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Sometimes I think about why I stopped coaching, other than the fact that I wasn’t very good at it and didn’t enjoy the long hours away from home. I think about why people coach, what makes them want to do what they do, what makes them tick. I have friends still in the business that are just born to coach. They love the work, the relationships, the power, the responsibilities, and the kids. But, when I read about a guy like Joe Ehrmann, I wish there were more coaches like him. And, I imagine if I’d had role models like him, I might still be coaching.

Larry James has a great post about Joe here. He quotes an exchange between Joe and the players…

The coach, Joe Ehrmann, is a former NFL star, now 55 and hobbled, with white hair and gold-rimmed glasses. Still, he is a mountain of a man. Standing before the Greyhounds of Gilman School in Baltimore, Ehrmann does not need a whistle.

“What is our job as coaches?” Ehrmann asks.

“To love us!” the Gilman boys yell back in unison.

“What is your job?” Ehrmann shouts back.

“To love each other!” the boys respond.

This is not how your typical coach interacts with kids. I remember an interview for a job I had and one of the questions was about what I believe is most important in a classroom, and when I stated that the most important thing is for the kids to know that they are loved by that teacher, I received blank stares and the sound of crickets chirping.

I think Joe is a lot like God, and that those kids fear his wrath, but know that any discipline is given within the context of a father’s love.

Thomas Merton: “Why should I desire anything that cannot give me God, and why should I fear anything that cannot take God away from me?”

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