Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Always Do the Right Thing

Posted by admin May - 13 - 2010 - Thursday

I had the privilege of being coached by Lou Holtz when he was hired for his first head coaching position at William and Mary my junior year…. yep— I’m THAT old!! Coach Lou pokes fun at his experience at W & M on the ESPN studio football show but I know he appreciates the fact that William and Mary gave him his chance. He still returns to campus for football reunions.

Several years ago while he took a break from coaching, Coach Holtz was working the speakers circuit. I heard him speak locally and, as usual, was entranced! He shared his “3 rules of success.” I have them posted in our weight room and talk to the players about those rules all the time. I want to share some thoughts about his first rule: “The DO RIGHT Rule”. Thus the title of this entry! Thanks again to KLOVE Christian radio for providing the material that I used for these ideas.

George Washington said, “Few men have enough virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” Yet that’s what we must do to develop the kind of character that will sustain us in our careers and our lives. It’s not easy to do the right thing when a) it will cost you; b) the wrong thing is more expedient; c) no one but you will know. It’s in those moments that your character is revealed.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
“Cowardice asks: is it safe? Consensus asks: is it popular? Character asks: is it right?”

Recently a PGA golfer made headlines by calling a foul on himself which subsequently led to him losing the tournament. During the final play-off of the U.S. Open one year, the legendary Bobby Jones’ ball ended up in the rough just off the fairway. As he set up to hit his next shot, he accidentally moved the ball with his club. He immediately turned to the marshals and announced a foul. Interestingly, the marshals hadn’t seen the ball move; neither had anyone else. So they left it up to Jones whether to take the penalty stroke. He did! Later when someone commended him for his integrity, Jones replied, “Do you commend a bank robber for not robbing a bank? No, you don’t. This is how the game of golf should be played at all times.” Jones lost the match that day — by one stroke, but he maintained his integrity. His character was so well known that the USGA’s sportsmanship award came to be named The Bob Jones Award.

So, do the right thing… and KEEP doing it. Even if it doesn’t help you move ahead in the short-term, it will protect you and serve you over the long haul. Coach Holtz would say that this is how you build trust on your team. Or as the Psalmist puts it in the 23rd Psalm, “He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name.”

Leave a Reply