SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Monday, August 10, 2009

Coach Tom Osborne Letter to Beechwood High School Football Team

God works in mysterious ways.

A few weeks ago Ed Johansen, our regional coordinator in the Nebraska-Iowa-Missouri area, decided to come and observe one of our team camps. It was with the Beechwood High School football team from Northern KY. As Ed was waiting for his plane he noticed that Tom Osborne sat down a few feet in front of him.

Tom Osborne was the Head football coach at the University of Nebraska for 25 years, 1973-1997, compiling a record of 255-49-3 winning 3 National Championships in the process in 1994, 1995 and 1997. After coaching, Osborne was elected to Congress in 2000 and served six years in the United States House of Representatives from Nebraska's 3rd congressional district.

Osborne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, and in 2000, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, ESPN honored Osborne as the coach of the decade for the 1990s. This honor is even more impressive considering the fact that he did not coach for 20% of the decade. In a 2007 online ESPN poll, Osborne was voted the "greatest college football coach of all time". Osborne was chosen as the 2008 recipient of the American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) highest honor, the Tuss McLaughry Award for the highest distinction in service to others.

He is currently the athletic director of the University of Nebraska.

Ed approached Coach Osborne, told him about SportsLeader, his work and that he was going to be spending the next few days with a high school football team. He asked coach if he would like to send the team a message or some words of encouragement. Ed said that Coach paused for a bit and then said, "Tell them that there is no secret sauce to forming a great team, no magic wand. It is all about sacrifice. Every player has to sacrifice something: for some it will be alcohol, for others it will be pleasures, for others time ... Everyone must sacrifice something. That is the key to building great teams."

Ed shared that experience with all of us around the campfire that night. Later during the camp we decided to have all the players write down what they were going to personally sacrifice for their team this season. We gave each player an index card and they wrote them addressed to Coach Osborne. Ed sent them all to Coach along with a team photo ...

It must have made an impression on Coach Osborne. Here below is a letter addressed to the Beechwood Team. He also invited Ed to set up a meeting with him to discuss SportsLeader ... This is a good thing!

God bless, Lou

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SportsLeader at Paris High School and Lexington Tide Youth Football

Yesterday I was blessed to spend the day at Paris High School. In the morning we had a training with most of the athletic staff: AD, HS and MS football coaches, golf, track, basketball and baseball ... What an inspiring group of men. These kids are so blessed to have these men working with them.

Head coach, JJ Everage, has been striving to bring SportsLeader to the entire school because he does not want the fruit from football season to "wear off" when they go on to other sports. He wants their lives to be truly "transformed."

In the afternoon we had a team camp for the football players. The players responded better than ever expected. The team has suffered a bit from apathy and a lack of commitment at times but we believe yesterday was a turning point. The kids were enthusiastic and tough. They want to be a "new" team.

Toward the end of the day, Coach Everage shared a story with all of us. He has 4 beautiful daughters - 2 are 3 yr old twins now. They were born 3 months pre-mature and that brought a considerable amount of suffering and sacrifice to their lives. I have rarely been in a room where you could physically feel the attitude of a room change as when Coach emotionally described what he went through as a man, a husband and a father ... and how much he wanted them to be great men and great fathers in the future.

After Paris, we traveled to Lexington to be with an awesome youth football team. They are 5th-7th graders. Assistant Coach Mike Black gave the Humility talk to the young men after practice. The young men had the "assignment" the night before, as part of the virtue of Charity, to do something for their families without being asked. "I made dinner - egg sandwiches", "I took out the trash", "I picked up my room made my bed", "I fed the dog", "I took in the groceries", "I fed the rabbits", "I played with my younger brother" ...

Virtue in action - not just talking about it - doing it!

God bless, Lou

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Covington Catholic Team Retreat

Covington Catholic High School, an all boys HS in Northern KY, had a team retreat with SportsLeader this past Saturday. New head coach, Dave Wirth, organized an incredible day for his players combining faith, family, fun, food and football ... Covington Catholic has a great football tradition - 6 state championships.

