AFM RSS Feed Follow Us on Twitter       

   User Name    Password 
      Password Help

Article Categories

AFM Magazine

AFM Magazine

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Coaching: A Worthy Profession?
© More from this issue

Click for Printer Friendly Version          

Most of you have experienced plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking from fans, media and even parents. You don’t need more of the same old thing. You need someone on your side, someone who believes in you and your profession.

That’s why this column is called Tuesday Morning Quarterback. While the outsiders live for game day, you work your tail off every day of the week. Tuesdays, in particular, are critical workdays for coaches. We’d rather be by your side, partnering with coaches on Tuesdays than questioning your every move on Monday mornings.

For those of you who were able to stop by the American Football Monthly booth at the recent AFCA convention in Louisville, you’ll know we were loaded with questions: how are we doing? Are we giving you what you need? What’s working? What’s not? What do we need to do better?

Some said more Xs and Os, more drills, more strategy. Some said more advice on how to balance family and football, how to prepare for life after football, how to improve your chances of climbing the career ladder.

Your answers will continue to shape AFM in the future, especially “Tuesday Morning Quarterback.” Before we address those issues, though, we have a question for you: what does the coaching profession mean to you?

Is it all about winning and losing? If that’s true, more than half of you are disappointed most of the time and very, very few of you are satisfied most of the time.

Is it all about the paycheck? If that’s the case, most of you are in the wrong business. Don’t ever sit down and calculate how much you make per hour. It’s a frightening thought, sort of like picturing William “The Refrigerator” Perry naked.

Is it a vocation? Former Auburn coach Pat Dye used to say he was called to coaching like a preacher is called to preach. When his former players wanted to get into coaching legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant told them not to it unless they couldn’t live without it.

Can you live without it? If so, maybe you should. If not, consider this: what are you doing with this gift you’ve been given, this opportunity to teach and shape boys into men? Are you preparing them to be husbands, fathers, professionals and leaders? Maybe even future coaches?

When Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville got his chance to speak to more than 5,000 coaches at the AFCA convention, it would be interesting to know how many of those coaches heard him talk about his career path and coaching philosophies and let the real wisdom go in one ear and out the other.

“What a great business we’re in,” Tuberville said.

Tuberville should know. He walked on at Southern Arkansas. He coached four years of high school ball and drove a school bus to make ends meet. He ran a catfish restaurant when he got discouraged with his career path. He worked night security and other odd jobs as a graduate assistant at Miami. He’s gone undefeated and won national championships and come dangerously close to losing his job.

In between the highs and lows, Tuberville has learned some valuable lessons:

• “It ain’t about watching film. It’s about how you handle players. It’s about disciplining players, motivating players. ... This is a people business.”

• “I’m a true believer in making football fun. This is a tough sport to go out and practice every day so you’ve got to make it fun.”

• “Academics is something that should be important to all of us because we’re all teachers. Academics is what we should all be about and we shouldn’t think anything else. There’s a direct correlation between what happens in the classroom and what happens on the field.”

• “Every player on your team needs a dad – someone to talk to, someone to relate to.”

• “I would strongly advise you to look into the FCA, not just for spiritual needs, but for counseling for your young men who are looking for guidance.”

Tuberville went on to remind the coaches of their responsibility.

“I’m not a rocket scientist, but I love this profession,” Tuberville said. “You do make a difference, whether you’re a high school coach or a college coach.”

That means you have a calling to make a positive impact on their lives, to build them into better people who will make a difference long after they’ve completed their careers. Not just the star players who move on to next level, but those backups who never played much for you and will never play again.

Bob Young recently retired after 22 mostly successful seasons at the University of Sioux Falls, winning 172 games, taking the Cougars to the playoffs 10 times and winning one NAIA Division II championship in 1996. Even in his final season his team went 11-1.

When he recently completed his career at age 66 he was surprised by all the nice notes people sent him. “You just don’t realize how much of an impact you have,” Young said, “not only one your athletes and coaches, but the community around you.”

Young admits when he was younger he didn’t realize the impact of those relationships. With time and experience, he came to see the best way to win was to build into young men, invest yourself in their overall welfare and set them on a path toward success on and off the field. More often than not, that also led to a lot of victories for Young and the Cougars.

“The immediate goal is always getting to the national championship and you’re always disappointed when you don’t get there,” Young said. “As you look back and I read some of these notes I’ve received, you realize the relationships you’ve built are going to be the real lasting impact.”

That’s Coach Young’s legacy. What’s yours going to be?


AFM Videos Streaming Memberships Now Available Digital Download - 304 Pages of Football Forms for the Winning Coach


Copyright 2024,
All Rights Reserved