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How college football coaches have found success adopting a 'Ted Lasso' approach

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COASTAL CAROLINA COACH Jamey Chadwell has never seen "Ted Lasso," but that's about to change.

After the 24th-ranked Chanticleers host Troy on Thursday night (7:30 ET, ESPN2), they are set to travel to Georgia Southern next week. The bus ride from Conway, South Carolina, to Statesboro, Georgia, takes four hours, which will give Chadwell time to catch up on the series. He will learn all about the fictional college football coach from Kansas who leaves to coach soccer in England, bringing his folksy charm and eternally optimistic outlook to an unfamiliar sport in a new country.

"I know who he is, but a lot of people have said, 'Hey, you and Ted Lasso do some similar stuff,'" said Chadwell, who is 17-2 over the past two seasons at Coastal Carolina. "Somebody who is not in our staff told me that. He does a big 'believe' thing, and believe is a big thing for us.

"My coaches have told me I've got to watch it, so on our next road trip, I'm binge-watching 'Ted Lasso.'"

Chadwell, in his third season as Coastal Carolina's permanent coach, is one of several coaches who have drawn comparisons to Lasso. College administrators are increasingly prioritizing Lasso-like traits -- a player-centric approach, relentless positive energy, relationship-building and fun -- in their coaching searches. They also have been more open to candidates who, like Lasso, come from nontraditional backgrounds, rather than from the standard pool of playcalling Power 5 coordinators.

Recent hires, such as Chadwell, South Carolina's Shane Beamer, Arkansas' Sam Pittman, San Jose State's Brent Brennan and Charlotte's Will Healy -- none of whom were Power 5 offensive or defensive coordinators before landing their current jobs -- illustrate the trend.

"Ted Lasso makes you feel good. He's not your coach, it's a TV show, but there is a lot to be said for what he does," said Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek, who hired Pittman in December 2019. "He is that feel-good person who makes everybody in the organization feel good about their role."

After talking with administrators, coaches and others, here's a look at the Lasso effect in college football, how it started to take hold with Clemson's Dabo Swinney, why the approach works so well with current players and who could be the next Lassos.