Coach Of Uncommon Strength and His Inspiring Principal


The SportsLeader Coach Of Uncommon Strength award is a national award given once annually to a coach who goes well beyond the call of duty in mentoring and serving his players. We chose this award because it symbolizes one of the most extraordinary, uncommon and STRONG acts of all time: Jesus washing the feet of his apostles ... Jesus serving his apostles ... in humility, charity, courage and pretty much every other virtue you can think of.

Randy Traeger's high school Principal contacted me a few weeks back ... he wanted to personally fly to OH from Oregon (the state) to witness his head football coach receiving this award. He wanted to present to tell his coach, "I love you and We're proud of you."

I cannot express how moved I was. So many Principals do not give you the time of day ... this man, Troy Stoops, crosses the country. Troy, I cannot thank you enough.

This filled me with such HOPE. There are administrators out there with a backbone, with a fire and a dedication to truly transform their young people.

Here below is a note Randy sent to what I believe were all the teachers and other personnel at his high school.


We (Coach Rylan Traeger and I ) got back in about 1:00 AM this morning from Cincinnati, Ohio where we attended the SportsLeader Clinic and accepted the SportsLeader Coach of the Year " Coach of Uncommon Strength" award.  I accept the award for every player, coach, parent, teacher, administrator, and supporter of our program. Its not mine....its yours.  Right now, I am a little tired but more humbled than anything else. I am humbled that God and the Holy Sprit would use me as an instrument to do his work. What work? If you dont see how the spirit is at work in our community...you are blind to the truth. I am humbled by the ways that so many of you have been inspired in your own way to support our mission of coaching virtue to the young men in our schools. 

Those of you who know me well, know that I am not easily shaken by suprise events. I guess the years I spent responding to emergencies in the Fire Department
taught me not to get rattled. I tell you what...I was shaken to my core on Saturday morning when sitting at the clinic in Ohio (thousands of miles from Mt. Angel),
someone put their hand on my shoulder from behind, I turned and standing there was Troy Stoops, our highschool principal. 

I was speechless. I still cant believe what he did. Without my knowledge, he catches a red eye friday night, then a cab, and arrives at the SportLeader clinic to introduce and thank me prior to the award
presentation, grabs another cab, then hops back on a plane and flies back to Oregon. 

Living heroically?  I'm telling you,  what other principal in the country would do this for a football coach? Troy's actions speak so loudly I cant hear his words.

Like Mother Teresas prayer.."by the catching force, the sympathetic influence if what we do... Troy has shown his love for me and our program.

I am humbled by this act of love. I am inspired by this act of love. Fired up ?  I'll tell you, if Troy asked me to join him on a full frontal assault on the gates of hell, I would be right beside him.

I hope this act inspires the other players, coaches, parents, teachers, adminstrators, and supporters in our entire community, as much as it has inspired me.

Whats next?  As far as I am concerned, our work has only begun. There is so much more that we can do. Other sports in our school, girls athletics, community collaboration, other schools, other programs, but always with one thing in mind, never forgetting that one player, that one student whom I need to help right now, to serve right now, I pray I always have the time to stop and give him that small amount of time that means so much.

Thanks and God Bless all of you.
 Coach Traeger