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 -

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Captain of 1980 USA Hockey Team Interview from 2006


I found this interview to be ripe with perspective. You may want to make copies for your players.

God bless, Lou

What makes miracles? Work

"Do you believe in miracles?" sports announcer Al Michaels asked 26 years ago from the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. The answer came from Mike Eruzione, captain of the U.S. Hockey Team, who scored the winning goal to beat the Soviet team in what may be the biggest upset in sports. The story was retold in the 2004 movie Miracle that was released months after the team's coach, Herb Brooks, died in an auto accident. Memories will no doubt return Tuesday when the U.S. men play Russia in Torino.

By Eileen Blass, USA TODAY, February 20, 2006

As a tuneup, here's what Eruzione, 51, told USA TODAY corporate management reporter Del Jones about how business leaders should respond when facing, not long, but impossible odds.

Q: If your wrist shot 26 years ago had been an inch off the mark your life would be very different. Is that convincing evidence that luck plays a huge role in beating impossible odds?

A: You have to have a little bit of luck in everything. But guess what? The shot wasn't off. It was right where I shot it, and that comes with practice and preparation. When Michael Jordan hits a game winner I don't think that's luck. Now, if it bounced off of somebody's head and went in, that to me is luck.

Q: But going into the 1980 Olympics, wasn't a gold medal beyond the realm of possibility?

A: We knew it was going to be difficult, but not impossible. If you believe you're going to lose, you probably will.

Q: In business, isn't realism key, as opposed to pie-in-the-sky optimism?

A: Like I tell the kids I coach in hockey, when the game's over and you've done your best, that's all you can ask. If you could have worked a little harder to stop a goal or skated one more stride, that's when you should be frustrated and aggravated. If you can walk off the field or out of your office every day knowing that you've given your best, that's all you can ask.

Q: It's not just hard work. Too much risk can lead to failure. Is there a place for prudence?

A: There's a lot more pressure in business than being an athlete. There are mortgages and kids' educations on the line. But my dad told me that if you understand the value of work, at some point in your life you'll be successful. It might not be next month or next year. But what you accomplish will be because of the hard work, not because you were lucky or it was a fluke, or a miracle. It boils down to a work ethic.

Q: And if you fail?

A: You take all the hard work and apply it to something different.

Q: I think of people who dream of becoming actors and work really hard for a one-in-a-million shot. Twenty years later, they could be still waiting tables. If they give up, maybe they will succeed in another field.

A: Peace of mind is important. If you're at peace with yourself and happy waiting tables waiting for that one big break, that's your prerogative and the choice you made in life. If you're miserable doing what you're doing, then you had better get out and move on.

Q: The 1980 team lacked the talent to be playing on the same ice as the Soviets. How do you win in business with less talent?

A: It's about believing in the people you work with. If you think you're less talented and can't win, then you're not going to succeed. The mindset has to be that through preparation and practice and commitment, you will be successful.

Q: Should a company hire top talent or the hard workers?

A: Hard workers. Look at the Detroit Pistons a few years ago. Nobody thought they could beat the Lakers. In business, I like the guy who's willing to spend long hours and when work is over goes out and has a few beers with his co-workers. People get along and work together because they respect each other and want to be a part of the team. You want to work with people who want to be the best.

Q: Some children grow up to overcome long odds, some don't. What sets them apart?

A: It's funny, I had a conversation the other day about two brothers from my hometown. They grew up with the same set of rules, but they were like night and day. One is the nicest guy in the world, the other is off the wall. A lot is inner strength, making the right choices, not giving in to the bad crowd.

Q: Making the right choice seems important even after becoming successful. A lot of CEOs are doing perp walks these days.

A: Absolutely. Don't make excuses. It's your life.

Q: Coach Herb Brooks has been portrayed as a control freak who listened to no one and pushed players to injury. Is there a place for that leadership style?

