?Ort doesn't believe in weight training. He believes there is so much physical work that needs to be done in this world that to waste energy in an artificial endeavor is absurd. "I don't care if you can bench-press the world," he says. "I want you to be the best person you can be."
?Ort does not have a playbook. Everything the Leopards do is worked out on the field, often with a player saying, "Ort, remember that play we did last year?" The thinking here is that if all the plays are put in a playbook, some players might come to believe that all possible answers are in the book. That would mean the abandonment of creativity. During games, players come up to Ort with their suggestions; he listens. A playbook is not fun, so to hell with it.
?Ort does not have meetings for coaches or players. The coaches meet, if necessary, which it seldom is, on the practice field. The players practice every weekday between 3:45 and 5:30 p.m., and that's it. Ort wants them to be involved in ordinary campus life.
?Ort has little use for game films. Naturally, the players don't either. He gives cursory attention on Sunday to the previous day's film. That's it. He wouldn't think of looking at an opponent's film. He believes in doing what his players want to do, and that has nothing to do with what La Verne's opponents do.
?Ort has no ego. "We would win at least 25 percent more games if Rex [Huigens] were the coach," says Ort of his defensive coordinator. "I call a few plays during the game. It's just that the players don't choose to use them. That's O.K. I feel like I should try to make some sort of contribution." One of his kayaking students, Kay Rupel, describes Ort's philosophy as, You take the wheel and I'll be the passenger. Ort doesn't scream, but what he thinks seems to scream and yell to those who are attentive. During kayaking class, Rupel calls to Ort, "Which boat shall I use?" Says Ort, "I guess you're in charge of that."
Later, Rupel says of the Leopards' dismal 1988 season (3-6 after an 0-4 start), "You could blame the coach because you think he's in charge, but he's not." Actually, he is. Former Leopard linebacker Steve Stepanian, who graduated in 1987, says, "He has an uncanny way of being so loud without saying a word." Ort regularly places the blame for his team's poor performance on himself. Several years ago, after a lopsided loss to Occidental, he admitted, "When I went to scout Oxy, all I did was eat popcorn and talk to the people in the stands. Really, if we're not going to be better than me, we're not going to be very good."
?Ort refuses to put coaches in the press box where they would have a better view and could call down the plays. "If you do this, the coaches are just moving pawns and a few knights and castles." says Ort. "I want the game played by the people the game is for. We have 55 brains on the field. Think how foolish it would be not to use them all."
?Ort has no curfews or training rules. "What I believe in is going to bed at 9 p.m. and running two miles every morning. I don't think the players want to do that." For himself, Ort definitely has rules. He always walks on the sidewalk and will not cut across the campus lawn, thus creating an unsightly path: "I think life on the Planet Earth is great and good, so why be a part of something that makes things ugly rather than better?"
?Ort has never kicked a player off the team. And if someone quits, he is welcome back. No matter what. "I figure," says Ort, "that if a player does something that would warrant punishment of some kind, then he is the one who needs to be here the most, the one who needs direction the most. If you have to punish a player by having him turn in his uniform, then you haven't accomplished a bloomin' thing. Relationships without punishment are most likely to gain in the long run."
?Ort has never produced a successful professional player. Only three Leopards have even been drafted by the pros. None succeeded. Ort gives the impression he would be horrified if any did make it in the pros: "Professional sports are to amateur sports what prostitution is to love. Once you can get bought, it's mostly the money from then on. What I am really interested in is seeing a lot of people play. Gosh, even if they don't play well doesn't mean they don't want to play."