Posts Tagged ‘Football coaching stories.’

So I was regaling some students at school today about my football coaching back in the day. Yes, I imagesITVFYEG9used to coach football and did so for 4-years. Junior High, in fact. Went undefeated one year, not to brag or anything, which was pretty good since I had no idea what I was doing.

Anyway, it brought to mind some stories, and the first involved a lesson I learned about listening to your players.

The particular year this one took place our team wasn’t very good, and I had a kid named Duke on the squad. Duke was a big, strong ol’ country boy and he wasn’t the brightest kid, if you know what I mean. He sort of reminded me of Paul Revere’s ride, if you will. You know, a little light in the belfry.

Being the football genius that I was it never occurred to me to put Duke on defense, so I put him at fullback, figuring he could just bulldoze his way down the field. Well, this didn’t really work but I was too dense to think of other uses for him. Duke, however, had other ideas.

During practice one day Duke walked up to me and the following conversation ensued:

Duke: “Coach, can I tell you somethin’?”

Me: “Sure Duke. What’s up?”

Duke: “Coach, I don’t wanna be that guy with the ball. I think I’d be gooder hittin’ that guy what got the ball.”

It took me a few seconds to interpret what he was saying but I soon I realized he wanted to play defense. Since I had nothing to lose, I stuck him in at middle linebacker.

On the very first play he burst through the line, grabbed our quarterback by the back of the neck, and whirly-birded him about 7-yards behind the line of scrimmage. On the play after that he ran over an offensive tackle, hit the running back as he was receiving the hand-off, and smashed him so hard that when the kid got up he was looking at me through his helmet’s ear-hole. On the next play Duke waylaid two blockers, couldn’t figure out if the quarterback or running back had the ball, so he tackled them both at once.

At that point we took him out before he killed somebody, but he’d proven his point. He was “gooder hittin’ that guy what got the ball.”

Another time I had a kid named Tommy who, although tough as nails, wasn’t the smartest kid on the team either. Once he was playing center and we had the ball on the 1-foot line. We’d planned to run a quarterback sneak right over Tommy’s right shoulder. The opposing defense was sort of spread out so we were pretty sure we’d called the right play. That is, until we jogged up to the line of scrimmage and got into our stances. At that point Tommy looked back over his shoulder at our quarterback and said rather loudly, “You know which way you’re goin’?”

Of course the entire defense loaded up in the middle and stopped us cold. Thanks Tommy.

Another year I had a kid named Tyler who was, well, a little effeminate. Great kid, but his reasons for playing were, shall we say, questionable. While most players looked forward to the first game, Tyler was looking forward to the day we passed out uniforms. He simply couldn’t wait. When the day finally arrived, Tyler walked in to the locker room, saw what we were doing, and yelled this:

“Fellas! FELLAS! We’re getting our costumes! We’re getting our COSTUMES!”

On a related note, Tyler finally found his calling in the school’s Drama Department.

So yeah, football. While I had fun, it wasn’t exactly my thing. Like Tyler however, I found my calling, it just happened to be coaching basketball.

And trust me, I have a million stories about that sport I haven’t gotten around to telling.

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