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 -

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Season Ending Letters

A tradition that we encourage coaches to do at the end of the season is to consider writing a letter to each of the players you mentored. 

The Cincinnati St Gertrude Bandit football coaches did just that, plus a little extra. They wrote a general letter to every player from all coaches and a personal handwritten note to the players they mentored.

Wouldn't you love for your son to be a on a team like this? I would.

Congratulations from all of your coaches for a fun and successful 2011 football season. The coaches learned a great deal about coaching and a lot about you, and we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of your hard work and vour eager attitude this fall.

This was the first year for the SportsLeader program at St. Gertrude, and each and every Bulldog helped to make it a success. When we started practice this summer in the heat and humidity, we did not know how well it would go. The coaches decided to put to use the same virtues in our way of coaching, and the results were outstanding. The entire parish knows about the Bandits and are very proud. We are very impressed with your participation and how much it added to the core of our team.

We would like to remind you to practice your virtues during the off-season. No, this isn't homework.. it's good advice. Charity, humility, and courage are necessary for teamwork, as we all learned this year. Practicing these virtues whenever you can is an excellent way to grow into a generous, humble, and brave man. 

It is our sincerest wish that someday, somewhere you will be on a football field with your son teaching him to be a good athlete and a great person. It has been a great beginning, so keep up the good work. You are on your way to becoming a "starter" in the game ot life.

A warm farewell to the three excellent young men who are graduating to the Ponies next season.Take your positive attitudes with you and you are sure to have a spectacular 2012 season. Everyone else, get ready for the next wave of kindergartners ...
God bless the Bulldogs!
Sincerely, Your Coaches,

Andrew Tallarigo
Robert Gruber
Marc Gerwel
John Cravaak
Joseph Worthington
Nicholas Hodge

Monday, December 12, 2011

Virtue Truly Impacting a Program

Hunter Matt, a Senior Captain of the 2011 Wyandotte Bears football team, shares which virtue theme helped him the most this year in this short video clip.

Also here is an article about him when he was selected to the Free Press All -West team.

As a side note, Hunter's older brother Andrew Matt a defensive end for the Wayne State (Michigan) Warriors, will be playing for the Division II National Championship. This is the first time in school history that the Warriors have advanced to the playoffs m much less play for the national championship.

The game will be at 11 AM this coming Saturday on ESPN2.

Virtue = Strength, Lou

By Rick Schulte
Detroit Free Press
Special Writer

Winning is nothing new for Wyandotte Roosevelt's football program, which has developed into a regular playoff and league championship contender over the years.

For senior Hunter Matt, captain of the Free Press All-West team, the Bears' success hasn't come by accident.

"We have this virtue program here at Wyandotte," Matt said. "It teaches you how to be a better person in life.

"In the off-season, I'm telling underclassmen to start working with me in the weight room and all the other things you have to prepare for. It makes us a better team, and it makes us better people."

Matt explained how Wyandotte always has had a tradition of community service, which includes a cemetery cleanup, food drive and other activities.

"We do a bunch of stuff, and it brings us all closer, like a family," he said. "We are a family."

But don't mistake that do-gooder mentality for softness. On the field, Matt plays both sides of the ball with a mean streak.

As a linebacker, he had 98 tackles this year. He also rushed for 13 touchdowns and 669 yards as a fullback.

His plans include playing linebacker at Eastern Michigan. That works well, considering he prefers playing on defense.

"Linebacker has always been my favorite position," Matt said. "You always get to be the hammer, not the nail. Although when I'm on offense, I try to bring a defensive mentality to it."

"Hunter Matt is a two-time captain who did a great job of motivating his teammates to be their best," coach Ron Adams said. "His commitment to the weight room, classroom and community inspired his teammates."

Matt plans on studying nursing at Eastern Michigan. The jump to college football might be made slightly easier just because of the way Wyandotte conducts its program.

"We run it like a college program," he said. "It's very well-organized and prepares you well for everything. So I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Perspective and Gratitude

I stumbled upon this a few days ago and I found it to be very inspiring - an excellent perspective on gratitude and life.


The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends... 
The taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed... 
The clothes that fit a little too snug since it means I have enough to eat... 
A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home... 
All the complaining I heat about our government because it means we have freedom of speech...
The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking... 
My huge heating bill because it means I am warm... 
The person behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear... 
The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear... 
Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive... 
The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.
We all have many things to be grateful tor.
Happy Thanksgiving!
-Fr. Mark Keene

Friday, December 2, 2011

Coach Trent Todd - Back from Life Support

Many of you are familiar with one of the coaches in our association named Trent Todd. He has been a part of SportsLeader for over 5 years now and simply put is one of the most inspiring men I have ever met. That is an understatement. The video above is a quick recap in Trent's words.

Trent has coached youth football with the Cincinnati area based Lakota Stallions for these past five years. His players and their families love this man. They know they were blessed with a coach who cared about them.

Over that period of time Trent's health deteriorated quite a bit. He was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which in simple terms meant that he needed a double lung transplant.

Even in that state, he created numerous videos in the hope that he could inpsire coaches to mentor their athletes. He wanted to give more. If you check out our videos section they are all there:

Last spring he pretty much was on death's doorstep. He went for a checkup and the doctors had to sit him down and basically tell him, "You can't go home. You need a pair of lungs now - right now. If they don't come soon we will have to have some very difficult conversations with your wife."

Soon after a set of lungs did come in. They prepped him for surgery and then something happened. They could not go through with the surgery ... This happened a second time ... great news, prep for surgery - heartbreak.

Things got so drastic that Trent simply could not breathe anymore, not even with multiple oxygen tanks. He had to go on life support. While on life support the doctors told his wife," Your husband has a day or two. You need to prepare yourself for some difficult decisions."

Shortly thereafter another set of lungs arrived. After having gone through this twice, there was a feeling of hope but yet reservation.

This time it worked and that was just the beginning of the minor miracles.

Trent received his lungs on May 31st. By July 13th he was headed home, oxygen-tank free. 

The normal procedure for a double lung transplant recipient is a minimum of 3 months in the hospital, followed by another month on oxygen in a setting less than 100 miles away from the clinic in case of emergency.

Trent progressed so amazingly that he went all the way home 43 days later, breathing completely on his own. He is one of the first patients in history to do this.

Maybe, just maybe, Someone wants a little more out of Trent Todd.

He is an example of a man who lives constantly striving to help others in any way he can, big or small. We will be awarding him this year's Coach of Uncommon Strength award on February 24th at Cincinnati Moeller high school at 6:30 PM. The event will be free and is open to everyone. Please bring your families. Trent will be speaking and I'm sure he will inspire you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Admirable Commitment of a Tennis Team

At Monsignor Donovan High School in Toms River NJ they make an effort to promote virtue school-wide on a weekly basis.

Each coach submits their nominees from their team as Virtue Athlete of the week according to the virtue-theme.

During Committed week, Dan Duddy- the director of the SportsLeader Virtue Program at the School, received the following:

The entire JV Tennis team demonstrated the epitome of what it means to be committed during their match on Tuesday. 

We played a team and to make a long story short, all the girls demonstrated their commitment to their team and themselves by overcoming a rude and unprofessional coach, dishonest players and disrespectful, opposing team parents.  

We lost in a tie break 5-7, but my girls walked off the court feeling accomplished and proud that they committed to getting through the match despite all the distractions. 

I would like to name the entire JV Tennis team as committed for the week. Let me know if that is okay. Thanks for all your efforts, Dan. It is a fantastic program.