A: In the late '70s, Herb's style was very common. Most coaches in that era were Vince Lombardi-type coaches. Today it's different. Players want discipline, but they don't need to be screamed at. Herb pushed us to challenge us. He never pushed us to injury. He knew when to stop. Everybody is motivated differently. If he yelled at me I would get mad and work harder. But the team also got motivated because they didn't want to see us being yelled at. In the business world, everybody's different. Some guys are challenged when the boss gets in their face. Others need an arm around them. That's what Herb and great managers do.

Q: You don't see much in the management literature that suggests getting in an employee's face. Are we too soft to make miracles happen in business?

A: Once in a while you've got to be aggressive. You don't want to be tough every day. It's more effective when used on rare occasions.

Q: Even today, Lombardi and Brooks would be considered successes if they won. If they lost they would be run out of town. Doesn't acceptable management style boil down to success?

A: Yes. If you get the job done, it works. But today is different than the Lombardi era. And, I don't think there's the intimidation factor in the business world today that there was in that era, either. Today, you must hire people who are different. Their clothes are different, they may have earrings and tattoos. Great coaches and managers change with the times, yet maintain their philosophy and discipline. Years ago it was my way or the highway. That's changed.

Q: How important are miracles? You planned to teach gym before yours. Are you happier than you would have been without a life-changing event?

A: I play in celebrity golf tournaments and I'm a TV commentator. I go to beautiful resorts all over the world to speak to companies. If we had lost I'd be coaching and teaching. I would be as happy. I'd live in the same town. I have three kids, but I'd probably have more because I'd be home more. Peace of mind is very important to me. Celebrity is fun and exciting. I've met the greatest people. I've met every president going back to President Carter except the present President Bush. That's pretty amazing for somebody from Winthrop, Mass.

About Mike Eruzione

* Played hockey at Boston University where he received a degree in education, 1977.
  • Children: Leigh Ann, 22; Michael, 21; and Paul, 17. Wife, Donna
* Makes 100 speeches a year at $20,000-plus each. Plays golf on the Celebrity Players Tour. Handicap: "At times 4, at times 12."
*1980 miracle: USA seeded No. 7 in 12-team field and had lost to Soviets 10-3 two weeks before. Soviets had won 21 straight Olympic contests and had not lost gold since 1960. USA tied game at 8:39 in third period. Eruzione scored the game winner 81 seconds later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Resolve: Father/Son Jersey Night


A SportsLeader coach held his father/son jersey night last week. His opening words are below.

God bless, Lou


Here on our team our mission is “resolve”or convictions. The crux of manhood, and the deficiency in our youth is just that. I don’t feel that our kids, in this society, are put into situations where a “personal stand” has to be made. Or where a boy has to call himself out, face his fears, find his courage, and witness a success that he otherwise would not have had to do. Generally speaking, our kids don’t have their PHD’s, and I don’t mean doctorates. They’re not poor, hungry, and determined because of being poor and hungry.

Life today isn’t as provoking as it was when I was a kid. I played and fought in the streets daily, from sun up to down.

I couldn’t press the clear button, or “restart” in my games on the street. I won or I lost. And everyone knew it. It was my name, my family name vs. his and his family. And when I won. I reported it back to my father, and when I lost, well if my brother was mad at me for some reason, he would tell my father. My mother was the worst. She couldn’t stand a loser, a pouter, a whiner. If I lost, I better be bleeding.

Losing just wasn’t acceptable to us in those games. I thought ,” Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to accept losing”, “when I needed that time to figure out how to win”. “There is only so much time”, and I needed to care of my time and space.

Everybody gets a participation medal today, everyone gets a medal, so who won? Who lost? Who needs to look inside of himself and find something new? Who’s jubilant about how much incredible potential he has just found because of his incredible hard work? Let winners be winners, they will work to keep the ecstasy. Let losers be losers, it will help define them, make them hungry, make them great. The truth is the truth.

Anyone can enter a race! Fear of losing is the best motivation for winning! Isn’t fear of hell a great motivator to not sin?

