FNF Coaches Talk — Students Don’t Mind Blowouts, Art Teacher Makes Champion Coach, Ohio Team Lifts 3-Year-Old’s Spirits

Happy Friday, Coaches. Good luck tonight! We’ve got three stories for whenever you get to them.

1. What Students Are Saying About Sports Blowouts (New York Times)

We’ve done a few stories on coaches getting punished for running up the score on opponents in recent weeks. The New York Times surveyed high school students to determine if they’d rather be on the losing side of a blowout or if they’d prefer to be spared the blowout by rules to protect against lopsided wins.

They were overwhelmingly in favor of allowing blowouts and against the suspension of coaches who lead teams to blowouts. Below, they shared their insights into what losing can teach young people in both sports and life.

To not allow blowouts in a sport is to promote mediocrity and minimal effort. The only thing it teaches is that all people are meant to be equally successful regardless of the efforts they have made for their success. Competition exists in any sports game and in every scenario of life.
— RMHS, South Burlington, VT
It is critical that kids be fully exposed to failure. Failing is the most important skill that you will ever learn in your life. If you do not know how to fail completely and still get up and keep trying, then you will not be able to be successful in life.
— Anders Olsen, Hoggard High School, Wilmington NC
What was described in the article sounds like something out of a dystopian novel where everyone is forced to be equal, and if anyone is better, they’re punished. Coaches shouldn’t be punished for putting their best foot forward. Players should have the chance to show their skill, and they need to know if they need to improve. A High school may support this policy, but sometimes to get into college, or to have a chance to make a better team, teenagers NEED others to know how well they can play their sport. If they’re pulled out of the game, they can’t show anything.
— Elliot Wells, Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC

How do you feel about putting in rules to protect teams from getting blown out?

2. A Coaching Rarity: Art Teacher Makes Champion Coach (Idaho Statesman)

We don’t often hear about art teachers making great football coaches, but this Idaho coach is an example of that.

Mountain View’s Judd Benedick is also an art teacher at the school. He has built a perennial state power in Meridian, and he reached another milestone last Friday with his 100th career victory in a 50-7 rout of Centennial.

Benedick’s career path may sound strange, but it’s also part of the reason he has won so many games, Mountain View Athletic Director Luke Wolf said.

“He can speak to all audiences,” Wolf said. “He can speak to his advanced drawing kids about lines and shading. But then in the same breath, he could flip the switch and a lunch meeting starts, and he can start breaking down coverages and tendencies with an offense.
“The best way to put it is he just has an extremely well-rounded, sound mind.”

Benedick has taken the best qualities of some of his football coaching mentors and tried to apply those to his own style.

His Optimist coach, Dan Hardee, showed him the value of teaching without yelling. He idolized the respect given to his father, a longtime teacher and coach at Hillside Junior High. And legendary Pacific Lutheran University coach Frosty Westering showed him how to treat players as more than Xs and Os on a chalkboard.

Those coaching values helped Benedick transform Mountain View from a good program into a perennial state power. The Mavericks won a single playoff game in their first 11 years. But in the past five years they have reached the semifinals every year and played in three state championship games, winning the program’s only title in 2016.

Benedick said he’s grown as a coach, learning how to better manage his program, work with people with differing interests, delegate tasks and stay organized.

“I’ve got to admit, as an art teacher, you’re not always that way,” Benedick said. “As an artist, you’ve got to be creative and kind of out of the box. But there’s not room for that side of things when you’re the head coach. There’s always something that you have to lay out and detail and line out for people.”

How has your professional experience outside of football helped make you a better coach?

3. Ohio football players, cheerleaders lift spirits of family in need (Newark Advocate)

Here’s a “feel good” story for you on a Friday. An Ohio football team learned that a local 3-year-old who was born with a heart disorder would be unable to trick-or-treat for Halloween. So, they brought the party to her.

“I figured we would get a couple guys and take some candy to their house,” Heath coach Tim Ward said. “That turned into like 40 football players and the entire cheerleading squad packing into their house.”

Maci Whisner, now 3 years old, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome at 20 weeks in utero. She was given just days to live.

Maci has had multiple open heart surgeries since, but she continues to fight. Her parents Josh and Karissa have two other children, Jake, 6, and Everly, 1, and due to some recent complications for Maci, they were unable to leave the house for the holiday.

“Bottom line is there are things in life bigger than football,” Ward said. “I absolutely love football. I love what it stands for and how football really helps you with some of the characteristics of being a man. I want our kids being good people. I want our kids committed to serving the community.”

In what ways has your team given back to the local community?

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