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Life Lessons

Coach As Role Model

Every day all over the country, athletes head to the practice field, where their coach awaits.

What kind of experience will those millions of athletes have? What kind of values will they see from their coach?

My friend Kevin Reilly sent an article about a high school football coach named Keith Howard, who inspired his players, his staff and the entire community of Lincoln, Ala.

“High school kids don’t do what you tell them,” the article quotes Lincoln as saying. “They do what you live and do.”

They do what you live and do.

And so Howard lived a life that others could take as an example. When hiring an assistant coach, he wouldn’t ask about strategy. “He wanted to know if you were a family man and if you loved kids,” Chad Martin, an assistant coach, recalled.

Last Friday, Howard coached for the last time. He took ill at halftime, left in an ambulance, and died while the game was in the second half.

Now they are naming a field after him. It’s a field that he himself helped to create with the force of his personality.

Besides a field, it is a reminder that every coach creates something — good or bad — with the force of his or her personality.

A few nights ago the annual meeting took place for the coaches at the Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, N.J. Headmaster Tom Nammack reminded the coaches, “The time the athletes spend with you may be the best part of their day.”

It is what they look forward to all day long.

So what will await them when they arrive at the practice field?


One comment for “Coach As Role Model”

  1. The kids “do what you live and do”
    that about sums it up

    Posted by kevin reilly | September 3, 2009, 2:14 pm

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