FNF Coaches Talk — HS coaches overcoming obstacles,

FNF Coaches Talk

Coaches — March Madness is in the air, and we salute your dedication to the sport we all love. Here are some inspiring stories for you.

1. Five high school coaches who have overcome significant obstacles (MaxPreps)

MaxPreps recently had an inspiring story on five high school coaches who have overcome adversity to land their respective dream jobs.

Four of the five are football coaches — and we’ve actually done stories on two. Here’s our story on Newton High (Texas) coach W.T. Johnston. And here’s our story on Prospect High junior varsity coach Rob Mendez.

The other two inspirational stories?

A. Natalie Randolph

When the no-nonsense Randolph took over as head coach of the Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) football program in 2010, she was the third female nationally to do so at the varsity level. What made her plight a little different is being located in such a high profile region of the country. Her biggest problem originally, she said, was the media stampede.

B. Tom Allen

Before the 2018 season, the Sinton (Texas) football team had won 103 games over a 10-year span and won multiple regional and district titles under coach Allen. Last season, however, they struggled through a 2-8 campaign. But “struggle” is a relative term. For a second season, Allen battled through Multiple System Atrophy, which has proved enlightening and inspirational for a team that gained much more than victories on a gridiron.

Coaches — Do you have an inspirational story to share with FNF Coaches? If you do, please email dguttenplan@ae-engine.com.

2. How Much Do Coaches Actually Matter? (MIT Sloan Management Review)

Urban Meyer. Bill Belichick. Nick Saban. Andy Reid. It’s hard to underestimate the impact these coaches have had on their organizations. But are coaches always the biggest factor in winning and losing?

This podcast addresses the question: How much do coaches actually matter? Two researchers from the University of Chicago just might have the answer.

Coaches — What can you change in the next six months that will translate to more wins next season?

3. Story of how Devon Gales, paralyzed Southern football player, was hired as a high school coach (The Advocate)

Devon Gales, a former Southern University player, is returning to football, nearly four years after he suffered a devastating hit during a 2015 game at the University of Georgia that paralyzed him from the neck down.

Gales, 25, is going to be an assistant coach at Jefferson High in Jefferson, Georgia, where he will help coach wide receivers and special teams 20 miles away from the stadium where his injury occurred.

“I’m ready to be a coach,” Gales said in a phone interview with The Advocate on Tuesday. “To be able to inspire kids and just give them something to live for. Basically to help them. Use my life experience and be a blessing to another student, another child.”

Gales said he’s already set up his Hudl account and spent nearly all of Monday night studying the returning players on Jefferson’s roster.

He isn’t really quite sure what his first actions as assistant coach will be that day.
“I really don’t know yet,” Gales said. “I guess I’ll just tell the parents and players that I’m here; I’m the coach. I’m going to be here for your student, and I’m there if they ever need to talk.”

In what ways are you inspiring people through the sport of football?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!