So I believe it is in “resolve” that we find our manhood. What do you stand up for? Is there a mission that you would fight for? Die for? Is there anything in your life that you just won’t tolerate? Is there something in your life that you need to take action in right now?

We have asked our players, Have you reflected on the almost incomprehensible concept of eternity? Do you know that there is a reason that humans have the ability to understand eternity?

It’s because your creator wants you to. He wants you to know that you have the gift of eternal life with a joy that you could not withstand nor even have a whiff of here on earth, or the tragic eternal death, with pain and suffering that no human has witnessed on earth. And because he created us to know, love and serve him, He wants you to go to him, so we can win this battle. But we need to gain the most important skill of all, “resolve”. Without resolve we are men without armour, we will take the arrows and they will penetrate our skin, and weaken us. Resolve is our armour and our weapon.

“I will.” Not “I can”, or ‘I’ll try”, but “I will”. That’s’ the type of incredible strength and focus that it takes to go to heaven. Whatever it takes, no excuses, no explanations, and God is the only one who can give you that kind of strength. So we need to be humble enough to go to Him, therefore there is humility in strength, the more humble we are, the more we clear the way for strength. His strength.

This is what our football program is about. We pray for humility. It sweeps the floor, it moves the furniture out of the way. It puts God in our lives.

We mentor your sons eye to eye in these virtues. They resolve to specific actions. They are called out to them. Our Coaches resolve to make them men of specific actions. Men of “change”, action, growth. So that they can see that they have the ability to succeed and achieve. This will lead to men of a mission, a mission that walks in the shadow of resolve.

When boys see that they can become men of action, they can change their culture instead of being victims of one, that through the strength of God, they can “achieve” by flexing their very own will, the muscle of their own souls, that’s when we really start to live. And then when you put a helmet on that very same young men, you find that this game called football sheds light upon and exposes his character. Football exposes resolve, it doesn’t build character, character builds football. Resolve builds character.

Football is a game that sheds light on the truth. How resolute can a young man be? Football will show him. How tough, physically and mentally can a young man be? How much can a young man find about himself, who he is, where is he going, how will he get there? Football will show that to him.

So tonight we celebrate our manhood and our cherished families, our ability to resolve and to find strength amongst ourselves with each other to continue to grow with the men of our lives.

Our beloved sons, the father, the leader of our children and wives, the future fathers, the protectors and providers of and for our children and women., and the sages, the grandfathers, the coaches and all the sacrificial mentors of our youth.

We take this moment now to allow senior dads to speak openly about their sons and symbolically hand their jerseys to them as they hand the keys to manhood.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

MS FB Team Goes Beyond


Jim DeJoy, head football coach of the Sycamore 7th grade football team, has been having an exceptional season.

His players have bought into virtue to a degree that has truly impressed him, his staff and the teachers.

Jim is a teacher as well, In years past, it would be "normal" for him to receive notes about players getting detention, misbehaving, not turning in homework ... from other teachers. So far this year - only positive. 2 players have been student of the week, 1 player athlete of the week.

Half of the team has earned their "Virtue = Strength" wristband by now for having fulfilled resolutions.

As a team they have accomplished two service projects already: 1 for the virtue of Charity and 1 for the virtue of Humility.

For charity - they gathered to make sandwiches for a homeless shelter in downtown Cincinnati. Each player was to earn $2-$3 dollars doing chores so they could contribute the money to purchase the food. They then made 500 sandwiches for the homeless shelter.

For humility - they had a campus cleanup competition. The team was divided into groups, given garbage bags and had to race to collect as much trash as possible. Attached is the photo of the group of young men that won.

Thanks, Jim, for this wonderful example of service and dedication.

God bless, Lou

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A great tradition - staying in contact


Many of you have met a great friend of mine, Coach Chris Willertz. He makes an amazing effort to stay in contact with his former players. Every week he sends them a little note. Here are the first 3 from this year.

How about you start this tradition?

