Winning beyond the scoreboard

From as early as I can remember, I always wanted to be a coach.  I grew up in Minden and played just about every sport at one time or another.  In high school, my focus was football and baseball.  We had some great teams and accomplished quite a lot during my three years at Minden High.  Not only was I influenced by my local coaches, but I was also a close follower of the head coach at Baylor University during that time frame.  Grant Teaff was not only making a name for himself as a successful coach at Baylor winning football games, but he was also very active with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) organization at that time.  I can still recall reading several of his books, listening to his cassette tapes, and getting the opportunity to hear him speak at our awards banquet one year.  Coach Teaff focused on more than just winning on the field.  He invested in people.  Coach Teaff cared about his players and ensured that he made a difference in their lives beyond football.  I wanted to be like him and do the same.  While I never went into professional coaching, I have sought to emulate that same purpose in making a difference in the lives of others too.

Saturday night, I witnessed a great example of a coach making a difference.  Following La Tech’s game with Clemson, I heard Clemson coach Dabo Swinney recognize Sonny Cumbie and the La Tech football team for their actions taken to support the family of a Clemson player that had just lost his fifteen-year-old sister to cancer.  It was one of the finest moments I have witnessed in Tech sports.  I have seen quite a few great victories on the fields and courts of play during my time as a Tech alumni and fan, but I will never forget that interview.  Coach Cumbie, his staff, and the team wrote personal notes to that family, wore those shirts of support, and displayed their support in a way that depicted the culture within the football team.  The culture of compassion and caring for others in tough times displayed just what’s going on within that program!   That culture still competes at a high level on the field of play, but there is more going on within that program that will impact the players well beyond their time of playing football at La Tech.

I just want to say well done Coach Cumbie, coaching staff, and football team.  Thank you for taking the time to care and be an example for all of us going forward.  Thank you, Coach Swinney, for ensuring that we all knew about these actions.  If not for Coach Swinney talking about it, we may have never known about these compassionate actions.  What an example for us all to take note of and act upon going forward.  

While La Tech didn’t have as many points as Clemson on the scoreboard Saturday night, we all came away winners.  Thank you again La Tech football team!


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