Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for November, 2014

Firing and Hiring

Posted by admin November - 23 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off on Firing and Hiring

It’s that time of year. Except for a “lucky few” who are still in the hunt for a state championship, the 2014 season has ended. If you’ve inventoried and put away the equipment and had your banquet, I can say that the season is officially over. But….

There is one other duty that any head coach dreads. You should meet with each staff member and give them a year-end evaluation. For some, it’s going to mean telling them that they will not be returning. It’s one of the hardest things any supervisor or administrator has to do. IF… you have to do it, please do it face to face.

You know how people get enraged when they hear, “‘So and so’ broke up with Beth with a text! Can you believe that?! How classless can you get?!” Well, the same thing holds true if you have to terminate a coach. Don’t send a text nor an email. Even a phone call is still not the right way to do it. I strongly recommend that you do it face to face. It’s the professional way to handle the situation.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the hiring of new coaches. I learned something this weekend. I made it known that I had 3 positions open. I was in contact with several of my former players who are now coaching in the area. They all expressed an interest in meeting with me and exploring the opportunity of joining my staff. I have already hired one of them. This new coach whom I’d just hired told me that he would talk with his current (now “former”) head coach and let him know that he is taking a new position at my school.

However, in the midst of this, I received a text from that “former” head coach. Someone had told him that I had hired one of his assistants. He was very upset with me that I didn’t call him to tell him that I would be talking to one of his assistants. I texted back once— then decided that I needed to talk with him. Here is a situation where a phone call trumps a text. I like what I heard somebody say about texting: it’s solely for conveying bits of information. If you have to go into depth, make a call. I knew it was going to be unpleasant but, as my wife said, “Take the high road, Lew.” So I called. I started off by apologizing; told him that I was sorry and would he please forgive me. But… I also told him that I didn’t realize that I’d done anything wrong. I have lost several coaches from my staff over the years and I never had another head coach call me to say that he was talking to my assistant. I explained that to him and I hope he understood.

My point is: do the right thing. If you can’t conduct yourself in the highest degree of integrity then maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader yet. A leader has to make the tough calls. A leader has to know that the buck stops with him. It’s not always pleasant but it comes with the territory. The other thing my wife said as I hesitated in calling this coach, “Buck up, Coach! Go make the call. You can do it!!!” So I did. You can too.

Jesus Knows Where YOU Are!

Posted by admin November - 14 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off on Jesus Knows Where YOU Are!

I don’t usually post twice in one week but this was so profound this morning that I felt like I had to get it up online. It’s another example of the great work that Bob Gass ministries does with their daily devotions. All I have to say is “WOW!!”

In the Book of Luke it says, “He (Jesus) sent two of His disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village… you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’… say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it'” (Luke 19:29-34).

Seriously! Who notices a young donkey tied to a tree in a town where nothing of consequence ever seems to happen? Wellllllllll… Jesus does!!! During the busiest week of His life here on earth, He paused for a lowly colt, saying, “Bring it to Me.”

There’s a lesson here for all of us:

Jesus knows exactly where you are today. When the time is right, He will call for you.

Notice the words, “A colt… on which no one has ever sat.” Maybe that’s because nobody has placed much value on it. Maybe it’s because it’s young and nobody sees the potential in it. We need to know that when God has a plan for our life, He’s not affected by those people who might overlook our significance or undervalue our importance.

Note also that it says, “a colt tied up.” We may be tied up with things that are overwhelming and we don’t even want to talk about. It might be a legitimate thing like raising a family or dealing with a job. Either way, God knows! And He’s bigger than our problem.

Finally, focus on the phrase, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?… say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.'” Please be aware of this important point: Neither your friends or your enemies control your future— only God does! I wonder how long that donkey had been tied to that tree? A day? A week? We don’t know. But we DO know this: when Jesus says, “Loose it and bring it here,” the clock starts ticking and His plan for your life starts falling into place.

Pretty cool, huh??!!!

Closing Out Another Season!

Posted by admin November - 12 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off on Closing Out Another Season!

Wellllllllll… we redeemed ourselves last Friday. We battled back in our last couple of regular-season games to earn a berth in the state play-offs— only to have to face a team that pummeled us 61-6 during the regular season! It was perhaps the worst defeat I have suffered during my 29 years as a head coach. We were decimated by injuries during the season and it showed on the field that night in September. But, as I said, the kids battled back; got healed up and we made a nice run at the end of the season to get back to .500 and earn the last spot in the playoffs. Then we found out that we had to play the team that had beat us so badly during the regular-season game.

Motivation is all in how you sell something. We spent the week looking at the mistakes we made the first time. The players got excited about showing everybody that we are a much better team than the one that showed up the first time. We talked about regaining respect: around the state and… our self-respect! We let up at the end of the first game and the players wanted a chance to vindicate themselves. We stayed positive all week long and went into the game truly expecting to win.

And, for 3 quarters, it looked like we would. Unfortunately, we made a couple of mental mistakes and it cost us in the 4th quarter. We were tied at 24 at the end of the 3rd quarter but they got 2 easy scores on us in the 4th because of those mental errors.

The interesting thing that I want coaches to know is: This team that beat us last week is now 10-1 and is playing for the state championship this weekend. What is interesting is: just 2 seasons ago, they were 0-10! Yep. NO wins! Last year, with the same group, he got to 6-4 and this year, 10-1. It’s a great example of sticking with what you know works and just continuing to coach up your kids. What was a sloppy team last year is as sharp and clean as any team I’ve ever coached against. Those kids got in the weight room and got very strong! Not huge, but aggressive and tough. I hope they pull it off this weekend. It’s a good lesson for any of us to persevere through the hard times!