God bless, Lou

Lot of winners and losers this weekend in the world of football. It can be so discouraging to pour your heart into the sport that you love, and still to lose. Whether you think it's your fault or the coaches or the weather, officials, whatever. It can really wear you out. What's the point??? You may think, what's the point!!???

The point is, it is heroic to give your soul to a great or lose. To literally pour yourself into something bigger that yourself demands constant thinking, planning, sacrificing, encouraging, PRAYING, constant everything. It is great to win these causes. But I would argue, the very act of suffering for your cause is the best result. You are transformed by the cause. You become a better person, a person that thinks about others and how things could and should really be.

Try to win this weekend, men. By all means! But the very act of trying to win is the real win. Never forget that! Soon you will be leading wives, children, families, communities, companies, schools, teams and the lessons you learn playing a sport will literally change the world. What can be better than that???

Good luck and God Bless!
Love and admiration,
Coach Willertz

What a wild weekend in football!! So many guys laid their guts on the field of battle.......and lost. Sadly, most of my favorites lost(except for the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers!).

Sure, mistakes were made by the losing teams, mistakes by the coaches, the captains, the QB's, the DB's, everybody involved. But mistakes were made by the winning teams too. Coaches, captains, QB's, DB's, everybody involved made mistakes for them too. Obviously, the timing had a lot to do with it. Winners find a way to win, to make the play, to make the call, to get it done, when it matters most. And at the end of the game, when you are tired, it's exactly at this time that it matters most.

You men are called to get it done, to win, to make the play, especially when it matters most. You must get the project done, make the play, communicate to a friend or family member, when it matters most, when you are tired and feel like just getting it over with. Don't give in to NOT FINISHING! Get in the habit of finishing right and your life will be all the better. What is even better is the people who depend on you most will have lives that will be all the better because of you.

Learn from your losses and failures this past week and finish this week. God is depending on you!
Love and admiration,
Coach Willertz

I am sure all of you are getting ready for the football season, whether you are playing or not. Once a football player, always a football player!

Training your body is a constant job and struggle. The stronger we get, it gets easier but oddly it gets harder too. Training is a series of plateaus, valleys and mountaintop experiences. You have good days when you are HUGE! Then there are days when you are weak, or sore or injured. So is life! Trust, hang in there and work everyday. If you are consistent and give great effort everyday you are getting better, whether you see it everyday or not.

Keep on pushing, not only with your training but working with friends and family. There are always highs and lows, but hang in there and consistently work with them. If you put in the work, those relationships will become richer and better, almost without you realizing it. Trust me, by age 42, I've realized a deep and giving friendship is rare and just as great as benching 400lbs. (Or for you weak guys, 300lbs.!, HA!)

Love and admiration!
Coach Willertz/Big Willy/Uncle Chris

Monday, September 21, 2009

HS Linebacker Interview


Please share this with your assistant coaches.

Mike Williams is a Senior Linebacker at Nazareth Academy High School near Chicago, IL. He is the defensive leader of his team. His life has been turned around this year due to the generous and dedicated heart of one of his assistant football coaches, Dr. Tom Nelson. At 5'11 and 210 Mike was getting looked at by 7 Division 1 schools.

Doc or Coach Nelson, he goes by both, is one of the original partners of the Prairie Medical Group, where he continues as the Managing Partner, and is the Medical Director of the Westchester Osteoporosis Center. He is also the Nazareth team doctor as well as the linebackers coach for the Sophomores.

Doc had told me about this tremendous young man and I asked if I could speak with him. Mike gave me a call a few nights ago and it was truly inspiring. As Mike aptly stated, "Mentoring makes a difference - it is worth your time."

I know it's easy to get caught up with the X's and O's and the mentoring quickly takes a back seat. Hopefully Mike will inspire you.

God bless, Lou

Mike, tell me about where you were at personally when you started with Doc?

Over the past year I had been really going through some tough times: poor grades, injuries, family issues. I basically lost all of last season due to injuries.

