I’m not Dottavio. I’m not hey you, or what?- either. I’m Coach Dottavio or Mr. Dottavio. I’ve earned that right. I have worked to get a title. If you’re a coach that perpetuates the lack of formality and/or distance between adults and kids I never want to work for you. Everyone should be a “good morning” “goodnight” “please” “thank you” “sir” “ma’am” and “excuse me” person in your program. Every coach should be Coach Last Name. Not, “Hey Last Name” and not “First Name” … never First Name.
There are some very simple parts of life that have fallen to the way side. I expect guys in our program to hold the door for people. I expect them to call their teachers Mr. and Mrs/Ms. I expect them to say please and thank you. I expect them to say sir and ma’am. I expect a good morning and a goodnight/see ya later, coach. When our players score I don’t hip bump them, I shake hands with them and tell them “Great job.” I tell them I’m proud of them. They should carry heavy boxes for teachers, help the cafeteria lady clean up, and pick up a classmate if they bust their ass in the rain.
I think high school football is real-world-prep. It’s my mission to prepare the players for adulthood. To be a better: parent, spouse, boss, employee, child, sibling, member of society. It’s my job to prepare them for judgmental job interviews, long grueling days at work, car accidents, and hard times at home. It’s the same training for hard football games, leadership roles in the program, and to be a good student in the classroom.
Our expectations have to be very high. This is a dangerous sport. People can get paralyzed or even die. I expect players to be hard working, attentive, engaged and dedicated. If you can carry all of those things over to your adult life- you should succeed. But just like there’s no guarantees you’ll win or lose a game, there’s none that you’ll win or lose at life either. Life is dangerous and I bet parenthood is too.
Much like a parent wants better for their kids we want better for our players. Want them to work harder than we did, get more accolades, more scholarship money, and be better coaches than we are. If you’re allowing “Hey Last Name” or “What?” you aren’t setting them up for success.