A head football coach is more than someone who calls the plays from the sidelines on Saturdays. Most of the time those men become someone young athletes can come to when they need help off the field and later on in life. They becomes mentors, life tutors, and most importantly these coaches become father figures to many of the young men they end up coaching.
I grew up without my father in my life. He and my mother had me at 16 years old and I wasn’t his number one priority after I was born. By the age of five he was out of my life pretty much for good, I still don’t count on that good for nothing sperm donor for anything. As a young kid I remember waiting on the front porch of my trailer home with my bag packed to spend the weekend at his house after he promised all week that he would be there to pick me up. It was more than once that I sat there late into the night waiting on him to come but he never did. As a child I always longed for a Dad, I had dope uncles and an amazing grandpa who did a wonderful job of instilling good qualities in me as a kid, but I always had that lingering feeling of what it would feel like to have that real father in my life.
It wasn’t until I got to middle and high school that I really started to feel a sense of fatherhood from the men that coached me. For a lot of us men like Coach Charlie Strong, Head Coach of The Texas Longhorns, is that father figure men that a lot of us need in our life’s.
Texas Football players have come out in waves of support for their head coach in wake of every imaginable sports network reporting their Coach is gone by seasons end. You can tell by the way they speak about Coach Strong that he has made a very important impact on their life.
Paul Boyette Jr, DT- “For him to be so humble and level-headed with all the stuff that he goes through, that’s empowering to a young man like me.”
Jacorey Warrick, WR- “He’s truly changed the program from within…when I was a freshman I saw a lot of things that I thought were ok, that now I look back and I now know they’re not ok.”
Tim Cole, LB- “Look at just what he’s been building as far as young men out here.. it’s more to football, it’s a life thing. Coach Strong is building men.”
These young men look distraught at the thought of their coach not being around next year. See, what a lot of these boosters who are all in Texas AD Mike Perrin’s ear, Red McCombs I’m looking at you, fail to realize is that a bond is created between these young athletes and their coach. You already don’t give a damn about the student athletes by refusing to pay these guys or lobbying for these guys to get some money. Let’s not forget that these student athletes are the ones being affected by this the most, they are standing directly in the middle of the storm.
I’ve always had one rule I tried to live by when trying to evaluate a college coach at a new job. Give him at least four full years before his job even comes into question. How are you going to try and fire a man who hasn’t even had one full class of seniors ride through the program and plant his seed of culture? It doesn’t make any logical sense to get ride of him now. Do y’all remember how loose and reckless Mack Brown left the football program? Guys were out and about doing whatever it is they wanted. There was no rules or structure to the program. Want to know how I know? I live in Austin, his players used to be out on 6th street with the rest of us till 2-3 AM every weekend. Coach Strong came in and cleaned that right up. Their starting running back at the time Joe Bergeron went from being one of the best Running backs in the country, to working the door at Moose Knuckle bar on Dirty 6th because he couldn’t clean his act up. Strong’s message from Day 1 was clear, it’s my way (the right way) or the high way.
Do we not remember Coach Strong being carried off of the field after their opening night win against Notre Dame by his players? The guy who was thought to be too tough on his players was being paraded around by the same team who “hated him.”
I urge the Texas Athletic Department staff to really sit back and consider how much this decision is going to shake up the locker room for whoever the next coach may be, don’t have this meeting with the boosters because half of those guys don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes down to the X’s and O’s. Players have already started talking about a possible boycott of Friday’s game against TCU. You mean to tell me that doesn’t speak volumes about how the players feel about their leader?
Football is a game that goes beyond the grid iron. The game is more than about the Wins or Losses. This game sculpts boys into men. Universities do a terrible job of juicing these student athletes for everything their bodies will give, then in return do nothing for them. Charlie Strong is a man who is impacting not only football players but men who will eventually pass his wisdom down to their own kids.
After the heart breaking loss to Kansas this past Saturday a lot of players tried to shoulder the blame for the loss. Star RB D’Onta Foreman was among the most vocal blaming himself for the two fumbles he accounted for during the game. After it was all said and done Coach Strong would not let his team take on that burden, as a good Coach would he took full responsibility for the loss. He shielded his boys like a real father would.
I spent my whole childhood wondering what I could have done to keep my Dad around. I wondered why I wasn’t good enough. I don’t want these UT players to live their whole life wondering what they could have done to keep their father figure around or wonder why they weren’t good enough.