Letter from Urban Meyer
Please take a moment to read this letter from Urban Meyer. I know it will inspire you to continue doing what you are doing building up our young people.
The challenges that all of us face in living today are daunting and energy draining. To many young people just making every day decisions are mind blowing and for many the wrong decisions are often the answer. The social connections of today’s world present a difficult challenge and without a road map navigation is very difficult.
My adult life has been a complex juggling between pursuing my professional growth and my family. I have made numerous moves around the country to further my professional goals. Every move has been difficult but it has been very difficult for my family. Shelley and I were married in Ohio; my daughters were born in Colorado, my son in Indiana. My parents lived in Ohio and I was making career moves every three to four years. My daughter Nicki made 4 moves in 5 years and experienced some issues along the way. She was making some decisions and choosing to be around kids that would have had a negative impact on her future.
Then something magical happened. We moved to Gainesville, Florida and she's in 7th grade and we're starting to make the decisions where she is going to go to school and obviously I'm the second boss in that household. My wife says, "There's this high school volleyball coach named Jeff Reavis down in Gainesville. He has some collegiate experience, he was a great player, he's a great coach, he's really tough on kids and I want her to play for him."
It was Buchholz High School, a school of 2,800 kids, and I wasn't a big fan of that. I've recruited a lot of places, and a lot of times a school with 2,800 kids is huge and not really what I wanted for my kid. I wanted my daughter to go to some private school with 10 kids so we knew what was going on in her life.
Well I lost that battle and it was the greatest decision we ever made. The same little girl who was starting to get difficult started to grow up. Well, who knows what I would have been dealing with today if this high school coach didn't enter her life.
So all these years of coaching and mentoring and getting involved in kids' lives finally came full circle for me. All of a sudden my daughter, mine, not yours, mine ... was going through some stuff and we get the perfect situation. We put her in this high school and this volleyball program and she's up at 6 AM with a passion for living.
And this coach is inside out, upside down on her. If she misses something, she's going to wish she hadn't and all of a sudden, overnight, I see this same kid being very respectful. She's getting up early and I'm driving her to these early workouts. I would sneak in and watch and I'm watching this coach and the way he's pushing these kids and the way he is treating these kids the same way, exactly the same way I coach.
Steadily, I see this little girl having a sense of team, of selflessness, of respect and I wish I could stand in front of you and say I taught her that ... I tried, I tried but sometimes they don't look at coach the same way they look at Dad. I'm just that coach. I'm that guy that moved them to all these different places ...
And because of that, my daughter just made Academic All-ACC at Georgia Tech; she's a 3.85 student; she's a very virtuous girl; she's one of the most respectful persons I've ever been around and by the way she's still my best friend.
Because this coach had a very positive impact on my little girl as she grew. Once again, with all due respect, not your little girl, my little girl and that's when things really started to change.
So that really started a change in me. I started to take a different approach to recruiting now and what we try to do for our players. I'm a living testimony of someone whose child was impacted by a coach who changed her life and I am forever grateful to this coach. If you've ever been through something like that, it's not a little overwhelming, it's very overwhelming.
Why am I sharing all of this with you?
Because I believe as coaches we can all grow stronger in how we coach and mentor the young people under our care and tutelage. There is an organization called SportsLeader that is helping coaches across the country by using a very practical coaches manual, in-person staff training, and an inspirational web site that can help impact the lives of your players more intentionally through a virtue program that can be used by public and private schools alike.
SportsLeader is an organization that encompasses the leadership components that are applicable to coaches at all levels. I spent part of last year working with my son’s youth football team. Coaches at every level of athletics have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by living and teaching leadership, character and integrity. As coaches give of themselves by actions and words, their sharing of their virtues becomes evident as selfishness goes out the window. Young people can learn that being humble and living life the right way can be much more satisfying than being in the news for doing the wrong thing.
A life-long friend of mine, Dean Hood, Head Football Coach at Eastern Kentucky University has developed a great relationship with these men over the past few years now, does a Senior Virtue Camp weekend with them and his recommendation was enough for me to want to meet with them and work with them.
Please take some time to visit their web site at www.sportsleader.org
A representative from SportsLeader will contact you to see if you would like to get involved.
I wish all Teachers and Coaches the strength, courage and wisdom to accept the position of Leadership and to positively impact the future of the young men and women we work with. They need you!
* These are my personal views and are not an endorsement of SportsLeader by The Ohio State University