Much like our players are influenced by what we say and do as their mentors, coaches are influenced for better or worse by the coaches they come in contact with. I’ve been lucky that for most of my career, I’ve been around some amazing coaches to learn what to do, and have spent very little time around the kind of guys you learn the “don’ts” from.
Professionalism- John Flath (Southeastern University, FL). I worked under John Flath as a young college kid just trying to find somewhere to fit in. I wanted to get into coaching and coach allowed me the opportunity. I served just about every role you possibly could while with John at University HS from 2003-2006. I was: his substitute teacher, the team meal guy, a freshman coach, the list goes on. What John taught me was professionalism. He ran a program, not a team. Urgency, hard work, dedication, and preparation I owe to Coach Flath.
X’s and O’s- Hugh Dehnert (Newsome HS, FL). Hugh has been an influence on me since I was a high school junior. Coach taught me the scheme and philosophy of the 4-4 G defense. I learned more than I could handle by charting and talking football with Coach Dehnert on Friday nights. He taught me how to chart which helped me build my knowledge base for situational play calling, as well as how to breakdown film and understand what I was seeing. Coach was also there for me as a mentor in high school and college.
Coaching Relationships- Mike Gregory (Tampa Catholic, FL). Mike came onto our freshman staff in 2006 and worked his way in with a trio of coaches (myself and two others) who had been together for 3+ years prior to that fall. Right away we hit it off and I could tell he was going to be a true pro. Mike and I talk shop every season and have gone through the growing pains together. He’s taught me that guys in this business need to stand by each other and stick together.
Player Relationships- Pat Williamson (retired). Pat and I worked together at UHS and Orlando Lutheran. Pat taught me how to walk the line between being a hard assed coach but also someone who could look after a kid and be their mentor when times got tough. Pat was always very upfront and honest with his players and I’ve used that in my career since. Kids will always buy-in if they see 100% transparency and know their limitations and expectations.
Work/Life Balance- Dan Oswald (Granger, Utah). Dan and I met in summer teaching classes at BCC in Melbourne, FL. After a week or so, we hit it off and began talking ball on a daily basis. He knew I was looking for a coaching gig and brought me in to see the head coach at Melbourne HS, Todd Wilson. Todd’s a tough guy to read and an even tougher guy to get to like you, but Dan must’ve convinced him this long, shaggy haired kid with a beard might not look the part, but he loves the game. Dan and I have kept in touch the past four years, but Dan taught me that it’s more important to have a good home and family life than to only worry about football.