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, November 30, 2009

SportsLeader Team in Oregon State Championship

Remember that team I told you about that raised $10,000 to build a house for a family in Peru? Click on the link for more info

They started off the season 0-3 but now they're 9-4. This coming Saturday they will be playing for the Oregon 2A State Championship.

In the playoffs they have won the rematches with 2 of the 4 teams they lost to in the regular season. In the Championship they will face a third.

Kennedy wins rematch with Knappa, faces Scio for title
Trojans earn a second shot at Tri-River rival

HILLSBORO — Kennedy coach Randy Traeger has talked all season about the importance of the journey.

With a 21-14 victory Saturday at Liberty High against Knappa, the Trojans' journey has carried them to the OSAA Class 2A state championship game and a rematch against Tri-River Conference rival Scio.

"I think it's awesome for the players to have this joy," Traeger said. "It's not just the game, but everything that goes along with it. Those are the extras that they get to put into the memory basket."

Scio beat Lost River 46-3 in the other Class 2A semifinal game Saturday.

Kennedy will face Scio at 2:15 p.m. Dec. 5 at Hillsboro Stadium. Scio won the Tri-River championship, and Kennedy finished second. Scio beat the Trojans 14-7 on Oct. 16 at Kennedy.

"We feel pretty good about it," Kennedy's Nick Theimer said about the championship game. "But both teams are very good."

For the second week in a row, Kennedy beat a team it lost to during the regular season. The Trojans lost 56-18 to Knappa in the second week. Last week, Kennedy beat Heppner 7-0 after losing 30-23 in the season opener.

"We take pride in playing nonconference teams that are very good," Traeger said. "We are a defensive-oriented team because we play teams that run the wing. If you can defend the wing, you can be successful."

Trojans senior Derek Barth had 169 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns.

Barth caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from junior Derek Traeger on a third-and-17 to give the Trojans a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The extra-point attempt was no good, and Kennedy took a 6-0 lead into halftime.

With 7:27 left in the third quarter, Knappa took a 7-6 lead after Cody Strickland connected with Trevor Oja for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kennedy answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Barth. Franky Rodriguez then converted the two-point conversion to give Kennedy a 14-7 lead.

The Trojans increased their lead to 21-7 when Rodriguez scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left.

Knappa answered with a 34-second, 65-yard drive, capped by Bryan Sablan's 17-yard touchdown reception, to cut Kennedy's lead to 21-14.

The Trojans recovered the ensuing onside-kick attempt, then ran out the clock.

"It feels really good," Barth said. "Our confidence is the highest it's ever been."

With the victory, Kennedy improves to 9-4. The Trojans have won nine of their past 10 games. The only loss during that stretch was to Scio, which is 13-0.

In the state playoffs, Scio has outscored its opponents 154-22. Scio's closest game this season overall was the 14-7 victory against Kennedy.

Traeger said the team will stay level-headed.

"We're definitely confident," Traeger said. "But the crown of victory is humility. We know that Scio is a really good team."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Assistant Eastern Illinois football coach dies in car crash


This is a reminder of how short life is. We know not the hour ... May we live every day serving God and others with all our heart.

God bless, Lou

Assistant Eastern Illinois football coach dies in car crash
The Associated Press
Updated: 11/30/2009 06:42:22 AM MST

Effingham, Ill. » Eastern Illinois assistant football coach Jeff Hoover was killed in a car crash as he returned home from a playoff game against Southern Illinois. He was 41.

Hoover and his family were riding with strength coach Eric Cash and his family late Saturday when their Chevrolet Suburban swerved to miss a deer and rolled over just south of Effingham, athletic department spokesman Rich Moser said Sunday.

Two children also in the vehicle have been released from the hospital, while a third child is being held for observation, Moser said. Cash, wife Sherri and Hoover's wife, Penny, are in stable condition at Carle Hospital in Champaign, he said. Effingham is about 30 miles south of Eastern Illinois' campus in Charleston.

Hoover joined Eastern Illinois in 2007 after serving as the offensive coordinator at Portland State. He also worked at Henderson State, Utah State, Claremont-McKenna College and his alma mater, UC Davis, and briefly coached the Arena Football League's Sacramento Attack.

"We are very saddened by the loss of Jeff Hoover," Eastern Illinois athletic director Barbara Burke said. "He was a valuable member of our football staff and was looked up to by the young men in our football program. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Penny and their two children along with Eric Cash and his family in this difficult time."

