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AFM Magazine

Letter from the Publisher

A Note from Coach Schipper...
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In each month's issue, I often spend time discussing the news in the world of football, be it good or bad. I received a letter from Ron Schipper, the legendary former coach of Central College (Iowa) in which he responded to my Letter from the Publisher in this year's June issue. As the coach of Central, Schipper, knows a few things about coaching, guiding the Flying Dutchmen to 36 consecutive winning seasons (an NCAA record) and a Division III title.

My original letter talked about how the quest for financial success may be discoloring the goal of coaching: to make a difference in the lives of young men. Schripper couldn't help but agree that the new coaches in football need to focus more on the men they coach and not the money they bring home each week. I hope you'll enjoy what he has to say.

Dear Barry:

I have attended every AFCA convention since 1959 and the crowds in the lobby during clinic sessions continue to grow. The young coaches who fill the lobby consider themselves football geniuses and do not understand why they are not on the staff of a Top 5 team or at least the head coach of a Division I team.

I spent 45 years as a high school and Division III coach and I chose to stay in Division III, although I have many friends coaching at major universities and in the pros. After all of my coaching experiences, I have come to three reasons why I believe the best place to coach football today for the love of the game is Division III.

First, money doesn't control everything in D-III as it does in the pros and D-I. You don't have to win to fill the stadium to keep your job, although winning is important. You will be judged by the quality of your program in terms of the lives of the young men you coach and how the program affects the college community. In the past 10 years, men who are gentlemen and outstanding coaches in D-I and the pros have been fired because they didn't produce enough money.

Second, in high school, parents who believe they are coaching experts constantly confront coaches. They know what's right for their son and know why the coach is ignorant. Dad has become an expert by watching games on TV and listening to John Madden.

Finally, at the D-III level, you get to work with young men that are attending college for an education and are involved in your program because they love football. There will be some who dream of the NFL, but it doesn't consume all your time and in D-III, you can be selective about who plays for you.

I did not become rich in monetary terms, but I had a fantastic experience. Never in 36 years at Central was there a day I did not want to go to work, thanks to the people and the entire college community. The football program was considered an integral part of the education a young man received at Central.

I feel that young coaches today only see the glamour of a stadium filled with 90,000 fans as coaching. They miss the fun so many of us had in the 1950s and '60s of mowing and lining fields, painting locker rooms with our players and cleaning equipment at season's end. I had fun doing it all. There were moments of frustrations, but I can reflect now and believe I was blessed to have the opportunity to coach when and where I did.

Ron Schipper

Thanks Coach Schipper. It is good to see you still coaching all of us.

Sincerely yours,

Barry Terranova


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