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Saturday, January 17, 2015

HIGH SCHOOL COACH WORK ETHIC CREATED "AHA MOMENT" FOR PARCELLS

I want to share a story from the book "Parcells: A Football Life" written by Parcells and Nunyo Demasio.  The story reminded me of my junior high coach Allen Osborne.  Allen is still going strong as a coach -- one of the all-time winningest coaches in the state of West Virginia. In fact, Allen's Poca team is currently 10-0 and ranked #1 in the state.  Yet each fall, spring and summer Allen is heading to a clinic of visiting with a coach and a program where is a meticulous note taker -- always looking for ways to grow.  Coach Wooden once said the best coaching in this country is at the junior high and high school level and it's still true today because of those who are constantly working to improve.

We hope you enjoy this story:

During spring practice at Texas Tech, Parcells noted a man sitting in the stand, scrutinizing the defense.  His face was weather-beaten, and he wore a brown jack emblazoned with a white "B."

Occasionally, when the opportunity presented itself, the man stepped forward to question Parcells about his schemes.  After a few exchanges he told Parcells in a bass-heavy drawl, "You know, you're a pretty good coach."

Seeing the stranger at practice for several days, Parcells approached him to get his name and exchange pleasantries.  Gordon Wood confirmed Parcells' guess that he was a high school coach.

Parcells said, "I notice you're here every day. Where are you coming from?"

Wood responded, "Brownwood."

Parcells knew that the central Texas town was a three-and-a-half-hour drive away.  "Are you staying in a hotel here?"

"No, no.  I just drive back and forth."

Parcells was flabbergasted to learn that Wood was one of the winningest coaches in the history of high school football, which was like a religion in the Lone Star State.  By amassing more than three hundred victories while coaching in a sports coach and tie, Wood had become a Texas icon.  Most of the wins came with the Brownwood Lions, a team he had transformed into a dynasty.  Wood's stature gave him friends like Bear Bryant and Lyndon Johnson.  Once, when Bryant was asked why he quite Texas A&M for Alabama in 1958, he responded, "I had to leave Texas.  As long as Gordon Wood was there, I could never be the best coach in the state."

Despite a secure legacy, Wood was willing to drive almost seven hours round-trip to sit in the white hot son for the slim chance of gleaning something useful from an obscure defensive coordinator.  Parcells had prided himself on a relentless work ethic, but Wood's actions provided an aha moment: succeeding at the highest levels in coaching required long-term zeal, although that went against human nature.  "It was a revelation to me," Parcells says.  "I was just a young guy, and he'd already been an established super coach.  That's what impressed me so much: he was still hustling."