Chris Vaccaro, an EIU offensive lineman, said Hoover always asked for the best from his players.

"Football coaches around the country turn into a second father for most of us players and for some of us our only father figure. Coach Hoover was that person to many of us," Vaccaro said. "He was a great man and a great coach."

The tragedy marks the second death this month for the athletic department. Assistant women's basketball coach Jackie Moore died Nov. 4 after collapsing as she started a workout. Doctors said the 28-year-old's heart "just stopped."

A memorial service for Hoover is planned, but no details were immediately available.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Case Keenum - University of Houston QB - Great Quote

Case Keenum - University of Houston QB

"I found out real quickly when I got out on my own that I can't do it on my own," Keenum said. "I can't deal with all the stresses of being a college football player and an athlete and a student, a Christian, a role model and all this stuff on my own. I need somebody else in control. Because if I think I've got it under control, he definitely reminds me that I don't.

"If I start stressing and worrying about stuff, it's kind of slapping God in the face and saying, I don't think You have it under control.' He has a plan, and his plan is better than anything I can even imagine."

God bless, Lou

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lives Transformed

One of our SportsLeader teams just finished their season 6-4. At the close-out coaches meeting, a first year coach approached the head coach and said:
"Coach, can I talk to you for a minute. I want to say thank you .. I want you to know I had Jesus in my life a long time ago and I strayed away and you know for the first time in a long time ... because of the football and the virtue program ... Jesus is back in my life and I can't thank you enough for that."

He had his players fill out a post season questionnaire as well as write a personal essay. Here are some examples.

During the season he had priests come to hear confessions for his team 3 times. The third time - every member of the team went. He also had weekly team Masses and a 4 day team camp.

God bless, Lou

1. Alex K.
The SportsLeader program is probably one of the most important things that could be done with our football program. Building character and transforming the boys on the team into men. What could be more important? I truly believe this virtue program has transformed me into a smarter, more-well rounded person. I have come from being a reckless child, to growing into respectable man.

This virtue program has helped transform our football team. We play the game not only to become better football players and to win, but for the character you cannot build in any other sport other than the great game of football. This virtue program has been a cornerstone to our offensive line being the #l offense in the shore, By teaching us a man can overcome someone physically stronger than him by having the determination and the clarity of mind to mentally defeat his opponent.

Something which I personally believe couldn't be more true, being one of the physically lightest and smallest linemen on the team. If you told me that I would be a 2 way starter 4 years ago I would've thought you were insane. This program has helped me reach my potential and I believe in the years to come this program will produce some of the best and most well rounded players this sport will ever see, both on and offthe field.

This SportsLeader program is by far the greatest thing that has ever affected my life, besides my own parents. Virtue camp itself will forever be one of my fondest memories of my high- school life. I believe the Brave Heart and the SportsLeader Virtue program should be things included on all football teams, which would fill the world with more respectable and responsible men.

2. Jacob M.
In the spiritual and moral areas of my life, my goal was to pray three times daily and build a stronger relationship with God. I feel that I accomplished these goals by actually making a conssientious effort to pray more often through out the day and also by taking multiple steps to become closer to God. In order to build a closer relationship with God, I found myself going to Church more often than I had in the past. I became an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for St. Joseph Parish. fn doing so I was trusted to give the body of Christ to others. I feel that this brought me closer to God. Many times I also found myself readitrg the Bible in times when I thought I needed strength. This proved to me that my relationship with God had improved.

My goal in respect to my family life was to be a better sibling and bring my entire family closer. This was hard as I was not home very often due to the busy school and football schedule. However, when I had a few minutes here or there I tried to help my brother or sister out. On nights when I had less homework I tried to sit with my family more tha4 I had and also I played Madden with my little brother. Considering the time restraints,on family time, I feel that I met this goal.

My goal for my senior year academics were to get straight A's, to graduate in the top ten of my class, and get admission to Duke lJniversity. The first marking period my GPA was a 103. Therefore I met my goal of straight A's, My class rank still stands at 6 out of 238. Therefore I feel that I am in position to meet my dream. Regarding Duke university, I applied early decision and amwaiting to hear back from the university by December 15. I feel that I put myself in agreatpositionto be admitted to Duke. I have met all my goals in area of school.

My goals for the team were to challenge myself and my teammates so that we get better. My dream,was to win 8 games. We obviously did not win 8 games, although I feel that ,lf we did not hurt ourselves during the season this feat would have been possible. As for my goal, I feel,that I challenged both myself and my teammates. Both my team and I have improved a lot since the beginning of the season.

