10 Commandments from Knute Rockne

  1. October 16th, 2012  | 

  2. Print This Post
Published in Leadership

Knute Rockne’s 10 Coaching Commandments

Knute Rockne is recognized by the College Football Hall of Fame as “without question, American football’s most renowned coach.”

As Notre Dame’s head coach from 1918 to 1930, Rockne set the greatest all-time winning percentage of .881, an achievement that still ranks at the top for both college and professional football.  During his tenure as head coach of the Fighting Irish, Rockne coached teams to 105 victories, 12 losses, five ties and six national championships.

Rockne was an innovative coach with a wry sense of humor.  “I’ve found,” he said, “that prayers work best when you have big players.”

Perhaps his greatest achievement involved the principles he taught – coaching that provides lessons for today’s leaders.

Here are 10 of Rockne’s so-called commandments

  1. Cooperation: Everyone should work for the common good of the school and the squad. Everyone should boost everyone else; a disorganizer has no place on the squad.
  2. Habits: Good habits are only doing those things which help and not doing those things that will harm or hinder.
  3. Ambition: Always try to improve oneself. Interest and spirit sometimes outweigh natural ability.
  4. Morals: A high standard of living and thinking.
  5. Sportsmanship: Good sportsmanship means clean and fair play. Treat your opponent with respect.
  6. Conduct: Your school, family, town, community and yourself are judged by your conduct; you can make or break them.
  7. Leadership: The willingness to help, guide or direct, in the right way, by example, words or actions.
  8. Self-sacrifice:  Giving up some of the present things for the future.
  9. Determination: The mental quality of strong determination is very necessary to win in the face of strong opposition.
  10. Responsibility: Being dependable, the performing of one’s duties, the desire to be known as responsible.

“A coach’s greatest asset,” said Rockne, “is his sense of responsibility – the reliance placed on him by his players.”

What kind of coach are you?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 250 strategic planning sessions, he’s delivered more than 600 keynotes and workshops on every continent except Antarctica, and he coaches leaders who are inspired to take their career to the next level. His fourth leadership book— Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) —is a Soundview Executive Best Business Book.

Ready to reset?

Attend my free Accountability webinar: I Did It! to set and achieve your 2021 goals.


  • February 17th from 11 AM – 12:30 PM Central Time
  • My free webinar will help you:
    – Sharpen your personal goals
    – Improve time management
    – Tackle tough work-related issues
    – Support remote workers

Learn More
To dive even deeper into the topic of accountability, I invite you to purchase a copy of my bestselling book, “Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture.”

Get The Book

Become a better leader.

Download my three free e-books.

Greg Bustin

Please enter your information below to access a digital download link for my three free eBooks. Once submitted, you will receive an email with a link to download the eBooks.

Free Tips

Sign up to receive free tips on business, leadership, and life.

Greg Bustin

Please enter your information below to start receiving free tips on business, leadership, and life.

Sign up for my free bimonthly email button