Posted by: Ed | February 14, 2010

FIELD OF IMPACT – A Coach that I’m proud to know

When it comes to significance in life, I’ve always been a “bang for my buck” kind of thinker. One of the things that kept me pursuing ministry is the question, “what can I do with my one & only life to make the most impact for God.” This question doesn’t trump calling & gifting. God calls us differently & it’s unhealthy & wrong to measure ourselves against each other.

That being said, I always love it when we get to see a little bit of how God has used us. It’s cool when we can get a glimpse of how God took the experiences, the gifts, the aptitudes and even the set-backs in our lives and used them in people’s lives.

I have a friend Don, who is a long-time football coach. I know him primarily through his son who is one of my best friends. Donnie (the son) became a Christ-follower while in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. He ended up in Fresno where his dad was a teacher coach at one of the High Schools in town. It so happened that he wound up marrying a good friend of ours who was a student in our ministry in Omaha who came out to Fresno with us “for a while.” Donnie’s dad, Don began to come to our church when his granddaughter was dedicated. It was so fun to see his faith grow & his relationship with God grow.

It was also fun to watch football at his house. He’s coached for a long time at USC, BYU, San Jose State. The man knows football. He would explain plays way better than the guys on TV. He explained why it is that this play worked and another didn’t. I remember him drawing on a napkin how the cover two didn’t work for Green Bay in a playoff game against the Niners. Fun FUN FUN!

His last 3 coaching gigs have been at High Schools, usually impoverished ones with very little support and not much winning. It was fun to see him work with kids in Fresno at such a school and see them go to the playoffs when they hadn’t won a game in years. It was cool to see the crowds at the games grow as parents, families and kids from the schools would jump on for the ride. You could almost feel self-esteem growing in the stands.

I hope it’s o.k. but here’s a letter that was sent by a well respected A.D. in his area upon his retirement.
Hey Donnie-
Last week I heard that you would be resigning (and retiring from teaching, I assume) as the Football coach at PHS. I wanted to write to you and tell you that I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the work you’ve done at both Pacifica and Channel Islands.

Over the years, your teams and athletes have consistently over-achieved, and I attribute that directly to you. You got kids out, you kept them eligible, you made them fundamentally sound, and you beat teams that were physically more talented. What impressed me the most is that you made very few mistakes from a coaching standpoint. You certainly had our number.

More than this, though, I respect the way you ethically did business. You took the kids that came to you, and through hard work, you made them successful. Every young man who has gone through your program is better for it, and the impact that you’ve had at Pacifica and CI is immeasurable.

I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
-B

I can’t think of a better thing you could say about a coach. For him, that field was a field of impact. May all of our lives have the impact that God wants them to. May God give us just the right amount of glimpses of the ways He is using us to keep

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Responses

  1. Go Don! I love the stories of how he’s turned those programs around. Moreover, working with teens is one of the more worthwhile endeavors in life.

    Ed, thanks for the post,

    – Mark


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