Finding time to meet my goals for strength and fitness on a consistent basis was very difficult. Due to a very small amount of "free time" between school, athletics, and family,,it was difficult to run often to improve my cardio. I did however run a few times throughout the season on my own. After the season I hope to lift and get myself in better shape both before,and during basketball season.

Community service is a very,important aspect of my life. I felt that I went oui of my way to touch the lives of others on a daily basis. Even if this meant a friendly smile or a helping hand. As for my dream, I will return to the Dominican Republic to work for the Village Mountain Mission Project for 20 days during this upcoming sumrner. This will help me to accomplish my dream.

3. Angelo D.
At the beginning of the season I had no interest in participating in the SportsLeader program. I felt I was there to play football and no other reason.

As time went on and the more virtue sessions I sat through I began to realize that football can be more than just football. During the season we had weekly topics. Each week we focused on a different quality that builds a man. I began to start paying attention and eventually enjoyed going to "Virtue". Not only did I sit and watch but I began to apply it to my life.

The SportsLeader virtue program changed the person I would have been. I used the goals as challenges and got the job done in most parts. I have become more of a "man". Going through some difficult points in my life, I was given some tools to stay strong.

I think the program is amazing and I wish more people had the opportunity to experience it.

4. Skylar S.
For four years I have played football and the SportsLeader virtue program has been an essential part of my football career. The virtue program has not only changed the way I play the game but has also changed my life. It has allowed me to put my values into perspective and see my self in a different way.

Through the virtue program I have learned many ways in which I could improve my life. It has showed me the importance of settitrg goals for rnyself and the importance of making steps, whether big or small, to accomplish those goals. It has allowed me to get to know myself better as well as become a better Christian. Through the program I was shown the importance of church and the importance of family. Because of the program I have been able to develop a strong relationship with rny parents, brother, and other family members. It encouraged me to spend more time with my parents and with my little cousins.

It also has allowed me to develop a deeper sense of friendship and brotherhood with my teamm ate that I truly believe I would not have experienced without this program. Even though we experienced setbacks, the virtue program kept us focused on the future.

In conclusion, I believe the virtue program has been an important part of my life. I appreciate my coach bringing this to the football program and I wish that more schools, would integrate faith, character, and virtue into their prograrns, because without it there will be a lot less virfuous, honorable men in the world.

5. Ryan M.
Our team, to my knowledge, is the only team in the area which has and regularly practices virtue throughout the year. This year’s SportsLeader virtue program has molded me and my teammates into better football players as well as better young men. In the areas of spirituality, fitness, team, and family, I set goals in which I would strive to attain.

In regards to my spiritual life, I said that I wanted to make an effort to attend church each Sunday, and much to my embarrassment, I have failed in that goal. I had every intention of going to church each week, but when Sunday came around, I got lost in the “day off” attitude and relaxed too much. However, my long term goal was to develop an outstanding relationship with God through prayer and church. As I said, I did not make t to church many times, but I find myself praying regularly in times of need, or in times as bliss. I have strengthened my relationship with the Lord and will continue to do so because of the men I look up to throughout our virtue program.

Team and fitness are two areas in which I link together. My team goal has been the same for my career here at school, to make the NJSIAA playoffs. We did not attain this goal this year which broke my heart, but my long term goal is without a doubt a success. I wanted to gather life long friendships with the men I play football with each day, and that is a certainty. In regards to fitness, I wrote that I wanted to be the strongest, all around best athlete I could be to defeat my opponent in any sport I may play. By gathering these bonds with my teammates, they have allowed me, forced me to raise my self-standards in order to achieve that goal as well. The virtue program has made our team a family in which no one can pull apart.

Finally, the family aspect of life is one of great importance in our virtue program. My mediate family has seen my personal growth as I have become a better son, brother, and just a better person overall. I help my parents more, I keep frequent contact with my brother at college, and I am always taking my brother and sister all over town as their personal taxi. Also, my family grew immensely through the help of our virtue program. I acquired forty five brothers this year, the likes of whom I may never encounter again. My coaching staff, new or returning, has become I sense of support in my life, a group of strong men that have my back no matter what. The virtue program allowed me to set goals for myself, and through the help and guidance of the mentors and my brothers, I am without a doubt a better man because of it.

Thank you Coach and all the coaches for everything you have provided for me over my four years here playing football. You men truly are family to me, and I will miss these times every day after this season is complete.