I sprained both ankles in one game, so I'm seeing foot specialitsts and doctors and receiving help but could not heal properly. I felt stuck. Then I got injured again, my hamstring, I'm losing my head cause I feel like I cant produce for my team. I was starting to get looks but then they dropped off ...

At the same time I didn't want to hurt my mother, she was going through a very painful separation with my father ...

Lots of people were trying to help me but I guess I just was not letting them in.

My head coach, Tim Racki, noticed something was wrong, so he had me talk to Coach Nelson. Being a coach and all, I knew I could open up with him. And he helped me in so many ways. He got me doing Pilates to get my body strengthened, He took me to Adoration and Church, met me where I was at. He mentored me.

How is Coach Nelson different from the other coaches on the team? How does he help you more?

He has had more time to be with me. He has a passion for mentoring that is greater than your average coach. When you are with him you can feel it, you know that he is interested in you, that he cares about you. You feel that the guy knows his stuff and you need to listen to him.

How have you changed personally during this football season being mentored by Coach Nelson?

Where he has helped me the most is to prioritize my life. So I have been focused especially on 2 areas: The spiritual aspect and then caring and giving. Ever since I did that everything else has been put in place and I can go through things with ease because of that. Once I started to pray and bring God into my life, I felt a peace, I felt like I could do this thing. I got my grades in order, I've been serving my Mom and I've never played better.

Was it hard opening up with Coach the first time?

No, it wasnt that bad opening up to coach. We were at his medical office. He asked me if I had a spiritual background ... I did, at a young age I really felt it and I knew it was for real and important, but I got away from it ... how to pray, adoration, masses ....

So he said that the perfect place to start was the spiritual aspect. He shared some of his life with me, his experiences, some of his mistakes that he regrets and just simply said that if I can get that in order first - the rest will come. I agreed.

So he taught me how to pray, he brought me to adoration, found a Church where I could go to Mass and got me the times and all ... I made a prayer schedule for myself. Now I gotta use my will to get it done.

Did your friends think this was weird or anything - all this prayer stuff?

No, not at all. Totally the opposite. My teammates knew that I was stuck, they knew where I was and that now I was different. They knew it was for real. I shared my story with the team one day after practice. One of our lineman was having a tough time - he asked me how did I get myself back on track - because I started to pray. The other coaches are starting to mentor now too.

What would you tell other coaches about SportsLeader?

That with everything we are going through: pressures at school, home, peer pressure, temptation ... and then adding on all the demands of football, the focus, etc. We need help to get through those pits. We as players need great male role models.

I want to let the coaches know that this might be weird but that his players need him right now to mentor him. They wont blow it off, we help each other. Start it - it helps a lot, young men need it - every young man needs it!

And if a coach says that he's made mistakes in his life and does not feel like he can be a role model?

We've all made mistakes, share those mistakes, it would be a disservice to his team to not teach us. Hearing about those things helps us to put things in perspective.
When a coach is humble it makes me open up a lot faster.

How is your relationship with your Dad?

Not very strong. It is something I have to work on. I was pretty tied up for a while, real mad. But Coach is helping me to forgive. Coach gave me 2 tickets to the next Bears game. He has to travel or something so he can't go. He told me I could invite whoever I wanted. I'm going to the game with my Dad. I hope that brings us closer.

Coach told me about the experience jogging .... do something important for football .... - what is that?

I was out jogging one day, no big deal. I had my head phones on, I'm listening to music and I pass this one guy on the way out and as I'm heading back I see him again and he motions to me to take the ear phones out. He asked me, "what are you training for?" I told him about Nazareth football.

And then he just says, "God is going to do great things in you through football. He is going to help you proclaim Jesus."

That was it and he walked off. But I guess he was right. My life has already changed because of football this year. Maybe more is still coming.

What are your goals for after graduation?

I'm trying to figure out where does God want me. I want to major in criminal justice and get a job with homeland security.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Head football coach note to staff


Below is a note a head football coach sent to his varsity staff this past Friday morning. He is a 4 time state champion and his team has 4 games under their belt. If things have not gotten off to the start you originally planned ... it is never too late to try again. If I can help in any way please let me know.