The day started with Mass celebrated by Father Robert DeCesare, LC in the Covington Catholic chapel for all 80 of the football players - Sophomores through Seniors.

Then came some meetings, football practice, testimonials from alumni, Dads, a former Pro football player, Bob Crable and an amazingly inspiring talk on integrity by assistant head coach Todd Naumann. What made it that much more impressive was that Todd and his wife just welcomed their third child into the world a few shirt days ago.

The day ended with something truly special. All the players met in the locker room, put on their game jerseys and walked over to the new grotto. They prayed a mystery of the rosary and offered up some prayer intentions to our Lord and our Blessed Mother.

Afterwards they walked out to midfield and had a commitment ceremony. Parents had lined the entire field with luminaries so it really looked awesome. I overheard a few kids say that this was one of the coolest things they had ever been a part of.

Each player walked to the center of the circle with football in hand and announced to the team what they were going to sacrifice and commit to during the season. Then the players received their commitment cards from their mentor coaches.

Being that the 7th-8th grade football program has joined SportsLeader as well we have around 220 young men growing in virtue associated with Covington Catholic.

May our Lord bless all of these young men and their coaches and inspire them to do great things for their families, school and community.

God bless, Lou

Tim Tebow is saving himself for marriage

If you would like to watch the entire interview you click below

Florida Quarterback Tebow Leaves Reporters Speechless: "Yes I am" Saving Myself for MarriageAlso says he is grateful that his mother's story has helped women choose not to have an abortion

By John Jalsevac
July 30, 2009 ( - Last week Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow's photo may have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, the same magazine that is best known for its annual "swimsuit issue," but the contrast between the two cover stories couldn't have been more glaring.

At 21 years of age and graced with boyish good looks, Tebow is one of the most talked about rising stars of the NCAA; but the football superstar literally left reporters speechless last week when he answered a question during a press conference about whether or not he is "saving himself" for marriage.

"Yes I am," said Tebow briefly, who then indicated he was ready for the next question. However, in the video of the press conference, a reporter is heard stumbling over his words in the background as he tries to ask a follow-up question. Tebow then laughs, obviously reacting to the reactions of the reporters in the room.

"I think y'all were stunned by that," he says. "Y'all can't even ask a question. Wow. I mean, I was ready for that question. I don't think y'all were."

It wasn't the only controversial remark that Tebow made that day. In response to another question about whether or not people may be tired of the volume of coverage devoted to the young football star, Tebow, a devout Christian, said that the level of exposure he receives is a mixed blessing. However, he said, he looks at the positive side that, thanks to his fame, he has been able to share his Christian faith with so many people.

In addition, the football star told the reporters that he believes that the publicity given to his mother's story has helped other women choose not to abort their unborn children. Tebow's mother, who serves as a Christian missionary together with her husband, was pressured to abort Tebow following a life-threatening infection she suffered while pregnant with him. Doctors pressured her to abort her son to save her own life, but she ultimately resisted the pressure and both mother and child survived the birth.

"There has been a lot of people that have been encouraged not to have an abortion because they heard the story of my mom, or they have been encouraged because they have heard me give my faith on TV or in a report or something," said Tebow.

"You know what, although there has been a backlash, oh, well. You know what, I'll deal with it if I have to. It's not a big deal to me because of the kids and people that have been encouraged by the stories we have tried to tell and by the life that I've tried to live."

Growing up Tebow would often help his parents with their Christian mission work in the Philippines. He was homeschooled by his mother, who instilled in her children strong Christian values.

Tebow was the first home-schooled athlete to be nominated for the Heisman Trophy. "That's really cool," he said at the time. "A lot of times people have this stereotype of homeschoolers as not very athletic - it's like, go win a spelling bee or something like that - it's an honor for me to be the first one to do that."