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 -

Friday, July 27, 2012


I was blessed to be a part of the Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas High school football practice yesterday. They have their mentoring groups all set up and they are getting it all started next week.

As I was making my rounds I had two amazing conversations with young men that really confirmed for me the power of mentoring.

Mind you, these young men had never seen me before and did not know me from Adam. So if they open up to me this quickly, imagine how much good their coaches can and will do ...

The first young man approaches me, Sam, and we get to talking. Sam is the team manager and has cerebral palsy (CP).

He is one of the most inspiring young men I have had the honor to speak with.

Sam taught me more than I could ever hope to share with him. There was a fire in his eyes, a desire to help, a need to be a part of the team, a passion to learn about virtue and the program.

He spoke of his CP as a blessing, as an opportunity to help others. He spoke about his hope to create an organization to inspire greater awareness for CP but most of all he wants to talk with kids who have CP and give them hope, give them a smile.

McNicholas HS is truly blessed to have Sam on their team. Sam struggles to walk at times but there he is walking around the field brining water, bringing cold towels ... all with a smile.

I was moved.

How often are we moping around because it's too hot, or too cold, or too this ...

The lesson in all this - that if we didn't take the time to listen to Sam, we might miss all this.

There are so many players who get overlooked on our teams. And maybe WE are the ones missing out the most. Maybe WE are the ones who would benefit the most by speaking with them. Maybe THEY have more to teach us - than us them.

After my conversation with Sam, I commented on the "Spider-Man" like hands of a particular player as he made a pretty cool one-handed catch. This was Pat, the team kicker-punter.

Pat is a great student and is striving for an academic scholarship. Another inspiring young man in his right.

The team manager and the kicker ... two players that might not be on the top of anyone's list.

Let's change that. Let's make sure every player gets mentored every week this season.

You will NOT regret it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


SportsLeader would like to congratulate the Regina Saskatchewan Unidad 98's under-14 boys soccer team. Last week they won their division at the prestigious international competition called The USA Cup.

For more info on the tournament you can visit

The USA Cup is the largest soccer tournament in North America annually attracting close to 1,000 teams and 14,000 athletes from 20 states and 17 countries.

We are really proud of them because they are SportsLeader's first soccer team from Canada.

Now they are also the first Saskatchewan boys team to win a title at the U.S.A. Cup tournament in Minneapolis.

Trevor Novak is one of the Assistant Coaches on the team. He has done an amazing job blending in virtue, mentoring, quotes on their Facebook page and much more. The hard work has definitely paid off.

The boys looked on Coach Novak as much the prophet at the beginning of the tournament. Leading up to the event they focused on the virtue of Determination. He remembered telling the boys that they would be facing new teams, new refs, new fields ... things would go wrong, disappointments would abound ... but that they needed to stay strong, to stay determined.

As it turns out, the team lost their first 3 games of the tournament. They dominated all 3 games in every possible area. But their shots just did not seem to be going in. Almost like there was a garage door covering the goal.

They continuously spoke about the virtue and the stories they had been studying all season as they met in the hotel ... the boys remained determined and confident.

They got one last chance and they made the most of it.

Trevor's son Mitchell, one of the team's leading scorers, was asked to move back to defense. Much to his credit he embraced this new challenge putting the team above himself and it sparked the team's comeback.

They made it to the final and won convincingly 5-1 knocking off a previously undefeated team.

The team could have easily packed it in after losing 3 straight games.

Their virtue shined through and now they have a memory that is priceless.

Virtue truly does equal STRENGTH!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The great majority of us have heard about the Penn State - Jerry Sandusky scandal.

We first and foremost extend our sympathies and concern for the victims and their families. No words, punishments or money can repair what has been done.

But what we can do moving forward is to truly take a look at the culture that we have developed over the past few decades. A culture where sports and winning at all costs have simply taken over our common sense. Sports have become an end in itself. Winning is basically a deity.

This many people recognize.

But what continues to go hidden in many hearts is the fact that we are not only a Sports & Win At All Costs Culture but that we are also a Reactionary culture.

That unless a judge, jury, NCAA president or the like call a national press conference and point the finger at us to such a degree that we are forced to open our wallets ... so many of us will do nothing to change.

Unless we are fined or arrested ... all is good, all is calm, all is quiet.

But when the fines and the arrests arrive - then the national or local outrage explodes and then ... only then does something happen to foster change.


Why can't we be more pro-active about the way we build our culture? Why not BUILD instead of just repairing the damage after the fact? Why not go out of our way to teach, to mentor ... and yes spend time, money and energy doing it first instead of spending the time, money and energy to clean up the mess afterwards?

What are we so afraid of?

What the NCAA president speaks about below needs to happen at every University in the United States of America, most likely the world. Not just Penn State!

Mark Emmert, NCAA President's words are below. Two paragraphs that struck me the most are these:

"Our goal is not to be just punitive but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people. More than 100 years ago, the NCAA was created to assure that sports are fully integrated into our colleges and universities, and that the athletic programs wholly embrace the values of higher education. "

"For the next several years now, Penn State can focus on the work of rebuilding its athletic culture not worrying about whether or not it's going to a bowl game. With the sanctions imposed today and with the new leadership, the university, we hope, indeed we intend to ensure that that will be the case. In closing, let me say that this case involves tragic and tragically unnecessary circumstances. One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, indeed, too big to even challenge. The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs."