God bless, Lou

Good Morning Men,
Wanted to share some of my thoughts with you prior to tonight’s contest. Would rather do this in a meeting, but we all know how time kicks in to warp speed after 3PM around here. Also, I do not want the final numbers on the scoreboard tonight to be viewed as “THE reason” for my present thoughts as far as where we are at with this squad. In other words, whether the ball bounces our way or not we have some work to do that goes beyond x’s and o’s.
Despite my lectures, discussions and one on ones regarding topics such as roles, chemistry, senior leadership, we before me selflessness, countless examples of accountability and responsibility, looking in the mirror, the “we will find out who is in and who is out” message ect.. I / we are not getting through to our team.

This week alone I have told most of you of the talks I have had with kids and or parents. I had to talk to yet another player yesterday after practice and another just this morning as well as another call this morning. I assumed coming into this year senior leadership would be a strength I would not have to worry about. We all know the cliché for assuming. Combine that with the fact that our junior class seems to need lessons on developing leadership. Not a slight on them, just something they need to be taught.

I also think we have way too many small cliques on this team. I understand every team will have some sort of clique system that vary in degree, but the one we currently have is not conducive to a “WE” environment. I actually think it feeds the “me” disease more than anything. So….as I type this, we are faced with many players who are either….not confident in their abilities, have no clue what role they play on this team, do not feel as if they belong, do not feel they receive respect or appreciation from teammates, want more pt…you get the picture.

That staple of unity and brotherhood fostered by strong leadership and love that we have worked so hard to create over the years has managed to escape right under my nose. Maybe it has been like this for sometime but ... Who knows. I do think it’s a waste of time at this moment to think in past terms.

I was already planning on, as you know, implementing the mentoring program with those goal sheets I am collecting. Quite honestly I was going through the motions as far as assigning kids and trying just to get it done and over with.

I am a bit embarrassed that I approved this thing and the lower levels are much further ahead on this than us. Not beating myself up as I do know this summer was different than others for me in terms of being on top of or on schedule with issues I need to deal with.

I would like to sit down with all of us preferably tomorrow to discuss what players we should assign ourselves to. Please bring those goal sheets with you to the meeting.

I want to use this tool to find out where these kids are at and what help they need to understand the lessons we are preaching in this game. If this slows down gameplanning,film, practice, meetings ect… so be it. We keep doing what we are doing at the moment we will just be getting back the same results and attitudes…regardless of wins and losses.
Thank you for your attention. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts as well.

Other than that! Have a Great Friday Men!!!!
See you in a few!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Post Game Reflection


Please share this with your assistant coaches - if you believe worthwhile.

I attended a full Friday high school football game this week:
Pre-game meal all the way to the loading of the buses - with a truck ride home with an assistant coach.

This is what I learned:

Coaches need to use their willpower to control their emotions and be self-LESS.

As men, we get wrapped up in the competition and the intensity of the game.

It takes WILLPOWER to catch yourself, think about "what the players need", consciously forget about yourself, your urges, pressures and emotions ... and make the effort to TEACH your players.

I KNOW how hard this is. I had to catch myself. I was totally routing for this team. They were losing and I was getting upset at the mistakes, the penalties, etc. I was getting pessimistic. But I NEEDED to catch myself and CHANGE my own attitude. I asked myself, "What am I doing here? How can I help these players?"

(I apologize if this seems arrogant of me mentioning what I did. I did not change the world or the outcome of the game. I am just trying to provide another viewpoint of how one can coach. Again if a player's coach would have done these things the results would be 10X better)

An offensive lineman had injured his shoulder early in the second half. He was pacing the sideline totally in tears his shoulder wrapped in ice. This went on for a while. No coaches spoke with him. I understand that you are busy during the game, you can't drop everything as soon as a guy gets hurt ...

