Recently I had the honor of attending the USA Football National Conference in Orlando, Florida, courtesy of the NFL. When I received the invitation I was so excited because of this opportunity to learn from so many great coaches and the honor of being considered worthy of being included. I had no idea how many coaches received this same honor, but I knew this would be a special group.
When I arrived in Orlando, I immediately saw a familiar face in Coach John Snelson of Dickinson High School in Texas and began talking with him. We talked about the invitation to this conference and he had no idea why he was included as a VIP. Later that day I met back up with Coach Snelson and another Texas coach, Tony Heath, and while visiting with him, he also did not know why he received his invitation.
As the weekend continued, the more coaches I visited with, the more I discovered this similar experience of receiving the invitation with no idea why they would be chosen to attend this clinic on the NFL’s dime. We all agreed that this was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and decided to attend.
After spending the weekend visiting with coaches and listening to lectures, I think I know why we were all invited. Each of us have our different paths of how we got to this point in our profession, but the one thing that binds us and brought us together is how we value football.
Every coach I encountered this weekend serves to be an ambassador of the game, loves to work with young men, and mold them into the future person they will become. We are all looking to learn from other coaches and use what we learn to positively impact young men’s lives through football. We all believe that football provides the tools to handle and work through life’s lessons as the athletes play the game and grow into adulthood. We all believe in football.
As Coach Gruden stated so eloquently, coaching football is an honorable profession that not everybody can do. It requires compassion, caring, sacrifice, selflessness, and combines with a competitive nature, a desire to excel, and the ability to relay these traits to the athletes with whom we work. Coaching provides the best opportunity to directly impact a young person in a life changing way.
Coaching is a marvelous profession that builds relationships between the people you work with and with colleagues in schools all over the nation. I am thankful for this opportunity to fellowship with coaches from around the nation in celebration of coaching and the sport of football. I am proud to be in such an honorable career and I embrace my role as teacher, ambassador, and the title of Coach.