A Duck Runs a Bear Hug

September 27, 2009

Oregon Coach Executes Play to Perfection

Here’s a play that University of Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly (no relation to Playmaker’s CEO Alan Kelly) probably didn’t have in his playbook at the beginning of the year: Bear Hug.

Following Oregon’s season opening loss against Boise State — in which star running back LaGarrette Blount lost his temper, threw a punch, attacked Boise State fans, and was ultimately suspended from the team — Oregon alumnus Tony Seminary was mad.

So mad was Seminary that he sent Kelly an invoice for $439 for traveling expenses incurred from his trip to Portland to Boise: ‘The product on the field Thursday night is not something I was at all proud of, and I feel as though I’m entitled to my money back for the trip,’ wrote Seminary in an email that could best be described as a Bait + Call Out.

According to various reports, Kelly countered Seminary’s move with a question: ‘What’s your address?’ A few days later, a check arrived in Seminary’s mailbox for $439. Seminary was so impressed by the gesture, he returned it to Kelly with a thank-you note, rather than cashing it.

The Bear Hug is a counter-intuitive play, designed to freeze a competitor by embracing his position or message. Sure enough, that’s exactly what Kelly achieved. Not only did he win Seminary over, but endeared himself to sports fans everywhere who have always wanted to get their money back after a sub-par performance.

The playmakers hope Coach Kelly finds as much success in his football playbook as he’s found in our influence strategy playbook.

Photo Credit: Zimbio.com