Oxford football coach Chris Cutcliffe, Ole Miss professor Dr. Hunter Taylor release book

Published 11:27 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

Oxford football head coach Chris Cutcliffe released a book Tuesday outlining the keys to building a successful organization.

The book, co-authored by Dr. Hunter A. Taylor, is titled “How to Build a Thick Institution: Organizational Lessons from a Championship High School Football Program” and outlines the factors that drove Oxford High School towards becoming a state champion in football.

Cutcliffe and Dr. Taylor met in 2017 after being connected through a mutual friend and began sharing best practices for building a winning team.

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“He had done a lot of research on some of the best high school football programs and coaches in the state of Texas as part of his dissertation and he kind of let me in on some of his findings,” Cutcliffe said.

Cutcliffe invited Dr. Taylor to an Oxford football practice to get his opinion on what the team could do to improve its culture.

“He came and observed our football program as a fly on the wall and gave some great feedback on things he saw and we took it from there and starting working together and collaborating regularly,” said Cutcliffe.

Cutcliffe, the son of former Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe, said Dr. Taylor’s ideas meshed perfectly with his vision for his football team.

“One of the things that I love the most about football and about sports is the great life lessons that you can learn from being a part of a team and from playing a sport,” Cutcliffe said. “When I became a head coach I wanted that to be something that we were very intentional about. I didn’t want it to be something we just hoped happened as a byproduct. So when Hunter and I started working together we really dove into that and put some things into place that would have a positive impact on our football program, and more importantly, on the players.”

The pair emphasize the importance of human connections, saying character-building is central to their philosophy.

“We always say it was like redesigning the leadership and character structures within the football program,” said Dr. Taylor. “We kind of tinkered with things and developed a program and we believe in the results.”

They started a website to share their strategies, Coach & Doc, and began hosting leadership workshops for coaches and business leaders.

“After we had done this for a couple years we got asked to do a presentation for a doctoral engineering group in Texas,” Dr. Taylor said. “We did it and we really enjoyed it so we’ve done that a little bit for other people, whether it’s a group of administrators, a civics group, other sports teams, etcetera.”

Dr. Taylor said the inspiration to write a book formed from a desire to expand their services to a wider variety of groups.

“We wanted to be somewhat generic with the framework so if you’re running a business, leading a church, or if you’re just a family trying to get closer together you can get something from it.”

The book sold out of paperback copies on Amazon within the first 24 hours.