Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program


Posted by admin July - 12 - 2016 - Tuesday

Aretha Franklin sang about it in the 70’s. People are crying out for it every day. We need to realize in this country until we start showing (genuine) respect for others…. especially people from different races and backgrounds than us… this world isn’t going to change!!!

I had the pleasure of worshiping at a church on Sunday where the pastor is a former assistant coach on my staff from years ago. We’ve remained close friends throughout the years (25 or so) while he pursued other things in his life. God put a calling on his life about 10 years ago and he went to Divinity School to get his M Div so he could become an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a great motivational speaker when he spoke to the team when we coached together. He was even more powerful from the pulpit! Pastor Sam talked at length about the division we face in this country today and HOW we can change things. He was adamant: “It is only through the love of Jesus Christ and the Body of Christ coming together to 1- share this love with other churches and 2- then, UNITED, sharing this love with a nation that’s hurting are we ever going to see change; i.e., racial reconciliation, take place in America.

Oh…. did I mention that Pastor Sam is Black and his church is an AME Zion church? Yes, totally African American. Mine was the only white face in the crowd. And, you know what? I was completely comfortable— though I knew that some of the congregation were wondering “what the heck is HE doing here? Especially after what took place in our nation the last few days!” I was there for 3 reasons: 1- I love Jesus! 2- I love Pastor Sam Warren and 3- I love those people in Sam’s congregation! God impressed upon me Saturday night that He wanted me to go to Hood Chapel on Sunday to support my Brother-in-Christ. Sam was hurting. He is my friend– my Brother! Holy Spirit said to “go!” I was welcomed by his congregation— a bunch of wonderful, godly folks. It was a special time… one I will never forget. Oh, I plan to go back and worship with them some more!

I had another conversation with another pastor, white guy, yesterday. He knew of our program’s success during my coaching career. He wanted to know how I was able to “relate” to my African American players (the majority of our team rosters were Black) so well over the years. First off, I gave credit to Coach Sam Warren (of whom I just spoke). Sam showed me how to relate to these kids… from a different racial background. It really was pretty simple (in theory!): just LOVE these kids. SHOW THEM RESPECT! Let them know that not only are they athletes but that you care about them as people. Their self-worth is found in being part of a team where every player is RESPECTED… for his talent AND as a person! Sam was instrumental in “changing the culture” in our program. In just his second year with us, we went 10-0 and captured our District championship. The kids knew that we loved them and respected them enough that we were NOT going to be satisfied with anything less than their best— on AND off the field. With Sam’s influence, I forged friendships with our players, black and white, that I still cherish and maintain today. We took the “theory” and put it into PRACTICE. That part is NOT easy. It requires WORK!!! But, together, Coach/Pastor Sam and I brought about changes that propelled those kids to be the best they could be. I’m proud to have been a part of it.

I was reared by two parents who taught my sister and I to be “color blind.” People are people and we need to look on the inside. If we’re going to judge” (NOT “condemn” but judge/evaluate) people, do it based on their character— NOT the color of their skin! Once I gave my life to Jesus at age 33, I had the power of God’s Holy Spirit to help me do this! Now, I look at people— regardless of their race or cultural background— and try to see them the same way God sees them… through eyes of love. It’s not easy. That’s why I have to rely on Holy Spirit’s strength to get me “over some humps”— when I see things happening in our nation which upset me terribly. It’s time to “change our culture.”

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Show me just a little respect.” are the lyrics to the song! Good words to live by.

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