Below is a peak at the final chapter of my book about Football, Faith and Family. This is some of the last chapter that discusses the close to my career as a football coach. Enjoy and please go take a look on amazon or kindle it you want to see the other twenty four chapters.
Chapter Twenty Five- The Final Drive
My coaching career all started with an severe playing injury that I thought was the end of the world. I had lost the one thing I held near and dear to my heart. The game that I had worked so hard to be the best I could was done. No more helmets, no more hits, no more pre-game national anthems. However, in reality it was the beginning of something even bigger and many more Thursday and Friday night national anthems. I started coaching as a college volunteer assistant line coach in 1989 and ended my career as a high school coach on a cold Friday night over 25 years later in 2019. Through the process it was rewarding, fun, challenging, frustrating, hard, never easy and so many other words I could write.
After that last game I knew it was time to go, time for another generation of coaches that I had been part of mentoring to take over and run with it. It was time to seek other opportunity. That last loss hurt me more watching the seniors cry about losing and playing their last game as a player than the sting of taking a loss as a coach. I may step back out there one day, but it will be on my terms. My family spent many years on Friday nights sitting in the bleachers watching me coach, watching the boys play and waited at home for me until 8-9 o’clock every night to get home from practice and 1:00-2:00am on Friday nights.
I had lived my dream as a player and coach and it was time to walk away and spend time with my family. I loved the game and it had loved me back. It had given to me ten fold, what I had given it. I am grateful for the opportunity it provided me as a player, coach and fan. But I am even more grateful for all the Godly men that coached and mentored me through the years. My teammates, players and peers are what made the game special. God is the one that made it all happen, he put me where I needed to be in my career and I tried to always honor him in everything I did. There were ups and downs along the way, but it was exciting as each season came and went.
I am sure I failed at times, but it was all in an effort to be the best person I could be. I prayed daily to the Lord to guide me, lead me, mentor me and give me grace beyond all understanding. For my coaching friends, never forget where you came from and how you got where you’re going. Winning is great, but making sure our young men and women know how to win in life, battle through tough times and push onward towards goals is our main purpose. As my dad once said, “find something you love, do it with passion and purpose” and all the other stuff will take care of itself.
I want to thank my wife, daughters, family and friends for always being there and supporting my football playing and coaching career. I want to thank my brothers and cousins for whooping on me and breeding the passion for the game in me on those Sunday afternoons at Grandma Smith’s house. Those hard hits, tackles, bruises and breaks gave me the foundation to play the game and later coach it. I love you and look forward to the many years of family time, travel and relaxation.
Lastly, I thank God for his grace, guidance, mercy and forgiveness. Without his eternal heavenly love I would not have made it through any of the situations life as a coach, teacher, parent and husband presented me.
The End or is just the Beginning! Time will Tell, Only God and I know!