Coaches talk about character being an important part of their program all the time. We strive to produce men of integrity and sportsmanship from our time spent leading them on the football field.
At least that’s what we say…
In order for coaches to truly have an impact on their athletes their actions must reflect their words. This includes the way you coach your games. I believe you coach to win the game, but not to embarrass the other team. I believe you finish a game so your opponent genuinely respects you and your program rather than force themselves to take an unwelcome handshake. When you walk off the field, you should feel proud of what your team did and how they represented what you teach them to do.
I have great respect for my profession and the people who have chosen to spend their lives guiding young men. I have been fortunate to make good friends over the years of my career. I enjoy meeting coaches and talking and visiting with them during the season and the off-season. When a coach learns where I work and they follow up complimenting the program, I feel a great sense of pride because I know we do things right.
In my opinion, winning with class begins by putting the players, the students, and everybody else who is involved in the program at the forefront of your priorities. When you work with kids they have to come first. No matter how much you want to win, no matter how much you want to chase the career ladder, the kids are the most important part of a coach’s profession. When the kids believe in you, THAT is when you will be successful.
The next most important is to act according to the message you teach and preach. If you talk about playing with class, then we should also be coaching with class. Recognize when victory is yours, and go to work making sure your kids understand that. When we tell a kid to act better and not retaliate, we should do the same. If you are getting upset because a team you are beating by four or more touchdowns scores, and your response is to “put another on them”, then what message are you sending your team? Running out the clock and finishing in victory formation is the bigger flex.
Get your kids to buy in to you and they will buy into the program you are building and then you will see the dividends paid. You will win, but more importantly you will have produced people who will leave your program with the knowledge and tools to be leaders, to be great teammates, and to be an example for their future families.
Winning teams come and winning teams go, but the lasting impression on the young lives you work with everyday determine your success in this profession.
I hope you all experience great success in your careers, and I will see you at the next #TXHSFBCHAT.
*updated October 1, 2022