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Thursday, April 16, 2015

COLLEGE SHOULD NOT BE THE BEST FOUR YEARS OF YOUR LIFE BUT SHOULD BE PREPARATION FOR YOUR BEST YEARS

I've heard it said/tweeted recently and I always cringe when I do, "College is the best four years of your life."  If college is the best four years of a student-athlete's life then we haven't did the job we are suppose to in preparing them for greater things in life.  Don't get me wrong, we always want their college experience to be memorable and special -- but it should always be a stepping stone to even greater things.  I mean are we actually telling our student-athletes that college will be the best four years and that everything else will be less -- that it's all downhill from here.

Back in December of 2013, I posted this and I am reposting it because I was blown away by the comment that Texas football coach Mack Brown made to his team in the locker room following the Longhorns victory in the National Championship team.  It absolutely spoke to the essence of why we should be doing what we do and it was evidence that Coach Brown truly cared long-term about his players:

The following comes from a blog post by Chris Hill, a former Texas Longhorn football player who played under Mack Brown.  This is an excerpt of his post and I truly hope you will take the time to read the entire post here because it is lengthy and incredibly well written. It is something that only coaches and players could know about and appreciate.  Here is a great passage on how Coach Brown felt about his players by discussing their future after a National Championship victory -- raising the bar for the rest of their life:

On the night of January 4th, 2006, I watched the most incredible athletic performance I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. I was a redshirted scout-team offensive lineman for the #2 team in the country. I had done all I could to prepare our first-team defense for what many considered to be the best college football team to ever play, the 2005 USC Trojans. You would have thought we were a 6-6 team they way ESPN talked about our matchup… Of all the talking heads I only know of 1 person that actually picked us to win the game, Lee Corso. 

That night I watched our team play their hearts out. Never give up. And fight like they had a slugger’s chance the whole 60 minutes. Vince Young played the best game of football I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously. That game is what every Texas fan remembers… Who could forget such an extraordinary sight?!? If those same story lines were played out in a movie, no one would believe it could happen in real life.

But I’m writing this to tell you that what happened on the field that night is not what made an impact on an 18-year-old Chris Hall. It wasn’t the last second touchdown Vince Young scored or the celebration in the stadium after… What has stayed with me these 8 years were the words Coach Brown spoke to us in the locker room:

“Don’t let this be the greatest thing that ever happened to you.”

Coach Brown could have told us many things… Of course he congratulated us. Of course he was proud of us. He told us we were champions and that nobody could ever take that away from us. All those things were true. But he emphasized what was important. He knew the men in that locker room wouldn’t always be football players. So he told us to not let this be the best thing that ever happened to us. But to go on to be great fathers, great husbands, and great citizens.

Coaching football, in real sense, is not about winning games. It’s about investing into and shaping the character of young men.