Develop a relationship, and you'll have all the loyalty you need.
You don't have to be buddies, but respect ought to be mutual.
Is it 'loyal' to blindly accept everything presented? I think it is unrealistic to expect the demonstrations of loyalty in the office or in private. Some of that has to to with realistic expectations of leadership. The header doesn't have to be (or appear to be) invincible or infallible. "Loyalty" is probably best exemplified outside the coach's office, though.
On the field, everything should appear united.
This is best demonstrated by showing no weakness in the message.
No "I don't know about this......" grumblings to the players. Perception can be reality...we should all be good actors and present the best possible staff image to our players at all times - if you ain't there, fake it 'till you make it. Loyalty has more to do with stewardship. Assistants serve the header. The header serves the assistants.
In the community - Despite how your temporary emotions may misguide you, it is never okay to second-guess or present any discord to anyone outside the staff. Maybe if you bounce things off a mentor in a private conversation, but anything / everything presented to everyone else should give the impression that everything is fine (even when it is not). It is OKAY to not say anything.
Loyalty" is simply a symptom of something deeper. Loyalty in the context we all use it, is about being honest and forthright in the effort to advance the program. To be 'disloyal' is to engage in utter hypocrisy, which is nothing more than deluding ourselves for our ego.
When we speak out against the header to others, we are damaging/causing harm to the program. We may come away feeling satisfied that we could vent our frustration to someone, or that someone will regard us with more esteem (because "we see what is wrong"), but who wins? It only fractures that which we say we are speaking out to defend. We remove the foundation of confidence that a staff / program is based on (trust). Lose-lose
When we serve the header, and in doing so, maybe challenge his comfort zone, we advance the program because either it provides an opportunity for the HC to galvanize our beliefs in what we are doing, or it provides an opportunity to find a better solution for the program. Win-Win
Regardless of the situation, it is what it is, and as much as we will be comforted by justifying it - bitching and griping to players is petty.
It may be justified, it may be true (your statements), it may feel good, but it ultimately, it is unnecessary and small-minded.
Again, lets be realistic here - 'loyalty' is being true and honest in your relationship. Some times all relationships don't work - it is okay, make your peace and move on as adults.....being 'disloyal' there would be going behind the back and creating unnecessary friction. I think we all have a duty to serve our kids, but advancing your career has nothing to do with that, though. It is natural that we all form relationship bonds with our athletes.....feeling like you are 'disloyal' for looking at other positions is like expecting your players to feel guilty for graduating and going to college (how dare they leave City High!?!)
I'm not arguing actions, feelings, or beliefs. I AM suggesting that finding exceptions to the rule (of loyalty) is a self-serving endeavor. If my son was playing for a coach that was as horrible and inept as being depicted (I'm not arguing that), I doubt it would be only one former coach who would know about it, and I may likely just pull my son out and put him in a different school. They won't need a former assistant to 'jump on the pile' to make things happen.
As an assistant coach charged with advancing the program, you have an obligation to serve the person who is leading the program. If that person is leading that program into the crapper (not doing anything illegal) and you cannot stomach it, it is your obligation (or prerogative) to find somewhere else to utilize your services.....the header isn't obligated to do things "your way" just because you're not used to it. If the HC is doing illegal activities and directly abusing the kids (not by the stretch definition of 'injure' my sons chances of getting a DI scholly), then you would be derelict if you did not report that to the authorities.
Let us at least be clear on the scope of what we are actually talking about here. Being a whistleblower in a situation where improper activity is going on is one thing and there is no accountability - it is quite another to rant on a guy simply because you have philosophical differences.
I mention that, because what we are doing here is looking for any excuse to justify disloyalty.
"I don't like how HC does this", "I don't think I would've done that" therefore, it is my 'duty' to go out and assassinate this guy's character (even if he is a bum).
That, to me, is petty. What we are saying is, if I get upset / frustrated enough, then 'yes'....disloyalty is okay/justified. I also acknowledge that if you are a teacher, the dynamic may be completely different, because afterall, many times your coaching job is directly tied to your position on the teaching staff, and "just leaving" isn't practical. I think that adds to the dynamic, but I do not see where it affords one to hold more credence than the HC ("HC should listen/comply to me because I have more invested in the program").
I completely respect it if you don't feel this way - thats cool. I am merely weighing in and clarifying my position.