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August/September 2014

August/September 2014

Letter From AFM: Kickoff 2014

by: John Gallup
Editor and Publisher
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It’s that great time of year on the football calendar when pre-season camp is winding down and you’re putting the final touches on plans for the opening game, which will happen in a matter of weeks. You and your players have spent many hours preparing physically, mentally and strategically for the season and anticipation of a great year is high. It’s true what they say about August – every team is undefeated.

Like everyone involved in the game, our anticipation of the upcoming season is also peaking as the opening games of 2014 approach. Whatever happens on the fields of high schools, colleges or the NFL, it will be a relief to have football back after its seven-month hiatus.

For this issue, we have traditionally featured a single prominent FBS coach on our cover – Les Miles, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer the last three years – and delved into the reasons for their success. This year, we’re featuring five FBS coaches who are entering their first year at the helm of new teams. Whether you’re coaching a new team yourself or have been with the same program for years, we think the advice offered by Chris Petersen, Charlie Strong, Steve Sarkisian, James Franklin and Jeff Monken will be useful.

We’ll be following them and other first-year coaches and charting their progress as they advance in their new positions. They all have impressive coaching credentials, but it will be challenging for them to have big seasons. Challenging, but not impossible. Just look at what 2013 first-year coach Gus Malzahn accomplished installing an entirely new offense and leading Auburn to the national championship game.

As you embark on your 2014 campaign, we wish you, your fellow coaches, your players and your supporters a successful, rewarding and safe experience on and off the field.

Like Father, Like Son
If you lived through the 60’s, you’ll remember Bud Grant as the Hall of Fame coach who led the Minnesota Vikings to four Super Bowls. In 1969, he was NFL Coach of the Year.

This year, Bud’s son Mike received an equally prestigious honor when he was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. Head coach of Eden Prairie High School in the Minneapolis area, Grant received $25,000 from the NFL, $15,000 of which went to support his program.

According to the NFL, the award is intended to “honor exemplary high school football coaches who display the integrity, achievement, and leadership demonstrated by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.” This year was the fourth year that the award was presented, and it has already become the highest achievement of any high school coach’s career.

We recently caught up with Mike Grant and asked him about this great honor.

AFM: What did it mean to you to win the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award?

Grant: It was a tremendous honor that really recognizes the work of hundreds of players and a group of coaches that have been together for a long time. The parents and community have made it possible to have an extended history of success.
AFM: What was your experience receiving the award during Super Bowl week like?
Grant: It was way out of my league. I was humbled by the NFL’s generosity in providing a once in a lifetime experience for my wife and myself. New York was great and the whole Super Bowl experience was special.
AFM: What advice do you have for other coaches in terms of developing players’ character off the field?
Grant: I think we all have to take the leap of faith that in providing a great experience for each player, the wins will come. If the focus is on winning, I think we miss the opportunity to change lives.

John Gallup
Editor & Publisher


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