Monday, January 18, 2010

Why do I coach?

While reading and interacting on the wonderful football coaching message board at, I've come across many coaches that are starting their own blogs in relation to this wonderful profession. I'm not sure just how good I will be at this, but I figured I'd give it a run.

First my very first blog post, I will answer the question: "Why have I chosen to become a football coach?"

In order to answer this question, I need to provide a little history about my life. I was always a very average athlete and high school football player. However, I have always been intrigued and even consumed by this great game. My Dad was a successful high school football coach before becoming a school administrator, and I'm sure my love of this game comes straight from him. We spent countless hours on the couch as I was growing up watching and analyzing football games. I would constantly ask questions on why things were being done the way they were.

I just completed my fifth year of coaching high school football, all as the quarterbacks coach. The experiences I've had coaching and interacting with young student athletes has been a very rewarding one to say the least. I can only hope that I've had as much impact on the young men I've gotten a chance to coach as they have had on me. I can't imagine any other profession offering the satisfaction that comes in coaching when you see a young man "get it". By this I mean, grasping a concept of coaching that will elevate their play and they see how this will increase their chances for success. I will admit, that my attitude and philosophy of coaching has changed quite a bit since entering the profession. When first starting out, the idea of being in control of young men and getting those kids to do things as I pleased was something that intrigued me about coaching. Look at me, I was the guy in control of my position group with the whistle around my neck and five kids at my mercy. I could tell them to jump and their response would be "how high?"

After a year or two in the profession, I realized coaching wasn't about bossing kids around and being in control, for me anyways. I realized it's not about getting on the whiteboard and showing these kids just how smart I was when it came to identifying coverages. My ultimate goal has changed to being a vehicle in which to help these kids achieve their goals, both on and off the football field. Darin Slack, who I feel is the best teacher of quarterback play on the planet once told me, "there is no greater thing a man can do than to serve his fellow man." I'm quite certain he wasn't the first one to say this, but I had never heard a football coach use words like that before. It sounded like something I would hear a minister say, not a football coach. I was used to quotes such as, Lombardi's "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" in regards to football coaching philosophy.

We are all selfish people by nature. That's the way we are wired. We want what is best for us before we want what is best for others. I'm still driven by the thought of wearing a state championship ring on my right ring finger one day. I'm still driven by putting my wife and future family in a better position by making more money. I'm still driven by getting a job I love in a place I love. However, it is the relationship, positive impact, and the opportunity to serve these young men that I covet the most.

What I am about to write isn't a knock on any other sports. I played several sports as a kid, and encourage student-athletes to be well rounded and be multiple sport athletes. However, I believe football is a very special game. The most special game on the planet. I've read hundreds of quotes about football, in which many still stick in mind. However, the best quote I have ever come across regarding football was not said by a football coach. Dorothy Farnan, the English Department Chairman at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, NY says this about football...

"Football may me the best taught subject in American high schools because it may be the only subject that we haven't tried to make easy"

Life skills are taught and honed on the practice and game fields of America. Responsibility towards ones self, responsibility towards others, development of character, physical and mental toughness, self-discipline, sportsmanship, teamwork, integrity, and finally personal sacrifice for the good of something larger than yourself.

I've been fortunate to have been able to coach for two very good men and successful coaches in my five years, and learn a lot of football from them. The assistant coaches on the staff over the past five years have been tremendous resources as well. Being a football coach is an ongoing process. I don't feel that I will ever "arrive" and be to a point where I lose the desire to stop learning. This blog is just part of my ongoing process to become better at what I do, in order to serve young men and help them be successful both on and off the field.

1 comment:

  1. That's great stuff!

    "Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become." - Mary McGrory