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Letter From the EditorJust a little perspective ...
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You know, I have been fortunate to meet some of the best people that the football industry has to offer, establish some longlasting relationships and have the opportunity to hear some pretty fantastic stories along the way.
One of my new favorite stories, which – depending on who asks me and when – changes daily, was a story told to me by Tommy Condell, the offensive coordinator at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. For those of you scratching your head, yes, this is the same Coach Condell, 31, who is the fourth youngest coordinator in Division I-A football. This is also the same Coach Condell who’s new video review column entitled “Condell’s Career Builders” can now be found in each issue of American Football Monthly, including this month on page 4.
Of course, most of us are aware of the turmoil the football program at UL-Monroe has been involved in over the past year. With the mid-season resignation of coach Bobby Keasler and the resignation of replacement coach Mike Collins in April – the day after an unfortunate traffic accident and two days before the team’s spring game – college football in Northeast Louisiana has seen better days. However, during the program’s darkest hour, Coach Condell found inspiration in his past experiences to rally not only his team, but also his staff as well.
“I addressed the team right before the spring game and I told them what a beautiful day it was,” Condell said. “I told them that the sun was shining, and that we were the luckiest people in the world because we had the opportunity to do what we truly loved – play football.”
Coach Condell recently shared a story about an experience that occurred while working as an assistant coach and special teams coordinator with the Canadian Football League’s Winnepeg Blue Bombers during 1997-98. Joining Coach Condell on the Blue Bombers’ staff was Pat Perles, son of legendary Michigan State head coach, George Perles. The story Coach Condell shared was that of a conversation he had with Pat. I loved the story so much that I decided to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. So I called Pat Perles, who is now the offensive line coach at North Dakota State.
Back in the late-70s, Pat was a ball boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His father was an assistant coach for Chuck Noll at the time. One day Pat noticed something that would change his direction forever.
Pat watched as Coach Noll stayed hours after practice working on drills with a young athlete who was being cut the next day. He saw Coach Noll spend time teaching a young man, even though he would no longer be a member of the team from that day forth.
“I knew from that day forward what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” said Pat. “It was a perfect example of the unselfish act of teaching.”
Upon telling the story to Coach Condell, Tommy asked Pat why a professional coach in the NFL would take time out for an athlete who was about to be cut from the team.
Pat’s response: “Because he was coach, and that’s what coaches do.”
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