You have been coaching for some time now. What about coaching motivated you to get into this profession?
For me it is without a doubt my high school head coach Greg Pittman. He taught us so much about, not just the game but life. He always told us “if you carry yourselves everyday as a true champion, then you will be a champion, but most of all a good man and student”. I have carried those words with me everyday since i became a coach.
What did you or do you struggle with when reaching the athletes? How did you break the barrier?
I have to first get them to understand, that I will always have their back, and that I will always go to bat for them. Once you establish the trust the rest is easy.
Having coached both high school and semi pro athletes, what have you learned and taken away from both experiences?
You have to have the patience of a monk. With high school guys they have the typical teenage issues (i.e. grades, girls, friends). With Semi-Pro guys they have the some of the same issues (i.e. wives, friends, kids, jobs). You have to always be available to them, always be willing to listen to what is on their mind.
What are some key insights that you can give to those looking to get into coaching?
1. Make sure they know your expectations for them and the program, and make sure you know theirs. 2. Always maintain an open door policy with them so that they can make their issues and concerns heard. 3. Get to know each and everyone of your players off the field. 4. Simply, have fun. Once it’s not fun anymore the job becomes much harder for both you and your players.
What are some of your goals as a coach; pertaining to each level, what would you like to accomplish?
First and foremost is to instill confidence in my players, once they believe in themselves they learn that the sky is the limit for them, that nothing is out of the realm of possibilities. If i can do that (and win a little in the meantime, cause who doesn’t like rings and banners) then I feel I have accomplished all of the goals I have set.
Talk about your playing days and things that stuck with you over the years from past coaches… Do these memories translate into your coaching strategies now?
Absolutely they do. I often think back to my junior year in high school and the impact that the coaching staff and that team made. We were against all odds, yet we had a coach that believed in us sometimes more than we believed in ourselves. According to coach there wasn’t anything that we couldn’t do. I strive to instill that same belief in my players.
As a coach, do you struggle with athletes and their social media alter egos? Do you have policies in place to limit off the field issues?
I do struggle with this, as i’m sure all programs do. Lets face it it’s just the society we live in today. I always tell my guys that if they post something they wouldn’t want their pastor to see then they need to take it down. We have a strict policy and subsequent discipline for this because this is one of the first things that a scout or recruiter look at.
If you could talk to your younger self, prior to coaching, what would your advice be to him?
To follow his heart, find what you love to do and go do it. I believe that if you do what you love then you truly don’t work a day in your life. Its simple really, I truly enjoy being a part of the game everyday, and teaching guys life lessons along the way.