When I was sitting at the US Track and Cross Country Coaches Association hall fame dinner two weeks ago, listening to the acceptance speeches from the living inductees and the representatives of those who were deceased. It struck me again how all encompassing and consuming coaching is. Then the recent attention that Urban Meyer has received made me think even more. I have said for years that coaching is not something you do, it is something you are. It has to be the essence of who you are or you are going through the motions. Listening to those hall of fame coaches and watching the Urban Meyer interview the other day made me realize again what it takes. It is not easy to put in words. Coaching is very special, I think you have to have a passion that burns inside of you. I know it is hard on families and relationships, so it takes a very understanding support structure. I know I have been blessed with a wife and family that has not only tolerated but also embraced my passion for coaching. I realize how lucky I have been.
I think that is what Urban Meyer was trying to convey in his press conference about going out to practice Sunday morning. There is something special about seeing the athletes you work grow athletically and more importantly as people. Believe me it is special to a get a phone call from an old White Sox player asking advice on how to lose weight or what to do in a career decision. You then realize what it is all about. That is what makes coaching special. I don’t think sport writers and other outsiders can get it. You have to experience it. It can fry you and it can invigorate you – somehow, someway you have to find a balance, most of us are not very good at achieving that balance. I know I am still trying for that balance as I start my 41st year of coaching.