- Maybe the O-Line coach when the defense is on the field, after speaking to the O-Line on the bench ... could seek him out, etc.

- I spoke with him, encouraged him as best as I could, had him look at the sideline and pointed out how many guys were leading ... "no one" ... encouraged him to use his pain, his sacrifice, his will to lead on the sideline ... he did and it changed him and his teammates.

Post Game after the loss

The team met in the gym, it was an away game ... Head Coach addressed the team briefly. A bus driver was missing so the team could not leave. One coach gathered a position group and was basically tearing them up ... the rest went to the parking lot ...

- In this moment it was obvious that the players needed some encouragement. They needed to be uplifted, mentored, prayed with. They needed some LOVE.

-What do you accomplish whining in the parking lot amongst yourselves? You can do that watching film together or at the restaurant after the players go home ... Use every moment you have with the players to BUILD

- I went to as many players as a I could, prayed with some, told them every positive thing I saw and did my best to get them to forget about themselves and encourage their teammates, to build - not mope.

God bless, Lou

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gut Check

I just want to encourage you ...

Over the years I have observed many coaches and this is a point in the season that becomes crucial especially for the Head Coach but also the Assistant coaches ... habits begin to form ... emotions begin to take over ... the season in some respects begins "to slip away."

I wanted to offer some ideas for reflection. Forgive me if this seems to "assume" that you don't know what you are doing ... totally on the contrary ... I am just trying to inspire some reflection that may be needed ...

* When things go wrong during a game or practice, are the coaches able to control their emotions?
- Reflect - OK the player did not do something correctly
- How can I TEACH him to do it better?
- How can I communicate with him more effectively?
- How is this lesson going to help him become a better man?

Many times what happens is that the coaches just get too negative and start screaming. They forget about the player and react mostly out of sheer emotion. Coaches need to remember to be self-LESS.

* If you are frustrated with your win-loss record ...
- Has your record deep down become the driving force of your season?
- Why am I coaching to begin with?
- Am I letting my relationships with my family and friends go down the toilet because I'm consumed with finding a way to win?
- Is this frustration more a sign of personal weakness or true interest in the kids. Self-LESS?

A renewed perspective is needed: Your life is short, your time to teach these boys to become men is even shorter.

* Are you truly mentoring the young men on your team ...
- Do not "measure" yourself on what you are talking to your team about ... rather focus on what your players are concretely achieving in their resolutions off the field.

* Is God a part of your coaching? Are you asking HIM to help you, inspire you, give you virtue?

On his eye black for this past game, Tim Tebow had Proverbs 3:5-6:
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

If I can help in any way, please let me know.

I truly appreciate everything you do for young men. Know that I am praying for you every day.

God bless you, Lou

Tim Tebow doing pre-game sprints while pushing a little boy in a wheelchair. The boy's name was Boomer Hornbeck, a 7-year-old from Atlanta who suffers from cerebral palsy. An hour before kickoff, while Tebow warmed up, he pushed Hornbeck’s wheelchair as he ran.

Afterward, Tebow said it was the most memorable moment of the game for him.

"It was so cool to see the look on Boomer’s face," Tebow said. "It was a special moment for him. He'll remember it and that's what's meaningful."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

HS FB player saves the lives of 22 students on bus

I think this is a great example to talk with your players about - selflessness and sacrifice.

Maybe you can make copies of this, talk about it and then send it home with the players to think about ...

God bless, Lou
Eulls saves 22 lives from armed student

Logan Lowery
Tuesday morning began just like any other morning for football star Kaleb Eulls.

Eulls and his three younger sisters were among 22 passengers on a school bus bound for Yazoo County High School in western Mississippi until a 14-year old female student boarded the bus armed with a .380 semi-automatic handgun threatening to shoot and ordering the bus driver to pull over.

Eulls had fallen asleep at the back of the bus listening to his mp3 player and did not realize what was happening until one of his sisters woke him up.

