TC271: Chris Finwood on Culture

We welcome back in this episode an old friend of Top Coach and a former guest. Chris Finwood is the head baseball coach at Norfolk, Virginia’s Old Dominion University. In his first visit on Top Coach, we discussed his personal journey and the program he has built at ODU. This time we asked him to weigh in on a topic that comes up in coaching discussions frequently — team and organization culture.

In this episode, Coach Finwood starts things off talking about our old friend and former guest, Cal Bailey, and then talks a bit about some of the exciting happenings at Old Dominion. We also talk briefly about one of his assistant coaches, the legendary Tony Guzzo, and an ODU alum who’s had a good bit of success lately, Justin Verlander. After those updates, we get into the topis of team and organizational culture, talking about ODU’s “Five Anchors”, the definition of leadership, trying to evaluate prospective recruits as to good fit for your team, “stuff guys”, hiring staff who buy into your team’s philosophy, “organic” vs. planned culture, and the role of upperclassmen in leadership and culture.

Coach Finwood’s recommended reading:

Legacy – James Kerr
Resilience – Eric Greitens

Notable quotes:

  • “Leadership is the ability to make those around you better and more productive.” Jack Clark, Cal Rugby
  • “You don’t get any extra points for that. That falls under minimum daily behavior.”
  • “If it’s important to you, it’s your job to make it important to them.”
  • “What you want most is more important than what you want now.”
  • “Clean up your own shed.” New Zealand All Blacks
  • “A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play — his labor and his leisure — his mind and his body — his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he’s doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” From the book Resilience

Listen to Coach Finwood’s first appearance on Top Coach in episode 137 (June 25, 2015).

Follow Chris Finwood on Twitter.
Follow Old Dominion Baseball on Twitter.
National Baseball Coaches Association website.

photo credit: Old Dominion Athletics
Intro Music: Matt’s Blues, Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.