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When I became the head football coach at Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) in Kelowna, BC, Canada, in 2016, I brought core values to KSS called the T.O.U.G.H. Philosophy.

Team - Everything we do is for the team and to make each other better.

Ownership - We take ownership of all we do on and off the field.

Universal - We strive to be open-minded and celebrate all of our talents on and off the field.

Growth - We look for ways to always grow as a person and football player.

Heart - We approach everything we do with effort and passion.

In 2015, I developed this philosophy with two other coaches, Bryce Miller and Kyle Haddow, when I was an assistant coach at Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, BC, Canada. Our players committed to a set of core values that they could use on and off the field to help them develop to not just football players, but as outstanding people in our community.

After my first year as head coach at KSS, where I just started building our T.O.U.G.H. culture, I had the pleasure of hearing Coach Randy Jackson speak at the 2017 All-Sports Clinic in Seattle, Washington about how "Culture Defeats Strategy."  


This presentation is where I learned the importance of establishing a culture that is intentional and clear for everyone to understand. He emphasized that you must brand your culture and make sure that whoever steps on the field knows exactly what they are a part of and what their responsibilities are as a member of the team. After that session with Coach Jackson, he reassured me that culture truly defeats strategy, and that building a "program that kids can't live without" leads to success. I bought his book, "Culture Defeats Strategy," and started building an organized plan to how being T.O.U.G.H. would be the core of our program. Since then, we have seen so much success with our players on and off the field.

Thank you, Coach Jackson, for sharing your knowledge about establishing intentional culture, showing steps to how we can spread core values through the idea that "Culture Defeats Strategy," and creating platforms for coaches to share their stories.

Be T.O.U.G.H.!

Chris Cartwright

Head Football Coach

Kelowna Secondary School

Kelowna, BC, Canada

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Recent article on Kelowna culture:

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