Coach’s Confession: A new chapter
This week’s Coach’s Confession takes a dive into an area football coach, who retired from the game several years ago.
The role of “coach” really means more than just winning and losing; this coach had several stories on being a father figure, a tireless supporter of the community, and compassion for his family.
This coach has seen it all--from winless seasons to state championships. He’s been involved in the game of football for 30 years with several tales to coincide.
What’s the biggest thing you loved about your job?
“The kids. Seeing kids compete and become successful.”
What was the absolute worst part of coaching?
“Aside from the laundry, I never have had a bad memory. I’ve gone through winless seasons as a player and as a coach, but you get into coaching to enjoy kids. It takes a while to figure it out, but you have to be able to handle wins and losses in the same way. It is a headache to deal with some parents, but when you’re dealing with someone’s pride and joy they do have some right to be the way they are. I can’t say that’s a bad part of [coaching]. I don’t think there is a bad part of coaching.”
Did you ever have a favorite memory in your coaching career?
“There’s lots of wins that stick out, but the biggest thing was a year we were playing for the state championship. We had a young special needs man who was the biggest fan of our team. He wasn’t going to be able go to the game since his parents couldn’t take him. We weren’t able to take him on the bus for legalities and such, especially since we were staying the night--we were really torn up about it. We’d been warmed up and had gone back into the locker room. As we were going out, there he was at the door while we were coming out. At that point I didn’t care if we’d won or lost. It was one of those things that was important and he was there for his team.”
Parents are typically a coach’s biggest concern, do you have a good parent story?
“I can honestly count on one hand the amount of parent meetings I had. The few I did have were short and sweet. When they came in I told them immediately we weren’t talking about playing time or someone else’s kids. You tell them that and they run out of things to say; because they don’t really want to talk about how bad their kids are.”
What’s the funniest thing you’ve had happen with an athlete?
“Well, it’s funny now, but it wasn’t at the time...we were playing for a different state game. We had taken ball boys, JV guys who weren’t in the band. As we were leaving to go to the game that morning, the manager of the hotel told us that some of our kids were shooting the housekeeping crew with airsoft guns. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best time for it to happen. However, looking back it’s pretty funny.”
Did you ever have a game day habit or weekly tradition?
“There’s a lot of superstitions that went into things for me. I’d wear the same game day clothes and didn’t get my haircut until we got beat. I had a new pair of pants each year before the season started. Some years I think those pants would stand straight up by themselves.”
Would you ever want to get back into coaching?
“I get asked that all the time. You never say never, but the things the government does makes it less tempting. But, there’s always a chance that the right situation presents itself but I’m not looking for it.”
Did you ever have a hobby while coaching?
“When I moved here, it was taking care of the grass on the football field. It was about six inches tall so we started taking it over. An assistant and I would split up the duty every summer.”
What made you want to get out of coaching?
“My daughter had been playing basketball, showed pigs, and did One Act play...you could do both things. I could go watch her stuff and things would go fine in the field house or I could stay at the field house and feel guilty. I wasn’t going to have my daughter much longer so I decided I was going to be a dad to her. I had spent thirty years being a dad to a bunch of rag knots most of the time; and that was great, but I needed to spend time with my daughter.”