"My sister that was in front of me woke up and told me that the girl had a gun," Eulls said. "She was pointing it back and forth at other people and the little kids that were sitting at the back. I just thought real quick and tried to grab her attention before she pointed the gun at anybody else. I wanted her to point it at me so she wouldn't point it at anybody else."

Eulls then opened up the emergency door located in the back and began evacuating as many students as he could from the rear of the bus while trying to reason with the armed female.

"I just tried to talk to her and calm her down," said the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Eulls. "She was just getting louder and louder. I guess for a quick second she looked out the window and when she did that I just sprung at her. I just knocked her down and got the gun away from her. When I got the gun I ran out the back door and disarmed it."

Eulls, who is a four-star defensive end that is verbally committed to play football at Mississippi State next year, was not concerned for his own well being at the moment. He selflessly did what he thought was the right thing to save the life of the others on board.

"I was just scared for the younger kids and my family that was on the bus," Eulls said. "I was just thinking things out step-by-step as quickly as I could. After we got to the school and watched the tape I just sat there thinking 'what in the world did I just do?' I just thought about what if this would have happened or if this would have happened? It was just crazy."

Eulls, already a hometown sports hero in the town of just over 1,300 about 30 miles north of Jackson, Miss., earned the respect of the local law enforcement.

"The (officers) who have been there for a long time told me that they have stared down many barrels before and always felt like it was a big cannon pointing at them," Eulls said. "It is one scary feeling."

Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughn was quoted in the Jackson, Miss., based The Clarion Ledger saying "If it hadn't been for this star football player, things could have been different. He didn't go overboard, but he did exactly what it took to get her on the ground.

"He made the statement to one of my deputies that if she was going to shoot anyone he would rather she shoot him. Watching him do that and him doing such a heroic act and not even caring about his own safety, that's something you don't see every day."

The female assailant was arrested on 22 counts of attempted aggravated assault, 22 counts of kidnapping and one count of possession of a firearm on school property. She was taken to the county juvenile detention facility.

As for people now calling a hero, Eulls feels he was just doing what anyone else would have done in that situation.

"I just tell them thank you and not to do anything crazy like that," Eulls said.

Eulls is rated the No. 19 defensive end in the nation and the No. 8 overall prospect in Mississippi by He holds scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Tennessee but has been committed to the Bulldogs since early July.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SportsLeader football team builds home for family in need

A SportsLeader high school football team from Mt Angel, Oregon is doing something very special: they are building a house for a family in need. They wanted to put the virtue of charity into practice and they wanted to do something "big".

They teamed up with an organization that can build a very good house for a family in Peru for $10,000. The football players raised the money and the house should be built soon.

Below is a letter one of the players sent to his family members and a team photo with the check to be sent once they raised their goal.

Head Coach Randy Traeger said that this was a transforming event for this whole team. They would like to do this every year now!

God bless, Lou


Dear Uncle Jim and Aunt Dianne,

I am a proud member of the Kennedy Football team. We are doing some great things in Mt. Angel. You may have heard about our SportsLeader program where our coaches teach Kennedy football players “virtue” and character development. Our coaches are teaching us a code of conduct for manhood and they are holding us to standards higher than victory on the playing field.

As our team’s commitment to demonstrate the virtue “charity”, we have undertaken the mission of raising enough money to build a house for an impoverished family. The Rossana and Geremías Durand family and their three children live in a one room cardboard/scrap lumber house with a dirt floor and corrugated tin roof. We intend to change that.

Out football team recently sponsored a BBQ Benefit dinner and raised over one half of the funds needed to complete the house. The local support for this project has been incredible. In order to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the house we are reaching out beyond the Mt. Angel community for help.

My teammates and I would very much appreciate any contribution you can make. Please make your check payable to “Kennedy High School” and mail it off in the enclosed envelope. Any amount will help, $1000, $500, $250, $100, whatever you feel comfortable giving.

Thank you for helping us demonstrate how “Charity” can change peoples lives.

Will Bochsler