 trips to the state championship game, winning 1 title and 1 runner-up in the largest classification of Illinois schools.

    TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Coach at public vs. private schools (00:01:23)
  • Challenges of being a HC today (00:09:29)
  • Getting to a championship level (00:17:26)
  • Changing culture (00:20:51)
  • Lesson learne...
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    #39.  Michael DiMatteo has been a teacher and coach for 35 years, coaching football for 33 with 15 of those years as head coach for four different high schools. He is a 2022 inductee into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame and a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction (2010).

    Coach DiMatteo has also written two books: Confessions of a High School Football Coach as well as a historical fiction novel set in 14th centur...

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    April 26, 2022 52 min

    #38. Today we have a special show - one that will hopefully have you will walk away feeling more positive and motivated to finding your best version. This episode features Rob Cressy who is a coach, speaker, and entrepreneur. More than anything Rob is a positive force for good, which is glaringly evident throughout this recording as we discuss many topics, such as mental toughness, seeking out discomfort, living a life by design, a...

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    #37. Today’s episode features Tim Trendel, Assistant Principal at Saint Patrick High School (Chicago, IL). Tim and I were classmates at St. Pat’s, and this is a conversation that was actually recorded months ago when Tim was just beginning his new role as AP, and before I decided to join him at our alma mater. 

    Tim has over 20 years of experience in education, serving as a teacher, baseball, and basketball coach, which includes 11 y...

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    #36. Since 1988, Mark Bliss has coached football at various high school and collegiate levels. During his head coaching career, he has amassed an overall record of 206- 80 losses, won 4 State Championships, along with 2 Semi-final appearances and 2 Quarterfinal appearances. His teams have qualified for the State Playoffs 23 of his 26 years as a head coach. Mark spent seven years at Conway Springs, Kansas where his teams started a 6...

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    #35. This will be Jay Saravis's 28th year in education. Currently the head football coach at Cheyenne Mountain High School (CO), Jay has also coached Junior High Lacrosse, HS Softball, HS Track & Field. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS).

    To sign up for weekly notes from each episode, CLICK HERE.

    Review The "I" in Win on Apple Podcast or my website to let me know what you think of the s...

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