Let's be a part of pro-active change and not just the reactionary culture.

And if money is your core issue - Pro-Active Leaders spend less than Reactionary Janitors. MUCH LESS!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Some numbers take a bit to sink in.


2,225: Inmates in prison serving life without parole for crimes committed as minors

73 of them committed the crime at 13 or 14 years of age

That is 44.5 per state

Imagine - 44 young people serving life without parole from your state.


Our young people desperately need TRANSFORMATIONAL coaches.

What if these 2,225 had a coach who mentored them intentionally and specifically to be a more virtuous young man or young woman?

Thank you for coaching! Thank you for giving your life, time, energy and talent to such a needed and noble endeavor.

We need you to continue, to strive harder, to strive together.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


$68 million dollars?
Climate controlled lockers?
Over 400 possible football uniform combinations?

Further proof that it is never enough.

Funny how with all this money being spent on lavish athletic complexes it does not seem to be building up more virtuous men and women.

Coaches, I encourage you not to fall into this trap. Spend your time and money on things that last, that raise the maturity level of your athletes.

Virtue will help change our society. A climate controlled locker? Probably not.

Many virtues come to mind that are the opposite of all this: Moderation, Maturity, Other-Centered, Wisdom ...

Ducks to build $68 million football operations center

By Erin Egan, USA TODAY

Chip Kelly won't be hanging his head after a loss.

No, instead he'll be soaking in his brand new hot tub next to his office while watching replays of the game on his waterproofed video center.

The University of Oregon football program is constructing a lavish $68 million operations center set to open fall 2013, and head coach Kelly's hot tub viewing center is just the cherry on top.

Blueprints submitted to the city of Eugene show 124 climate controlled lockers for the football players, each outfitted with an iPod dock and a charging station. Designed by Nike's Phil Knight, the facility will also include: two movie theaters, a Duck football museum, a war room akin to the White House's, a 2,285-square-foot players lounge, and a 25,000-square-foot weight room.

From The Register-Guard:

The new football building will be top-of-the-line "pro or college, in the U.S.," according to the UO's official athletics website. The addition will push UO facilities to "outrageously impressive," according to ESPN's ranking of college facilities.

Knight has reserved the rights to name the new football complex, but he has not yet revealed what it will be.

Former University of Arizona president and expert on college sports spending Peter Likins told The Register-Guard that the new center is likely to spark a round of one-up construction in the Pac-12.

The new complex will also feature two black-metal-and-glass buildings, one to serve as a teaching box and the other an office bar, totaling 130,000 square feet. Both will be mounted on top of the weight lifting building. The office block will be connected to the teaching block -- which will have nine classrooms each dedicated to a single position -- with a double-decker sky bridge.

Knight recruited Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects to complete the project -- the same company that designed the Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes, the UO Athletics Department medical center and the Courtside student housing complex near the campus.

Monday, July 16, 2012


We are experiencing a lot of growth this summer at SportsLeader. It has been very inspiring to see new schools, teams and coaches join the movement to be more intentional and specific about teaching virtue.

One of the new teams to join is the Cincinnati Mason High School and Middle School football teams.

Chris Willertz led a training last week and it was awesome that all of the coaches participated.

So many young men will be able to be mentored.

Our world needs this!

Friday, July 6, 2012


SportsLeader was blessed to be a part of a very special first annual camp and coaches clinic with Urban Meyer, Head Football Coach at Ohio State, and Dean Hood, Head Football Coach at Eastern Kentucky, on July 5th.
Urban and Dean grew up together in Northeastern Ohio and they wanted to give back to their community.
It was hosted by the Spire Institute. An amazingly impressive 750,000 square foot facility complete with indoor facilities for football, basketball, swimming, volleyball ... and pretty much every other sport imaginable.
19 area football coaches generously volunteered their time to teach the close to 225 1st-8th graders that signed up filling the allotted amount for this first year in 16 hours.
But this was different from your ordinary football camp. It was very intentional and very obvious that it WAS ABOUT Virtue.
There were two Virtue Talks about Self-Control and Charity. After each skill, the coaches would break the huddle with the kids shouting  "Self-Control" or "Charity". Chris Willertz spoke to the 6-8th graders while I took the 1st-5th graders and then we switched for the next talk.
You could tell the kids wanted more than just football.
While I was on the lunch line one of the coaches asked me where I was from, what we did, etc. At one point he asks, "Do you really think it was worth it to drive over 5 hours just to talk to some kids about virtue?" Whatever I said doesn't really match up with the below ...
“I learned charity, to give your life to other people,” 9-year-old Simon Taraska said.
Imagine if 225 young men really took that one lesson to heart. That would forever change the entire state of Ohio. So yes, it was more than worth it.
After the camp, Urban Meyer, Dean Hood and SportsLeader Founder Paul Passafiume spoke to the coaches. Paul's message of unleashing the power of manhood, training the will like a muscle and the need to help young people move from self-absorption to self-mastery really resonated with them.
There was a press conference during the camp and Coach Meyer said something that seemed to really catch everyone's attention:
"Talent will get you seven or eight wins," Meyer said. "Discipline will get you eight or nine. Then if you get leadership, that's when magic starts happening and rings get put on fingers. Really cool things happen."
What are we doing to intentionally, specifically, daily teach leadership to our young people?
Chances are that if you are not mentoring one-on-one - then you probably aren't getting it done.